Have you ever recognized one of the most common smells from household cleaners is Pine? The aroma puts the mind at ease with its natural outdoorsy scent and indicates that the room you’re in has recently been cleaned. That right there is an example of a terpene having a therapeutic effect on one’s body. Pinene offers a huge potential for health and wellness when we look at the positive effects it has with memory retention and anti-inflammatory properties. These are helpful for diseases like Arthritis, Crohn’s and Multiple Sclerosis.
What is Pinene? Pinene (C10H16) is a bicyclic monoterpene chemical compound. There are two structural isomers of pinene found in nature: Alpha-Pinene and Beta-Pinene. As the name suggests, both forms are important constituents of pine resin; they are also found in the resins of many other conifers. Alpha-Pinene is responsible for the characteristic smells of pine needles or rosemary, while Beta-Pinene is responsible for the dill, parsley, basil or hops aroma.
Alpha-Pinene and Beta-Pinene balance each other out and work together, often found together as a racemic mixture. We can find racemic mixture in orange peel oil and eucalyptus oil, turpentine, pine needles, rosemary, dill, basil, parsley, and in both marijuana & hemp cannabis plants. Plants have terpenes to protect them from bugs and some grazing animals. Bugs are especially off-put by the smell of some terpenes. When cultivated in hemp and marijuana, it not only gives a pleasing aroma to humans, but it also has those therapeutic effects for the body.
I look at cannabis as a superfood, it’s because of terpenes like Alpha & Beta Pinene. When we combine these compounds with THC and CBD, the potential for creating something extremely beneficial for the body is profound. I recently created a dish for my summer menu that highlights Beta-Pinene in a Mint Pea Nage sauce I made to pair with Salmon and Asparagus. I infused the sauce with CBD and created an answer for one of the most commonly asked questions from those who do not use cannabis; Why would I want cannabis in my food? This dish is designed for body rejuvenation and to deliver the right nutrients not just to your immune system but also your brain. Beta-Pinene is a perfect pair for this sauce because it’s served at room temperature, with no risk of evaporation when we add it (Pinene has an evaporation point of 311 degrees). The flavor and aroma of Beta-Pinene marry perfectly with the fennel, peas, mint, spinach and basil in the Nage sauce. By adding CBD, we create that entourage effect for the Beta-Pinene to strengthen its effects.
The Terpenes Lab Effects sent me a couple of months ago have been providing countless hours of trial and error when looking where to incorporate them within food. One of my favorite cocktail pairings is Gin and Cucumber. By creating a simple syrup using maple syrup, ginger and cucumber, we again have the perfect vessel to incorporate either CBD or THC into a cocktail. I used basil and Beta-Pinene to the foam topping, giving that fresh woody & herbal taste from each sip.
I believe Pinene’s true potential has yet to be fully untapped and can provide chefs with a wide variety of different applications to use this awesome terpene. Since getting my hands on it, it has become one of my favorites and a go-to when looking at potential health and wellness designed recipes.