Tag Archives: antidepressant essential oil

Mimosa Oil for a Healthy Emotional Balance

Mimosa Oil for a Healthy Emotional BalanceAlthough they share a common name, the mimosa from which mimosa essential oil is extracted is Acacia dealbata, and not the tropical tree Albizia julbrizzins [1]. Once again, it’s important when buying essential oils to make your purchase by the genus-species label so that you are certain of what you’re getting! True mimosa essential oil is extracted from the small yellow flowers of Acacia dealbata, and is used primarily to treat emotional conditions such as anxiety and depressed mood, as well as to nourish the skin [1].

Acacia dealbata is a small evergreen tree or shrub with silver-green, bipinnate leaves and small yellow flowers whose thready petals cause them to resemble pom poms. Also called mimose, silver wattle, blue wattle, or cassie flower, this species of mimosa is native to southeastern Australia and Tasmania. It has also been naturalized to warm, Mediterranean parts of Europe [2]. Mimosa’s fluffy yellow flowers produce a heavy concrete or absolute oil, with a scent reminiscent of honey with leathery undertones and a hint of anise. Mimosa oil also tends to be quite thick, so it can help to warm up the oil before working with it.

The chemicals in mimosa oil include, in order of concentration, methyl salicylate, anisaldehyde, geraniol, nonadecane, benzaldehyde, and geranial [3]. In its native southeast Australia and Tasmania, various parts of the mimosa including the leaves, bark, and roots have been used in traditional medicines. The leaves are used as a poultice for skin infections and wounds, as well as to treat urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases. In Java, the powdered bark is used as an emetic to induce vomiting, and as an astringent in India and Costa Rica. The roots have also been employed as a tuberculosis remedy in India [3].

Traditional medicines have focused on the whole mimosa plant, as the absolute or concrete oil was unavailable until modern methods of extraction were invented. Today, the absolute oil extracted from mimosa flowers is beginning to be incorporated into aromatherapy for emotional conditions. Mimosa essential oil is most commonly used by inhalation to address stress and stress-related conditions such as frigidity, anxiety, depression, nervous exhaustion and hypersensitivity [4]. A small amount may also be added to a carrier oil to nourish and emolliate the skin [4].

While mimosa oil is also commonly called cassie flower oil, be careful not to confuse this essential oil with cassia oil! Cassia is a totally different tree related to cinnamon, and its oil is considered very irritating to the skin, as well as stimulating to the emotions. In contrast, mimosa essential oil is generally non-sensitizing and non-irritating, and tends to have a balancing effect on the emotions. Inhaling a bit straight from the bottle can tamp down feelings of stress, anxiety or being out of balance. Try adding a tiny amount to a bath for a luxurious steam treatment that can soften your skin and restore a bit of healthy equilibrium at the same time!


1. Vosnaki, Elena. “Mimosa Perfume Ingredient”. Fragrantica. Accessed August 6th, 2014. http://www.fragrantica.com/notes/Mimosa-167.html.

2. “Acacia dealbata”. Wikipedia. Last modified July 29th, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acacia_dealbata.

3. “Acacia farnesiana Willd.” Globinmed. Accessed August 6th, 2014. http://www.globinmed.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=79066:acacia-farnesiana-linn-willd.

4. Keville, Kathy. “Aromatherapy Materia Medica: Mimosa”. HealthyNet. Accessed August 6th, 2014. http://www.healthy.net/Materia_Medica/Mimosa_Acacia_decurrens_var_dealbata_Aromatherapy_Materia_Medica/54.

The Camphor Content of Lavandin Oil Helps with Sinus and Respiratory Congestion

The Camphor Content of Lavandin Oil Helps with Sinus and Respiratory CongestionWhat the heck is lavandin oil anyway? A brand name, a catchy neologism, or a misspelling of lavender oil? None of the above! Lavandin is actually a real plant: it is a sterile cross between the world-famous true lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia) [1]. As a sterile cultivar of lavender, lavandin is similar in appearance, but its essential oil composition is notably dissimilar; as a result it has different though equally important uses in aromatherapy.

