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7 Facts About beta-Phellandrene You Need to Know

Strains like Jack Herer owe much of their unique aroma to ß-Phellandrene. But why aren’t more people talking about this terpene isolate? Read on and find out!

Considering its relatively high concentration in the terpene profile of Jack Herer, it seems strange that more people aren’t talking about beta-Phellandrene. Well, it turns out that this isolate is VERY tricky to identify without sophisticated lab equipment.

And it’s such a shame! This terpene is found in a variety of plant life, from angelica and conifer trees to cannabis and lavender. Plus, the more we find out about this unique terpene, the more we discover how powerful it is.

Read on and discover why beta-Phellandrene is a phenomenal functional ingredient for products in a variety of industries.

Reading Time - 4.5 MIN


Powerful ß-Phellandrene Properties

Beta-Phellandrene Terpene Isolate


What is beta-Phellandrene?

As we mentioned earlier, this terpene can be found in the essential oils of plants like angelica, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, some conifer trees, and even some citrus fruits. Its unique scent helps explain why it’s found in such a wide variety of plants. The aroma is a surprising mixture of pepper, mint, and citrus.

Like other monoterpenes, ß-Phellandrene has a strong distinctive aroma and possesses powerful functional properties that are useful in a variety of industries. 

What’s the Difference Between α-Phellandrene and β-phellandrene?

You’ve likely heard of alpha-Phellandrene, but it’s far less likely that you’re familiar with its isomer beta-Phellandrene. While they’re often collectively referred to as “phellandrene” they’re actually different versions of the same chemical compound.

They’re both cyclic monoterpenes and are double-bond isomers. The double bonds are both endocyclic in alpha-Phellandrene but in beta-Phellandrene one of the bonds is exocyclic. 

For those of you without a chemistry degree, the simplest distinction is their aroma. Alpha-Phellandrene has a much more citrus and herbal aroma, while beta-Phellandrene is more minty, terpenic, and has mildly woody notes.

Like other monoterpenes, they also have powerful functional properties that make them useful ingredients for a variety of industries. So, if β-Phellandrene is so useful…why is it so rarely talked about?

Why is beta-Phellandrene Rarely Talked About?

Even though β-phellandrene is found in many botanical and cannabis sources, it’s rarely discussed. A contributing factor to this is the difficulty in identifying this isolate.

Beta-Phellandrene tends to elute very closely to other similar terpenes such as d-Limonene, p-Cymene, and numerous Ocimene isomers. While many analytical labs can identify alpha-Phellandrene, very few are currently suited to detect and quantify beta-Phellandrene.

In order to accurately detect and quantify this isolate within a sample, mass spectrometry is required. What’s more, the many co-eluting compounds around beta-Phellandrene make it even more difficult to discern using only traditional 1-D-GC (conventional gas chromatography). 

Fortunately, GC×GC (two-dimensional gas chromatography) has greater separatory power. By combining GC×GC with time-of-flight mass spectrometry, each compound can be quantified analytically by using custom chemical standards. And that’s exactly what we did when studying Jack Herer samples for our Jack Herer Signature Series.

Jack Herer Signature Series Terpene Blend


Beta-Phellandrene and Jack Herer

As one of the dominant isolates that make up the Jack Herer terpene profile, beta-Phellandrene plays a major role in its overall aroma and effects. 

When we analyzed the Jack flower, we measured a 9% concentration of this rare terpene. Unfortunately, the lack of sophisticated equipment in other laboratories means that this isolate is often missing from other Jack Herer botanical terpene blends. 

However, since we use two-dimensional gas chromatography along with a suit of other analytical equipment, we were able to find lots of beta-Phellandrene within our Jack Herer samples. While Terpinolene and d-Limonene both contribute strong citrus overtones, beta-Phellandrene provides a unique scent that, if missing, will drastically change the overall flavor. 

Jack Herer is infamous for its energetic, focused effects and bright, woody, and citrusy aroma. Without beta-Phellandrene, however, the aroma and effects won’t accurately convey the iconic Jack Herer experience.

Beta-Phellandrene Acts as an Antioxidant

Considering that many monoterpenes have antioxidant properties (including alpha-Phellandrene) it should come as no surprise that beta-Phellandrene does as well. 

One study which examined the chemical composition of Cryptocarya alba (an evergreen tree known as the or Chilean acorn) found that its terpene makeup likely contributed to its antioxidant properties. “It has been shown that the compounds present in the [C. alba essential oil} such as d-Phellandrene (0.71%), β-Phellandrene (14.84%) γ-Terpinene (2.67%), α-Terpinene (24.96%) and Limonene (3.41%), act through a mechanism of autooxidation, trapping free radicals efficiently.”

Beta-Phellandrene Has Antimicrobial and Antifungal Properties

Other useful properties of this isolate include its antimicrobial and antifungal activity. 

In one study examining Echinophora spinosa L. (a perennial plant from central Italy), β-Phellandrene was a major constituent (34.7%) of the essential oil from its aerial parts. While it wasn’t a major constituent of the oil from the fruits, “The two oils showed good antimicrobial activity against Clostridium difficile, C. perfringens, Enterococcus faecalis, Eubacterium limosum, Peptostreptococcus anaerobius and Candida albicans.”

A separate study looking at the correlation between chemical composition and antifungal activity of certain essential oils found that, “Higher contents of β-Phellandrene, β-Sesquiphellandrene and β-Bisabolene in EOs of pericarps were likely responsible for the high antifungal activity of Cluster IV EOs.”

Beta-Phellandrene is Going to Be BIG

Beta-Phellandrene has HUGE potential! The lack of sophisticated lab equipment means we’re only just beginning to understand the many powerful properties of this terpene isolate. 

Want to be the first to know when we make big scientific discoveries about terpenes like ß-Phellandrene? Be sure to follow us on Instagram for all the latest news and updates and feel free to Contact Us with any questions.

READ NEXT → Is Your Brand Using These 5 alpha-Phellandrene Benefits?


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