Terpene Spotlight: Limonene
I’m sitting in a rustic whiskey bar, and across the crowded picnic table seating, a beautiful girl says to her friends “ I don’t know why, but I love citrus in any drink.”“Limonene” I say out loud with a smile. The group of girls look at me oddly, like the freak at a bar who talks to himself. I lean in and say politely to my seat mates, “What if I could scientifically prove why you love citrus?” I am most definitely met with blank stares but continue. “You see this lemon peel?” as I point to one of the girl’s glasses. “That lemon peel is magical, it is rich with a compound called limonene.”
Today we’re going to talk about limonene, a terpene found in many cannabis strains, including Afgoo. Limonene is also found in citrus fruit and plays a role in why those fruits smell so delicious. It’s frequently used in cleaning supplies, perfumes, and cosmetics. It makes an excellent natural flavoring agent, and interestingly, a natural insecticide.
To put that into perspective, many strains of cannabis make their own insecticide that is not only safe for human consumption but actually improves the flavor of the plant.
Limonene seems to be one of the terpenes that we know more about. There are several studies documenting its safety, and several more that delve into its therapeutic potential. However, some people can be allergic to it and it can irritate the skin and exacerbate ulcers.
Preliminary studies show that limonene can reverse the effects of a high-fat diet on both insulin resistance and the liver. Its antifungal properties have been well documented, making it effective against athlete’s foot and some yeast outbreaks. It’s also known to improve gastrointestinal problems, such as GERD.
How to Eat More Limonene
While there are limonene supplements available, it’s easily found in foods, especially lemon peels. Here are some of my favorite recipes that are high in limonene:
- Rigatoni With Lemon-Chile Pesto And Grated Egg
- Zesty Garlic Rub (Try replacing the red pepper flakes with rosemary.)
- Spring Salad with Lemon Zest Vinaigrette (Try pickling the ramps.)
- Lemon Curd
- Lemon Bars (Add a pinch of cardamom to the crust for an additional limonene boost.)
- Chai Tea
Citrus peels are the best source for limonene, but they’re often regarded as kitchen waste. What’s your favorite way to eat them?
Image source: The Leaf Online