About Monoterpenes

science of essential oils

About Monoterpenes

Monoterpenes are nonnutritive dietary components found in citrus fruits and other plants.. They are compounds of two isoprene units, which is ten carbon atoms and sixteen hydrogen atoms per molecule. There are an estimated 2,000 varieties of monoterpenes.

Please note that the FDA does not regulate essential oils. This means that I cannot make any specific claims about or imply that essential oils cure or should be used to treat any diseases or other health conditions. I am not doing that by providing this information.

All  information is pulled from reputable sources and studies. Links are provided so that you can make an educated and informed decision as a responsible adult.

While offering a variety of healing properties, the most important ability of the monoterpenes is that they can reprogram miswritten information in the cellular memory. With improper coding in the DNA, cells malfunction and diseases result, including lethal ones such as cancer.

Most Common Monoterpenes

Perillyl Alcohol

Perillyl alcohol (POH) is a naturally occurring monoterpene derived from the essential oils of various botanicals including lavender, peppermint, cherries, sage, and lemongrass. It has been used topically as a mosquito repellant and in toiletries, and may be touted as a constituent of natural products such as tart cherry juice.


D-limonene is one of the most common terpenes in nature. It is a major constituent in several citrus oils (wild orange, lemon, mandarin, lime, and grapefruit). It is commonly known as ‘lemon extract’ and is found in high levels in lemon juices.

Consumption of D-Limonene in either supplemental form or as freshly squeezed and pulp-containing lemonade has been shown to reduce the formation of some tumor growths and alleviate fat buildup in the liver induced by diet.

Scientific Research on the Beneficial Properties of Monoterpenes

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1 Gould MN. Cancer chemoprevention and therapy by monoterpenes. Environ Health Perspect 1997;105:S977-9.
2 Mills JJ, et al. Induction of apoptosis in liver tumors by the monoterpene perillyl alcohol. Cancer Res 1995; 55:979-83.
3 Crowell PL, et al. Antitumor effects of limonene and perillyl alcohol against pancreatic and breast cancer. In: American Institute for Cancer Research. Dietary Phytochemicals in Cancer Prevention and Treatment. New York: Plenum Press;1996.
4 Vigushin DM, et al. Phase I and pharmacokinetic study of d-limonene in patients with advanced cancer. Cancer Research Campaign Phase I/II Clinical Trials Committee. Cancer Chemother & Pharmacol 1998;42:111-17.