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September 09, 2022



The Effects of Essential Oils and Terpenes in Relation to Their Routes of Intake and Application


1.Aromatherapy and Essential oils


Scientific studies on the chemical constituents of essential oils have just started in the 20th century, although the history of using essential oils as medical agents or for relaxation goes back to ancient times in Egypt. It was only early in the 20th century that the word “aromatherapy” was coined by the French chemist Ren?-Maurice Gattefoss? for treatments using essential oils. He was a chemist working at his family-owned perfume company in France, and not a clinician of holistic, alternative medicine.An anecdotal story tells that he had accidentally burnt his hand because of an explosion in the laboratory and happened to use an essential oil of lavender, which suppressed the pain and scar formation. This experience led him to study the possibility of using essential oils for therapeutic purposes. His book “Gattefoss?’s Aromatherapy” [1] is perhaps the earliest book published on aromatherapy by a scientist and it contains a subs tantial amount of description on terpenes.


scar formation 瘢痕形成
medical agent 医薬品

“Essential oils contain constituents which possess almost the full range of chemical functions. The simplest are hydrocarbons, constituting the terpene family, of the type p-cymene, C10H14, which is similar to pinene, a constituent of oil of turpentine. The other constituents can almost all be classified as various stages in terpene development” [1].


It has been eighty years since then, but we still need thorough scientific studies on the effect of essential oils, i.e., their effects on healing diseases, or delaying the progress of disease, and on improving mental conditions, as they are well known to do. We can now examine their effects with modern techniques and advanced knowledge. We need studies on the chemical compounds involved in producing these effects and on the mechanisms of action, as well as studies on the routes involved.


As defined, “aromatherapy” is “the use of essential oils from plants (flowers, herbs, or trees) as therapy to improve physical, mental, and spiritual well-being” (from NIH, National Cancer Institutewebsite;https://www.cancer.gov/aboutcancer/treatment/cam/patient/aromatherapy-pdq#_1).

定義されているように、「アロマテラピー」とは、「植物(花、ハーブ、樹木)から抽出した精油を、身体的、精神的、および霊的な健康を改善するための療法として用いること」(米国衛生研究所NIH、米国国立がん研究所 NCIウエブサイトより)

NIH:National Institutes of Health :米国国立衛生研究所
NCI:National Cancer Institute  米国国立がん研究所

Essential oils are used (1) by inhaling, which will use mostly the olfactory system, and to some extent the skin, as the chemical compounds will reach the skin. (2) By topically applying essential oil on the skin, in which the major route will be through the skin, and to a lesser extent through the olfactory system, as the aroma will reach the olfactory system. (3) By drinking, in which the major route will be through the digestive system and, secondarily, because of the retro-nasal location of the nose, through the olfactory sensory system, as the aroma will reach the nose from the mouth and stomach.


As such, when essential oils are used, there are multiple routes involved. The routes involved in generating a certain effect depend on the types of chemical compounds included in the essential oil. For example, recently, topical application of β-caryophyllene, a sesquiterpene, in various herbs and spices, was found to improve re-epithelialization of cutaneous wounds, whereas exposure solely through the air did not produce that impact [2]. Linalool (3,7-dimethylocta-1,6-dien-3-ol), a monoterpene found in herbs, spices, and fruits, has an anxiolytic effect, and this effect is mediated through the olfactory system [3]. β-caryophyllene and linalool are both present in, for example, lavender essential oils. These examples, and the fact that they are both included in the same essential oil, indicate that it is important to know what effect each chemical compound has, and which route is involved in producing these effects.



This also indicates that the method of using essential oils should be adjusted depending on the chemical compounds that are expected to function: for example, it is critical to use a diffuser for lavender essential oil when the expected effect is the anxiolytic impact of linalool. In contrast, lavender essential oil should be applied topically when the goal is to enhance wound healing by β-caryophyllene. It is necessary to use the delivery method that is most effective to reach the clinical goals with the knowledge on how specific chemical compounds produce the effect. Therefore, it is pivotal to determine the types of impacts that each chemical compound generates, what routes are involved in these impacts, and the mechanisms of action.