The Latin name for lavandin is Lavandula x intermedia; the ‘x’ represents that lavandin is a hybrid cross between two different species of lavender [2]. Like true lavender, lavandin comes in a number of different cultivated varieties, but the most common varietal used in essential oil production is the “Grosso” strain, so named for its large, prominent flower spikes. In general, lavandin can be distinguished visually from lavender by its taller height and its larger, longer flower spikes. Additional flower clusters also grow laterally up the stems of lavandin plants. Lavandin flowers can be either bluish purple (similar to lavender flowers) or purplish gray like spike lavender flowers. Because lavandin is sometimes found growing near lavender or spike lavender plants, botanists believe it may have come into being as a natural hybrid created by cross-pollination between L. angustifolia and L. latifolia in the wild [1].

Hybrid lavandin plants were first cultivated in 19th-century France for use in the essential oil industry. It quickly became an important oil in perfumery, and has been included in famous perfume blends up through the present era, including possibly the most famous commercial fragrance of them all, Chanel No. 5. In fact, Pierre Wertheimer, a perfumer known as the “perfume king” who worked closely with Chanel in creating this fragrance, even named his prize racehorse Lavandin! His dame was named Lavande, the French word for true lavender [2].

Lavandin is markedly different in the essential oil it produces: lavandin essential oil contains about 7% camphor, the same cooling compound found in the essential oil of the camphor tree Cinnamomum camphora [3]. This ratio of camphor is much higher than that in true lavender oil, giving lavandin oil a muskier, more penetrating aroma than the delicate floral scent of lavender. Lavandin is actually preferred in commercial cultivation of oils used for soaps, detergents and fragrances because it grows faster, produces a higher oil yield per pound, and is hardier than lavender: while lavender does best in higher altitude, Mediterranean climates, lavandin can thrive in a variety of altitudes and climatic conditions.

Many people perceive lavandin oil as being lower quality simply because it is cheaper to produce in volume than lavender oil, but this is a misconception. Although lavandin oil is popularly used in detergents, soaps, and other “industrial” fragrancing applications, due to its high camphor content, therapeutic-grade lavandin essential oil can also be used in aromatherapy, especially for inflammatory conditions [4]. Aromatherapists use lavandin oil in diffusion to clear nasal and respiratory congestion, clear sinuses, and as a mosquito repellent that may be more effective than lavender oil [3]. Once diluted in a carrier oil, lavandin essential oil also acts as an anti-inflammatory for sore muscles and joints: its camphor content produces a direct cooling effect on tissues and stimulates circulation to flush away inflammatory free radicals [4].

Lavandin oil is also known to be both calming and somewhat stimulating to the mental faculties. The oil is sometimes used to reduce nausea while bolstering the appetite and energy levels throughout the body [4]. However, unlike lavender oil which is therapeutic for burns, lavandin oil  should never be used to treat burns or irritated skin, because the camphor content in lavandin oil can actually irritate burned tissue [3].

When it comes to fragrancing, lavandin is simple: even though it has a muskier, more camphoraceous scent compared to lavender, the oil blends well with many of the same oils as lavender does, including clove, rosemary, thyme, sage, and citrus oils (especially bergamot and lime) [1]. Lavandin’s bolder aromatic presence can sometimes put people off this essential oil in favor of lavender, but this hybrid variety of lavender has a lot to offer in aromatherapy!


1. “Lavender vs. Lavandin”. Jersey Lavender. Last modified November 27th, 2010. http://blog.jerseylavender.co.uk/?p=260.

2. “Lavandin (horse)”. Wikipedia. Last modified May 10th, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavandin_(horse).

3. Svec, Susan. “What the Heck is Lavandin?” Susan’s Natural Soap Blog. Last modified August 17th, 2009. http://susansoaps.com/blog/what-the-heck-is-lavandin/.

