How do Terpenes effect the body overall?
Terpenes can be inhaled, taken sublingually, absorbed topically, or utilised trans dermally.
When ingested sublingually, they can be quickly taken up into the bloodstream having effects felt within minutes.
Topical applications allow for terpenes to be directly absorbed into the skin providing relief for specific targeted areas on the body.
While transdermal applications work in the same manner, they are meant instead to enhance an entire system like digestion or issues of chronic pain rather than a single area.
How Terpenes Interact with Humans?
There are more than 200 different terpenes currently identified and each of them can impact the human body in a unique way. More specifically, they target different neurotransmitters and receptors within the body. Some of those terpenes include alpha Pinene, Myrcene Linalool, Beta Caryophyllene and Limonene.
Of the five terpenes mentioned above, limonene may be the most common and well understood since it is present in just about every citrus fruit. It is responsible for the powerful citrus aroma of lemons, oranges, mandarin, and even Lemongrass. When in the body, it can bind to receptors that in turn produce antidepressant effects. Limonene, as well as many other terpenes, often bond with receptors in the Endocannabinoid or neuroendocrine system. In some cases, after activating those receptors, those systems become more active and produce more of the necessary hormones needed to maintain homeostasis. They may also cause certain receptors to become more sensitive to incoming hormones, thus improving their efficiency.
As homeostasis is maintained, the body benefits in very specific ways.
For example, some experts believe that shifts away from a homeostatic balance can lead to depression. Thus, when terpenes encourage homeostasis, they can also reduce the risk of depression.
There are several other physiological benefits that are commonly associated with terpenes. These benefits underline the main principles of aromatherapy. For example, there are terpenes that reduce stress, increase energy, and improve immune system function. In many of those cases, those benefits are the direct result of maintaining homeostasis that the body was struggling to maintain on its own.
Does that mean that terpenes are necessary to maintain homeostasis? And what happens when the body does not consume enough terpenes? Many scientists believe that terpenes are needed to maintain true homeostasis and that without those terpenes we suffer from a terpene deficiency with negative health effects. One possible example of this deficiency is Seasonal Affective Disorder.