It’s common knowledge that oranges are good for you. Most people have been urged at some time during their life to have an orange or some freshly squeezed juice at the first sign of a cold, to intake the abundance of vitamin C and boost the immune system. But are you aware that the most potent part of the orange, the part with the true therapeutic properties, is discarded? That’s right, thrown in the trash! Whilst oranges may be good for you, the true benefits are to be found in the peel.
If you’ve ever cut into an orange or zested the peel, you will have noticed a small amount of oil seeping from the peel. This is the essential oil which contains limonene, alcohols (citronellol, geraniol, and linalool), monoterpene hydrocarbons (β-myrcene and α-pinene) and aldehydes (neral), in addition to vitamin A, B6 (pyridoxine), and abundance of C, potassium, calcium and magnesium. It’s this oil which we extract – the very essence of the plant which gives it its distinctive taste and aroma. The benefits for the body and mind are immense.
Originally it was the medicinal benefits for which the orange was valued, but the sweet tasting fruit quickly gained popularity as a luxury item, and trees were cultivated by the wealthy and elite. It has a long history in Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as in folk remedies throughout the Mediterranean, Middle East and India, being used to enhance immunity, and relieve colds, flu and coughs, indigestion, chronic fatigue, spasms, depression, poor circulation and skin infections.
The numerous health benefits are due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral, antibiotic, antibacterial, antiseptic, antimicrobial, expectorant, bronchodilator, antispasmodic, anticonvulsant, analgesic, antinociceptive, detoxicant, cholagogic, digestive, stimulant, carminative, antidepressant, antianxiety and sedative properties.
Orange Essential Oil for Anxiety, Stress & Depression
The use of essential oils to treat physiological issues should never be overlooked. They stimulate the limbic system which controls memory, motivation, emotions, behaviour and sense of smell, as well as several unconscious physiological functions including breathing, blood pressure and heart rate.
Orange oil is a known mood booster and anxiety calmer, and is both uplifting and tranquillizing. Due to its anxiolytic property it can take as little as 5 minutes exposure to the diffused oil to reduce anxiety related symptoms, and boost the mood. There have been several studies regarding the use of this oil for this purpose, and the results of one study showed reduced anxiety in pregnant women during labour, whilst another study found that the participants, who were about to undertake a stressful test, reported lower anxiety levels by inhaling orange essential oil beforehand.
The inhalation of orange oil has also been accredited with increasing cognition, a marker for stress levels, in addition to reducing cortisol secretion and calming the heart rate. A study on children who inhaled orange essential oil during dental procedures affirmed a reduction in the pulse rate and stress hormone level. Another study involving 40 male participants, confirmed that the stress levels of those inhaling orange essential oil, rather than plain water, showed increased cognition, a recognized marker for stress alleviation, which was measured using the Stroop Color-Word Test (measuring cognition by the speed a person can read words or identify colours).
For centuries orange essential oil has been used as a natural antidepressant and mild tranquillizer, and it is well used as a complimentary therapy to treat this today. Whilst human studies are lacking, and supporting evidence is anecdotal, animal studies have confirmed its potential in this area. For instance, a 2019 animal study found that the subjects which inhaled orange essential oil displayed fewer depression-like behaviors.
Orange Essential Oil for Acne
Orange essential oil is packed with vitamin C and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic and astringent properties which makes it a perfect oil for those suffering from acne, clogged pores and oily skin. It completely nourishes the skin and gently soothes any irritation. It eliminates harmful bacteria, cleanses the skin, balances moisture and oiliness, helps to dry out acne, reduces inflammation and redness, encourages skin exfoliation, and reduces the appearance of large or enflamed pores. Orange essential oil can improve the overall look of the skin by promoting skin health, and encouraging brightness, clarity and smoothness.
Orange Essential Oil for Colds and Flu
Orange essential oil has expectorant, bronchodilator, antiviral, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory properties meaning that it is well placed to handle the symptoms of a cold or flu. As a muscle relaxant it can stop reflexive muscle contractions or spasms such as a cough, plus it can reduce phlegm. Additionally it can reduce inflammation in the nasal and chest passages and help to eliminate a sore throat. Since they are viral, colds and flu cannot be treated with antibiotics, but one study set out to determine if a number of oils (diluted with a relevant oil), administered by aerosol to the nostrils of healthy individuals could ward off viral infections. The tests proved that certain essential oils, and in particular orange oil, were able to reduce nasal inflammation and prevent upper respiratory infections.
Orange Essential Oil for Constipation
One in six people worldwide are affected by constipation on a regular basis. The digestive system, when working efficiently, breaks down food so that the body can receive the full nutrients and discards the waste through bowel movements. When the digestive system is not working well it can result in constipation, which means that the waste material cannot be discarded and there is a potential that it may be reabsorbed by the body which can lead to illness. Combining orange oil with a carrier oil and applying directly to the abdominal area, can help to encourage the release of digestive enzymes, ensuring the correct functioning of the digestive system, helping to eliminate indigestion, irregular digestion, constipation and flatulence. Furthermore the diuretic property can help to reduce bloating, stimulate the lymphatic system and bladder, and help to rid the body of toxins.