4. “Lavandin Oil Benefits”. Yogawiz. Accessed July 16th, 2014. http://www.yogawiz.com/aromatherapy/aromatherapy-essential-oils/lavandin-oil.html.

Tangerine Oil and Its Benefits for Seasonal Melancholy

Tangerine Oil and Its Benefits for Seasonal MelancholyTangerine… even the name of this luscious citrus fruit conjures up impressions of all that is tangy, sweet and juicy! These thin-skinned orange relatives have been enjoyed in drinks, desserts and main dishes for centuries in East Asia, and Christmas wouldn’t be the same in many regions of the British Commonwealth without a basket of tangerines in the kitchen. Aromatherapists use tangerine essential oil to lift seasonal depression, stimulate circulation, and as a digestive tonic [1]—and that’s just for starters!

The tangerine tree (Citrus reticulata) is an evergreen slightly smaller than a sweet orange tree, with shiny green leaves and smallish fruit with a reddish orange peel. The name “tangerine” comes from the port of Tangiers in Morocco[2] (the first port to grow tangerines for export to Europe), and literally means “of or from the region of Tangiers”!

Tangerines are techinically a variety of the mandarin orange, and can be told apart by their deeper orange color and lack of seeds: mandarin oranges have a yellow-orange peel and do contain seeds, called pips. Tangerines are also harvested in November, while the mandarin harvest occurs in February. Other varieties of mandarin include the clementine and the satsuma, named after the Satsuma region of Japan where it was first developed[3].

Along with the pomelo, citron, and papeda, the mandarin is also believed to be one of the four original species that were hybridized to produce all other citrus species, such as the lime, lemon, and sweet orange[3]. Interestingly enough, the mandarin is the only one of these four original species that is naturally sweet, as is its varietal the tangerine! Easy to peel and eat by themselves, tangerines are also added to fruit salads, desserts, main dishes, and squeezed to make juice. In Sichuan cuisine, the tangerine peel is dried and used as a zest in certain curries.

Tangerine essential oil is an orange-yellow liquid with a sweet, tangy aroma. The therapeutic compounds in the oil include a-thujone, a- and b-pinene, camphene, sabinene, myrcene, limonene, y-terpinolene, linalool, citronellol, terpineol-4-ol, nerol, and geraniol [2]. The primary use of tangerine oil in aromatherapy is as a nerve tonic with a calming effect on the emotions; it’s often inhaled from an oil burner or diffuser to relieve feelings of being “down” or “blue”, especially the seasonal depression commonly associated with winter[4]. As a gastric stimulant [1], tangerine oil is also used to treated conditions such as indigestion, flatulence, constipation, and diarrhea. The oil can stimulate circulation in the body, reducing edema and fluid retention [1], and has been used in massages to reduce and prevent the appearance of stretch marks. Like other citrus oils, particularly grapefruit and lemon, tangerine essential oil is also cleansing to the lymphatic system[5].

When using tangerine oil in a topical application, care should be taken to avoid exposing the treated skin to sunlight for at least 24 hours after treatment to avoid possible photosensitization [1]. Tangerine oil is considered generally non-sensitizing and non-irritating, but it should always be diluted before use and patch-tested on a small area of skin. With its tangy citrus scent, tangerine essential oil blends swimmingly with other citrus oils such as bergamot and neroli, floral scents such as lavender and clary sage, and spicy or balsamic oils such as frankincense, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, for an energizing synergy that just gives a boost to your day!


1. “Health Benefits of Tangerine Essential Oil. Organic Facts. Accessed April 11th, 2014. http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-tangerine-essential-oil.html.

2. “Tangerine.” Wikipedia. Accessed April 11th, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangerine.

3. “Mandarin Orange.” Wikipedia. Accessed April 8th, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandarin_orange.

