By Gofire Staff

A super-healthy co-worker starts to peel her midmorning orange, and the fresh fragrance wafts through the room. Your husband adds a squirt of lime juice to a sizzling stir-fry, and suddenly the entire kitchen has a sunny vibe. And when he does the dishes afterward—because he’s a really great guy—the fragrance from the lemon-scented dish detergent delights again, and not just because you dodged the cleanup.

All three fruits share the healthy glow of the limonene terpene, a pungent plant substance laden with citrus aroma and possessing a well-earned reputation as a healer.

What are terpenes? They’re organic compounds often described as “volatile,” meaning that when you peel a citrus fruit or crush an herb, a chemical calling card pervades the local environment. You enjoy the distinctive fragrance in your kitchen, but in the garden or orchard, terpenes serve as a warning to predators: “My plant defenses are locked and loaded,” whether it’s stickiness, a toxic taste or other forms of bug-proofing.

For mammals, in the case of a lemon or a crushed herb, terpenes are also saying: “I’m at maximum ripeness, so eat and enjoy, and transport these seeds for future propagation.”

Fragrance is a key to memory, which is why nobody forgets a healthy blast of limonene.

Limonene is definitely worth remembering: This terpene delivers an antioxidant punch accompanied by a healthy dose of fiber and vitamins. It’s important in other ways, beyond signaling a vitamin C source.

The Limonene Terpene: What it Does

Terpenes, in general, are a hot area of scientific research because of many purported health benefits, and limonene has a prominent place among the plant-based healers with a number of potential healthful uses, including the following:

It’s an antifungal and antibacterial compound. Plants employ limonene as part of their pest-control strategy. Bad for bugs, but good for you. It can join your arsenal to fight off infections and bio-blooms of all kinds.

It’s an appetite suppressant. That may be one reason your orange-eating co-worker is so skinny. She eats the orange, inhales the limonene, and avoids the doughnut tray in the break room.

It calms anxiety and induces sleep. Biologically, fragrance and sleep are closely linked. Limonene binds to receptors in the brain to produce a sedative effect.   

It boosts immunity. Research suggests that limonene helps to ward off sickness. And that may be one reason limonene chases anxiety: You worry less about getting the crud. And come to think of it, that’s another reason to sleep well at night.

It calms an upset stomach. That may be why your husband squirted lemon juice on the stir-fry: He knows how long that chicken was sitting in the refrigerator.

It may even fight cancer. The website of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer center mentions that in studies of animal models, limonene was shown to slow the growth of pancreatic, stomach, colon, skin and liver cancers.

How Gofire Gives Patients Better Insight on Plant-Based Medicines

Limonene and other terpenes hold a prominent place in plant-based medicine. At Gofire, we’re focused on making plant-based medicine consistent for patients with our advanced health suite. The Gofire App provides in-depth information on products, including lab-test results for their exact chemical profiles, which include terpenes. Meanwhile, the Gofire Inhaler allows patients to dial in on terpenes with precise temperature controls to maximize terpene volatilization. The inhaler has the ability to “remember” temperature settings for various products to provide replicable experiences.

The saying goes that if you’ve got lemons, make lemonade. But you can do better than that. If you’ve got limonene, you can take in health benefits with every breath.