Nerolidol: What is It and What Does It Do?

Nerolidol is a type of terpene present in the essential oil of plants and flowers such as lavender and jasmine and cannabis. With a woodsy and floral aroma, the scent often conjures up the image of roses, apples, or tree bark. 

Nerolidol also has many practical applications. It has been effective as an insect repellent and has a diverse range of therapeutic effects including anxiety relief, anticancer and sedative properties.

What is Nerolidol?

Nerolidol, also called peruviol or penetrol, is a naturally occurring terpene with a woodsy and floral aroma. It can be found in a wide variety of plants including:

  • Cannabis
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Jasmine
  • A species of orchids native to Mexico

Believed to have sedative properties, it is often used as a sleep aid. It has also been effective as a pest repellant and to keep fungi, bacteria, and head lice at bay. 

Cis-Nerolidol Vs. Trans-Nerolidol 

There are two variations of nerolidol: cis-nerolidol and trans-nerolidol. They differ in their atomic structures but both fall under the nerolidol umbrella. To keep it simple, just remember that nerolidol encompasses both. 

What is Nerolidol Used For?

Due to its attractive citrusy woody aroma, nerolidol is used in:

  • Perfumes
  • Lotions
  • Cleansers
  • Detergents

Essential oils such as tea tree oil and orange blossom are also rich in nerolidol. Chances are you’ve cooked with it, as it’s a component in ginger. It’s commonly used as a food flavoring agent as well, particularly in candy and chewing gum.

Moreover, it can be found in cannabis plants and may contribute to the overall experience of ingesting cannabis. It’s also the subject of scientific research as the terpene has many purported health benefits. 

Does Nerolidol Have Health Benefits?

This substance is believed to have extensive health benefits as both a scent compound and a cannabis component. Research is still underway, but here are some reported benefits of this aromatic compound:


In 2007, the Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin published an interested study. They conducted a test and analyzed how effective this compound was against a skin fungus in guinea pigs. It was found that nerolidol acts as an antifungal agent.

Sedative Effects

With its soothing scent, nerolidol is believed to be an effective sleep aid. Whether consumed in cannabis or diffused in the form of an essential oil, it helps with relaxation. 


Inflammation in the body can cause a multitude of health issues including heart disease and autoimmune diseases. Nerolidol has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. It can even be used to ease Arthritic pain.


Oxidative stress has been linked to Parkinson’s Disease, which is still considered incurable. However, nerolidol is purported to reduce oxidative stress and may be able to help treat neurological disorders. 

Anxiety Relief

Research has indicated that nerolidol has an anxiety-reducing effect. This could be a natural alternative to prescription anti-anxiety medication for some people. Researchers continue to study potential health benefits, but anxiety relief is among them.

Antibacterial and Antimicrobial 

Nerolidol has been shown to possess potent antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. In one study, it was shown to sensitize infectious bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and escherichia coli to antibiotics, bacterias that can cause skin lesions and infections. It has also been shown to bolster the effects of anti-malaria drugs.

In an age where many antibiotics are becoming less effective due to increased antimicrobial resistance, nerolidol could be an important weapon in doctor’s arsenals. 

Cancer Treatment

Nerolidol may be able to help treat cancer, when used in conjunction with other drugs. A 2017 study showed it increases the effectiveness of a chemotherapy drug. The presence of nerolidol allowed for increased accumulation of the anti-cancer drug in the cells of mice. 

Nerolidol in Cannabis

Many cannabis users experiment with different strains of the plant, believing it gives them a different kind of “high.” New research suggests that terpenes such as nerolidol may have a greater impact on a cannabis user’s experience than previously thought. 

This is due to something called the entourage effect. The entourage effect is a concept which acknowledges that there are other compounds present in cannabis besides just THC. 

Cannabis is a complex plant made up of many organic compounds, including CBD and terpenes. It seems likely that the effects of cannabis are the result of all these compounds working together. Considering that over 100 types of terpenes have been found in cannabis, this would mean that there are many unique cannabis experiences to be had. 

With nerolidol’s soothing aroma and sedative properties, it may create a tranquil feeling when consumed in cannabis. Blue Dream and Jack Herer are two strains of cannabis that produce a tranquil effect. Although they are high in THC, they are also high in nerolidol. 

The naturally occurring woodsy terpene may be to blame for the sleepy feeling these cannabis strains produce in users and could aid in relaxation before bed. 

Final Thoughts 

Although more research is still needed, nerolidol has incredible potential. Its woodsy, floral aroma makes it an appealing and effective sedative. It has been shown to have diverse health benefits, even aiding in cancer and malaria treatment. It may also have an agreeable effect when consumed in cannabis, creating a serene feeling in the user. 

A greater understanding of terpenes such as nerolidol means a greater understanding of our experiences with fruits, flowers, and plants. It may also usher in a whole new age of more holistic medicine. 


No schema found.