Orange Essential Oil, most commonly referred to as Sweet Orange Essential Oil, is derived from the fruits of the Citrus sinensis botanical. Conversely, Bitter Orange Essential Oil is derived from the fruits of the Citrus aurantium botanical.
Orange Oil’s ability to naturally enhance immunity and reduce several symptoms of numerous ailments have lent it to traditional medicinal applications for the treatment of acne, chronic stress, and other health concerns.
Used in aromatherapy, Orange Essential Oil’s pleasant scent has a cheerful and uplifting yet simultaneously relaxing, calming effect that helps reduce pulse rate. It can not only create a warm environment but can also stimulate the strength and resilience of the immune system and eliminate airborne bacteria.
Used topically, Orange Essential Oil is beneficial for maintaining the health, appearance, and texture of skin by promoting clarity, radiance, and smoothness, thereby reducing the signs of acne and other uncomfortable skin conditions.
Applied in a massage, Orange Essential Oil is known to increase blood flow. This is known to relieve discomforts associated with inflammation, headaches, menstruation, and low libido.
Used medicinally, Orange Essential Oil reduces the incidents of painful and reflexive muscle contractions. It is traditionally used in massages to relieve stress, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion or improper digestion, and congestion of the nose.
HISTORY OF ORANGE OIL
Orange Oil, most commonly referred to as Sweet Orange Essential Oil, is derived from the fruits of the Citrus sinensis botanical. Conversely, Bitter Orange Essential Oil is derived from the fruits of the Citrus aurantium botanical. The exact origin of Citrus sinensis is unknown, as it does not grow wild anywhere in the world; however, botanists believe that it is a natural hybrid of the Pummelo (C. maxima) and the Mandarin (C. reticulata) botanicals and that it originated between the South-West of China and the Himalayas. For several years, the Sweet Orange tree was considered to be a form of the Bitter Orange tree (C. aurantium amara) and was thus referred to as C. aurantium var. sinensis.
According to historical sources: In 1493, Christopher Columbus carried Orange seeds during his expedition to the Americas and eventually they reached Haiti and the Caribbean; in the 16th century, Portuguese explorers introduced Orange trees to the West; in 1513, Ponce de Leon, the Spanish explorer, introduced Oranges to Florida; in 1450, Italian traders introduced Orange trees to the Mediterranean region; in 800 AD, Oranges were introduced to eastern Africa and the Middle East by Arab traders and were then distributed through the trade routes. In the 15th century, Portuguese travelers introduced the Sweet Oranges they brought back from China to the woodland areas of West Africa and to Europe. In the 16th century, Sweet Oranges were introduced in England. It is believed that Europeans valued Citrus fruits mainly for their medicinal benefits, but the Orange was quickly adopted as a fruit. Eventually, it came to be cultivated by the wealthy, who grew their own trees in private “orangeries.” The Orange has come to be known as the oldest and the most commonly grown tree fruit in the world.
For thousands of years, Orange Oil’s ability to naturally enhance immunity and reduce several symptoms of numerous ailments have lent it to traditional medicinal applications for the treatment of acne, chronic stress, and other health concerns. The folk remedies of the Mediterranean region as well as the regions of the Middle East, India, and China used Orange Oil to relieve colds, coughs, chronic fatigue, depression, flu, indigestion, low libido, odors, poor circulation, skin infections, and spasms. In China, Oranges are believed to symbolize good fortune and thus they continue to be a significant feature of the traditional medicinal practices. It is not only the benefits of the pulp and the oils that are valuable; the dried fruit rinds of both the Bitter and Sweet varieties of Orange have also been used in traditional Chinese medicine to soothe the aforementioned ailments as well as to address anorexia.
