Ocimene

ˈäsəˌmēn | noun

A monoterpene found in various plants and fruits and bearing a sweet, woodsy scent. Mint, parsley, tarragon, kumquats and mangos are a few of the natural sources of ocimene. As an acyclic terpene similar to myrcene, ocimene is unstable in air and nearly insoluble in water. Ocimene is soluble in some common organic solvents, such as acetone or ethanol.

 

Don’t you feel like you’re in a forest when you’re smoking that ocimene-rich joint?

 

I’m getting a sweet fruity flavor from the ocimene in my weed.

More About Ocimene

Ocimene is derived from the Ancient Greek word Ocimum meaning basil, though the terpene’s profile is not predominantly herbal. In terms of flavor, some characterize ocimene as citrusy or fruity. Similar to some other terpenes, such as borneol, ocimene displays a strong, woodsy aroma. More subtle nuances of lavender or metallic scent may be perceived by others when experiencing the terpene in cannabis. Whatever the scent, it is not a favorite among insects, as ocimene may be present in certain insecticides — a common usage for many terpenes.

Ocimene in Everyday Life

In addition to insecticides, ocimene may present a number of other industrial and practical uses. These may include antiperspirants, fabric softeners, shampoo, soap and hard-surface cleaners. If you’ve ever used one of these products touting a woodsy or forest scent, then you may have encountered ocimene. Perfumes featuring woodland or herbal notes may also contain traces of ocimene. The herbal undertones of ocimene will reveal themselves if you’re cooking a dish that is sprinkled with pepper or parsley. Even a mint candy, if the ingredients are natural, could be flavored with the terpene. Finally, ocimene may be present in the orchid flower, a common houseplant known for its air-purifying qualities.

Therapeutic Properties of Ocimene

Researchers have begun to explore the potential medicinal effects of various terpenes, including ocimene. This terpene has demonstrated possibilities in treating certain antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antiviral conditions, though further research is needed on each.

Antifungal

The Journal of Natural Medicines published a study in 2015 that investigated ocimene as part of a blend of components against yeasts and molds. The researchers determined that ocimene, in concert with other elements, may be useful as an antifungal agent. Specifically, the researchers cited fungal species in humans, including dermatophytosis, a skin fungus commonly referred to as ringworm.  

Anti-inflammatory

Ocimene was studied as an element of Oenanthe crocata essential oil in a study published in 2013 in the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal. Researchers noted strong anti-inflammatory activity, as well as antioxidant and antifungal properties, from the oil containing ocimene. Similar to the study from the Journal of Natural Medicines, this study revealed a possible combative effect against ringworm, and researchers recommended the oil for the management of other inflammatory diseases.  

Antiviral

The essential oils of seven Lebanese species of trees were studied and analyzed in a Chemistry & Biodiversity report. Ocimene was among the main constituents of the oils which were examined in vitro for their inhibitory effect against SARS-CoV, a coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, and the herpes simplex virus. Laurus nobilis oil, which contains ocimene, demonstrated an antiviral effect against SARS-CoV in the study, but research beyond the in vitro stage would be useful to determine the full scope of ocimene’s potential antiviral activity.   

Role of Ocimene in Cannabis

Strawberry Cough, Golden Goat, Space Queen and Sour Diesel are types of cannabis that may contain higher than average concentrations of ocimene. Some have found that cannabis types with high levels of ocimene may induce a cough, which could link to a decongestant property.

Bottom Line

This alternately woodsy and herbal terpene may be present in hard candy or household cleaners and could provide numerous health benefits via cannabis or through essential oils.