What is Linalool?

Lavender full of linalool

Have you ever smelled that relaxing and almost therapeutic scent that lavender emanates? No matter if it was on perfume, a cleaning product, or some deodorant,  the responsible agent for this smell is a terpene called Linalool. 

Terpenes are the aromatic compounds found in cannabis, among other plants and herbs. Each plant has a unique combination of terpenes, which are the ones that generate that characteristic smell for the plant. Linalool is one of the terpenes that contributes to this lavender-like aroma present in some types of plants like tomato, laurel, mint, cinnamon, coriander, rose, sweet basil, and even in some teas and coffees. Although lavender is the most accurate comparison to this terpene smell, it also knows that linalool has some woody, blueberry, and citrusy notes in its scent. 

You may wonder, why is it important to know about terpenes? The terpene profile in cannabis strains will determine a variety of factors like quality, smell, taste, and therapeutic effects the bud might have. So, the better type of usage you give to a cannabis strain will depend on the cocktail of terpenes and cannabinoids that it contains. Without further ado, let’s dive into the properties of linalool.

Linalool Benefits

Linalool-rich strains and essential oils exhibit various biological activities that can translate into direct benefits for the consumer. Among these activities, linalool has shown antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antioxidant properties. 

Several in vivo studies have also proved various effects of linalool on the central nervous system in a growing number of ways. Linalool can reduce the probability of seizures, as this natural compound found in many cannabis strains can block the glutamate receptors within our brains, a chemical substance that, in excess, can cause epilepsy. Additionally, linalool has been shown to work efficiently as a pain reliever. This is because it reduces the excitability of spinal cord cells that transmit pain signals to the brain, increases the brain’s adenosine levels, regulates the heartbeat, and targets acetylcholine. The latter is a brain chemical that regulates muscle movement, modifying the perception of pain itself.

Other studies dropped that linalool can reduce the plaques responsible for brain degeneration in mice, which makes it a great naturally occurring substance to use as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Linalool Benefits for Hair

Linalool is widely used in the cosmetics industry to add fragrance to the formulation of many different types of hair products like shampoos, hair conditioners, styling creams, hair wax, among others. However, it has not been demonstrated to add any other specific benefit to hair care other than leaving it with a good and relaxing smell. Linalool is also used in many other cosmetics and personal care products like aftershave lotions, bath products, bubble baths, cleansing products, perfumes and colognes, and skincare products.

Linalool for Allergy Sufferers

This is an area to consider if you tend to suffer from allergies, as the oxidized forms of linalool are known to cause allergic contact dermatitis. In fact, the European Union is now considering labeling lavender “May Be Harmful if Inhaled” due to its high linalool content.

Linalool for Anxiety

According to the journal “Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,” published in 2013, linalool may provide a stress-relieving experience due to a cool, mild depression in the central nervous system, slowing both breathing and heart rate. Studies done in mice exposed to linalool proved that this amazing compound activates the body’s parasympathetic response, regulating stress levels in the immune system and activating what is commonly known as the “rest and digest” system. Mice also showed a reduction in anxiety and depression-like behaviors when exposed to linalool vapors, and demonstrated to be sedated without affecting motor coordination.

Linalool Effects

This is a terpene that can definitely surprise us when it comes to beneficial effects on human health. The effects of linalool are subject of study for many health specialists, showing different effects, such as:

  • Sleep aid effects
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Pain relieve
  • Anticancer
  • Antimicrobial 
  • Antioxidant 
  • Anticonvulsant

Although linalool has been demonstrated to have many beneficial effects, some of which can have many medicinal uses for humans, most studies about linalool effects come from animal studies. These studies showed enough information to consider the possibility of linalool’s effects working just as well in humans’ health as they did in mice.

Linalool Effects on Skin

As we said, linalool results to be very popular in the creation of cosmetics and beauty products. It improves the scent and taste of cosmetic and skincare formulations. It can even work great as an anti-stress and soothing ingredient in your skin cream recipe. Nonetheless, one of the important things to consider when applying linalool directly to your skin is that it can cause sensitivity and irritation depending on your skin type.