Historically, Sweet Orange Essential Oil had many domestic uses such as when it was used to add the Orange flavor to soft drinks, candy, desserts, chocolates and other sweetmeats. Industrially, the anti-septic and preservative properties of Orange Oil made it ideal for use in the production of cosmetics and skin care products such as soaps, creams, lotions, and deodorants. For its natural anti-septic properties, Orange Oil was also used in cleaning products such as room freshening sprays. In the early 1900s, it was used to scent several products such as detergents, perfumes, soaps, and other toiletries. Over time, Sweet Orange Oil and other citrus oils began to be replaced with synthetic citrus fragrances. Today, it continues to be used in similar applications and has gained popularity as a sought-after ingredient in cosmetic and health products for its astringent, cleansing, and brightening properties, among many others.
BENEFITS OF ORANGE OIL
The main chemical constituents of Orange Oil are: Limonene, Monoterpene Hydrocarbons (β- Myrcene and α-Pinene), Alcohols (Citronellol, Geraniol, and Linalool), and Aldehydes (Neral).
LIMONENE is believed to exhibit the following activity:
β-MYRCENE is believed to exhibit the following activity:
α-PINENE is believed to exhibit the following activity:
CITRONELLOL is believed to exhibit the following activity:
GERANIOL is believed to exhibit the following activity:
LINALOOL is believed to exhibit the following activity:
NERAL is believed to exhibit the following activity:
Used in aromatherapy applications, Orange Essential Oil is known to have a pleasant scent that has a cheerful and uplifting yet simultaneously relaxing, calming effect, as it helps reduce pulse rate. For this reason, it is believed to be beneficial for vaporizing in any room, especially when experiencing anxiety, sadness, anger, hypertension, frustration, and other negative moods. When diffused throughout the home, it is known to effectively diminish unpleasant scents such as cooking smells and pet odors while also boosting motivation and clarity. The aromatic benefits of Orange Oil are known to not only create a warm environment but to also stimulate the strength and resilience of the immune system and to eliminate airborne bacteria and pathogens. Its sedative properties make it a natural aphrodisiac, which is ideal for relieving the symptoms of low libido in both men and women, if used recurrently and systematically. The scent of Orange Oil is believed to enhance cognitive function, thus making it easier to recall memories, especially for Alzheimer’s disease patients. Diffused, or diluted and sprayed into the air before going to sleep, Orange Oil is known to induce sleep and to enhance sleep quality while facilitating the body’s detoxification process and balancing hormones. Diffused in the shower, Orange oil enhances the sense of relaxation and contributes anti-bacterial and cleansing properties. Those who suffer from allergies may find that the oil relieves a runny nose and cough, as its anti-inflammatory properties can benefit the body’s response to physical irritation.
Used cosmetically or topically in general, Orange Oil is known to be beneficial for maintaining the health, appearance, and texture of skin by promoting clarity, radiance, and smoothness. In doing so, it reduces the signs of acne and other uncomfortable skin conditions. When applied in a massage, Orange Essential Oil is known to increase blood flow, which relieves discomforts associated with inflammation, headaches, menstruation, and low libido. It is believed to soothe pain in bones, joints, or any site of injury and infection by decreasing swelling that causes aches and soreness, while also reducing redness. When applied to skin, Orange Oil’s astringent property contributes anti-aging benefits. It also works as a tonic that cleanses and detoxifies the skin while diminishing the appearance of pores. These properties make Orange Oil an ideal ingredient for moisturizers and cleansers that nourish skin, soothe dryness and irritation, eliminate harmful bacteria, enhance collagen production, and plump, smooth, and brighten the complexion. When applied to calluses, especially on the feet, Orange Oil is known to make an effective treatment that softens while hydrating.
Used medicinally, Orange Essential Oil works as a muscle relaxant, which reduces the incidents of painful and reflexive muscle contractions – or spasms. It thereby prevents other consequential problems such as convulsions, coughing, diarrhea, tears in the muscles, and sprains. Its anti-microbial properties make it ideal for application to a cut, bite, abrasion, boil, eruption, or any wound that may potentially become septic, as it prevents bacterial growth and infection. As a tonic, Orange Oil maintains metabolic health and function, while exhibiting anti-oxidant activity that repairs damaged cells. For its diuretic properties, Orange Oil is reputed to eliminate bodily toxins including excess salts, fluids such as water, and uric acid. Orange Essential Oil is traditionally used in massages as an agent that effectively relieves stress, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion or improper digestion, and congestion of the nose or of organs such as the liver.
