By Steven Voser

Bisabolol is only found in decent quantities in the chamomile flower and a few other plants, such as the candeia tree (Vanillosmopsis erythropappa), Myoporum crassifolium, and some cannabis strains. This natural monocyclic sesquiterpene alcohol has a warm floral aroma similar to honey, apples, and chamomile. Bisabolol is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, and analgesic properties. It also demonstrates enhancements to the skin’s absorption of other molecules.

This terpene has generated considerable commercial interest because of its flavour and effects, and it’s today commonly used in cosmetics for sensitive skin, children's products, aftershaves, after-sun, and topicals for irritated skin. However, it looks like bisabolol might have a wider range of applications.


Bisabolol’s antifungal and antibacterial properties have recently been put under the microscope. The fungicidal and bactericidal actions[1] of this terpene were tested against the bacterial infection Staphylococcus aureus, as well as against common fungal infections, with results suggesting its efficacy in cosmetics, food, and as a component of antifungal topicals.

Other research shows bisabolol being particularly effective against two species of Candida[2], while another study found bisabolol to antagonise oxidative stress[3] caused by the Candida albicans fungus. Moreover, some research has shown that bisabolol is as effective as common synthetic drugs against certain liver and spleen parasites[4]. Finally, the antimicrobial effects of bisabolol and tea tree oil were tested alone and in combination against the bacterium that causes halitosis, and the positive results indicated that bisabolol might be beneficial in oral healthcare[5] products.


Research also shows that bisabolol is highly effective at reducing the inflammatory response[6], both in cultured cells and via topical applications to the skin. Similarly to cannabinoids, bisabolol can bond with specific chemical messengers like inflammatory proteins, thus reducing the production of inflammatory cytokines.

Further research has revealed that bisabolol is also effective against inflammation caused by irritants[7], even if it doesn’t work against inflammation caused by allergic reactions. In lab tests, the reduced inflammation also lowered levels of perceived pain, indicating that bisabolol might be used as an analgesic for relief from pain caused by inflammation. Other studies confirm this terpene as a potential ingredient for the treatment of skin inflammation[8] as well.


Bisabolol has been found to have anti-ulcer and gastroprotective qualities. A study on gastric mucosal lesions in mice revealed that bisabolol protects the gastric lining[9] from ethanol and indomethacin-induced ulcers, resulting in reduced gastric oxidative injury. This terpene was also tested in the topical treatment of chronic venous leg ulcers[10]. The efficacy of an ozonated oil and bisabolol spray combination was compared to a standard cream, resulting in a higher ratio of patients with ulcers healed by the bisabolol formulation.



In addition to its antioxidative action, which might also be beneficial for preventing oncologic conditions, a study using ex vivo human cells provided the first evidence that bisabolol promotes apoptosis of leukaemia cells[11]. After demonstrating that plant-derived bisabolol can enter cell tissues and bind to a proapoptotic protein family, researchers studied the activity of bisabolol in leukaemia cells, observing that the terpene acted as a proapoptotic agent via direct damage to mitochondrial integrity of dysfunctional cells, causing their death.


After all this science on a single terpene, and before picking a bisabolol-rich cannabis strain, you might want to read our article for a quick overview on cannabis terpenes and their effects on the body. Then, back to our sesquiterpene, with science confirming a wide range of actual and potential medical applications for bisabolol, we’re not surprised that it may contribute to the vast therapeutic effects of the cannabis plant. In some fields, such as in dermatology, the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties of bisabolol might be easier to harness than in others.

Unfortunately, while you can easily take a look at the composition of commercial products and search for bisabolol, the cannabis plant has no labels on it. Since we are talking about aromatic terpenes, your sense of smell has to become the spectrum analyser with some exercise. When you smell the flowers, choose strains with a floral aroma similar to chamomile, or pick the corresponding seeds. Beginners looking for a floral strain might try Candy Kush Express, while Diesel Automatic adds a “chemical” taste to the mix and the convenience of an autoflower. Both strains, when properly cultivated, should display high levels of bisabolol. By the way, since growing technique plays a large role in developing a rich terpene profile, don’t forget to read our tips for increasing the terpene content of your cannabis plants.

External Resources:
  1. Fungicidal and Bactericidal Properties of Bisabolol and Dragosantol
  2. Chemical Composition, Antibacterial, Antifungal and Antioxidant Activities of Algerian Eryngium Tricuspidatum L. Essential Oil - PubMed
  3. Antioxidant Activity of Bisabolol: Inhibitory Effects on Chemiluminescence of Human Neutrophil Bursts and Cell-Free Systems - PubMed
  5. The Antimicrobial Activity of Alpha-Bisabolol and Tea Tree Oil Against Solobacterium Moorei, a Gram-positive Bacterium Associated With Halitosis - PubMed
  6. α-(-)-Bisabolol Reduces Pro-Inflammatory Cytokine Production and Ameliorates Skin Inflammation - PubMed
  7. Anti-nociceptive and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of (-)-α-Bisabolol in Rodents - PubMed
  8. α-(-)-Bisabolol Reduces Pro-Inflammatory Cytokine Production and Ameliorates Skin Inflammation - PubMed
  9. Gastroprotection of (-)-Alpha-Bisabolol on Acute Gastric Mucosal Lesions in Mice: The Possible Involved Pharmacological Mechanisms - PubMed
  10. Randomized, Controlled Study of Innovative Spray Formulation Containing Ozonated Oil and α-Bisabolol in the Topical Treatment of Chronic Venous Leg Ulcers - PubMed
  11. Pro-apoptotic activity of α-bisabolol in preclinical models of primary human acute leukemia cells | Journal of Translational Medicine | Full Text
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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