Our essential oils: mixtures of terpenes that bind us to the forest
Terpenes: the essence of essential oils
Terpenes are the main components of essential oils. They are volatile and aromatic molecules - meaning they can be easily felt when vaporized in the environment.
It is a very diverse and complex family of molecules since there are more than 30,000 compounds derived from terpenes. Terpenes are molecules produced naturally by all plants. Also, different parts of the same plants (flowers, leaves, needles, bark, fruits) will produce a specific set of terpenes.
Plants use terpenes to communicate with the environment
In nature, terpenes play a multitude of roles: they can promote healing of plant tissues and participate in inter-species communication by attracting pollinating insects.
In addition, plants can use terpenes as natural protectors, much like an environmental immune system
The benefits of terpenes - the concept of "forest bath"
Terpenes have been linked to several human health benefits, especially due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The biological efficacy demonstrated by certain terpenes is a logical support for the concept of "forest bathing".
The forest bath or forest therapy is a concept that was launched in Japan in the early 1980s. The concept known as "Shinrin-yoku" [forest bath] was put forward to help people reconnect with nature - a relationship sometimes lost in our industrialized world and modern lifestyles.
The forest bath goes beyond the simple fact of following a path in a natural environment. Indeed, scientific studies have revealed that forest trees release terpenes. The mixture of terpenes produced and secreted by a tree is similar to that of an essence extracted from the same tree. Forests can be thought of as giant diffusers of essential oils! The forest bath is therefore a way to be in direct contact with the terpenes produced naturally by the surrounding trees and plants.
Our Borealis line offers essential oils derived from trees and plants of the boreal forest. Using oils from balsam fir, black spruce, jack pine and Labrador tea helps to recreate a forest bath at home - in other words, a boreal immersion.
- Gershenzon J, Dudareva N. The function of terpene natural products in the natural world. Nat Chem Biol. 2007 Jul;3(7):408-14.
- Cho KS, Lim YR, Lee K, Lee J, Lee JH, Lee IS. Terpenes from Forests and Human Health. Toxicol Res. 2017 Apr;33(2):97-106.
- Lee J, Cho KS, Jeon Y et al. Characteristics and distribution of terpenes in South Korean forests. J ecology environ. 2017 41, 19.