There are two common isomers found in phellandrene: alpha phellandrene and phellandrene. Even though commercially it is isolated from a variety of eucalyptus species, you can find substantial quantities of both isomers present in cannabis oil. You can also find it in cinnamon, garlic, grand fir, parsley, black pepper, dill, ginger, and lavender. In all of the above mentioned planets, throughout they eat the amount of phellandrene they contain can vary a great deal; this however is something that is not understood.
That being said, there is a specific species of the eucalyptus plant that phellandrene was named after and that is the eucalyptus phellendra. Although the scent of phellandrene is similar to peppermint, it also has subtle peppery and citrusy notes in there as well. The combinations of aromas and tastes that phellandrene provides is quite pleasant, and this is why often times it is used in the food industry as a flavoring. Phellandrene oil is quite easily absorbed by the skin, for this reason it is also highly valued by the perfume industry.
Phellandrene is considered to be a very important part of Chinese medicine. Oftentimes it is used to treat bacterial and fungal infections as well as digestive disorders. Various modern laboratory studies have found that both gram negative and gram positive bacterial cultures are killed by phellandrene, this would explain why this ancient healing technique truly works.
Phellandrene has also been used on patients who have complained of general malaise, for example feeling overly tried to not having sufficient energy to complete ordinary tasks. Individuals who practice Chinese medicine will also provide their patients with phellandrene, or herbs that contain large amounts of phellandrene to their patients to help purify the blood and reduce phlegm.
In Nutrition and Cancer, the alternative medicine journal, it was reported by Chinese researchers that necrosis of a human liver tumor was induced by alpha phellandrene; this means that the liver cancer cells were killed. It was also reported that the mechanism which causes this was probably adenosine triphosphate (ATP) depletion.
ATP is a coenzyme that is necessary to carry energy from one place to the next within a cell allowing cells to have normal metabolism as well as replicate. If there is not sufficient ATP, simply put, cells are not able to function normally and they will die. What makes this study so promising is the fact that is the fact that it seems as if the tumor cells were targeted by phellandrene and the normal cells were not.
When it comes to destroying leukemia cells found in mice, phellandrene has shown great promise. In 2014, a study was published in In Vivo, the journal and it showed that the presence of macrophages as well as natural killer cells, which are also referred to as NK cells, both of which are a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes that are able to naturally kill cancer cells before they are able to proliferate, was increased by alpha phellandrene. In other words, it is very likely that the natural defense system of the body could actually be enhanced with the use of phellandrene.
The journal Anticancer published a study in August 2014 which showed that the expression of genes which are associated with uncontrolled cell proliferation found in cultures of leukemic cells as well as DNA damage was stopped with phellandrene. The journal of Environmental Toxicology published another study in July 2015 which showed that programmed cell death (apoptosis) in leukemia cells found in mice, was caused by phellandrene. All of the above mentioned anti-cancer studies conducted on phellandrene provide the hope that there may be new alternative treatment geared towards cancer which includes the use of cannabis oils that contain phellandrene.