About Sesquiterpene Essential Oil Compound

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There are two main groups of essential oil constituents that define the chemistry of essential oil. They are hydrocarbons and oxygenated compounds. These are further subdivided into the sub-groups of Monoterpenes and Sesquiterpenes (click here for the Wikipedia article on Sesquiterpenes).

There are more than 10,000 kinds of sesquiterpenes. Sesquiterpenes are the principal constituents of Cedarwood (98%), Vetiver (97%), Spikenard (93%), Sandalwood (Aloes) (90%), Black Pepper (74%), Patchouli (71%), Myrrh (62%), and Ginger (59%). They are also found in Galbanum, Onycha, and Frankincense (8%).

Sesquiterpene molecules deliver oxygen molecules to cells, like hemoglobin does in the blood. Sesquiterpenes can also erase or deprogram miswritten codes in the DNA. Sesquiterpenes are thought to be especially effective in fighting cancer because the root problem with a cancer cell is that it contains misinformation, and sesquiterpenes can erase that garbled information.

At the same time the oxygen carried by sesquiterpene molecules creates an environment where cancer cells can’t reproduce. Hence, sesquiterpenes deliver cancer cells a double punch-one that disables their coded misbehavior and a second that stops their growth.

Sesquiterpene lactones may play a highly significant role in human health, both as part of a balanced diet and as pharmaceutical agents, due to their potential for the treatment of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Cedarwood, Sandalwood, and Myrrh contain high amounts of sesquiterpenes.

Scientific Research on the Benefits of Sesquiterpene Lactones

Here is what the scientific research reveals about the benefits of this compound…


Rodriguez E., Towers G.N.H., Mitchell J.C. Biological activities of sesquiterpene lactones. Phytochemistry. 1976;15:1573–1580.

Fehsenfeld F., Calvert J., Fall R., Goldan P., Guenther A.B., Hewitt C.N., Lamb B., Liu S., Trainer M., Westberg H., et al. Emissions of volatile organic compounds from vegetation and the implications for atmospheric chemistry. Global Biogeochem. Cycles. 1992;6:389–430.

Ruberto G., Baratta M.T. Antioxidant activity of selected essential oil components in two lipid model systems. Food Chem. 2000;69:167–174.