Terpenes are natural organic compounds found in a wide variety of plants. Among them, myrcene stands out for its sedative and anti-inflammatory properties. In this article, we will explore in detail the chemical characteristics of myrcene, the plants that contain it in large quantities, as well as the mechanisms of action that give it its beneficial sedative and anti-inflammatory effects.
I. Terpenes: Chemical compounds omnipresent in the plant kingdom
A. Definition and structure of terpenes
Terpenes are a class of organic compounds present in many plants and found in very large quantities in essential oils. They are characterized by their chemical structure based on an isoprene unit, which is made up of two methylene ( CH2 ) units joined by a double bond . Terpenes can vary in size and complexity, ranging from monoterpenes , made up of two isoprene units, to sesquiterpenes (three isoprene units), diterpenes (four isoprene units) and so on.
B. Distribution of terpenes in the plant kingdom
Terpenes are found in a wide variety of plants, including conifers, citrus fruits, aromatic herbs, flowers and medicinal plants including cannabis .
They are responsible for the characteristic aromas of plants and play a crucial role in chemical communication between plants and their environment. They are secreted by plants into the air or soil and can be detected by other surrounding plants or organisms, such as insects, herbivores or soil microorganisms .
A striking example of chemical communication between plants through terpenes is the emission of volatile compounds by a plant when attacked by herbivorous insects. When a plant detects chemical signals emitted by herbivores, it can respond by producing and releasing specific volatile terpenes .
These volatile terpenes act as defense signals, attracting natural predators from herbivorous insects that feed on plants. For example, when aphids attack a plant, it may emit specific volatile terpenes that attract ladybugs, which feed on the aphids . This creates an indirect defense system where terpenes act as chemical mediators, allowing the plant to attract natural allies to combat pests.
Additionally, volatile terpenes can also influence the growth and development of neighboring plants. Certain volatile terpenes emitted by a plant can inhibit seed germination or the growth of competing plants, thereby giving the emitting plant a competitive advantage.
This process of chemical communication between plants through terpenes is complex and varied, and it is essential for the survival and adaptation of plants in their environment. It illustrates the importance of terpenes as signaling molecules in interactions between plants and their ecosystem.
C. Biological functions of terpenes
As we have just seen, terpenes perform various biological functions within plants. They can act as defense agents by repelling predators or inhibiting the growth of pathogens. Certain terpenes play a role in pollination by attracting pollinators with their distinctive aromas. Additionally, terpenes are involved in regulating the growth and development of plants, as well as modulating their response to environmental stimuli such as light, heat and stress.
Terpenes have also attracted growing interest due to their therapeutic properties for humans. Several terpenes, such as limonene, linalool, and myrcene, have demonstrated interesting pharmacological activities, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, and anticancer effects. These properties have led to their use in various fields, such as traditional medicine, perfumery, the food industry and the manufacturing of natural care products.
An example of a terpene medicine is "Menthol", which is used as an active ingredient in many pharmaceutical products. Menthol is a terpene naturally present in several plants, including peppermint. It is used in topical medications such as analgesic balms and creams to relieve muscle pain, headaches, itching, and skin irritations. Menthol works by producing a cooling sensation and stimulating cold receptors in the skin, which can help relieve pain and discomfort.
In summary, terpenes are chemical compounds widely distributed in the plant kingdom, with a diversity of biological structures and functions. Their presence in many plants, including those used for medicinal purposes, offers promising prospects for the discovery of new therapies and natural products beneficial to human health.
II. Myrcene: A terpene abundant in certain plants
A. Chemical characteristics of myrcene:
Myrcene is a terpene of the monoterpene class, characterized by a chemical structure consisting of 10 carbon atoms and 16 hydrogen atoms. Its crude formula is C10H16 , and its structural formula has a double bond in its structure. This double bond is responsible for some of its biological properties and activities .
B. Natural sources rich in myrcene:
Cannabis is very rich in myrcene:
Hops are rich in myrcene:
Essential oils and hemp flower oil
C. Organoleptic properties of myrcene:
Myrcene has a characteristic aroma, often described as earthy , woody , herbaceous , and slightly fruity . It contributes to the olfactory complexity of plants, particularly cannabis, which contains very significant quantities . Its presence can therefore influence the sensory perception of a product, particularly in the fields of cooking, perfumery and drinks.
Myrcene is also considered an aroma modulator , meaning it can interact with other aromatic compounds found in plants, influencing their overall scent profile.
III. Sedative properties of myrcene
A. Mechanisms of action of myrcene on the central nervous system:
Myrcene exerts its sedative effects mainly by acting on the central nervous system. It is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and interact with receptors and neurotransmitters in the brain. The precise mechanisms of action of myrcene are not fully understood, but studies suggest several possible pathways.
Activation of GABA receptors: Myrcene can modulate the activity of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors in the brain. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that regulates neuronal excitability. By increasing GABA activity, myrcene promotes relaxation and sleep induction.
