Terpenes are incredible little aromatic molecules produced throughout nature. The purpose of terpenes is to attract or repel other organisms through aroma.
I love the idea of plants learning which aromatics to create in order to repel predators and attract others to assist in their propagation. The effectiveness of terpenes is not simply because of the smell but the effect that it has on the other organism.
Terpenes can have potent mood altering effects. For example, Myrcene is found in tea, hops, cannabis, mangoes and lemongrass. It has an earthy/fruity aroma and a clove like sweetness and has been shown to have a very distinctive sedative effect on humans. A derivative of Myrcene is Myrcenol which is found in Lavender and contributes to the renowned relaxing qualities of this herb.
There are other terpenes such as Linalool - a spicy, floral smell found in mint, oranges and coriander seeds - which has been shown to reduce stress and inflammation.
How much of what we do as humans are controlled by the powerful little terpene?
In this video I discuss the super terpene-rich Eastern Beauty Oolong. This is a much loved tea because (if you find a good one) it is one of the most heavenly smells in tea if not nature as a whole.