Linalool Side Effects

Side effects rarely appear when it comes to linalool. The only direct side effect we can highlight of this compound is skin irritation or allergic reaction upon direct contact. However, only 7% of people who underwent patch testing experienced irritation from oxidized linalool.

How to Use Linalool

After you read this, you will surely start perceiving the linalool scent hidden within your day-to-day products, as linalool is used in even 80% of perfumed hygiene products and cleaning agents like soap, detergents, and lotions.

Linalool is commonly used in aromatherapy or added as a fragrance in candles and incenses. Moreover, it works as a pest control substance for codling moths, increasing males’ attraction by creating a synergistic effect with the codling moth’s pheromone called codlemone.

Some professionals also use this terpene as an insecticide for flea, fruit fly, and cockroaches, and it’s also added to some mosquito-repellent products.

Strains High in Linalool

Linalool is often related to high THC content indica strains and those who have the ability to reduce seizures. As linalool is also a sleep aid agent, strains with high linalool content may help those suffering from insomnia or sleeping disorders. Some cannabis strains with high linalool content are:

  • Amnesia Haze 
  • Lavender
  • Master Kush 
  • Pink Kush 
  • OG Shark 
  • LA Confidential

Foods that Contain Linalool

Linalool has been profusely used in the cosmetics and the food industry due to its fragrance. A large number of different food products contain this natural terpene in a wide range of natural and artificial flavorings. Linalool is currently used within the food industry in the manufacturing of products like:

  • Alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages
  • Hard and soft candies
  • Chewing gum
  • Ice creams
  • Gelatin puddings
  • Condiment relishes
  • Meat products
  • Baked goods 

Linalool in Drinks

Linalool is also commonly used in the preparation of some drinks, while in some others, usually plant-related, it is formed or extracted naturally. Some drinks that contain linalool are:

  • Tea: Linalool and four diastereomers of linalool oxides can also be found as the main aroma components of oolong and black tea.
  • Coffee: Racemic linalool is also one of the key scent components in green and roasted coffee, bringing that same floral, green bergamot, and woody aroma characteristic in some coffees.
  • Wine: This widely popular alcoholic beverage results to have over 50 terpenic compounds identified in grapes and wine. They are responsible for the characteristic floral and fragrant Muscat aroma in the wine. Linalool is present in high concentrations in young wines. However, linalool is oxidized to linalool oxide as the wine ages, thus reducing the amount found in some wine strains.
  • Beer: Linalool also directly relates to beer brewers as this natural compound is known to contribute to a balanced flowery-fruity hop aroma in many different beers. The concentration of linalool in a beer also directly impacts the beer’s flavor as it will stick out more of that fresh hoppy flavor you can find in some beer brands.

Is Linalool Safe to Consume?

Although there has been some controversy on linalool as a widely used ingredient in many industrially made food and drinks, this terpene has a safe history of usage and has been rated by the FDA and the JECFA as a safe additive for use in both food and drinks.

Is Linalool Safe for Dogs?

A short and direct answer to this question would be definitely no. Being a citrus oil, linalool is a direct cause of citrus toxicity in some animals. When ingested by a dog, it metabolizes in the dog’s liver and causes poisoning, and liver damage, producing a lot of harmful symptoms in your little friends.

Is Linalool Vegan?

As it is a naturally occurring compound that comes directly from plants, yes, linalool is vegan. However, it shouldn’t be confused with lanolin, a completely different substance that is not vegan as it comes from animals.

Is Linalool Halal?

This can be a matter of concern to some people as linalool is alcohol. Nonetheless, linalool is produced naturally by many plants, and it doesn’t come from grapes or dates so it is permissible to sell or purchase products containing linalool according to the Sharia prescripts. Learn more here about when weed is considered halal.

Is Linalool the Same as Lanolin?

The names of these two substances may look alike. Nevertheless, they are two completely different things. As we know, linalool is a terpene or natural alcohol that is naturally produced by a variety of plants and found in many essential oils. On the other hand, lanolin is a type of wax that wool-bearing animals secrete. Although these two substances are prominently used in the cosmetics industry, their function and their chemical composition are totally different and must not be confused.

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