Carvone is a monoterpene chemical constituent present in Dill and Spearmint essential oils. It contains a ketone functional group and a chiral carbon in its chemical structure. A chiral carbon is a carbon atom that is bonded to four different atoms or groups of atoms. When a molecule contains one chiral carbon, the molecule can exist in two different forms, which are referred to as stereoisomers. These two stereoisomers are usually enantiomers. Enantiomers are a pair of molecules that are made of the exact same atoms but arranged differently so that they are mirror images of each other and are non-superimposable. For example, a pair of gloves could be considered “enantiomers” because while they look similar, they are mirror images of each other and are not superimposable; you can’t put a left-handed glove on your right hand.
Enantiomers are important in understanding biological processes because many enzymes found in nature are so specific that they will only interact with one configuration of a molecule and not its enantiomer. Because carvone contains a chiral carbon, two forms of carvone exist: (-)-carvone and (+)-carvone. The two different forms of carvone, (-)-carvone and (+)-carvone, actually elicit two totally different aromas. (-)-carvone gives a sweet, mint-like fragrance that is associated with spearmint, while (+)-carvone has a spicy, pickle-like aroma. (-)-carvone is primarily found in Spearmint oil, while (+)-carvone is primarily found in Dill oil.
Experimental research suggests that (-)-carvone may support nervous system health when ingested1. Another study indicated that (-)-carvone may aid in healthy digestive function2. Research has also noted that both forms of carvone might promote cellular health and immune function3,4. Some studies suggest that carvone may also provide soothing properties when taken internally5,6. Try adding a few drops of Spearmint oil to your favorite citrus beverages to give a fresh flavor and receive the wellness benefits associated with carvone.*
Human clinical research has found that inhalation of oils containing carvone as a primary constituent might be particularly uplifting and helpful during exercise7. Consider diffusing Spearmint oil before beginning your exercise routine.*
Carvone is a chemical constituent that is primarily found in Dill and Spearmint essential oils. Carvone is a monoterpene and its structure contains a chiral carbon, which results in the prevalence of two different structural arrangements of carvone. Find ways to incorporate oils like Dill and Spearmint into your daily regimen. Try blending and diffusing Spearmint oil with other citrus oils, like Lemon or Wild Orange, to promote uplifting feelings. There are several wellness properties associated with carvone. Consider adding a few drops of Dill or Spearmint oil to salad dressings or vegetable dips to take advantage of the internal effects of carvone.*
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.