Orange essential oil is extracted from the fruit peels of sweet orange that goes by the name Citrus sinensis. As the name indicates, this citrus variety is a native of China. It is called sweet orange oil to distinguish it from the essential oils derived from bitter oranges––such as the Bergamot essential oil obtained from Citrus bergamia.
The main components in orange essential oil are limonene, myrcene, citronellal, neral, alpha pinene, geraniol, linalool, and sabinene. Phytochemicals in essential oils are highly potent, and they can act individually as well as synergically to bring about many metabolic changes cellular level.
In the case of orange oil, limonene, D-limonene in particular, forms the major bulk of the oil. This monoterpene compound with proven antitumor function is responsible for most of the beneficial properties of orange essential oil.
Sweet orange oil is widely used in aromatherapy and herbal medicine for the following properties:
The very action of peeling an orange is so uplifting, thanks to the release of the orange oil in the peel. Not surprisingly, the essential oil of orange is often used in aromatherapy to bring one out of a depressed or pensive mood.
A mere whiff of the oil can make you feel alert and relaxed at the same time. It induces a sense of happiness and well-being. Along with the reduction in cortisol secretion and lifting of mental anxiety, physical changes such as lowering of pulse rate are observed.
Orange oil acts as a mild sedative, taking away the edge of mental and physical fatigue, pain, anger, and other strong feelings. The sedative effect of this aromatic oil is different from the tranquilizing effect of opiate drugs, though.
For instance, instead of pushing you into a drug-induced haze, orange oil keeps your senses alert while providing a relaxed feeling. It has none of the side effects and addictive nature of narcotic drugs. Best of all, you need not ingest orange oil to experience its sedative effect. A few drops of it in an infuser or in your bath water can make way for a relaxed evening at the end of a hectic day.
Inflammation is part of body’s healing mechanism, but uncontrolled and chronic inflammation has many negative effects, apart from causing swelling and pain.
Orange oil can regulate the inflammatory response of the body to allergens, injuries, infections and other irritants. You can observe perceptible changes such as reduction in redness and swelling at the site of injury. In case of respiratory allergens, the anti-inflammatory action can help relieve a runny nose and cough.
Spasms are involuntary muscle contractions that are often painful. Commonly referred to as muscle cramps, spasms in skeletal muscles can be debilitating, and can result in sprains and muscle tears. Abnormal nerve stimulation, as well as abnormalities in muscle function, can trigger spasms, but the relaxing effect of orange oil can bring immediate relief.
Spasms can sometimes occur in abdominal muscles, resulting in severe abdominal pain and diarrhea. Orange oil can help with this too.
Accumulation of gas in the abdomen can cause severe stomach discomfort and heartburn. Chest pain from gas is often mistaken for a heart attack because of its severity. When the stomach becomes extended with excess gas, it exerts pressure on the organs in the upper abdomen, including the heart. Reflux of stomach content into esophagus burns its lining, resulting in pain and soreness.
As a carminative, orange essential oil reduces gas formation, besides facilitating its expulsion from the gastrointestinal tract. It relaxes the abdominal muscles and the anal sphincters, allowing the excess gas to be eliminated without causing pain, while preventing gastroesophageal reflux.
Orange oil promotes the secretion of both exocrine and endocrine glands producing enzymes and hormones. Because of this, it has a wide-ranging effect on several physiological processes in the body, including digestion, menstruation in women and milk production in lactating mothers.
Increased production of bile and other digestive enzymes help increase digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
Orange has a mild diuretic action that results in increased production of urine. This facilitates the removal of undesirable substances from the body, including toxic substances, excess salts, and by-products of protein digestion such as uric acid.
By removing excess fluids from the body, diuretics like orange oil reduce edema caused by water retention in tissues. It also reduces blood pressure and excessive load on the heart.
The antiseptic property of all citrus oils, including orange essential oil is well known. Any cut on the skin can invite opportunistic germs into the body, making the wound susceptible to infections. That’s why we clean the exposed area immediately and apply antiseptics that reduce the risk of infection.
Antiseptic agents disinfect the area by making it unsuitable to microbial growth. Orange oil is an excellent antiseptic for disinfecting cuts and scrapes, insect bites, open boils and other skin eruptions. Besides, it is safe for use in children.
Orange oil is considered a mild aphrodisiac, increasing interest in sex as well as performance. While its ability to reduce anxiety and relax the mind may be playing a part, an increase in the secretion of sex hormones can be helpful too.
Substances that promote general health and well-being are called tonics. They improve immunity and help with the functioning of different systems in the body. Orange essential oil is a tonic that refreshes and relaxes the body and mind and increases strength and vitality.
9 Uses For Orange Essential Oil
11. For improving mood
When you feel anxious or depressed, the anti-depressive and anxiolytic properties of orange essential oil can act as an instant pick-me-up. Use 5-6 drops in a diffuser on very low heat. Allow the oil to dissipate into the air, and experience your mood lifting up and the worries falling away.
For faster results, take 2 drops of sweet orange oil on one palm and then rub the palms together to spread the oil evenly. Hold the hands close to your face and inhale deeply. Or you can use one drop of oil on one wrist and rub it with the other.
Citrus oils are not generally recommended for topical use because they cause photo-toxicity on exposure to sunlight. Sweet orange oil is relatively milder, displaying no toxicity after 12 hours of application. However, use it topically in very small amounts, and preferably in the evening.
12. To relieve fatigue
Physical and mental fatigue can be relieved with orange essential oil. Mix it with the essential oil of lavender to enhance the effect.
Mix 5 drops each of sweet orange oil and lavender oil and use the mixture in a diffuser. Apply a drop of the mixture to your pulse points for faster absorption into the body.
