A terpinene group of isomeric hydrocarbons that are classified as monoterpenes. Alpha-terpinene (a-terpinene) derives naturally from cannabis and other plant sources, including cardamom, marjoram, and oils of juniper and eucalyptus. Also produced industrially, a-terpinene is a chemical rearrangement of a-pinene. As a constituent of tea tree oil, a-terpinene may offer antioxidant benefits.

The spices of cardamom and marjoram are rich in terpinene.

Terpinene infuses tea tree oil with some of its antioxidant power.  

More about terpinene

Terpinene is prized for its spicy taste and is frequently used as a flavoring agent. The terpene contributes to the warm scent of allspice and is sometimes added to industrial fluids to make their odors more pleasant.

Terpinene in everyday life

If you enjoy spicy dishes such as curry, then you may have encountered terpinene from the savory taste of cardamom. While Indian cuisine makes frequent use of cardamom, Mediterranean cultures often incorporate marjoram into their dishes. So, you may have experienced terpinene through this aromatic herb similar to oregano in an Italian tomato sauce. Finally, you may have applied a base oil along with tea tree oil, which contains terpinene, to your skin.

Therapeutic properties of terpinene

Tea tree oil has been used as an antifungal agent, antiseptic healer and antibacterial remedy for centuries. Thus, any benefit of tea tree oil may bear a passive connection to terpinene, which is a natural constituent. One active benefit of a-terpinene in tea tree oil is as an antioxidant, according to recent research.


A 2012 study published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology found that a-terpinene had strong antioxidant properties as a component of tea tree oil.

The role of terpinene in cannabis

Sentinel and Warwick #1 are two cannabis varieties that contain high concentrations of terpinene. The sensory effects of terpinene on cannabis are unclear, and further research is needed to understand the terpene's relationship to the plant.

Bottom line

Among the lesser researched terpenes, terpinene is distinct for its spicy aroma and antioxidant potency as a component of tea tree oil.

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The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on June 10, 2022.