4. Stansfield, Brenda. “Aromatherapy for Season Affective Disorder.” Mother Earth Living. Last modified September 15th, 2009. http://www.motherearthliving.com/natural-health/aromatherapy-for-seasonal-affective-disorder.aspx#axzz2ybO4xXhD.

5. Thomas, Pat. “A Citrus Celebration.” NYR Natural News. Last modified June 27th, 2013. http://www.nyrnaturalnews.com/article/a-citrus-celebration/.

Petitgrain Oil – Substitute for Neroli Oil

Petitgrain Oil- A Substitute for Neroli Oil with Astringent and Antispasmodic EffectsIs there anything more refreshing than the smell of fresh oranges in the morning? There’s a reason why so many people can’t do without their breakfast glass of orange juice, and essential oils distilled from citrus fruits such as bergamot, sweet orange, and petitgrain have the same awakening qualities. Perfect for direct inhalation as a sort of “scent therapy” to alleviate feelings of gloom or the winter blues, petitgrain essential oil also has antibacterial, antispasmodic, and astringent properties [1] that make it a superstar in treating ailments from your head to your toes! Read on to discover the time-tested ways petitgrain oil has been used in aromatherapy and spa treatments.

Modern petitgrain oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs of the bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium), which is also the source of the delicately floral neroli essential oil. Though it is sometimes used as a substitute for neroli oil in fragrances—in fact, petitgrain oil is even sometimes nicknamed “poor man’s neroli”—petitgrain oil has a woodier, more herbaceous scent that distinguishes it from its more floral relative [1]. However, both types of oil have been used in perfumes, bathwaters and colognes since the 1700s for their pleasant, floral-citrusy scent, ability to tighten and moisturize the skin, and reputed aphrodisiac effects. Today, petitgrain oil is mainly produced in Paraguay and France, with the French variety said to have a longer-lasting, more intense aroma. The name “petitgrain” also comes from the French, meaning “little grain”, a reference to the old practice of distilling petitgrain oil from the green, unripe bitter oranges when they were still the size of cherries! Nowadays, because it is more economical, most producers harvest the leaves and twigs of the bitter orange tree to distill petitgrain oil.

All citrus oils seem to have uplifting and cheering effects on the mood, and petitgrain essential oil is no exception. The easiest way to use petitgrain oil is simply to inhale its sharp fragrance right from the bottle for an instant dose of cheer! Just the smell of petitgrain oil is thought to refresh the mind and fight “brain fog”, confusion, mental fatigue or stress, and mild cases of the blues. In a massage or blended into a moisturizing lotion, petitgrain essential oil can decongest oily skin and scalp and help clear up skin conditions such as acne and other blemishes [2]. The oil’s antispasmodic properties can ease nervous tension, tight muscles, and even indigestion and stomach cramps by relaxing spasms in smooth muscle [3]. Finally, due to its antiseptic and antibacterial effects [4], petitgrain oil can be inhaled from a diffuser or added to bath water to fight infections, especially colds and other upper respiratory ailments.

Like its cousin neroli, petitgrain oil is generally considered non-sensitizing and non-irritating. Because it is distilled from the leaves and twigs rather than the fruit peel of the bitter orange, petitgrain oil does not contain the coumarins found in citrus peel that can cause photo-sensitization when exposed to sunlight [3].

In our opinion, it’s hard to create a bad blend with petitgrain oil—it works with many different essential oils!—but the absolute yummiest combinations we’ve discovered pair petitgrain oil with other citrus oils such as bergamot, neroli, lime and sweet orange; woody oils such as cypress and sandalwood; and floral scents such as clary sage, geranium, lavender, jasmine, and ylang ylang.


1. “Health Benefits of Petitgrain Essential Oil. Organic Facts. Accessed April 23rd, 2014. http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-petit-grain-essential-oil.html.

2. Ryman, Danièle. “Petitgrain Essential Oil”. Aromatherapy Bible. Accessed April 22nd, 2014. http://www.aromatherapybible.com/petitgrain.html.

