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 (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
- Monoterpenes have been found to “prevent the carcinogenesis process at both the initiation and promotion/progression stages”, to be “effective in treating early and advanced cancers”, “have been shown to prevent mammary, liver, lung, and other cancers”, and “they may be effective in treating neuroblastomas and leukemias”
- Another study found them to have “antitumor activity” and “chemopreventive activity against rodent mammary, skin, liver, lung and forestomach cancers” as well as “chemopreventive activity against rat liver cancer, and geraniol has in vivo antitumor activity against murine leukemia cells”
- Monoterpenes increase the levels of liver enzymes involved in detoxifying carcinogens, an effect that decreases the possibility carcinogens will cause cellular damage1
- Monoterpenes stimulate apoptosis, a cellular self-destruction mechanism triggered when a cell’s DNA is badly damaged2
- Perillyl alcohol was found to be five times as active as limonene in regressing tumors3
- A diet of 2.5 percent perillyl alcohol caused 75 percent of chemically induced rat mammary tumors to regress4
- Perillyl alcohol has “antiangiogenic potential” and, “in addition to its anticancer activity, may be an effective agent in the treatment of angiogenesis-dependent diseases”
- Perillyl alcohol “may have potential use as an anticancer drug that stimulates or sensitizes lung tumor cells to apoptosis” (i.e., programmed cell death)
- Perillyl alcohol has been shown to have “potential chemopreventive activity of…against colon carcinogenesis”
- Perillyl alcohol has been shown to “regress pancreatic, mammary, and liver tumors, to exhibit possible application as a chemopreventative agent for colon, skin, and lung cancer, and as a chemotherapeutic agent for neuroblastoma, and prostate and colon cancer”
- In those with Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver disease (onset by diet), supplementation with D-limonene has been shown (in rats) to reverse the hepatic fatty acid buildup as well as downstream effects caused by the hepatic impairment
- D-limonene has well-established chemopreventive activity against many types of cancer
- Limonene has demonstrated efficacy in pre-clinical models of breast and colon cancers
*contact me if you want more information about how you can easily access the power of monoterpenes
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.