The orange tree is the most commonly cultivated fruit and plant in the world. Centuries ago oranges were known as the “fruit of the Gods” and were depicted as “golden apples” in the story of Hercules and Titan Atlas. Oranges represent generosity, good fortune, prosperity, strength, wisdom and happiness. In China they are a traditional offering and gift, particularly popular at New Year to offer good fortune and prosperity to the recipient.
Orange Origin & Characteristics
Oranges are the fruit from the Sweet Orange tree (Citrus sinensis) which is believed to have originated in Southern China. Historically, the first mention of sweet orange was in Chinese Literature dating back to 314 BC. The sweet orange tree does not grow in the wild anywhere in the world and is thought to be a natural hybrid between Pummelo (Citrus maxima) and the Mandarin (Citrus reticulata). It is a large evergreen tree, with an average height of approximately 9 to 10 m, and bears small white waxy flowers and vibrant orange coloured fruit. Incidentally the colour orange was named after the fruit. The name “orange” is derived from the Old French and Anglo-Norman name for the fruit “pomme d’orenge”, itself adapted from the Arabic word “nāranj”, which in turn was from the Persian word “nārang”, from the Sanskrit word nāranga, meaning “orange tree”. During the 15th century orange trees were brought back from China by the Portugese, and introduced to Africa and Europe. Originally it was the medicinal benefits for which it was valued, but the sweet tasting fruit quickly gained popularity as a luxury item, and trees were cultivated by the wealthy and elite who grew them in conservatories known as “orangeries”. The grandest orangerie was at the Palace of Versailles as Louis XIV had a great love for them, and orange trees in silver pots adorned the rooms of the palace also. Sailors were prone to a disease called scurvy (lack of vitamin C) which often killed up to 50% of the crew, so throughout the 15th-17th century, known as the Age of Discovery, the Portugese, Spanish and Dutch sailors planted such trees along the trade routes, as eating oranges and other citrus fruits were known to decrease the illness significantly.
Orange Oil & Benefits
Orange oil 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 oil is derived from the peel of the orange. 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 C, potassium, calcium and magnesium. The oil is extracted by way of cold-pressing to retain the full value of the oil. 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 Oil for Skin
Orange oil is packed with vitamin C and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic and astringent properties which makes it a perfect oil, suitable for all skin types. It completely nourishes the skin, soothing any irritation or dryness, cleaning and balancing without stripping the skin of its natural oils. 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 pores, perfect for those suffering from acne, clogged pores and oily skin, and helping to diminish dark spots. It helps to fight free radicals to prevent premature ageing, enhances collagen production and encourages plump and smooth skin, thus eliminating fine lines and wrinkles. Whatever the skin type, orange oil can improve the overall look of the skin by promoting skin health, and encouraging brightness, clarity and smoothness. It is also perfectly suitable to treat boils, cuts, abrasion or wounds due to its antiseptic property.
To use: Add a couple of drops to a carrier oil and massage into the skin. Also suitable for use as a makeup remover or cleanser.
Orange Oil for Allergies
Allergies can be caused by inflammation of the nasal passages, which are irritated by small particles such as dust, pollen, mould spores, etc. It can cause itchiness, headache, watery eyes and sinus congestion. Alternatively an allergy could show itself on the skin. The anti-inflammatory property of orange oil can help to reduce swelling and irritation and improve the blood flow, thus reducing symptoms.
To use: Add a few drops to a diffuser. Add a few drops to a cotton ball or pad and inhale, or pin to the collar. Add a couple of drops to a carrier oil and apply to the affected area of skin.
Orange Oil for Pain & 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 that due to the strong antinociceptive properties of orange oil, fracture pain can be effectively alleviated. This is achieved by vaporizing and inhaling this oil, leading to an elevated mood, which also increases the pain threshold. Orange 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.
Usage: For pain relief, put a few drops in a diffuser or a few drops on a cotton pad and stick it in the collar. For joint and muscle pain, put a few drops in a carrier oil and massage into the affected area.
Orange Oil to Lower Blood Pressure
Inhalation of orange oil was shown to naturally reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, a major contributor towards heart disease.
To use: Add a couple of drops to a diffuser.
Orange Oil to Improve Digestion
Combining orange oil with a carrier oil and applying directly to the abdominal area, can help to encourage the release of digestive enzymes, helping to eliminate indigestion, irregular digestion, constipation and flatulence, whilst its diuretic property can help to reduce bloating, stimulate the lymphatic system and bladder, and help to rid the body of toxins.
To use: Add a few drops to a carrier oil and massage into the abdominal area.
Orange Oil for Hair
Orange oil can treat a dry, irritated scalp and help to prevent dandruff and flaky skin, whilst deeply nourishing the hair follicles, encouraging growth, eliminating brittle and dry strands, and making the hair thick, smooth, strong and healthy.
To use: Add a couple of drops to your regular hair products. Add a couple of drops to a carrier oil and massage into the scalp and hair strands for a weekly treatment, then wrap the hair in a towel and leave for a couple of hours or overnight and shampoo out.
Orange Oil for Air Freshener/Insecticide
When used as a spray to scent the air, orange oil can effectively diminish odours from cooking and pets. Additionally it helps to destroy airborne bacteria and pathogens, and can alleviate a spasmodic cough, whilst boosting the immune system. Orange oil has strong insect repellent properties, whether by way of contact or fumigation, and is known to deter houseflies and kill their larvae and pupae. It is also a natural ant killer and eliminates their scent-pheromone trails, thus preventing further infestations.
To use: Add several drops to water in a spray bottle and spray as required, or directly onto insects, flooring, etc.
Orange Oil & Aromatherapy
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 and 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.
Orange Oil for Anxiety and Depression
Orange oil is a known mood booster and anxiety calmer, both uplifting and tranquillizing, and has been used as a natural antidepressant and mild tranquillizer for centuries. 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 results showed reduced anxiety in pregnant women during labour, and a reduction in the pulse rate and stress hormone of children during dental procedures. The inhalation of orange oil has also been accredited with increasing cognition, a marker for stress levels, plus reducing cortisol secretion and calming the heart rate.
To use: Add a few drops to a diffuser.
Orange Oil for Sleep
Orange oil is known for its ability to induce sleep and enhance sleep quality whilst expediting the detoxification process of the body and helping to balance hormones. A 2015 review of essential oils indicated orange oil as beneficial for the treatment of insomnia.
To use: Add a couple of drops to a diffuser. Add a couple of drops to a cotton ball and place near the bed. Add a couple of drops to the pillow or sheets.
Orange Oil for Massage
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, and 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.
Orange Oil for Cleaning
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-tops, 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.
To use: Add 5 drops to 100ml of water and spray as required.