What is Orange Essential Oil?
Orange essential oil is the clear to light yellow volatile extract obtained by cold pressing the peel/zest of fruit. Orange oil stands out among others, thanks to its amazing aroma, and has been used for centuries due to the great benefits it has for our body.
The essence of sweet orange, is stored in kind of sachets in the fruit skin. Those are the aromatic droplets that jump when we peel an orange.
Aromatherapy is the most common use for this oil. However, it is also used for therapeutic purposes, and as an ingredient in cosmetics products to improve numerous skin conditions.
Citrus sinensis is the scientific name for sweet orange tree, which should not be confounded with bitter orange (Citrus aurantium L). Both have been cultivated since ancient times to obtain different fragrances.
Oranges trees belong to the family Rutaceae, their genus is Citrus, and they have approximately 1,600 species. This last, positions them as one of the most important families of edible fruits that exists.
Orange oil blends well with almost all essential oils, but especially, with: black pepper, anise, basil, bergamot, cinnamon, citronella, clary sage, clove, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, jatamansi/nard, cedarwood, elemi, Roman chamomile, coriander seed, hyssop, jasmine, juniper, lemon, marjoram, neroli, nutmeg, oregano, palmarosa, patchouli, rose, sage and sandalwood essential oil.
About Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck
Citrus sinensis represents the largest citrus cultivar groups grown around the world, accounting for about 70% of the total annual production of Citrus species. It is native to Asia and is now widespread throughout the Pacific and warm areas of the world.
C. sinensis is an evergreen flowering tree. The height of orange trees is generally 9 to 10 meters, with large spines on branches. Flowers are axillary borne singly or in whorls of 6 (5 cm wide) with five white petals and 20 to 25 yellow stamens.
Its fruit may be globose to oval (6.5 to 9.5 cm wide) and ripens to orange or yellow. Anatomically, the fruit consists of two distinct regions, the pericarp also called the peel, skin or rind, and the endocarp or pulp with juice sac glands.
The skin consists of an epidermis of epicuticular wax with numerous small aromatic oil glands that give of its particular smell. The pericarp consists of the outer flavedo or epicarp, largely made of parenchymatous cells and cuticle.
Fruit pulp is typically formed of eleven segments of juice filled with flavor that goes from sour to sweet. In orchards it is sensitive to frost. The fruit is perennial and it has adapted to a variety of climates.
Citrus sinensis is consumed all over the world as an excellent source of vitamin C, which is a powerful natural antioxidant that builds the immune system of the body.
It has been used traditionally to treat ailments like constipation, cramps, colic, diarrhea, bronchitis, tuberculosis, cough, cold, obesity, menstrual disorder, angina, hypertension, anxiety, depression and stress.
Origin of Orange Essential Oil
Orange tree is native to China and the Himalayas, and reached the Mediterranean through the Portuguese in the 15th century.
In China it was used for medicinal purposes, in particular to treat digestive problems. For the Chinese, it was a fruit that attracted good luck and was a symbol of prosperity and fertility.
Paraguay, France, Spain and Algeria are some of the countries that are now responsible for cultivating and manufacturing these oils. Then, these are taken to all parts of the world, whether for cosmetic, medicinal or therapeutic uses.
Orange Essential Oil in History
The first orange tree was harvested in China, from there it has been taken to different countries for its harvests and oil production. Both, sweet and bitter orange have been distributed around the world to obtain their benefits.
In South America there is one of the largest quantities of sweet orange plants, where it is possible to obtain oil, either by certified distributors or by artisanal producers.
Chemical composition of Orange Essential Oil
The major chemical groups found in orange essential oil are normally: monoterpene hydrocarbons (94.4 and 97.3 %), terpene alcohols (1.4 and 1.0 %), aliphatic aldehydes (1.6 and 0.8 %) and terpene aldehydes (1.4 % and trace); being the main compounds:
- Limonene; 87.9 to 92.5 %,
- Myrcene; 2.4 to 2.0 %,
- α-pinene; 0.5 to 2.4 %,
- Linalool; 1.2 to 0.9 %,
- Octanal; 1.3 to 0.6 %, and
- Decanal, 0.2 %, among others.
