What are the properties of monoterpenes?

What are monoterpenes?

Monoterpenes are a family of molecules that make up different essential oils. They are the second family of molecules composing the organic ravintsara essential oil, just behind the oxides. As seen in the article Why is ravintsara effective? , monoterpenes make up about 20% of the ravintsara. They are mainly present in citrus peel, and coniferous leaves are highly effective atmospheric disinfectants.

What are their properties?

Building on Laurence Lebrun’s book «Aromatherapy and its natural allies»

Monoterpenes help decongest the respiratory tract and protect against viruses and bacteria, they are also excellent venous lymphatic and respiratory decongestants.” They are complementary with the family of cinemas present at 60% in the ravintsara.

Françoise Couic marinier in her book «The living guide earth of essential oils» adds ” They are (monoterpenes), atmospheric antiseptics, decongestant of the respiratory tract. Excellent transcutaneous painkillers. Invigorating, stimulating circulation, they increase moral strength give courage and confidence.”

More precisely according to Laurence Lebrun they are «Generous stimulant for some air antiseptics, decongestant respiratory venous systems and analgesic lymphatic by neurotonic skin contact».

How do we identify them in a chromatographic analysis (molecular analysis)?

Their names end in “enes”.

The main monoterpenes are: a-and B-pinenes, a- and B-Phellandrene, a- and B-terinenes, there is also limonene, myrcene.

In which essential oils is the majority of this molecule family found?

Bergamot, carrot, lemon, marjoram…

There is a contraindication to skin application: Monoterpenes can be irritating to the skin and mucous membranes. It is therefore advisable to dilute its essential oils for massage».

At a height of only 20% in the ravintsara and accompanied by monoterpenols (10%), their irritating effect on the skin is much less.

Find more information on monoterpenes.