Orange Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:
COSMETIC: Tonic, Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Inflammatory, Cleansing, Stimulant.
ODOROUS: Anti-Depressant, Anti-Spasmodic, Aphrodisiac, Carminative, Diuretic, Sedative.
MEDICINAL: Anti-Depressant, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Spasmodic, Anti-Septic, Carminative, Diuretic, Tonic, Sedative, Cholagogic, Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Microbial.
CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING QUALITY ORANGE OIL
Oranges belong in the Rutaceae family or the “Citrus” family along with Grapefruits, Lemons, and Limes, among others. Oranges are believed to have been first obtained from a tree native to China; however, since then, Orange trees have been propagated widely in other tropical and sub-tropical climates including those of North and South America, Mexico, Portugal, Jamaica, Spain, France, Italy, Corsica, the Mediterranean region, Cyprus, Egypt, India, and Israel. Common Oranges, Pigmented / “Blood” Oranges, Navel Oranges, and Acidless Oranges are the 4 classifications of Oranges in the Citrus sinensis group. Each class has its distinct characteristics.
Orange trees are evergreen with grayish-brown barks and can reach a height of 4-7.5 meters (13ft – 25 ft). With age, they may even reach 15 meters (50 ft). They have slender, angular branches with dull spines in the leaf axils. The branches eventually grow rounded and the tree often forms the shape of a hemisphere. The glossy, dark green leaves of the Orange tree are oval-shaped and grow to a minimum of 3-4 inches. Orange flowers are small, white, and fragrant, growing individually or in clusters of 2-6.
The round fruits that grow from the flowers’ ovaries have a thick, leathery rind that is green when unripe and yellow-orange when ripe. Sometimes, in warm climates, the rind retains its green color. At other times, it retains only patches of green. The rind is stippled with tiny glands containing the fruit’s essential oil.
Once harvested, Oranges do not continue to ripen in the way that many other fruits do, which means that proper care is required to pick them from their trees at the right time in order to obtain their maximum essential oil yield. Harvesting is done manually or mechanically with the latter process being used more often when the fruits are meant to be processed for juice or oil. Mechanized harvest methods include the use of limb and tree shakers as well as air jets.
The Orange fruit is made up of an outer rind known as the Epicarp, which ranges in color from yellow to orange when ripe. On the underside of the rind, is a porous white tissue layer called the Mesocarp, which is spongy and odorless. It is also referred to as the Albedo or the Pith. The Endocarp, better known as the fruit’s Pulp, is yellow, orange, or sometimes red in color. It is made up of approximately 10-14 wedge-shaped segments called Carpels, which are each covered in a thin, clear membrane. This membrane works to hold the juice-filled pulp and the 2-4 Seedscontained in each Carpel. The segments can be separated into individual slices.
HOW IS ORANGE OIL EXTRACTED?
In the peel of a fresh Orange, there are cells that contain the fruit’s volatile fatty oil glands. Orange Oil is thus derived from the fruit peel. The extraction process may involve first separating the rinds from the Oranges, then grinding, chopping, or puncturing them before they are pressed. The order of events may differ, in that the fruit peels may first be rolled over with a trough in order to pierce the essential oil pouches located on the underside of the peels. The liquid that results from this pressing process is a combination of orange juice and orange essential oil, which gradually begin to separate from each other, at which point the essential oil is collected.
In a slightly different extraction process, Orange Essential Oil is a by-product of Orange Juice. This process involves the whole fruit being pressed to squeeze the juice and essential oil from the pulp. When the essential oil separates from the juice and rises to its surface, the oil is collected through Centrifugation.