Properties of Orange Essential Oil
Orange essential oil has many health benefits, which derive from its amazing properties. Some of them are:
- Digestive tonic
- Pain relief
- Hepatocarcinogenesis suppressant
- Food preservative
- Acne treatment (with sweet basil oil)
- Anti-aflatoxigenic (at 500 ppm)
Uses of Orange Essential Oil
Orange essential oil has a large number of uses that can range from domestic to industrial.
In the case of food, this is used to flavor drinks, sweets, and an infinity of dishes.
In the industrial field, it has been used to give fragrance to soaps, lotions, anti-wrinkle creams, non-alcoholic concentrate beverages, air fresheners, deodorants, bakery products and even chocolates.
Orange oil is commonly used to:
- Improves digestion.
- Relieves constipation.
- Remedy for premenstrual syndrome.
- Prevents all types of cell mutations.
- Combats the appearance of cancerous tumors.
- Nourishes irritated skin.
- Fights acne, eczema, mouth ulcers, psoriasis and regulates oily skin.
- Brightens skin blemishes.
- Eliminates calluses on the feet.
- Improves the production of skin collagen.
- Eliminates toxins from the body.
- Fights bronchitis, colds, chills, flu, fever and cough.
- Natural treatment for cellulite.
- Relieves muscular and joint pains.
- Eliminates liquid retention.
- Powerful disinfectant.
- Provides relaxation and feelings of happiness.
- Fights boredom, nervous anxiety, stress, insomnia and promotes creativity.
- Effective against chronic fatigue syndrome, mental exhaustion and lethargy.
- Treats depression, seasonal affective disorder and fear.
Benefits of Orange Essential Oil
There is a great amount of medicinal benefits that orange essential oil can offer to our organism, becoming one of the most popular at the level of natural medicine.
Among its most known benefits are:
Problems related with osteoporosis, characterized by a loss of bone mass, is a major health problem that affect persons of advanced age. Citrus sinensis showed a potential protective activity against osteoporosis.
Administration of ethanol extract of leaves and peel of C. sinensis (5 mg/kg) on ovariectomized rats, increased trabecular bone mineral content and bone mineral density of tibia as well as improved the levels of phosphorus and calcium reducing the bone loss.
The effects of feeding orange pulp on bone quality in a male rat with osteoporosis model improved some characteristics of bone structure. Thus, alternative approaches and investigations for managing osteoporosis are needed and in this regard some evaluations of the anti-osteoporotic activity of C. sinensis, showed that it could be beneficial, safe and effective in management of osteoporosis.
Anticancer and Antitumor Effects
Cold-pressed orange peel oil containing a mixture of compounds which induce apoptosis in breast cancer cells.
Other study with mice fed with 5% of orange peel extract containing 30% polymethoxyflavones (tangeretin 19.0%, heptamethoxyflavone 15.24%, tetramethoxyflavone 13.6%, nobiletin 12.49%, hexamethoxyflavone 11.06 and sinensitin 9.16%) decreased the development of tumors.
Several compounds also obtained from peel extract presented inhibitory activities against the proliferation of cells (IC50) and induced apoptosis.
All of these antiproliferative features suggest that properties of extracts and pure compounds particularly flavonoids contained in C. sinensis, could be explored for chemopreventive and therapeutic purposes in cancer.
Effective relief for inflammation and pain
Regardless of the area of the body, or if they are external or internal, inflammations will be relieved by the use of orange essential oil.
It calms the pain that can cause fever, infections, gases, the intake of toxic substances, and some side effects caused by antibiotics.
Helps overcome depression
The exquisite aroma that comes from orange essential oil, has the capacity to generate positive thoughts, allowing to raise the spirit and self-esteem. All this can be achieved through aromatherapy or by inhaling directly from the bottle.
It is an ideal remedy for people suffering from anxiety, panic or depression, among others.
Relieves colics and spasms
Spasms can cause many side effects, including continuous coughing, seizures, diarrhea and muscle cramps. Treating them with orange essential oil can be a good option, since it helps decrease spasms.
Orange essential oil, has slight aphrodisiac properties, which allows to eliminate problems of frigidity, erection and impotence. In addition, it produces an increase in libido.
Helps to heal wounds
Prevents and heals infections of skin wounds. Orange essential oil can help to disinfect these wounds and eliminate any type of bacteria growths in the area.
