D-limonene: A multifunctional compound with potent therapeutic effects

J Food Biochem. 2021 Jan;45(1):e13566. doi: 10.1111/jfbc.13566. Epub 2020 Dec 1.


D-limonene or 4-isopropenyl-1-methylcyclohexene (C10 H16 ) is a monocyclic monoterpene abundant in citrus plants like lemon, orange, and grape. The application of D-limonene in the form of flavor and fragrance additive in perfumes, soaps, foods, and beverages is consistently increased due to its high-quality fragrance property. This review is intended to analyze and delineate every possible available evidence and details about D-limonene with the special focus on its therapeutic efficacy. Many studies have reported that D-limonene effectively plays a valuable role in the prevention of several chronic and degenerative diseases. This review provides worthy information about the beneficial effects of D-limonene such as antioxidant, antidiabetic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, gastroprotective, hepatoprotective, immune modulatory, anti-fibrotic, anti-genotoxic etc. This could in turn help in the application of D-limonene for clinical studies. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: Various plant families contain Terpenes as their secondary metabolites. Monoterpenes constitute an important part of these secondary metabolites. D-limonene is a well-identified monoterpene that is commonly applied as a fragrance ingredient in essential oils. D-limonene is known to possess remarkable biological activities. It can be effectively used for treating various ailments and diseases. Due to its diverse functions, it can be efficiently utilized for human health.

Keywords: D-limonene; Terpenes; anti-inflammatory; anticancer; antioxidant.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cyclohexenes*
  • Humans
  • Limonene
  • Monoterpenes
  • Oils, Volatile*
  • Terpenes / pharmacology


  • Cyclohexenes
  • Monoterpenes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Terpenes
  • Limonene