Cold-pressing protects the oil’s anti-oxidants and active ingredients from being destroyed by heat. After undergoing cold-pressing, some citrus oils are steam-distilled. Alternatively, Orange Oil can also be produced through Solvent Extraction, Supercritical CO2 Extraction, and Turbo Distillation. After extraction, Orange Oil has an orange-yellow or orange-brown color and gives off the light, fresh, sweet fragrance of the fruit itself.
USES OF ORANGE OIL
The uses of Orange Essential Oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal and odorous to cosmetic. Its many forms include oils, gels, lotions, soaps, shampoos, acne treatments, sprays, deodorants, and candles.
Used in aromatherapy applications, Orange Essential Oil can deodorize while exuding its own fresh and energizing scent. Simply inhaling the scent of the oil from the bottle has a sedative, relaxing effect that simultaneously reduces anxiety and contributes to the feeling of being alert. Orange Oil can be diffused throughout a room by adding 5-6 drops in a diffuser on low heat. This is reputed to boost the mood and even improve digestion. To ease both physical and mental fatigue, mix 5 drops of Sweet Orange Essential Oil and 5 drops of Lavender Essential Oil in a diffuser. Inhaling the scent of Orange Essential Oil is also known to relieve the nasal irritation associated with seasonal allergies, as it eases sinus congestion, headache, and itchiness. While travelling, Orange Oil can be sniffed from either the bottle or from a soaked cotton ball just as the first symptoms of irritation begin in the nose.
Orange Oil can be added to the laundry to scent clothing, or it can be added to the dishwasher. To scent the kitchen in particular with a warm, clean Orange blend, fill a pot with water and add 1-9 drops of Orange Essential Oil along with either Lemon Essential Oil or Lemon rinds, Cinnamon sticks, and Cloves. Allow this blend to simmer on the stove. Alternatively, blend Orange, Lemon, Cinnamon, and Clove essential oils in an electric diffuser.
Used in cosmetic applications, Orange Essential Oil is known to enhance the complexion, especially for those who suffer from eczema. For a natural moisturizer, combine 1-2 drops of Orange Essential Oil with 1-3 tsp. of a carrier oil such as Organic Almond, Olive, Coconut, Hemp, Jojoba, or Macadamia. Apply this mix to the skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots and to encourage collagen production. Orange Essential Oil can also be combined with other oils such as Frankincense Essential Oil and Tea Tree Essential Oil, which are known to facilitate the healing of skin.
For skin afflicted with acne, Orange Essential Oil can be combined with a small amount of Coconut Carrier Oil on a cotton ball and applied to the affected areas – or areas that seem like they might begin to breakout. This mix is reputed to eliminate bacteria, soothe inflammation, reduce pain and swelling associated with acne, and prevent dryness. For an even higher effectiveness, Orange Essential Oil can be blended with Geranium Essential Oil or Cinnamon Essential Oil. After it has been determined that skin will not have a negative reaction to Orange Essential Oil, a few drops of the oil may also be added to a warm bath or to a body wash. For an acne spot-treatment, a cotton swab dipped directly in Sweet Orange Oil can be dabbed onto affected areas of skin to reduce the bacteria that contribute to and worsen acne. 1 drop of Orange Oil can also be mixed with Organic Aloe Vera gel before being dabbed onto blemishes and wrinkles.
For a cleanser that reduces blemishes and unwanted spots without dehydrating the skin, Orange Oil can be combined with Honey. To create this anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory acne treatment, blend together 1 Tbsp. Organic Coconut Carrier Oil, 3 Tbsp. Raw Honey, 1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar, 20 drops Orange Essential Oil, and 2 capsules of Live Probiotics. With a hand blender, combine all these ingredients, then pour them into a glass bottle and store it in a cool, dark, dry place until it is ready for use.
