Pinene is a monoterpene found in balsam fir, cajuput, cumin, cypress, frankincense, juniper, angelica, nutmeg, pine, rosemary, and coriander.
If oxidation occurs, pinenes can cause skin irritation. Oxidation occurs when essential oils are exposed to oxygen due to poor storage and old age.
Monoterpenes are odorless, highly volatile, prone to oxidation, and insoluble in water.
Links to Plants Containing Pinene
The listings of research below represent a compilation of scientific articles found on the topic, with a very brief overview description of each article/study. This compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use of any herb listed.
- This article reviews a wide range of pharmacological activities of pinene, a key constituent in many coniferous essential oils. From: Park, B. B., An, J. Y., & Park, S. U. (2021). Recent studies on pinene and its biological and pharmacological activities. EXCLI journal, 20, 812-818.
Alpha-pinene, as found in rosemary, showed antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antioxidant actions in this review of research. From: de Oliveira, J. R., Camargo, S. E. A., & de Oliveira, L. D. (2019). Rosmarinus officinalis L.(rosemary) as therapeutic and prophylactic agent. Journal of Biomedical Science, 26(1), 5.
ANTIMICROBIAL / ANTIBACTERIAL / ANTIFUNGAL
- Citrus aurantium (bergamot), C. limon (lemon), Lavandula angustifolia (lavender), Matricaria chamomilla (chamomile), Mentha piperita (peppermint), M. spicata (spearmint), Ocimum basilicum (basil), Origanum vulgare(oregano), Thymus vulgaris (thyme), and Salvia officinalis (sage) along with their constituents were tested against human pathogenic bacteria. The highest and broadest activity was shown by O. vulgare oil and carvacrol had the highest antibacterial activity among the tested constituents. Other significant constituents included: camphor, 1,8-cineole, linalool, linalyl acetate, limonene, menthol, a-pinene, b-pinene, and thymol. From: Soković, M., Glamočlija, J., Marin, P. D., Brkić, D., & van Griensven, L. J. (2010). Antibacterial effects of the essential oils of commonly consumed medicinal herbs using an in vitro model. Molecules, 15(11), 7532-7546.
- Balsam fir was active against S. aureus, as were its constituents of α-pinene, β-caryophyllene, and α-humulene. From: Pichette, A., Larouche, P. L., Lebrun, M., & Legault, J. (2006). Composition and antibacterial activity of Abies balsamea essential oil. Phytotherapy Research, 20(5), 371-373.
- Rosemary essential oil and its constituents demonstrated antibacterial and antioxidant activities. Myrcene was the constituent associated with antioxidant activity and alpha pinene was a strong antibacterial. 1,8-cineole was effective against the E. coli bacteria. From: Ojeda-Sana, A. M., van Baren, C. M., Elechosa, M. A., Juárez, M. A., & Moreno, S. (2013). New insights into antibacterial and antioxidant activities of rosemary essential oils and their main components. Food Control, 31(1), 189-195.
- Nutmeg and beta pinene and its antibacterial effect on E coli was studied. From: Takikawa, A., Abe, K., Yamamoto, M., Ishimaru, S., Yasui, M., Okubo, Y., & Yokoigawa, K. (2002). Antimicrobial activity of nutmeg against Escherichia coli O157. Journal of bioscience and bioengineering, 94(4), 315-320.
- Both 1,8-cineole and α-pinene constituents isolated from Vitex agnus-castus showed very high antimicrobial potency in vitro. From: Stojković, D., Soković, M., Glamočlija, J., Džamić, A., Ćirić, A., Ristić, M., & Grubišić, D. (2011). Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of Vitex agnus-castus L. fruits and leaves essential oils. Food Chemistry, 128(4), 1017-1022.
- Alpha pinene showed antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial activity in vitro. From: Silva, A. C. R. D., Lopes, P. M., Azevedo, M. M. B. D., Costa, D. C. M., Alviano, C. S., & Alviano, D. S. (2012). Biological activities of a-pinene and β-pinene enantiomers. Molecules, 17(6), 6305-6316.
- Anti-inflammatory activity was demonstrated in vivo by α-pinene and β-caryophyllene. From: Martin, S., Padilla, E., Ocete, M. A., Galvez, J., Jimenez, J., & Zarzuelo, A. (1993). Anti-inflammatory activity of the essential oil of Bupleurum fruticescens. Planta medica, 59(06), 533-536.
- Alpha-pinene and fenchone from fennel were both antinociceptive in this in vivo study. From: Him, A., Ozbek, H., Turel, I., & Oner, A. C. (2008). Antinociceptive activity of alpha-pinene and fenchone. Pharmacologyonline, 3, 363-369.