Inhibition of glutamatergic activity: Myrcene may also inhibit the activity of glutamatergic receptors, which are responsible for neuronal excitation. By reducing glutamatergic activity, myrcene can induce a state of calm and relaxation.
B. Scientific studies demonstrating the sedative effects of myrcene:
Several studies have examined the sedative effects of myrcene in animal models and preclinical studies. This research provided promising results regarding the effectiveness of myrcene as a sedative agent.
Mice study: A study published in the Journal of Natural Medicines showed that administering myrcene to mice induced a significant reduction in locomotor activity and an increase in sleep duration . These effects have been attributed to the sedative action of myrcene on the central nervous system.
Study on sleep patterns in rats: Another study, carried out on rats, evaluated the effects of myrcene on different stages of sleep. The results showed that myrcene increased rapid eye movement (REM) sleep duration and reduced sleep latency. These observations indicate that myrcene can improve sleep quality and promote deep relaxation in rats.
C. Potential applications of myrcene in the area of relaxation and sleep:
Due to its sedative properties, myrcene has potential applications in the area of relaxation and sleep. Here are some envisaged uses:
Relaxation Products: Myrcene can be used in the formulation of relaxation products, such as essential oils, hemp flower oils often called CBD oil , scented candles or aromatherapy sprays. These products can promote a state of relaxation and help reduce stress and anxiety.
Dietary supplements: Myrcene can also be used as an ingredient in dietary supplements intended to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. These supplements can be formulated as capsules, tablets or oral solutions, providing a natural alternative for those looking to improve their mental well-being and sleep quality.
Care and wellness products: Myrcene can be incorporated into care and wellness products, such as lotions, creams or balms, for its relaxing properties. These products can be applied topically to promote muscle relaxation, relieve tension and create a feeling of calm and relaxation.
It should be emphasized that despite the promising results from preclinical studies, additional research is needed to better understand the mechanisms of action of myrcene and its clinical effectiveness in humans. It is also important to consult a healthcare professional before taking any myrcene supplement or product, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions or are taking other medications.
IV. Anti-inflammatory effects of myrcene
A. Actions of myrcene on inflammatory processes
Myrcene has shown anti-inflammatory properties by modulating several biological pathways involved in inflammatory processes. It is capable of inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory mediators such as pro-inflammatory cytokines, prostaglandins and leukotrienes . Additionally, myrcene may influence the activity of inflammatory enzymes, such as cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX), which play a key role in the inflammatory cascade.
In vitro and animal model studies have shown that myrcene can inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and interleukin-6 ( IL-6). tumor necrosis alpha (TNF-α). Myrcene has also been shown to reduce the expression of COX-2 and 5-LOX enzymes, leading to decreased production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes .
B. Preclinical and clinical studies evaluating the anti-inflammatory properties of myrcene
Several preclinical studies have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effects of myrcene. A study on mouse bone marrow cells showed that myrcene could reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines induced by inflammatory stimuli. Additionally, studies in animal models have found that myrcene may alleviate inflammatory symptoms in conditions such as arthritis and colitis .
Although clinical studies on the anti-inflammatory effects of myrcene in humans are limited, some preliminary research has shown promising results. A pilot study in patients with rheumatoid arthritis found that myrcene supplementation reduced levels of inflammatory markers and improved symptoms of joint inflammation .
C. Therapeutic perspectives of myrcene in the treatment of inflammatory conditions
The anti-inflammatory properties of myrcene open up interesting perspectives in the field of treatment of inflammatory conditions. Further research is needed to better understand the mechanisms of action of myrcene and its clinical effectiveness in humans. However, early studies suggest that myrcene could be used as a therapeutic adjuvant in the treatment of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, colitis, and other chronic inflammatory conditions .
It should also be emphasized that the use of myrcene as an anti-inflammatory treatment does not replace conventional treatments recommended by health professionals. Myrcene can be considered as a potential complement to existing therapeutic approaches, but it should not be used as a substitute.
V. Antaliva organic CBD oil rich in myrcene to fight against inflammatory pain
ANTALIVA oil from Maison Sativa is rich in CBD, and contains myrcene in significant quantities. This synergy between CBD and myrcene gives this oil exceptional properties for relieving inflammatory pain . Thanks to its natural formulation, ANTALIVA oil offers an effective solution without the unwanted side effects often associated with traditional medications.
What also sets ANTALIVA oil apart is its commitment to purity and quality. Maison Sativa uses high quality organic hemp flowers to produce this oil. This ensures that there are no unwanted contaminants such as pesticides and harmful chemicals, providing a safe and natural experience.
By choosing ANTALIVA oil , you are opting for a natural, powerful solution without unwanted side effects to relieve inflammatory pain. Whether for joint or muscle pain or related to inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, this hemp flower oil enriched with CBD and myrcene offers a natural and effective alternative.