3. Martin, Ingrid. 2006. Aromatherapy for Massage Practitioners. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

4. “Petitgrain (Bigarde) Essential Oil Aromatherapy.” Annie’s Aromatherapy. Accessed April 22nd, 2014. http://www.anniesaromatherapy.com/Petitgrain.php.

Palmarosa Oil Nourishes and Repairs Damaged Skin

Palmarosa Grass in the GardenAlthough once mentioned in the same breath as rose oil, today palmarosa essential oil has fallen out of common knowledge, so we at Essential Oil Exchange decided to provide a little refresher on its source and applications. Native to India and Southeast Asia, palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii) is a fragrant perennial grass; as you may have guessed from its genus name, palmarosa is related to lemongrass and citronella, and like them, its oil can be used to repel biting insects such as fleas and mosquitoes [1]. Palmarosa grass has been traditionally cultivated in India for its essential oil, which has recognized medicinal and household properties.

Because its odor is repellent to insects, in India palmarosa oil was often added to stores of grains and beans to prevent insect damage. The oil was also added to cooked food to kill bacteria and parasites and aid digestion as a gastric stimulant. Palmarosa oil also saw trade in ancient times that took it as far as ancient Egypt, where the dried grass was burned as temple incense. In Turkey, palmarosa oil was commonly used to adulterate the more expensive rose otto, and sometimes even passed off as rose oil due to its similar scent, which gave palmarosa its name.

Today, palmarosa essential oil is still sometimes used as a rose oil substitute in more inexpensive soaps, perfumes, and other fragrance products. The oil is also the main commercial source of geraniol, a component of many essential oils that is widely used in cleansers, detergents and perfumes for its aromatic properties. Palmarosa oil ranks up with citronella and lemongrass as an effective natural insect repellent [2] that also has antibacterial, anti-fungal [3], and antiviral actions [2]. In aromtherapy, palmarosa essential oil is mainly used to heal and tone the skin; its broad-spectrum anti-microbial actions [3] make it an effective balm for treating skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis that may be the result of fungal or bacterial infection. Palmarosa oil also hydrates the skin and encourages the cellular regeneration of damaged tissues [4], making it a perfect tonic for dry, weathered or mature skin; and because it’s generally non-sensitizing and non-irritating, palmarosa oil is safe for use on most skin types.

On the emotional plane, palmarosa is a gently uplifting and energizing fragrance, with many of the same antidepressant properties as a citrus oil such as bergamot or neroli oil. Its invigorating effect on the mind can help mitigate states of stress and nervous exhaustion, mental and physical fatigue, and the winter “blues” [4]. Ready to try palmarosa essential oil for yourself? Diffuse the oil from a burner or diffuser to create an uplifting fragrance for any season, or try mixing a small quantity of palmarosa with other floral-citrusy oils such as bergamot, geranium, lime, and rosemary for a sensual blend that will tone the skin and make you glow all over!


1. “Cymbopogon martinii.” Wikipedia. Accessed May 2nd, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cymbopogon_martinii.

2. Duke, J. A, and J. du Cellier. 1993. CRC Handbook of Alternative Cash Crops Boca Raton: CRC Press.

3. Pattnaik S, VR Subramanyam, M Bapaji and CR Kole. 1997. “Antibacterial and anti-fungal activity of aromatic constituents of essential oils.” Microbios. 89: 39-46.

4. “Palmarosa Oil Profile”. Oils and Plants. Accessed May 2nd, 2014. http://www.oilsandplants.com/palmarosa.htm.

Neroli Oil Brightens the Spirits, Calms the Nerves, and Brings Balance

Neroli Orange BlossomThe delicate floral scent of neroli essential oil has been prized in perfumery since the 1600s because of its ability to lift the mood, banish fatigue, and improve the skin’s complexion and color. Distilled from the flower of the bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium var. amara), neroli oil has a lighter aroma than other citrus-based essential oils, floral with rich honey undertones. Because of their delicacy, neroli blossoms must be hand harvested, usually from April to June, and distilled using water rather than steam to preserve their fragile array of chemical compounds.

