Limonene is a low toxic type of terpene. Limonene occurs naturally in the environment in two major forms. These are the D- Limonene and L- Limonenes that both possess properties useful for different industrial processes. Terpenes are a group of organic hydrocarbons that are isolated from essential oils from the tissues of most plants and some insects. Limonene is a colorless liquid extracted from the oil isolates in the peelings of citrus fruits like oranges and some plants which include rosemary, peppermint and pine needles. It is also found in specific strains of the Cannabis plant where this natural monoterpene possessed acts to provide protection. This is because it helps the plants to keep off predators and dissuade insects from invading the plant species. It is worth noting that the limonene also gives plants unique flavors and fragrance.
The L- Limonene is majorly utilized in the production of food-grade products, cleaning and cosmetic products. Similarly, they are used in research and hospital laboratories to clean dehydrated samples from different tissues for analysis. They dare preferred due to their sweet smell. On the other hand, L-limonene is used majorly in industries for cleaning various products. For instance, it is majorly utilized as a solvent while degreasing metals in the industry before painting. Further, it is used for cleaning pieces of equipment in the electronic industries and in the printing industries. It can is also used in the production of paint as a solvent.
The sweet aroma of this terpene is used in the manufacture of high fragrant products in industries. The incorporation of Limonene accords products like soaps, lotions and perfumes an environment-friendly aroma. Moreover, household cleaning agents incorporate it as a result of their natural fragrance. It is preferably used for cleaning purposes for two major reasons. The first reason is due to its pleasant smell which gives an impression of lemon-orange smell. Secondly, it is also a solvent that can be useful for cleaning in the household. Notably, it can be found in many household cleaning chemicals, cosmetics, food additives and aromatherapy.
Health Benefits of Limonene
The health benefits of this terpene have been documented in both human and animals studies. Research indicates that Limonene possess anti-carcinogenic properties. Studies indicate that Limonene has preventive effects against the development of cancers of the skin, stomach and the liver. Studies indicate that Limonene facilitates the process of apoptosis that ensures the death of the cancer cells in the human body. In this manner, the body would be protected from the harmful effects of cancer through a process facilitated by Limonene. The anti-cancerous effect of Limonene is mediated by inhibition of posttranslational isoprenylation of the G-proteins hence increasing the synthesis of pro-apoptosis proteins. Moreover, Limonene has anti-inflammatory characteristics. As such, it effectively relieves the prolonged inflammation associated with cancer progression and development.
Further, Limonene can be used to improve the immune system. Research notes that rats that had been treated by Limonene experienced an increase in the number of antibodies when they got exposed to foreign antigens. The improved immune system can help the body fight against bacteria and other pathogenic agents. Consequently, Limonene effectively reduces stress, anxiety and depression. Research notes that Limonene was able to reduce the stress levels among rats that had been exposed to environmental stress. The concerted effect of Limonene and tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiols in cannabis is exploited in the production of medicine. However, it is worth noting that only specific strains of cannabis plant contain Limonene in high quantities.
Subsequently, limonene relives metabolic syndrome and obesity. Metabolic syndrome includes high blood pressure, increased levels of sugar and cholesterol in the blood as well as insulin resistance. These syndromes increase an individual’s risk of developing chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular issues and even stroke. This is evidenced by the fact that Limonene significantly reduced the blood sugar levels, and the amount of low-density lipoproteins from their body and raised the quantities of high-density lipoproteins that protect the body against cardiovascular-related complications as shown in animal experiments. As such, it is capable of lowering both triglyceride levels and cholesterol in the human body.
Negative Impacts of Limonene
On the other hand, it should be noted that Limonene has some negative impacts. Research notes that limonene can react with ozone which is in the air. The reaction between Limonene and ozone compounds leads to the formation of formaldehyde that could have adverse effects on people. However, the production of it is rare for formaldehyde to accumulate beyond safe levels recommended by the World Health Organization, especially for household Limonene products. At the industrial scale use of Limonene, cases of skin irritation have been reported. These cases are especially applicable to industrial employees using pure Limonene for the preparation of paints as well as during degreasing of machines and other industrial equipment. The affected individuals in industries may only realize the effects of Limonene after prolonged periods of time. Short time exposure and contact may not affect people significantly. Despite these negative impacts, it should be noted that Limonene is less toxic and hence pose less threat to human health.