Thujene is a natural flavoring obtained from Eucalyptus. It is a natural organic compound classified as a monoterpene. It finds it place in the cosmetic industry as it attributes it’s fragrance to the essential oils that it’s seen in. It forms a major part of the constituents in essential oils of a variety of plants, and contributes a strong spicy flavor of certain herbs as seen in Summer savory.

The term thujene usually refers to α-thujene which is less commonly known and is chemically related double-bond isomer is known as β-thujene (or 2-thujene). Another double-bond isomer is known as sabinene. Thujene also goes under other names as well 3-Thujene, and Thujiene.

alpha.-Thujene & its Therapeutic Uses:

Antioxidant Activities:

A study carried out on the Artemisia species, an important medicinal plant proved the antioxidant capabilities of thujene. Not many reports on the biological activity and chemistry of the oil are available as the amount of quality oil generated is minimal in this genus. A study was performed where the chemical oils were derived from the stem and leaves of Artemisia aucheri and Artemisia sieberi that is found growing in Kashan rangelands of central Iran.

On analysis using the GC-MS technique, where 50 compounds isolated from 96.55% of the oil was from Artemisia sieberi, and 23 identified compounds were isolated from Artemisia aucheri.

The study was quite successful in extracting the highest amounts of α-thujene as its yield was quite higher than expected. Both the specimens extracted showed that α-thujene was in its highest concentrations, with the aucheri species showing as far as 74.42%. Results showed that antioxidant activities were seen during the research using β-carotene/linoleic acid assay.

Anti- Malarial (Anti-Viral):

A study conducted in Iran stated that Thujene also acts as an active anti- malarial agent as well. Using the essential oils of A. aucheri and A. sieberi from parts of central Iran the anti-malarial activity of the chemical constituent a-thujene was studied.

The specimen derived showed high concentration of α-thujene which was analyzed to have high flavor, and served as an anti-microbial and anti-malarial agent. This makes K-HP and K-HS an important constituent in the industry of medicine.


The anti-bacterial effect by thujene was detected in a test conducted on Juniperus thurifera L. essential oils. According to the study the oil derived contained, Δ-amorphene, α-thujene, p-cymene, α-pinene, linalyl acetate, germacrene D-4-ol, α-phellandrene and 4-epi-abietal.

The constitutes were seen in larger quantities when derived from the female tree, rather than the male tree, resulting in the female tree extracts showing a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity towards both gram positive (Staphylococcus aureus clinical, Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923, and MRSA)  and gram negative bacteria (Serratia marcescens,  Escherichia coli clinical, Proteus permeri, Shigella sp, Meningo sp.).

Antimicrobial Activity:

During the testing the anti-microbial activity of thujene, the study read, the essential oils of three major Salvia species were derived and studied to identify the possibilities of having antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, and also to understand its chemical compositions.

The partakers of the study were Salvia aucheri var. aucheri (endemic), Salvia aramiensis and Salvia pilifera (endemic). Of the extracts derived, alpha-thujene (36.1%), S. pilifera oil, and alpha-pinene (13.8%) were seen in their respective concentrations. The results of the experiment were that S. aramiensis showed a higher extent of antioxidant activity than those of the others. In terms of antimicrobial activity, the results proved most sensitive for Acinetobacter lwoffii and Candida albicans.

Herbicidal Activity:

A study on the ‘Chemical composition, antifungal and herbicidal effects of essential oil isolated from Chersodoma Argentina’ was conducted. During the study, hydrodistilled essential oil obtained from the aerial parts of Chersodoma argentina Cabrera by the process of GC-MS was used.

On performing a NMR spectroscopy, the derived composition was found containing 80% of its content to be monoterpene hydrocarbons which included alpha-thujene, alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. Results obtained proved the herbicidal activity of a-thujene by revealing by reduced root growth of Solanum lycopersicon, Allium porrum, and Sorghum halepense in both assays.

Reference Links:

  1. Thujene by Wikipedia
  2. Chemical composition, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of the essential oils of three Salvia species from Turkish flora by Suleyman Demirel University, Department of Horticulture, Turkey, published in PubMed
  3. Chemical composition, antifungal and herbicidal effects of essential oil isolated from Chersodoma Argentina by Universidad Nacional de Salta (UNSa), Argentina, published in PubMed