Humulus lupulus, from which it derives its name, Humulene is one of the components of the essential oil from the flowering cone of the hops plant. Humulene is also called alpha-caryophyllene. Like beta-caryophyllene, humulene is a cannabinoid and sesquiterpene, although it does not contain a cyclobutane ring.
Humulene and its reaction products in the brewing process of beer gives many beers their “hoppy” aroma.
Humulene was shown to have a minimum inhibitory concentration, the most potent of all the terpenes evaluated in the study. Not only that, it is an excellent anti-inflammatory across a wide range of inflammatory markers. Humulene has been shown to have rapid onset and relatively good absorption with both oral and typical administration routes.
Humulene was elucidated to be potent against several solid tumor cell lines. The molecular mechanism involves producing reactive oxygen species, or free radicals, and depleting natural antioxidants in the cells. Humulene was also shown to work synergistically with beta-caryophyllene in delivering the molecule to cancer cells, thus increasing the cytotoxicity of humulene on several cancer cell lines.