Using Terpenes to Make Flavors with Health Halos

Part 1 of 2: Understanding terpenes and the reported health benefits.
Part 1 of 2: Understanding terpenes and the reported health benefits.

Executive Summary

Consumers are increasingly aware of terpenes and terpenoids due to their purported health effects, mood-modifying qualities and contribution to flavor. Terpenes and their derivatives are found in spices, herbs, fruits, vegetables, hops, cannabis and other sources. Flavor contributions include fruity, herbal, cooling, flavor and others. A number of health benefits have been reported in literature, such as anti-inflammation, neuroprotection, anti-cancer, anti-microbial and antioxidant. Decreased anxiety, anti-depressant, mood improvement, increased cognitive ability and increased contentment have been ascribed to terpenes.

Selection of terpenes to be used should consider regulatory issues, stability, chirality, perceived health benefits, availability and flavor/aroma. You may want to choose one or two terpenes to be highlighted due to flavor, mood or health benefits. Alternatively, a number of terpenes with the desired effects can be blended together. Essential oils and other extracts may be used to supply some or all of the terpenes. With this in mind, you can create flavors with health halos.


With the rise in consumer awareness of terpenes and the perceived benefits associated with each, flavors are being created to cater to this consumer demand. This article describes the structure and flavors of terpenes, their purported health benefits and mood-modifying properties, and how to use them in the creation of flavors with desirable “health halos.” Please note that the authors are flavor chemists and not health professionals. We cannot verify the health properties. Make claims only after consulting with your regulatory and legal staff.

For the full article, please check out the Perfumer & Flavorist+ December 2021 issue.

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