Terpenes (general)

The Monoterpene Phellandrene

Written by Antonio DeRose

Phellandrenes are popular terpenes, including both alpha- and beta-phellandrene. They can be found in cannabis and many other plants. The pleasant aroma of these monoterpenes have been used as fragrances in commercial products for some time, and they’re widely popular in the fragrance, beauty, and skin care industries. Both alpha- and beta-phellandrene smell peppery, minty, and citrusy.

As with most terpenes, the benefits of phellandrene carry more than just pleasant aromas. Many scientific studies are showing several medical attributes of phellandrene. Like many other terpenes, it seems to help with a wide variety of ailments, and there is still more left to be discovered.


Plants Containing Phellandrene

The plant most widely known for having phellandrene is eucalyptus. In fact, its name is derived from the botanical name Eucalyptus phellandra, which is now called Eucalyptus radiata. The same plant is also called the narrow-leaved peppermint.

Other plants that have phellandrene include:

  • Black Pepper
  • Ginger Grass
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Dill


Top 3 Medical Attributes of Phellandrene

Research on the medical attributes of phellandrene is well documented. Studies on animal models and human clinical trials both confirm multiple medical benefits.


Fights Cancer
A study on the effects of phellandrene on cancerous human liver cells concluded that it induced cell necrosis. [1] Another study found similar results when testing phellandrene against leukemia. [2] It found that alpha-phellandrene specifically induced apoptosis in animal models.


Reduces Pain
Research on mice discovered that phellandrene has antinociceptive properties. [3] This means it blocks the detection of pain by sensory neurons. As a result, it reduces the amount of pain we experience. This suggests phellandrene is an effective pain reliever.


A 2017 research study evaluated the anti-fungal properties of phellandrene. [4] It goes on to conclude that alpha-phellandrene inhibits fungal growth. It suggests these anti-fungal properties could be useful as a biological fungicide for fruits and vegetables post-harvest.

With so many potential medical applications, phellandrene will continue to be a topic of interest for the medical industry. Current study conclusions warrant the need for more research into the human health benefits of phellandrene.



1- Hsieh SL, et al. Induction of necrosis in human liver tumor cells by α-phellandrene. Nutr Cancer. 2014;66(6):970-9. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2014.936946. Times Cited: 2 Journal Impact Factor: 2.9

2- Lin JJ, et al. Alpha-phellandrene-induced apoptosis in mice leukemia WEHI-3 cells in vitro. Environ Toxicol. 2016 Nov;31(11):1640-1651. doi: 10.1002/tox.22168. Times Cited: 5 Journal Impact Factor: 4.119

3- Lima DF, et al. Antinociceptive activity of the monoterpene α-phellandrene in rodents: possible mechanisms of action. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2012 Feb;64(2):283-92. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.2011.01401.x. Times Cited: 13 Journal Impact Factor: 3.765

4- Zhang JH, et al Anti-fungal activity, mechanism studies on α-phellandrene and nonanal against Penicillium cyclopiumBot Stud. 2017;58(1):13. doi:10.1186/s40529-017-0168-8. Times Cited: 15 Journal Impact Factor: 2.70

About the author

Antonio DeRose

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