Terpinen-4-ol is a terpene that is seen in Juniperus communis and has the molecular weight of 154.249. It is one of the major constituent of Tea tree oil that is said to be extremely active in its biological activities. It is also seen in the essential oil of Nutmeg.

Norwegian farmers use the wood from Juniperus communis to build fence as they don’t rot, and this feature is said to be attributed by the presence of Terpinen-4-ol in the bark of the tree.

In areas of medicine, Terpinen-4-ol is said to exhibit the features of an antifungal and antibacterial agent. This chemical compound is commonly seen in melaleuca oil or Tea tree oil and is highly responsible for its efficacious anti-bacterial and antifungal and anti-microbial properties.

Uses of Terpinen-4-ol:

Tea tree oil that contains Terpinen-4-ol in abundance serves as an active therapeutic agent in the treatment of several microbicidal disorders.

One study that involved the use of Tea tree oil suggested that in-vitro studies of the oil proved effective in the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and when used as a topical agent, it helped to get rid of nasal or extra-nasal colonization of the microorganism.

The study was carried out in 2005, but concrete evidence for it use in the industry is still awaited. An article by the American Cancer Society in the year 2008 talks on Tea tree oil, being used as an antiseptic.

Terpinen-4-ol is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and it has been concluded by a 2000 study that “Terpinen-4-ol can suppress pro-inflammatory mediator production by activated human monocytes.”

On the skin, tea tree oil can be used in the treatment of acne, dandruff, herpes, lice, and other parasitic and skin infections.

An interesting study carried out in 2012 by the National Institutes of Health stated that 5% tea tree oil gel is as effective as 5% benzoyl peroxide and can be used in the treatment of acne vulgaris.

Besides this, a recommended dosage of Tea tree oil twice a day for 6 months can cure a fungal infection, as tested on individuals with a fungal toenail infection, and athlete’s foot.

Anti-parasitic activities of Terpinen-4-ol:

A study was conducted to understand the anti-parasitic activity of Terpinen-4-ol on Demodexmites. The study concluded that Terpinen-4-ol was the most active and prominent ingredient in tea tree oil followed by Sabinene and 1, 8-Cineole. The end result stated that Terpinen-4-ol had an enhanced anti-parasitic effect in killing Demodexmites.

Antimicrobial activities of Terpinen-4-ol:

A study conducted to understand the medicinal and anti-microbial activities of Terpinen-4-ol suggests that the oil of the tea tree performs extremely well as an anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory agent. The effects of the same against fungi, viruses, and bacteria are still to be studied. A few more studies to prove the same would make the chemical compound the most favorable in the therapeutic industry.

Anti-bacterial properties of Terpinen-4-ol:

Since the 1990’s several studies and experiments were carried out to understand the effects of TTO essential oil against bacteria. Though the studies proved the positive effect of the oil in eliminating the organisms, many discrepancies were suggested regarding the methods used during the process.

So, repeated tests were performed to understand TTO and its effects on a broad range of bacterial species. The results were positive in elimination of bacteria even at minimal concentrations of 1.0% and less.  The bacteria in concern were Enterococcus faecalis, staphylococci and micrococci, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Reference Links:

  1. Terpinen-4-ol, the main component of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil), suppresses inflammatory mediator production by activated human monocytes by Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Flinders University, Australia, published in PubMed
  2. Terpinen-4-ol is the Most Active Ingredient of Tea Tree Oil to Kill Demodex Mites, published in Translational Vision Science and Technology Journal
  3. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties, published in Clinical Microbiology Reviews.