Excess gas can cause pain in some areas of the body, because gases rise causing chest pains, indigestion and general discomfort.
In the same way it can increase blood pressure in the organism, which causes cardiovascular problems.
Orange essential oil can soothe each and every one of these problems.
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Purifies the organism
The essential oil of orange has the ability to helps eliminate toxins from the body. In this way, it promotes a better functioning of the organism.
Strengthens the immune system
Orange essential oil can help to enhance the immunity of the body, protecting it and strengthening it against external threats. It also allows metabolism to work more efficiently.
Relaxant, Sedative and Anxiolytic Activities
In case of anger, depressive symptoms, anxiety, etc., using a few drops of orange essential oil can help to eliminate any of these sensations, providing calm and tranquility.
Exposure to ambient odor of natural essential oil of orange showed a relaxant and sedative effect on dental patients.
Besides, anxiolytic activity of sweet orange aroma was demonstrated in forty male volunteers who were allocated to five different groups for the inhalation of orange essential oil (test aroma: 2.5, 5, or 10 drops).
Psychologic parameters (state-anxiety, subjective tension, tranquilization, and sedation) and physiologic parameters (heart rate and gastrocnemius electromyogram) were evaluated. Results gave scientific support to use as a tranquilizer by aromatherapists.
Another research in Wistar rats, demonstrated anxiolytic-like activity. The animals were exposed to the orange aroma for 5 minutes within a plexiglass chamber, and were then immediately submitted to the behavior tests.
All doses of Citrus sinensis oil showed anxiolytic effect. Diazepam (2 mg/kg) was used as positive control. C. sinensis almost showed the same effect as diazepam.
Because of the well-recognized therapeutic potentials of extract and compounds of C. sinensis to present relaxant and sedative-hypnotic activities, orange essential oil represents an excellent natural alternative.
Benefits of Orange Essential Oil for skin and face
Orange essential oil has the ability to take care of the skin constantly, since it increases the circulation so that there is a regeneration of tissue much faster.
On the other hand, it helps soothe irritated skin and rehydrate those that are dry and damaged. It also protects the skin from all types of infections that may appear.
Due to its high content of vitamin C, it has the property of taking care of the skin and slowing down the aging process of it. In addition, it diminishes wrinkles and fine lines remarkably.
It can also lighten dark spots and improve the production of collagen in the skin, thus avoiding flaccidity problems. Orange essential oil helps us to obtain a smoother and more stretched complexion.
This oil can protect the skin from damage caused by exposure to UV rays, contamination or toxicity of some elements. However, orange essential oil is photosensitive, so it should not be used during the day when there is exposure to sunlight. In this way, we will avoid spots and unwanted results.
Ideally, apply in the night routine of skin care and wash the face very well the next day.
Apply a few drops of orange essential oil previously blended with a carrier oil such as rosehip oil or sweet almond oil, and spread it all over the face. Another way to use it, is adding a couple of drops to our favorite night cream.
It is recommended to perform a patch test before using orange essential oil. This is to ensure that there is no allergic reaction to their compounds.
Another quality that orange essential oil has for the skin, is that it can eliminate bacteria that cause acne. Likewise, it helps to diminish the inflammations that this condition can cause.
Orange Essential Oil against cancer, is it good?
Many studies have determined that orange oil has the ability to reverse carcinogenic cells in the body. This, due to its high levels in limonene that can reduce tumors and protect the DNA from any cancer cell.
These same studies determined that orange essential oil can stop the spread of cancer cells in the lungs and colon. This is due to the PMFs that are found in the composition of this oil.
Pregnancy and Orange Essential Oil
During pregnancy there can be numerous problematic and uncomfortable symptoms for the future mother, orange essential oil is one of the best that can be used in this state, to combat some of these problems.
An effective way to get its benefits is in a hot bath to improve circulation and reduce inflammation of tired legs and feet. It is necessary to add 5 to 10 drops in the warm water of the bathtub.
In case of blending with other oils, it is required that in 50ml of the chosen carrier oil, 4 to 6 drops of orange essential oil be added.
To use in a diffuser, add about 6 drops along with a little water.
In case of constipation, a couple of drops should be applied in a cream to massage the abdomen.
Compresses also help, adding a couple of drops to the water that will be used.
