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Top 9 Antibacterial Terpenes and How to Use Them

Did you know that some terpenes are naturally antibacterial? Give your sanitizing and antibacterial products a boost with 100% natural terpenes. 

Soaps and cleaning products can be harsh and full of unnecessary chemical additives. However, by using terpenes you can avoid caustic, chemical scents while still creating powerful antibacterial products. That’s because some terpenes have natural antibacterial properties, and they smell good too--bonus!

That’s why, this week, we’re talking about our top nine antibacterial terpenes and how you can use them in your products today. 


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Top 9 Antibacterial Terpenes and How to Use Them


For those on the go, here’s a quick look at what we’re covering today!


  • Alpha-Pinene, Alpha-Bisabolol, Eugenol, Geraniol, Humulene, Thymol, Menthol, Eucalyptol, and Terpinolene all have antibacterial properties.
  • Products such as hand sanitizer, soaps, dental hygiene products, topicals, tinctures, and other cleaning products can all benefit from antibacterial terpenes.
  • For more detailed information on how to mix these terpenes, refer to our Mixing Guide or Contact Us today!

Antibacterial Terpenes

Each terpene has it’s own list of helpful properties. Some of them are mood elevators, some have sedative properties, and some terpenes even have anti-fungal properties. So, not only are the following terpenes antibacterial, they each have their own unique blend of properties that may benefit your products. 


However, the antibacterial properties of these terpenes make them the perfect addition to a variety of different products.


  • Alpha-Pinene
  • In a study published by the Public Library of Science, alpha-pinene showed antibacterial activity against the antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain, MRSA, and against bacterium Campylobacter jejuni.

    Antimicrobial resistance is a growing concern for health care professionals, so developing alternative methods capable of eradicating harmful bacteria is very important. Not to mention, alpha-pinene smells like--you guessed it--pine trees! 

    Alpha-Pinene - AbstraxTech

               Alpha-Pinene


  • Alpha-Bisabolol
  • With its delicate chamomile scent, alpha-bisabolol is already a favorite among cosmetics, skincare, and fragrance products. Part of that is its light, floral scent, the other part is due to its antibacterial properties.

    One study published by the Archives of Oral Biology noted that alpha-bisabolol, in combination with tea-tree oil, successfully killed bacterium S. moorei (the bacteria associated with halitosis). 

    Alpha-Bisabolol - AbstraxTech

              Alpha-Bisabolol


  • Eugenol
  • This spicy, clove-like terpene is found in cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, and nutmeg. It’s already used in perfumes and food flavorings, but it’s other main uses are as agricultural fungicides and antibacterials to stop the spread of diseases.

    Clove oil has been used for hundreds of years for medicinal purposes, but its success was due, in large part, to eugenol. One recent study even showed that “Eugenol exhibited rapid bactericidal action against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium.”


  • Geraniol
  • If you know what the geranium flower smells like, you already have a pretty good idea of how geraniol smells. This acyclic monoterpene is not only a good insecticide, it’s also antimicrobial and antibacterial. It can protect against fungi like Candida albicans and can also fight Campylobacter jejuni, E.coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica.

    Geraniol - AbstraxTech

                   Geraniol


  • Humulene
  • You might not know it, but if you like beer, you’ll love humulene. It’s very prevalent in hops plants, but can also be found in sage and ginger. Also known as alpha-caryophyllene, this terpene has antibacterial and antifungal properties. This makes it a fantastic terpene for sanitizers, antibacterial products, and it can even be used in topicals to fight fungal skin infections.

    Alpha-Caryophyllene - AbstraxTech

            Alpha-Caryophyllene


  • Thymol
  • This terpene is what gives the herb Thyme its characteristic scent. It’s already used in soaps, cosmetics, and toothpaste, in part because of its pleasant scent. The main reason it’s used, however, is because of its antibacterial properties.

    Several studies show thymol can successfully combat Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Plus, other studies indicate it’s a good antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiparasitic.


  • Menthol
  • In the same study that showed how thymol could successfully combat Staphylococcus aureus, it showed the same results for this brisk, minty terpene. 

    However, in another study, menthol successfully inhibited fifteen different types of bacteria. So, while you may be more familiar with menthol as a food flavoring or perfume, it’s quite the heavy hitter in the antibacterial department. 

    L-Menthol - AbstraxTech

                   L-Menthol


  • Eucalyptol
  • Like its name suggests, this terpene can be extracted from a number of different eucalyptus plants. However, it can also be found in tea tree, cardamom, sage, and rosemary. Not only can Eucalyptol fight various microscopic organisms that infect wounds, in one study, Eucalyptol slowed the growth of S. Typhimurium, E. coli, and S. aureus.


  • Terpinolene
  • Found in tea tree, lilac, cumin, and apples, this terpene has a complex aroma that’s somehow piney, lemony, and woody all at once. However, the real star of this terpene is its antibacterial properties. Not only that, studies show it has powerful antimicrobial properties against Bacillus subtilis.

    Terpinolene - AbstraxTech

               Terpinolene

    What Products Can Benefit From Antibacterial Terpenes

    Honestly, the sky is the limit. But in particular, any products that are designed to clean or sanitize should be taking advantage of antibacterial terpenes. In particular, the following products should utilize antibacterial terpenes:


  • Hand sanitizer
  • Use 1% terpene by weight.

  • Cleaning Products
  • Start with 0.5% by weight and adjust accordingly.

  • Soaps
  • Use 1% terpene by weight

  • Dental Hygiene Products
  • 4 drops per liter.

  • Topicals
  • Use 1% terpene by weight.

  • Tinctures
  • Start with 0.5% by weight and adjust accordingly.

     Use antibacterial terpenes in cleaning products - AbstraxTech

    Conclusion

    Now, more than ever, consumers are interested in natural products without harsh chemicals and additives. That’s why we recommend using our 100% natural, botanically derived terpenes for maximum antibacterial power without skimping on the scent.


    We hope this gave you some great ideas for how to use antibacterial terpenes in your products! If you have any more questions about how to use them feel free to reference out Mixing Guide or to contact us today.

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