The Apple Jacks of the Terpene World
What is the terpene Farnesene?
Unlike myrcene, which is a monoterpene, farnesene is a sesquiterpene (see Nerd Corner) that is the primary terpene found in green apple skins. If you have ever watched anyone make an apple pie and smelled the fresh, light fragrance that stayed with you into your daydreams, that was the terpene farnesene.
Farnesene is also present in turmeric, which has also been recognized for its anti-inflammatory and calming agents, ginger, which is known for its digestive boost, and German chamomile, which is highly prized as an anti-spasmodic, anti-oxidant, and sleep aid. It is also found in the narrow-leafed indica strains of cannabis.
So why do we need farnesene?
A sesquiterpene is a class of terpenes that has three isoprene units, having isomers α–Farnesene and β–Farnesene. The Molecular formula is C15H24 and the looks like this:
Its molecular weight is 204.36 g/mol, which allows it to pass the skin barrier.
Our Keyed-up, Stressed-out Lives
Americans work a standard week of 40-hours, give or take a few. This is a lot! On every workday, it’s a third of our 24-hour day and half of our waking hours. That’s 8 hours or more a day that we’re giving our life to someone who is profiting from our labor (or that we’re pouring into a business of our own).
Whether you love your job or not, that’s a lot of time to lose! A wise man once said, “Time is money,” but it’s not: time is life itself. Add caretaking, life’s little details like getting bills paid on time and appointments attended, etc.
So no wonder we’re stretched thin and everything hurts!
We Can’t Quit Our Jobs
We can’t just up and leave gainful employment for the most part. If we don’t have enough money to survive we’re even worse off than if we had a 40-hour work week. And workers are not the only ones stressed out and sick. Our kids are stressed out about getting into the top colleges; our parents are stressed about being a burden on the family; and almost everyone is stressed out about the state of the world.
Benefits of the Terpene Farnesene
Many people have offered anecdotal evidence to support the claimed effects of ginger, German chamomile, turmeric, and indica-dominant cannabis. The terpene farnesene, being found in all those, could be responsible.
Farnesene is thought to reduce spasms in the bowel, and help digestion the same way probiotics do (by balancing healthy levels of gut flora). Of course, getting rid of a stomach ache or inflammation can be relaxing by itself, but farnesene goes a step farther by relaxing spasmodic muscles.
Fun fact: aphids release farnesene when they’re dying to warn other aphids of danger.
Research on Terpene Farnesene
Like everything else, more research needs to be done before we can say for certain that farnesene has benefits we can use. Until then, if you feel you need to experiment with farnesene do so with care. If you don’t think you know enough about it, wait for the studies to come out so you can be sure what you’re putting into your body, and what it will do.
The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.