What are Monoterpenes?

Simple answer: A monoterpene is a chemical compound found in many essential oils. The basic structure is 10 carbon atoms and can be found in many shapes in nature it also has at least 1 double bond. Because of the simplicity of their bonds they are fairly unstable and oxidize (bond with Oxygen) easily. This means every time you open the bottle of a monoterpene rich oil you risk changing the chemical structure of the oil by adding oxygen into the bottle. This also means the oil evaporates quickly when you pour out a drop, and their shelf life is notably shorter than other oils with more complex structures.

Common Monoterpenes and their known therapeutic properties:

-          Alpha-pinene- anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral

-          Beta-pinene- antibacterial, antioxidant, antispasmodic

-          Limonene- analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, skin penetration enhancer

-          Terpinene- antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral

Common Oils High In Monoterpenes:

Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange, Bergamot, and Neroli.

*Please remember this post is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat or cure any issues or ailments.


Another happy alcohol family, this family has the same 15 carbon/hydrogen backbone like the Sesquiterpene family only it has an added OH group. And like sesquiterpenes with this family we need to look at the individual oils to get a good idea of their therapeutic benefits. These benefits vary widely based on the oils specific structure and many chemical components within this family are specific to the individual oil. With this family the shelf life is around 6 to 8 years.


Chemical components of Sesquiterpenols and their known therapeutic benefits:

Alpha and Beta Santalol- antiviral and sedative

Cedrol- tonic for veins and lymph nodes

Essential oils high in sesquiterpenols and their known therapeutic benefits:

Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) – antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, warming, grounding, sedative, skin healing, tonic for veins and lymph

Patchouli (Pogostemom cablin) – antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, cooling, grounding, sedative, skin healing

Sandalwood (Santalum album) – antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, cooling, grounding, immune stimulant, sedative, skin healing

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) – cooling, grounding, immune stimulant, sedative, skin healing

Safety Information related to this family:

Patchouli (Pogostemom cablin) has a possible drug interaction with anti-coagulant medications; the oil may inhibit blood clotting itself so you will not want to use it when on anti-coagulants, if you are undergoing major surgery, have ulcers, hemophilia or any other bleeding disorder.


Disclaimer: All information provided has not been evaluated by the FDA. I am not a medical professional, there by none of the information provided is meant to cure, prevent, diagnose, or treat any illness, disease or issue. Please always see your medical professional to ask questions about your particular care.

© 2016 Holistic Health Helper. All Rights Reserved.