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Terpenes of the Future: Nerolidol

Medicine Box Terpenes Nerolidol 3

What are Nerolidol Terpenes?

Medicine Box - Terpenes - Nerolidol - 2The terpene (pronounced with the stress on the first syllable) nerolidol is an aromatic sesquiterpene found in many different types of flowering plants. Not surprisingly, it’s also used to enhance the scent of soaps, shampoos, perfumes, and detergents as well. And while it’s not as omnipresent in cannabis strains as myrcene, it does pop up in classics like Jack Herer and Skywalker OG. And it’s non-toxic and non-sensitizing to boot. Of course, just like any terpene, there’s more to the tale than a nice smell, so what can nerolidol do? We’re about to find out

Nerolidol Effects

While a minor terpene in cannabis, nerolidol still holds great promise as a potential force multiplier in conditions already being explored by cannabis scientists, especially with pain and inflammation. But it also has a few of its own tricks up its sleeve, as you’ll see.

Anti-microbial: Nerolidol has been explored for its ability to reduce the presence of nasty bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus and e.coli, both on its own and in combination with other antibiotics such as ceftazidime. While often tested in the entourage of an essential oil, in at least one case, nerolidol was seen as the most effective of its entourage against S. mutans and particularly effective against S. aureus. Promisingly, it can break down the biofilms these bacteria create to protect themselves. In addition, nerolidol has also promoted growth inhibition in skin-and-hair loving fungi called dermophytes, too.

Antioxidant: Both on its own and as a part of the essential oils of plants, nerolidol has shown protective qualities against various free radicals that can damage lipids, proteins and DNA in the body. It’s highly ranked for its “scavenging” activity against a host of oxidized foes, particularly in the brain, where an in vivo animal model study found it to protect neurons against oxidative stress.

Anti-parasitic: Because of their plentitude in nature and the impracticality of expensive drug development procedures in the developing world, nerolidol is being examined for treatment against malaria, sleeping sickness, and Chagas’ disease, amongst others.

Insecticidal: Now HERE’s an example of the power of the entourage effect: a combination of nerolidol and linalool was found to repel a specific maize weevil. A mixture of tea tree oil and nerolidol also showed both insecticidal and ovicidal properties against head lice.  

Anti-ulcer: An animal model study examined the effects of nerolidol on ulcer formation induced by ethanol, stress, and indomethacin, showing significant treatment in stress and ethanol cases.

Anti-tumor: A much-cited study found the reduction of colon adenoma formation in rats. And in vitro studies have paired nerolidol in entourage to reduce tumors.

Anti-nociceptive/Anti-inflammatory: In various animal model studies, nerolidol not only cut down on inflammation but helped cut back communication of pain events — known as nociception — showing a possible application for neuropathy. There are also signs it might work on a different pathway of pain relief than cannabinoids (in this case GABA), which could lead to its use as a complement to cannabis medicine. 

Are you familiar with this elusive terpene? Let us know in the comments what your favorite nerolidol heavy cultivars are and where to find them. What a fascinating series so far! Which terp will Medicine Box break down next? You’ll just need to tune in here to find out!

Medicine Box - Terpenes - Nerolidol

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