また、精油を使用する方法は、予想される機能がある化合物に応じて調整されるべきであることを示しています。 例えば、リナロールの抗不安作用を期待する場合は、ラベンダー精油のディフューザーを使用することが重要である。一方、β-カリオフィレンによる創傷治癒の促進を目的とする場合は、ラベンダー精油を局所的に塗布する必要がある。特定の化学物質がどのように効果を発揮するのかを知った上で、臨床目標に到達するために最も効果的な送達方法を用いることが必要である。そのため、各化合物がどのような影響を与えるのか、その影響はどのような経路で生じるのか、作用機序を明らかにすることが極めて重要である。

Considering that the olfactory system, the skin, and the digestive system are the three possible routes through which essential oils can affect physiological and psychological health conditions, we will summarize the olfactory system, the skin, and the digestive system, respectively. Olfactory receptors are expressed in non-olfactory tissues as well, including the skin and the gastro-intestinal system, both located outside of the olfactory system [4]. In addition, there are non-olfactory receptors in the skin and the gastro-intestinal system that are activated by odorous chemical compounds [5]. We will discuss these respectively.


An essential oil is a “product obtained from a natural raw material of plant origin by steam distillation, by mechanical processes from the pericarp of citrus fruits, or by dry distillation” (definition by International Organization for Standardization (ISO); 9235:2013). Terpenes are the largest group of components in essential oils [6]. Depending on the number of isoprene units (C5H8) in the molecule, they are classified into, for example, monoterpenes (one terpene unit or two isoprene units; examples are linalool, geraniol, limonene), sesquiterpenes (three isoprene units; examples are β-caryophyllene, the farnesenes, humelene), and tetraterpenes (eight isoprene units; for example, carotenoids). Monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes comprise about 25% of the terpene fractions in essential oils [6]. We will summarize the essential oils, the terpenes found in essential oils, and their impacts on physiological or psychological status.




Aromatherapy With Essential Oils (PDQ?)?Health Professional Version

精油(PDQ?とアロマセラピー) - 医療従事者のバージョン


Go to Patient Version






This cancer information summary provides an overview of the use of aromatherapy with essential oils primarily to improve the quality of life of cancer patients. This summary includes a brief history of aromatherapy, a review of laboratory studies and clinical trials, and possible adverse effects associated with aromatherapy use.


This summary contains the following key information:


Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils (also known as volatile oils) from plants (flowers, herbs, or trees) for the improvement of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.



要約:数十万種類とも言われる多種多様な匂い物質を識 別する嗅覚受容体は,多くの創薬の標的となっている G タンパク質共役型受容体ファミリーに分類され,その中で も最大の多重遺伝子群を形成している.近年,筆者らはク ローブ様の香りを呈する匂い物質,オイゲノールを認識するマウス嗅覚受容体 mOR-EG の単離同定を起点とし,嗅覚受容体の薬理学的解析を行ってきた.

1. はじめに 多くの生物は,エサとなる物質の探求や識別,親や天敵 といった他個体とのコミュニケーションなどを嗅覚感覚を介して行う.嗅覚の媒介となる匂い物質は揮発性の低分子 有機化合物であるが,我々の生活空間に数十万種類も存在 するといわれている.これら多種多様な匂い分子はそれぞれ特有の「におい」をもっているが,匂い物質ひとつひと つに対する感じ方には個人差があるだけでなく,同じ匂い 物質でも嗅ぐときの環境や体調によってにおいの質が異なったり,濃度の違いで全く異なる匂いとして認識されることがある.一方,匂い分子の光学異性体や立体異性体を正確に嗅ぎ分けることができる.このように,あいまいな評価と正確な識別という相反する特徴を併せもつ嗅覚システ ムにおける匂い認識機構を分子レベルで解明することは大変興味深い.本稿では,数十万種類の匂い物質の認識および識別の分子基盤となっている嗅覚受容体の薬理学的性質について最新の研究を紹介する。


June 24, 2022




ブログ投稿によって、心臓、肺、肝臓、皮膚、胃腸、大腸、小腸、腎臓、がん細胞、精子に嗅覚受容体があることをしりました。上記の件で嗅覚受容体と臓器との関係の確認のため調べたらEctopic Olfactory recpter異所性嗅覚受容体の名称を見つけました。下記は異所性嗅覚受容体の関係のブログになります。

体内の嗅覚受容体は病気を嗅ぎ分けるのに役立つかもしれない。Science dailyより



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