For a simple yet deeply cleansing face wash that reduces the amount of oil on the skin and controls acne breakouts, a nightly tonic can be made by adding 2-3 drops of Orange Essential Oil to 1 cup of water. This mixture can be used to wash the face before going to bed. For those who apply makeup to the skin, 3-4 drops of Orange Oil can be combined with a 1 Tbsp. of a light carrier oil such as Olive or Sweet Almond before the blend is applied to the face with a cotton ball or cotton pad. Before wiping it off, allow the oil to sit on the skin for 5 minutes.
Used in hair, a combination of Orange Essential Oil and Honey is known to eliminate bacteria, to reduce dandruff and itchiness by restoring moisture, and to balance the scalp’s pH without removing any of its vital natural oils. For a shampoo that achieves all of the aforementioned, combine 1 cup water, 5 Tbsp. Raw Honey, 5 drops Orange Essential Oil, and 5 drops Lemon Essential Oil in a bowl before transferring the blend to a glass dispenser bottle. Shake the bottle well before each use and apply this shampoo as normal.
Used in medicinal applications, Orange Essential Oil can reduce inflammation, promote relaxation, and enhance circulation. Combining it with a carrier oil and massaging it into the abdominal area is reputed to facilitate and improve digestion, which eases or prevents cramps and constipation. For higher effectiveness, Orange Essential Oil can be combined with Peppermint or Spearmint essential oils before it is diluted with a carrier oil and massaged into the belly. Orange Oil is known to have diuretic properties, thus massaging it into the belly also promotes the release of toxins, especially from the digestive tract, while stimulating the bladder and lymphatic system.
Orange Oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can offer relief to those who suffer from pain and swelling in the joints. For a soothing balm that addresses the symptoms of arthritis, melt 1 Tbsp. of Coconut Carrier Oil over low heat, then mix in 10 drops of Orange Essential Oil. Apply this salve to affected areas until it is completely absorbed into the skin. Similarly, to reduce symptoms of edema – better known as fluid retention – warm 3 Tbsp. of Sesame Seed Carrier Oil and mix in 10 drops of Sweet Orange Essential Oil. This blend can be massaged into swollen feet and ankles until completely absorbed. Alternatively, Orange Oil can be used in a foot soak: Add a mixture of 2 Tbsp. Sea Salt and 10-15 drops of Orange Essential Oil to a basin of warm water and soak the feet for 20-30 minutes. For facial edema, a similar blend can be made by adding 1 tsp. of Sea Salt to a cup of warm water and stirring in 5 drops of Sweet Orange Essential Oil. This can be applied to the face with cotton balls that have been dipped into the mixture and placed on the cheeks and under the eyes.
To improve digestion, mix 3-4 drops of Orange Essential Oil with 1 tsp. of Olive Carrier Oil and massage it into the abdominal area. This will encourage digestive enzymes to be released, which will subsequently improve digestion and thereby prevent or relieve gas and constipation.
CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR ORANGE OIL
As per NAHA guidelines, New Directions Aromatics (NDA) does not recommend the ingestion of essential oils. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using Orange Essential Oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women and those taking prescription drugs are especially advised not to use Orange Essential Oil without the medical advice of a physician. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.
Prior to using Orange Essential Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting the essential oil in a carrier oil and applying a small amount to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Orange Oil must never be used near the eyes, inner nose and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. An absence of an allergic response within 48 hours indicates that the oil is safe to use. Individuals with allergies to citrus fruits are at a higher risk of developing an allergy to Orange Oil and should avoid its use.
Once applied topically, sun exposure should be avoided, as Orange Oil exhibits photo-toxic activity. This means that it increases the effects of exposure to UV radiation, and thus can cause skin irritation, which includes blisters, burns, scabs, redness, and changes in skin pigmentation. To prevent photosensitivity, those using Orange Oil for topical application should wait 72 hours before spending prolonged periods outdoors, especially in regions with hot climates.
Orange Oil is known to be a non-toxic and non-irritating oil; however, potential side effects – most likely to be caused if the oil is used undiluted – include dermatitis and skin inflammation. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent these side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use. Those with health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, liver damage or skin disorders are especially recommended to be advised.