Terpenes are found in plants and animals and are responsible for the aromas that we are all so used to smelling. As terpenes have contributed to the evolution of all life on Earth, their therapeutic value can not be stressed enough.
Close your eyes and think about peeling a fresh juicy orange. Can you smell that familiar citrus aroma? You’re smelling compounds within the large family of terpenes. Do you love the smell of lavender? Terpenes are responsible. How about the smell of conifers after a refreshing autumn rain? Terpenes again.
These fragrant compounds not only hold many of our childhood memories, but they have contributed to the formation of our limbic, immune, endocannabinoid, and endocrine systems. Our ability to regulate temperature, mood and appetite are all functions of the limbic system. The limbic system is also responsible for olfaction, or smell!
The connection between plants and humans is so ancient we have forgotten who are ancestors are. I encourage you to go out and smell some plants- allow yourself to let your memory take you places you may have forgotten long ago.
More on the limbic system in Thursday’s blog, when we will explore what compounds you smell when you crush up a bunch of lavender, walk past a pine tree, and peel that juicy orange. Together we’re going to have an olfactory buffet!