Is Orange Essential Oil good for babies?
In the case of babies, a diffuser can be used to ensure a peaceful and relaxing rest. For this, 3 drops of orange essential oil diluted in water should be placed in the diffuser.
This method should not be used uninterruptedly, but should be done with pauses, that is, it is programmed so that during 20 seconds it acts, and for 40 seconds it can remain in pause.
It can also be placed for half an hour before putting the baby to sleep. All this is done so that the atmosphere in the room is not saturated with the aroma and ends up being harmful to the baby.
Cosmetic uses of Orange Essential Oil
Orange essential oil has a lot of cosmetic benefits, among which skin care stands out. It is ideal for dry and irritated skin, because it can soothe the itching and hydrate deeply.
As mentioned above, orange essential oil can diminish wrinkles and fine lines through increase collagen in the skin, allowing it to remain much firmer and smooth.
In the case of feet , this can eliminate calluses and make them much softer.
If it is used in the hair, it becomes strong and healthy, making it much softer and preventing it from having excess fat in the scalp.
How is Orange Essential Oil used for massage?
For muscular pains, use orange essential oil with some cream or carrier oil (coconut oil, almond oil, apricot kernel oil, etc.). Preferably, perform circular massage with a certain pressure for about 10 minutes, after this time the skin is allowed to rest until the oil is absorbed and begins to take effect.
Similarly in the case of constipation. Massage the inflamed area, under the same procedure above. This will relieve pain, promote gas elimination and relax bowels.
Aromatherapy and Orange Essential Oil
Orange essential oil is widely used in aromatherapy, because it can increase energy and provide a sense of general well-being in the body.
The use of orange oil can cause happiness, so it is usually recommended for people with depressive symptoms or anxiety.
For those people who suffer from nervousness, either due to stress or for another reason, orange essential oil has the ability to relax and eliminate these symptoms, causing a tranquilizing and sedative effect in the affected person.
Warnings and side effects when using Orange Essential Oil
- Orange essential oil can not be used by people who are in treatment with ciclosporin, as well as those who are under antidepressant, hypertension, diabetes, glaucoma or prostatic hypertrophy treatments.
- It is not recommended to combine orange essential oil with caffeine, as it can produce alterations in blood pressure or heart rate. This can cause risk of fatal cardiovascular problems.
- If swallowed in large quantities, it can lead to vomiting and nausea.
- Before applying topically, perform a patch test to discard allergic reactions.
- Keep out of the reach of children.
- Do not apply to babies and children under 6 years old without prior doctor consultation.
- Expressed sweet orange is not phototoxic.
- Due to the limonene content, it is important that the essential oil be stored properly (e.g., in a dark container in the refrigerator or in a cold room away from sunlight and heat).
- When limonene oxidizes, essential oils rich in this component can potentially cause dermal sensitization.
- Oxidized citrus essential oils should not be used in body care products or formulations designed for dermal application. The essential oil can, however, be used for cleaning products.
Where to buy Orange Essential Oil?
Usually, good quality oils, that is, 100% pure and not mixed with other substances, can be found in specialized natural herb stores.
If you can not reach a trusted naturist or herbalist shop near you, here are some recommendation for you:
Scent Characteristics: Citrusy, sweet, rich scent.
Our 100% Pure Essential Oils are extracted from the root, bark, wood, seed, fruit, leaf, or flower of a freshly harvested plant.
We source only the finest quality essential oils from highly regarded suppliers and distillers from around the world, many with whom we’ve worked with for decades.
Many of our oils are steam-distilled or cold-pressed, therefore retaining the essential odor, aroma, taste, medicinal, and therapeutic properties of the plant, resulting in a superior quality, and highly concentrated essence. Shop here.
The following are also good quality oils that you can find on Amazon:
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Tips for a better performance and duration of your oils:
- Orange essential oil, like other citrus fruits essences extracted from the peels, is more sensitive to oxidation than those essences extracted by distillation processes. For this reason, it should be kept in the refrigerator once the bottle is opened. It will be used within a maximum period of one year.
- Store them in a dark glass bottle, never plastic, not even when blended with a carrier oil.
- Keep them in cool, dark places, away from sources of heat and light.
- Maintain the container that holds it tightly closed, since they are very volatile and also, their properties would be lost or modified.
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