Orange Essential Oil for Inflammation
Orange oil has been shown to reduce inflammation and pain when applied topically. This can be of great use for inflammatory conditions like arthritis, but also for cramps and general muscle and joint pain. In addition, several studies have confirmed the remarkable effect of the strong antinociceptive properties of orange oil,which can effectively even alleviate fracture pain. Vaporizing and inhaling orange essential oil, leads to an elevated mood, which also increases the pain threshold. Orange essential oil has also been shown to be one of the best anti-inflammatory oils, making it very beneficial for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
What is orange essential oil used for?
Orange oil is a natural degreaser, whilst its antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial and disinfectant properties make it the perfect natural cleaner. Studies have confirmed that it is effective against staph bacteria, e.coli, salmonella and several fungi which can cause food spoilage. Why use harsh chemicals on your counter-top, cutting board, table, fridge, oven, stovetop, microwave, etc, when you can clean effectively and naturally with orange oil? It can also remove gum and adhesive. Whatsmore, the spray will release the aroma into the air, diminishing odours and eliminating airborne pathogens. Clean the kitchen floor and the trash can with orange essential oil too – flies and other insects such as cockroaches, ants, fire ants and silverfish dislike the smell, plus the d-limonene in the oil destroys the wax coating of the insect’s respiratory system.
To use: Add 5 drops to 100ml of water and spray as required.
Making an aromatherapy bath is an excellent way to help alleviate anxiety, stress or depression, treat a respiratory infection or combat inflammation. Always fill the bath first before adding the essential oil otherwise you will lose the full therapeutic benefits if the oil evaporates and just scents the bathroom instead. Take care when getting into the bath, as the oil can make the bath very slippery!
To use: Add 8-10 drops of orange essential oil to another product, or mix with a tablespoon of a carrier oil (such as coconut, almond oil).
Note: Water and oil do not mix, so the essential oil must always be diluted first to ensure that you do not sit on any undiluted essential oil which has the potential to irritate or burn the skin.
With its emollient power, orange essential oil is a fantastic moisturiser for the entire body. It is helpful for soothing dry and irritated skin, and can improve rough areas and calluses.
To use: Simply add a few drops to a carrier oil, or to your favourite moisturiser, body lotion, foot or hand cream.
How to use orange essential oil
Orange oil aroma has been likened to a blossoming orchard of sweetly fragrant orange trees. Research has shown that the oil is warming, uplifting and calming, and helps to reduce pulse rate. It banishes depression, anxiety, anger, frustration, stress, sadness and negative moods, replacing them with peace and harmony and boosting the mood, promoting mental clarity and motivation. The aroma also enhances cognitive function, making it easier to recall memories, which may be especially beneficial for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It can help to relieve mental and physical fatigue. Use it as a mood and energy booster in the morning, a relaxant in the evening, and to improve cognitive function or diminish depression, stress or anxiety whenever needed.
To use: Add a couple of drops to a diffuser or oil burner. Or add a few drops to a cotton pad and inhale as required.
Orange essential oil when utilised as a spray is a perfect air freshener, helping to effectively diminish odours from cooking and pets. It is perfect during cold and flu season, or in the sick room, as it helps to destroy airborne bacteria and pathogens, and can alleviate a spasmodic cough, whilst boosting the immune system. Orange essential oil has strong insect repellent properties, whether by way of contact or fumigation, and is known to deter house flies and kill their larvae and pupae. It is also a natural ant killer and eliminates their scent-pheromone trails, thus preventing further infestations. Use as a spray to clean the kitchen and bathroom, taking full advantage of the degreaser and antibacterial properties.
To use: Add several drops to water in a spray bottle and spray as required, or directly onto insects, flooring, etc.
As a massage oil, orange oil can help to increase blood flow, which is very beneficial to relieving the discomfort of headaches, menstruation, abdominal pain, inflammation and a low libido, in addition to helping with stress, anxiety and depression, and reducing nasal or bronchial congestion. As an anticonvulsant and antispasmodic, it works as a muscle relaxant to help relieve muscle cramps and spasms, convulsions, coughing and diarrhoea, whilst its anti-inflammatory properties assist in pain relief, reduced swelling and redness for infections and injuries including sprains, muscles tears, joint and bone pain, and oedemas.
To use: To reduce pain and inflammation, relieve stomach problems, or reduce a spasmodic cough add a couple of drops to a carrier oil and massage into the relevant area, or the chest and neck for a cough.
Use of food grade orange essential oil
Orange essential oil is very intense and should be used sparingly as a food flavouring, approximately 5 drops for each 1000g. It can add a wonderful natural taste and aroma to desserts such as cakes, biscuits and jellies, chocolates and fondants, plus frostings, toppings, sauces and glazes. It can be used as a substitute for orange zest or orange essence. Try 1/8th teaspoon in place of 1 teaspoon first and add more if required to taste. Always add the oil to the wet ingredients to ensure that the oil is well dispensed.
So try our food grade orange essential oil today. Treat the body, mind and appetite!!
Note that orange essential oil is a phototoxic oil and therefore it is best applied to the skin at night, otherwise sun protection is highly recommended since the use of orange oil can make the skin more prone to burning during sun exposure.