Bisabolol: The Chamomile Terpene
12.05.22 - 4 min read
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Ah, terpenes. Like that old friend that you thought you knew until you learned much more later in life, terps are always there, yet hardly recognized. Well, that’s changing these days. As terpenes move to centerstage, individual types are stepping into the spotlight. Finding the spotlight this week? Well, this time around it’s the relative of chamomile, known colloquially as Bisabolol. Now, we could tell you everything about it here, but what fun would that be. Find out about this rascal’s unique scent, flavor and benefits
Terpenes are a type of natural chemical compound found in a variety of plants. Terpenes are responsible for the scents, flavors, and colors of different types of plants, from flowers to trees, including marijuana.
Not every cannabis terpene has been evaluated for its effects and benefits, but some, including Bisabolol, do have known effects and uses. Many of the beneficial effects of α bisabolol have been scientifically studied in animals and humans.
Bisabolol, also called α-bisabolol (alpha bisabolol), is a terpene that originates in cannabis plants and natural herbs like chamomile and Myoporum crassifolium. It is also sometimes called levomenol. When purified, α-bisabolol is a clear essential oil.
A useful and beneficial terpene, Bisabolol is often added to skincare products, as well as THC and CBD oils. This terpene’s benefits can include mood-calming effects, anti-anxiety effects, and help to relax and sleep.
Bisabolol is present in cannabis as well as chamomile. It has a sweet, floral scent, likely because the plants produce it naturally to attract bees and other pollinators. Some people describe Bisabolol as having a fruity, nutty, herbal aroma. Some people also detect a sweet and spicy or citrus scent in bisabolol.
Chamomile flowers, aka German Chamomile, are one of the main sources of bisabolol, in addition to cannabis strains which contain significant amounts of this terpene. Other sources for bisabolol include the Candeia tree from Brazil and a small tree with white flowers called Myoporum crassifolium.
Because α-Bisabolol is present in common herbs like chamomile, its health benefits have been extensively studied. A 2022 literature review of studies about the benefits of Bisabolol showed that “α-Bisabolol is popularly used in traditional medicine for potential health benefits and general wellbeing.” Some of the studies that have shown some potential health benefits for α-Bisabolol include:
Bisabolol is used in many skin care products because it is well-known for several different skincare benefits. It is calming and soothing on sensitive skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Bisabolol’s calming effects on the skin can have potential benefits for rashes, rosacea, and after-sun exposure. Bisabolol assists with moisturizing the skin, potentially aiding conditions like psoriasis and dry skin. Other benefits of bisabolol on the skin can include:
Acne is another skin problem that bisabolol can potentially help to relieve. Because of its antimicrobial properties, it can reduce skin bacteria that can cause acne breakouts. Its soothing and calming properties can also reduce the inflammation, pain, and unsightly appearance of acne. Bisabolol also helps to stimulate the skin’s natural healing process, which can reduce scarring and blemishes. [Source]
Much of the research on bisabolol’s antioxidant properties has been conducted for cosmetic and skincare purposes. Skin damage, including dark spots, wrinkles, and fine lines, results from “free radicals,” which are unstable molecules that damage cells over time. Within cells, free radicals can damage the DNA within the cell as well as the cell’s membrane and other important areas of function.
Some studies show that α-Bisabolol can increase the presence of antioxidant proteins in other ways.
Studies have been underway for several years to uncover the potential benefits of bisabolol. One study revealed that a topical spray of sunflower oil and α-Bisabolol helped to complete the healing of leg ulcers. Bisabolol combined with heparin also showed some benefits for people with atopic dermatitis, a type of painful skin rash. [Source]
In general, studies on α-Bisabolol and skin disorders show promise in the areas of wound healing, inflammation, and itching.
Bisabolol is not as common in every cannabis strain as other terpenes. Ice Cream Cake is an example of a strain with high levels of bisabolol in its terpene profile.
Bisabolol tends to be found in higher concentrations in Indica-dominant cannabis strains as opposed to Sativa-dominant strains.
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