Similar to monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes are terpenes, which means the molecules consist of only carbon and hydrogen atoms. (By now, you'll notice that terpenes have an -ene- suffix.) These molecules are larger and heavier than monoterpenes because they have a skeleton of 15 carbons. As a result, they evaporate more slowly and tend to have deeper, richer, more enduring aromas. A few of my favorites are Beta-caryophyllene, Alpha-humulene, Zingiberene, and Alpha-curcumene.
While there are some common therapeutic properties in oils that have high levels of sesquiterpenes, there are differences as well. Those common properties include grounding, antiseptic, antibacterial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic. However, in this category, individual oils must be studied for their positive effects because some are sedative, some can help lower blood pressure, some are skin-healing, and some are cooling while others are warming. Many sesquiterpene-rich oils are gentle on the skin, but some can irritate the skin if they have oxidized.
The information contained in this blog is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.