Valencene is a terpene with a heavy citrus aroma. Present in Valencia oranges, valencene is highly valued in the food industry as a strong citrus flavor additive. Valencene may offer anti-inflammatory, skin protectant and anti-allergic benefits.
What is valencene?
Classified as a sesquiterpene, valencene emits a full range of citrus aromas, with overtones of orange, tangerine, mango, and grapefruit potent in its profile. Some perceive the fragrant terpene to smell like freshly cut wood or herbs. Valencene is often used as a synthetic conversion of nootkatone, the terpene responsible for grapefruit aroma. Its commercial usages extend to mosquito and tick repellents, as valencene is known to deter these insects.
Valencene in everyday life
Valencene is found most abundantly in citrus fruits, so you are likely to have encountered this terpene in the produce aisle, especially if you were shopping for sweet Valencia oranges. These oranges are sometimes infused into olive oils to produce a citrus aroma and flavor that pair well with salads. Chinese bayberry is a natural source of valencene and is valued in China as a medicinal herb and an edible fruit.
Therapeutic properties of valencene
Research is emerging on the therapeutic properties of valencene, but there have been indications that the terpene may offer anti-inflammatory, skin protectant and anti-allergic benefits. One study also demonstrated that valencene could boost the efficacy of the chemotherapy drug, Doxorubicin.
One 2011 study on mice published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that valencene had anti-inflammatory properties.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Natural Products discovered that valencene, as part of an essential oil of Cyperus rotundus, or nut grass, might be useful in combating the photoaging effects of ultraviolet rays from the sun.
Another study of the same essential oil, published in 2011 in the Archives of Pharmacal Research, found that orally administered valencene exerted anti-allergic activity in mice.
Efficacy of Chemotherapy Drug
A 2017 study published in the journal Molecules tested the efficacy of the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin in connection with the essential oil of Myrica rubra, or Chinese bayberry, of which valencene is a constituent. Other terpenes present in the test oil included caryophyllene, humulene, and nerolidol. Results indicated that valencene was the most widely effective of the four terpenes tested in improving the therapeutic action of doxorubicin in cancer cells that were partly resistant to the drug.
Role of valencene in cannabis
Not surprisingly, citrus-forward Agent Orange, Tangie and Sour Diesel are among the cannabis varieties that possess high concentrations of valencene. Within cannabis, valencene contributes a rich, slightly bittersweet aroma.
Distinct for its orangey scent, valencene has the potential to fight allergies and inflammation, and may even become a component of sunscreen products with further research.
Major contributions from Dr. Adie Rae.