Besides neroli oil, the bitter orange tree is also the source of petitgrain essential oil (from the leaves and twigs) and bitter orange oil (from the fruit rind) [1]. Originating probably from the Middle East, the juice and rind of the bitter orange were used medicinally throughout the Arab world and Europe: bitter orange juice was recommended by Gerard, a British herbalist, for healing scorpion stings and expelling intestinal parasites. Although bitter oranges were probably never used as a food—they are quite sour, as their name suggests—the juice may also have been used as a gastric stimulant and treatment for indigestion. Another common use was to place dried orange peel or whole fruit into linen chests to repel moths that could destroy textiles. This practice has survived in the pomander, an aromatic dried orange studded with cloves that can be used to scent drawers or entire rooms, often around Christmastime.

Neroli Oil Brightens the Spirits, Calms the Nerves, and Brings Balance

A traditional orange pomander studded with clove buds.

Neroli essential oil only really came into its own in the late 1600s, when the Italian princess Anne Marie Orsini began using the oil to scent her gloves and bathwater, making neroli oil the fasionable fragrance of the era: the name neroli actually derives from Nerola, the Italian city where she ruled [1]. Due to its distinctive yet unobtrusive scent, neroli oil features in up to 12% of perfumes produced today, and is speculated to be one of the secret flavoring ingredients in the closely guarded recipe for Coca-Cola [1]. Blending well with most essential oils, particularly floral and citrus oils such as bergamot and petitgrain, neroli oil is a common ingredient in facial creams and toners, including the famed orange flower water, because its astringent properties tone the skin [2]. However, since many commercial orange flower waters contain alcohol and other additives that can dry out the skin, we recommend buying your own neroli essential oil and diluting a bit in a spray bottle of water to make small, easy-to-use quantities of this excellent toner.

In aromatherapy, neroli essential oil is especially helpful for its calming effects on the emotions: simply inhaling neroli oil can help reduce nerves, balance emotional turmoil, and reduce feelings of distress [3, 4]. Some aromatherapists also use neroli oil to treat occasional sleeplessness [4]. Besides its toning actions on the skin, a massage with neroli essential oil can also stimulate circulation and minimize the appearance of stretch marks, varicose veins, and thread vein scars [2]. Its circulatory stimulant properties can also help diminish or eliminate under-eye puffiness and provide mild pain relief [2].

Unlike citrus oils derived from the fruit rind, neroli essential oil does not contain the coumarin compounds that can cause photosensitization and is safe to use by itself on skin that may be exposed to sunlight [1]. Whether you use it in a perfume, facial toner, massage, or simply diffuse it into your home, this light, flowery oil is sure to brighten your spirits and help your light shine!


1. “Neroli.” Wikipedia. Accessed May 7th, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neroli.

2. O’Leary, Sarah. November 9th, 2012. “Relieve Depression and Increase Confidence with Neroli Oil”. Holistic Hot Sauce. http://www.saraholeary.net/heal-depression-and-increase-confidence-with-neroli-oil/.

3. Keville, Kathy and Mindy Green. December 2008. Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art. Crossing Press.

4. Chen, Ying-ju, Fuchou Cheng, Ying Shih, Tsong-Min Chang, Ming-Fu Wang, Sen-Sen Lan. June 2008. “Inhalation of Neroli Essential Oil and Its Anxiolytic Effects.” Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine 5 (1).

Sweet Orange Oil as an Immune Stimulant and Nerve Tonic

Orange tree in groveOne of the most celebrated fruits in the world, sweet oranges account for up to 70% of all citrus species cultivated today. Sweet orange essential oil is also one of the most versatile essential oils, with an extensive list of household and medicinal uses. Produced as a byproduct of pressing orange juice, sweet orange essential oil can be used as a household detergent (especially on treated wood), hand cleanser, fragrance, and in aromatherapy. Sweet orange oil is a yellow-orange to dark orange mobile liquid with an unmistakable sweet citrusy fragrance. It blends well with lavender, myrrh, other citrus oils such as lemon and neroli, and spice oils such as clove, cinnamon and nutmeg.

The sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) is likely a hyrbid of the tangerine and pomelo, two other citrus species. Native probably to Southeast or East Asia, the sweet orange tree is a small evergreen with white flowers; the round fruit has a bright to dark orange peel. Orange cultivation may date as far back as 2500 BC in China, and there are now many varieties of orange and orange hybrid, including the blood orange, tangelo, bitter orange, navel, and Valencia orange. While historians believe the bitter orange was known in Southern Europe since the Crusades of the 1100s—where it was used for medicinal purposes—the sweet orange did not arrive in Europe until the late 15th or 16th century, through trade with the Middle East. Sweet oranges were considered a luxury item in the 1500s, and rich nobles would grow them in greenhouses called orangeries. Spanish colonists later brought the first oranges to the New World via Hispañiola and other Caribbean islands. Today, Brazil, California and Florida produce the most oranges for the worldwide produce market [1].

The simplest way to use oranges is simply to eat them fresh! People also love squeezing orange pulp to make juice, as well as grating the rind—called the zest—to flavor baked goods, liqueurs and savory dishes. In the centuries before refrigeration, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch sailors planted orange groves along their trade routes so they could harvest the vitamin C-rich fruits as a defense against scurvy. Even today, in situations where the nutritional value of food must be maximized while generating a minimum of food waste, oranges play a crucial role: though not as tasty as the pulp, submarine crews will often eat orange peels on long voyages [1].

The uses of sweet orange essential oil are almost as various as the uses of the fresh fruit. As a cleanser, sweet orange oil can be added to water and used to wash down surfaces such as kitchen and bathroom counters, sinks, and toilets, where it acts as a strong natural antiseptic [2]. Adding a small bit of orange oil or lemon oil to a wooden counter or cutting board can also revitalize wood that has been stained with food, ink or coffee residues.

Medicinally, sweet orange essential oil has both mild stimulant and sedative qualities on different organ systems: inhaled or applied via massage, it can boost sluggish digestion and be helpful in combating indigestion, flatulence, or lack of appetite, and may also stimulate the lymphatic system [3]. Conversely, sweet orange oil may also act as a mild nerve sedative, promoting calmness while also lifting the mood [4]. It has noted benefits for the skin because it supports the formation of collagen, the connective tissue within cells, and can also help the body get rid of excess fluid by acting as a mild diuretic [4]. Besides its direct antiseptic action on infections such as the common cold, sweet orange oil helps stimulate the immune system to stave off opportunistic illnesses [5].

 If you choose to work with sweet orange essential oil in a massage blend, be sure to wait at least 24 hours before exposing treated skin to sunlight to prevent a possible photosensitizing reaction. Or simply diffuse the fruity, refreshing scent of orange oil into your living room or bathroom to perk up the senses and energize the mind with every breath.


1. “Orange (fruit)”. Wikipedia. Accessed May 13th, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_(fruit).

2. Dabbah, Roger, VM Edwards and WA Moats. 1970. “Anti-microbial action of citrus fruit oils on selected food-borne bacteria.” Applied and Environmental Microbiology 19 (1): 27-31.

3. Morton, Julia F. 1987. “Orange: Medicinal Uses” In: Fruits of Warm Climates pp 134-142. http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/orange.html#Food%20Uses.

4. “Health Benefits of Orange Essential Oil.” Organic Facts. Accessed May 13th, 2014. http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/orange-essential-oil.html.

5. “Sweet Orange Essential Oil Uses”. Naturally Healthy Families. Last modified October 11th, 2011. https://naturallyhealthyfamilies.wordpress.com/tag/sweet-orange-essential-oil-uses/.