- A combination of pinene, limonene, and cineole improved mucociliary clearance. From: Dorow, P., Weiss, T. H., Felix, R., & Schmutzler, H. (1987). [Effect of a secretolytic and a combination of pinene, limonene and cineole on mucociliary clearance in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease]. Arzneimittel-Forschung, 37(12), 1378-1381.
- This article discusses the sleep improving benefits of α-pinene and 3-carene from pine trees. From: Woo, J., & Lee, C. J. (2020). Sleep-enhancing effects of phytoncide via behavioral, electrophysiological, and molecular modeling approaches. Experimental Neurobiology, 29(2), 120.
Alpha pinene, a major constituent of pine, improved non-REM sleep in vivo. From: Yang, H., Woo, J., Pae, A. N., Um, M. Y., Cho, N. C., Park, K. D., … & Cho, S. (2016). α-Pinene, a major constituent of pine tree oils, enhances non-rapid eye movement sleep in mice through GABAA-benzodiazepine receptors. Molecular pharmacology, mol-116.
- In a study with 10 men and 10 women, inhalation of alpha pinene and beta pinene affected EEG measured brain activity. From: Kim, M., Sowndhararajan, K., Park, S. J., & Kim, S. (2018). Effect of inhalation of isomers,(+)-α-pinene and (+)-β-pinene on human electroencephalographic activity according to gender difference. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 17, 33-39.
- Essential oils of sage, rosemary, thyme, juniper, pine, turpentine, and eucalyptus and their constituents of thujone, eucalyptol, camphor, borneol, thymol, alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, bornylacetate, and menthol inhibited bone resorption. From: Mühlbauer, R. C., Lozano, A., Palacio, S., Reinli, A., & Felix, R. (2003). Common herbs, essential oils, and monoterpenes potently modulate bone metabolism. Bone, 32(4), 372-380.
- Essential oils of cilantro, coriander, cinnamon, oregano, rosemary, sage, clove, thyme, lemongrass, turmeric, mint, basil, and constituents of linalool, cinnamaldehyde, carvacrol, thymol, terpinene, cymene, alpha/beta pinene, bornyl acetate, camphor, 1,8-cineole, alpha terpeneol, geraniol, perrilaldehyde, and eugenol have demonstrated food preserving potential. From: Burt, S. (2004). Essential oils: their antibacterial properties and potential applications in foods—a review. International journal of food microbiology, 94(3), 223-253.
- In this placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial 246 patients with chronic bronchitis, long use (one month) of myrtol (contains alpha pinene) over one month was tolerable and effective. From: Meister, R., Wittig, T., Beuscher, N., & de Mey, C. (1999). Efficacy and tolerability of Myrtol standardized in long-term treatment of chronic bronchitis. Arzneimittelforschung, 49(04), 351-358.
- In this 2 week treatment of 676 patients with chronic bronchitis, myrtol (contains alpha pinene, cineole, and d-limonene) was safe and effective. From: Matthys, H., de Mey, C., Carls, C., Ryś, A., Geib, A., & Wittig, T. (2000). Efficacy and tolerability of myrtol standardized in acute bronchitis. Arzneimittelforschung, 50(08), 700-711.
- Lemon oil had an expectorant action in rabbits, limonene and pinene were active components. From: Sheppard, E. P., & Boyd, E. M. (1970). Lemon oil as an expectorant inhalant. Pharmacological Research Communications, 2(1), 1-16.
- Helichrysum italicum essential oil and its constituents of alpha pinene and limonene demonstrated in vitro anticollagenase and antielastaste activities. From: Fraternale, D., Flamini, G., & Ascrizzi, R. (2019). In Vitro Anticollagenase and Antielastase Activities of Essential Oil of Helichrysum italicum subsp. italicum (Roth) G. Don. Journal of medicinal food.
- Tested helychrysum species demontrated antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activities in vitro against a variety of tested pathogens. From: Kutluk, I., Aslan, M., Orhan, I. E., & Özçelik, B. (2018). Antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral bioactivities of selected Helichrysum species. South African journal of botany, 119, 252-257.
- Coriander seed essential oil and its major components of geraniol (24%), d-linanol (16%), borneol (7%), α-pinene (9%) and β-pinene showed antioxidant activities in vitro. From: González-Marrugo, L. B., Granados-Llamas, E. A., Granados-Conde, C., Tejada-Tovar, C. N., & Ortega-Toro, R. (2018). Extraction and Evaluation of the Antioxidant Properties of Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) Seed Essential Oil.
Compiled by: Kathy Sadowski