γ-Terpinene


A group of isomeric hydrocarbons known as terpinenes are commonly classified as terpenes. They have similar molecular formulas and carbon framework but differ in the position of placement of carbon double bonds.

α-Terpinene is extracted from natural sources and oils like Marjoram and Cardamom. β-Terpinene on the other hand is synthesized from sabinene, γ-Terpinene and δ-terpinene, are extracted from various plants.

Gamma-Terpinene forms a major part of citrus based essential oils such as cumin oil, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, lemon, ginger, cumin seeds, celery, coriander, grapes and tea.  Gamma-Terpinene smells like white spirit and hence used as a flavor and fragrance agent and hence used in the cosmetics and food industries.

Uses:

It is used in food as an ingredient, in the production of peppermint and lemon essential oil, in the production of pharmaceutical drugs, and even in perfumes.  The essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia contains an extremely good yield of γ-Terpinene which exhibits anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial antioxidant, and anti-proliferative properties.

Therapeutic Uses of γ-Terpinene:

Cytotoxic and Antimicrobial Properties of γ-Terpinene:

A study was carried out to understand the Cytotoxic and Antimicrobial Properties of Satureja intermedia C.A.Mey Essential Oil which contains γ-terpinene (37.1%) as one of its active ingredients. In this study, the essential oil was used to identify the antimicrobial effect on oral pathogens, and its cytotoxicity on human cancer cells.

The results proved that the essential oil displayed antifungal and antibacterial activities on S. salivarius, Enterococcus faecalis, Streptococcus mutants, Candida albicans, Staphylococcus aureus, and C. glabrata.

On the grounds as an anticancer agent the essential oil displayed cytotoxic activities on hepatocellular carcinoma and breast adenocarcinoma of human cancer cells, depending on the concentration of the oil used. Further study in this field is required to understand the effects of the S. intermedia essential oil on the human cancer cells.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties of γ-Terpinene:

A study conducted on the effects of tea tree oil as an anti-inflammatory in the treatment of dental plaque and chronic gingivitis was conducted. The study suggested that the topical application of tea tree oil gel caused reduction on PBI and GI scores, but the plague did seem to re-appear over the period of time during the study, but its application on inflamed gingival tissues did prove fruitful.

Reference Links:

  1. Gamma-Terpinene by Sigma – Aldrich
  2. The effects of a tea tree oil-containing gel on plaque and chronic gingivitis, published in Aromatic Science