Alpha-Pinene and Limonene for Cellular Health


As the average human lifespan continues to increase, the concern over cellular health has become more prevalent. Researchers at Columbia University and Baylor University recently completed a study examining the mechanisms by which camphor white essential oil promotes cellular health. Their research suggested a number of interesting findings.

The Study

The researchers found camphor white essential oil (Cinnamomum camphora) to be particularly high in eucalyptol (1,8-cineole) and limonene, with lower levels of alpha-pinene and gamma-terpinene. Second, they found that when tested in vivo, camphor white essential oil increased the expression of genes involving t-cells.

T-cells are key players in the immune system—they travel through the body searching for damaged or irregular cells. Once found, t-cells induce programmed cellular death (called apoptosis) in these damaged cells, ensuring that the remaining cells in the body are healthy. An increase in t-cell function through upregulation of genes, such as those described in this study, leads to elimination of damaged cells and thereby greater cellular health. The researchers found that the constituents alpha-pinene and limonene were likely responsible for immune modulation and the subsequent improved cellular health.


Alpha-pinene and limonene are compounds present in several commonly available essential oils, such as Frankincense, Cypress, and Rosemary. This preliminary research suggests that further studies may find that adding a drop of any of these oils to your daily regimen may promote cellular wellness. 


doTERRA Science blog articles are based on a variety of scientific sources. Many of the referenced studies are preliminary, experimental studies and further research is needed to gain a greater understanding of the findings. Essential oils may have drug interactions, patient contraindications, or adverse effects that cannot be evaluated using experimental research results alone. If you are interested in using essential oils for any health concern, consult with your healthcare provider first.

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