Carotenoids is the largest group in the
Tetraterpenes. Carotenoids are responsible for the red to yellow pigmentation in
vegetables and fruit. A number of the over 500 carotenoids are
pro-vitamins and are converted to vitamin A in the digestive process.
carotenoids have been found to have antioxidant properties and help in the
control of free radicals. There is also some that believe that some of the
carotenoids are also active against some cancer cells although this aspect is
still being researched.
Coumarins: Coumarins are lactones of hydroxycinnamic
acids. Coumarins are lactones. There are many variations of coumarins: Furanocoumarins found in Angelica have a
spasmolitic effect but must be used with caution as they have a strong
phototoxic effect as has many of the Furanocoumarins (Warfarin a blood thinning
drug but also virulent rat poison, is a coumarin derivative). In general
coumarins have antifungal, hypotensive, anticoagulant and antimicrobial properties.
Many of the Coumarins are phototoxic and skin sensitising.
Lactones: A lactone is an Ester that's
functional group has become part of a ring structure with carbon atoms.
Lactones are widely present in the plant kingdom and many are expectorants and
Geraniol: A terpene alcohol. Fragrant and regarded as highly
valued oil in aromatherapy and the perfume industry. Terpene alcohols are
antimicrobial but are a lot gentler on the skin than the phenols.
Limonene: Limonene has been studied for the anti-tumour effect
noticed in mice. Herbalists often prescribe herbs with this constituent as an
antioxidant and cancer or tumour inhibitor although there is evidence that these
properties are volatile and may be lost as a result of processing of the herb.
Limonene also has antiviral properties.
Pinene: Commonly found in Oil of Turpentine extracted from Pinus
specie trees, pinene (alpha-pinene and beta-pinene) is also widely distributed
in other plants. It is used for Rheumatism as a liniment but is best known by
Aromatherapists and a tonic of the mucus membranes of the respiratory system.
Pinene is also important for its pleasant fragrance and is believed to have
diuretic properties by many.