Adding essential oils to your bath would give you maximum benefits, but it should be avoided for the reason mentioned above.
13. To control acne
Orange oil has a drying and grease-cutting effect on the skin that can help reduce acne in people with oily skin. Add 2-3 drops of orange oil to a cup of water and wash the face with it before going to bed.
Orange oil acts as a deep cleanser when used with a light carrier oil like olive oil or sweet almond oil. Mix 3 -4 drops of orange oil to a tablespoon of carrier oil and apply on the face with a cotton ball. Allow to remain for 5 minutes and wipe off. This is an excellent way to remove makeup in the evening.
For a spot treatment for acne, dip a cotton swab in sweet orange oil and touch the acne. The antiseptic effect of orange oil helps reduce bacteria that worsen acne.
14. For improving dental hygiene
The refreshing smell of orange oil can not only combat bad breath but control gum infections and inflammatory conditions such as gingivitis and pyorrhea. Orange oil reduces the bacterial load in the mouth and brings down inflammation of the gum.
Take a cup of warm water and add ½ teaspoon salt and 5 drops of orange oil to it. Mix vigorously and use it for gargling. People who frequently get mouth ulcers find it very helpful for numbing the pain and reducing incidence.
15. To relieve seasonal allergies
Seasonal allergies are usually caused by respiratory allergens such as pollen and spores of mold. When these tiny, biological particles are inhaled, the lining of the nasal passages get irritated.
White blood cells in the capillaries recognize these particles as foreign bodies trying to enter the body, and they unleash an immune response against the allergen by releasing histamines. This starts an inflammatory process characterized by red and itchy eyes and nose, excessive mucous secretion, and sneezing. Arrest the progress of allergic reactions using the essential oil of orange.
When seasonal allergies are anticipated, carry along a small vial of orange oil. Whenever you feel the slightest tingle in your nose, take a sniff of the oil. Alternatively, you can carry a ball of cotton with a few drops of the oil in it or apply a drop to the wrist or palm of the hand.
Allergic reactions often spread to nearby mucous membranes like that of sinuses. This can result in nasal and sinus congestion and headache. Essential oil inhalation can relieve these symptoms.
16. For treating arthritis
Arthritis or pain and swelling of joints can be extremely debilitating. Bone deformities, loss of cartilage, and autoimmune diseases can cause arthritis. Irrespective of the cause, chronic inflammation is the main symptom of arthritis, so the anti-inflammatory action of orange oil can provide relief.
Mix 10 drops of orange oil into a tablespoon of coconut oil melted over low heat. Apply the mixture on the affected area and gently rub it in until it is completely absorbed. You can add 2-3 drops of capsaicin oil to reduce pain.
17. To improve digestion
The cholagogue property of orange oil can be employed to improve digestion while its carminative action reduces flatulence and other stomach problems that cause aversion to food.
To improve digestion, use 5-6 drops of sweet orange oil in the diffuser. You can mix 3-4 drops of the oil in a teaspoonful of olive oil and apply it on the abdominal area. This increases the secretion of digestive enzymes, improving digestion and relieving gas and constipation. Put one drop of orange oil on a tissue and keep it near babies refusing to feed because of colicky pains.
The beauty of essential oils is that internal use is not necessary to avail their beneficial properties. Mere inhalation is sufficient in most cases. The reason is that the volatile agents in the oil dissipate into the air as very tiny particles and they get directly absorbed through the lining of the nasal passages.
18. To reduce edema
People with chronic inflammation usually have water retention in the body, which becomes apparent as swollen face and feet. Some people develop swollen ankles when they sit for a long time. Edema may not cause severe pain, but it makes people dull and lethargic. They become exhausted on walking short distances because of the extra work the heart has to do to circulate the increased volume of water.
Use orange oil as massage oil to reduce fluid retention. Warm 3 tablespoons of sesame seed oil and mix in 10 drops of sweet orange oil. Apply on the feet and massage it in.
Another way to use orange oil for swollen feet is to add it into foot bath. Take warm water in a wide basin and add a mixture of 2 tablespoon sea salt and 10-15 drops of orange oil. Immerse the feet in the water for 20 to 30 minutes.
For facial edema, add a teaspoon of sea salt to a cup of warm water and stir in 5 drops of sweet orange oil. Dip cotton balls in the mixture and place under the eyes and on the cheeks
19. For disinfecting surfaces
Being an antiseptic oil, orange oil can be used very effectively to clean frequently used surfaces like kitchen counters, cutting boards, cutlery and dining table. In fact, it is a common ingredient in many cleaning products. However, commercial products may contain many undesirable substances that are better avoided in food preparation and serving areas. Make your own disinfectant solution with orange oil.
Add 10 drops of sweet orange oil to a cup of water and use a clean sponge to wipe the surfaces with this mixture. Allow to dry naturally. Since orange oil is non-toxic, you don’t need to rinse the surfaces again. You can fill a spritz bottle with the mixture and spray on surfaces as you wipe them down. You will have a kitchen that is clean and smells great as well.
Door handles and knobs are usually full of germs because of many people transferring germs to these surfaces. They are a main cause of contagious diseases. Wiping them down with orange oil cleaning mix can keep their numbers down. This is particularly important during the cold and flu season.
Sweet orange oil is relatively milder than other citrus oils like bergamot oil, but being a concentrated mixture of highly potent substances, it should be handled with due respect.
Although it is called sweet orange oil, the oil actually tastes bitter. It can cause toxicity when used in excess, the main symptoms being vomiting, diarrhea, and headache. Always test for sensitivity before applying to your skin