Is Consuming Limonene Terpenes Better Than Citrus Fruits?

Limonene is a terpene that comes from citrus fruits, and it’s significant for its taste and smell. It comes from lemon (hence the name), lime, orange, and grapefruit, and you can find it in many citrus-based products and supplements. Cannabis plants contain limonene as well.

This compound is the oil you can extract from the citrus fruit peels, containing about 97% of essential oils. It is also known as D-limonene, the main chemical form of limonene terpene.

People have been using limonene as a natural supplement for years, as it comes with many health benefits. 

The question is, is it better to consume this terpene rather than whole citrus fruits? Read on to find out and dive deeper into the matter. 

The Making of Limonene

The process of extracting limonene is not too complicated but requires patience. First, you need to peel citrus fruit and extract limonene from the rind through hydrodistillation. You’ll need a thermometer, a heating pad, a distilling flask, a collecting flask, and a condenser.

The process then requires steam distillation. That way, the steam will help release volatile molecules. Afterward, you need to separate limonene from the water through a separatory funnel.

The Uses of Limonene

Due to its efficacy, people started using limonene in many products, including food, cleaning products, insecticides, cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, air fresheners, and fragrances. It serves as a dietary supplement in candies, sodas, or desserts.

The main “selling point” is that it tastes a bit like a lemon. You can find it in liquid form or capsules in numerous stores.

Health Benefits of Limonene

As already mentioned, limonene is beneficial for your health. It shares similar features with the whole citrus fruit to a certain extent.

It’s efficient because it can reduce stress, oxidation, and inflammation and may help prevent cancer, tumors, and heart disease. On the other hand, it can work as a mood booster and help improve your focus. 

Anti-inflammation and antioxidation

When you feel stressed, your body releases cytokines (proteins controlling the immune system and blood cells), increasing inflammation. If you have chronic inflammation, you can have serious health issues.

A signaling molecule that warns your body of inflammation is nitric oxide. Limonene can block it from causing severe inflammation and bring your body back to its normal state.

Limonene’s antioxidant part is also very effective. The main molecules that antioxidants fight against are free radicals that can cause cell damage, oxidation, and inflammation. Limonene can reverse the process by stopping free radicals from damaging cells.

Cancer Prevention

Some studies have proven that limonene is crucial for cancer prevention. By stopping oxidative stress and inflammation, limonene can prevent the growth of skin tumors. Numerous studies found that it’s more effective in skin cancer reduction than whole citrus fruits and juices.

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Heart Disease Prevention

Limonene is crucial for preventing negative factors like blood sugar, high cholesterol, and calories from converting to triglyceride. Therefore, it can reduce the risk of heart disease. 

Focus and mood booster

If you feel low or lack focus, limonene can come to the rescue. It works as a mood booster, and it can help you become more productive and focused. It can also help you overcome stress and work more efficiently under pressure.

Is it better to consume limonene terpenes or citrus fruits?

The answer is yes! Although consuming citrus fruits and their juices is healthy and highly recommended, you have to limit your intake.

Since citrus fruits contain more citric acid (especially lemon and lime), it can be risky to eat a lot of them. If you consume them too often, you could face dental problems, gastric problems, or different kinds of aches.

Since limonene is a citrus fruit peel, it doesn’t contain much citric acid as citrus juices do. You can use it in food or beverages or enjoy cosmetics that contain it. As it’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it’s better to consume its terpenes than eat regular citrus fruits.

It’s important to note that consuming limonene is easier than whole fruits, as it doesn’t require a large consumption. Consuming 500-1000mg of limonene is more effective than eating 1kg of citrus fruit. 


As you can see, limonene terpenes are highly beneficial for your health. They can reduce pain, stress, oxidation, and inflammation and help prevent cancer and other diseases.

Although they share similar features, consuming limonene is even more effective than whole citrus fruits. That’s why it can be an excellent addition to various foods and beverages. 

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