β-pinene


β-pinene) found in plants is an organic monoterpene compound, and is one of the most abundant compounds released by forest trees. If oxidized in air, the allylic products of the pinocarveol and myrtenol family prevail. α-pinene, which is a colorless liquid soluble in  alcohol, but not water, is one of the two isomers of pinene.

Owing to its woody-green pine-like smell, beta-pinene has been used as a flavoring and fragrance agent.  It’s is pretty common in essential oils and is also used in cooking to provide flavoring effects to the food, and also to act as a preservative.

The botanical families that contain β-pinene are Humulus lupulus, Clausena anisata, Cuminum cyminum, Pinus pinaster, Cannabis sativa, and Cannabis indica.

Uses of beta-Pinene:

Anti-depressant:

Antidepressant-like activity is seen in essential oils that contain β-pinene and Linalool, which are two most volatile monoterpenes.

These are components of many aromatic plants used in folk medicine around the world to relieve anxiety and depression.

A study in 2015 suggested that, linalool and beta-pinene act on the monoaminergic system by reflecting their biological activity on several receptors of the system. Since these constituents focus on multiple receptors, the resulting effects are more potent and long lasting when compared to those that focus on only a single receptor.

Linalool and beta-pinene act in balancing the brain chemistry in these receptors (multiple receptors) resulting in alterations of mood and depression.

Another study in 2012 on ‘Antidepressant activity of Litsea glaucescens essential oil: identification of β-pinene and linalool as active principles’ displayed evidence that, β-pinene and linalool which were active constituents of L. glaucescens essential oil played a role in promoting antidepressant activity.  As a result, the use of L. glaucescens to treat depression was initiated in Mexican Traditional Medicine.

Antibacterial Activities:

beta-Pinene also possesses antibacterial activities.  A study on Rosmarinus officinalis L. essential oil and three of its main components α-pinene (19.43%), 1,8-cineole (27.23%), and β-pinene (6.71%) were studied to understand the in vitro antibacterial behavior and toxicology characteristics. During the study, essential oils of R. officinalis L., α-pinene and β-pinene were treated on Gram-positive, and Gram- negative bacteria. The results showed that Gram-positive bacteria were more responsive to the oil.

Another study on Biological Activities of a-Pinene and β-Pinene Enantiomers conducted in the year 2012 suggested, “This study showed that only the positive enantiomers of pinene have antimicrobial activity against -pinene, C. albicans, C. neoformans, R. oryzae and MRSA. The additive and synergistic effects of (+) – and (+)-β-pinene standards combined with commercial antimicrobials are important as they reduced the MIC of combined substances, maintained the antimicrobial activity and decreased toxicity.”

Cytotoxic Activity:

Most essential oils are used in the industries of food, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and sanitary for their diverse activities that support insecticidal, anti-parasitical, bactericidal, and fungicidal properties.

Keeping this in mind, for several centuries specialists have tested essential oils from more than 20 plant families for the past 10 years. An experiment as such is what is mentioned below which proves the cytotoxic activity of beta-Pinene.

beta-Pinene is seen to show cytotoxic activity towards cancer cells. In the year 2014 a study on ‘Anticancer activity of essential oils and their chemical components’ proved, that essential oil of Schefflera heptaphylla (L.) Frodin and its major compound beta-pinene ((-)-beta-pinene and (+)-beta-pinene) showed significant anti-proliferative activity against A375 cancer cell lines. There by preventing the growth of cancer cells related to skin cancer.

Antimicrobial Activity:

Several studies were conducted to identify and prove the antimicrobial activity of beta-Pinene. One of such studies was in the year 2012 where β-pinene an essential component of Rosmarinus officinalis L. essential oil proved positive.

During the course of this study, the anticancer, and antibacterial activities of the oil of Rosmarinus officinalis L were assessed and the three main constituents of the oil 1,8-cineole, α-pinene and β-pinene was brought under consideration.

The result- the oil of Rosmarinus officinalis L exhibited the strongest antibacterial and cytotoxic activities towards SK-OV-3, HO-8910 and Bel-7402 human tumor cell lines, which were in order: Rosmarinus officinalis L. essential oil > α-pinene > β-pinene > 1,8-cineole.

Reference Links:

  1. beta-Pinene by Wikipedia
  2. Biological activities of α-pinene and β-pinene enantiomers by Institute of Microbiology Paulo de Góes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, PubMed
  3. Antibacterial Activity and Anticancer Activity of Rosmarinus officinalis L. Essential Oil Compared to That of Its Main Components by Wei Wang, Nan Li, Meng Luo, Yuangang Zu and Thomas Efferth, published in Molecular Diversity Preservation International Journal.
  4. Antidepressant activity of Litsea glaucescens essential oil: identification of β-pinene and linalool as active principles, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology and PubMed