Loving Terpinen-4-ol

by Andrea on August 12, 2010

terpinen-4-ol-1Don’t be scared by a name that sounds like a chemical!

Essential oil chemicals are naturally found within the plants. These chemical components give the oils their natural therapeutic effects. Terpinen-4-ol is a great example.

Oils rich in terpinen-4-ol are great for dealing with infection and supporting the immune system.

Northeastern Plai (Zingiber cassumunar), Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana) and Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) have significant amounts of terpinen-4-ol.

And now for the nitty gritty scientific facts about this component!

Terpinen-4-ol suppresses inflammatory mediator production by activating human monocytes. Monocytes are a type of white blood cell–part of the human body’s immune system. Monocytes have two main functions in the immune system:

  • Monocytes replenish resident macrophages and dendritic cells under normal states.
  • In response to inflammation signals, monocytes can move quickly to sites of infection in the tissues, where they divide or “differentiate” into macrophages and dendritic cells to elicit an immune response.

What does this mean exactly?  Basically, terpinen-4-ol gives your body a boost when it comes to fighting infections and illnesses.  Oils rich in this component amplify blends for the flu, colds, and even digestive issues.  Keep it in your back pocket as we approach the cold and flu season!

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Owner/Instructor at Aromahead Institute
Aromahead Institute, owned by Andrea Butje, is a premier resource for online aromatherapy classes. Andrea offers her inspired approach to online aromatherapy certification through essential oil videos and original education materials. Check out her book, Essential Living: Aromatherapy Recipes for Health and Home, on Amazon!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura August 14, 2010 at 9:07 am

Love this helpful info! It is nice to have it written like this in a small, digestible portion. Thank you.


Admin August 23, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Thanks Laura, I appreciate your comment!


Holly November 1, 2010 at 11:57 am

Hi Andrea. You have such a wonderful way of explaining the chemistry of the oils. Can you speak to the antioxidant aspect of oils, terpenes in particular. Thanks for your expertise and generosity.


Admin November 2, 2010 at 8:58 am

Holly-there is a lot of research on the antioxidant activity of specific essential oils components and individual essential oils. You can go to PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed) and find many articles on the subject.


Cristina December 2, 2014 at 1:07 am

Hi Andrea,

Great info!
What is the difference between Central Plai and Northeastern Plai?


Andrea Butje December 8, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Hi Cristina – it has to do with the chemistry of the oil, and in this case you would need to see the GC/MS report for each of the 2 plai oils and then we would know the difference. Hope this helps :)


Rory July 21, 2015 at 8:13 am

This is brilliant! I never thought I could be hooked on chemistry after taking Organic.

But this all makes sense. I love it.


Andrea Butje July 21, 2015 at 3:15 pm

Haha, I know what you mean Rory! Chemistry is such a fun topic once you really grasp it :)


Sandra Hall July 21, 2015 at 8:28 am

Hello! Thank you for this information! I have a question, do you know of any oils/blends that help with Fibromyalgia? My daughter has been suffering with pain. Her symptoms are like those of Fibromyalgia but she has not yet been to the doctor and diagnosed with it.

Thank you for your help!


Northern KY


Andrea Butje July 21, 2015 at 3:16 pm

Hi Sandra! Fibromyalgia symptoms can vary greatly from person to person, so the best way to use the oils is to make a blend that would fit her and address her symptoms specifically by consulting with a qualified Aromatherapist. There are many oils that can be pain relieving. I do have some blog posts about pain relief, you can start by trying some of the recipes suggested:
Hope this helps!


Ramona July 22, 2015 at 8:38 am

Can tea tree oil be used on dogs?


Andrea Butje July 22, 2015 at 9:14 am

Hi Ramona – we don’t teach the use of essential oils on animals as they can be very toxic (especially to small animals). Hydrosols would be a better option: https://www.aromatics.com/products/hydrosols


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