Two clear glass bottles containing orange essential oil, on a wooden table, surrounded by segments of orange and leaves. Share on Pinterest

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Essential oils are concentrated oils that are derived from plants. Several types of oils are produced from citrus species, including oranges, lemon, and grapefruit.

Orange essential oil is extracted from the rind of the sweet orange, Citrus sinensis. This is done by a method called cold pressing, which uses pressure to squeeze the oils from the rind. Sometimes, the leaves and flowers from the orange plant can be used as well.

Research has shown that some essential oils may have specific health benefits.

So, knowing that, what exactly are the benefits associated with orange essential oil? And how can you use it? In this article, we’ll answer those questions and help you understand how to use orange essential oil safely.

Orange essential oil has a variety of uses. These can include applications to:

  • lift your mood or reduce stress
  • treat skin conditions such as acne
  • reduce pain or inflammation
  • relieve stomach upset
  • use as a natural household cleaner
  • add a pleasant scent to a room or to products like perfumes and cleaners
  • give flavor to a variety of foods and beverages

Although orange essential oil has many uses, it’s important to remember that many of them are supported through anecdotal evidence. This means that the benefits are related to personal experience instead of being backed by scientific research.

You now know some of the ways that orange essential oil can be used, but what does science say about its potential uses and benefits? Quite a bit, actually.

Below, we take a deeper dive into some of the research that’s been done so far on orange essential oil.

Antimicrobial activity

A 2012 study looked at the effect of orange essential oil on E. coli isolates obtained from beef. These isolates can potentially cause food poisoning. Results indicated that after 24 hours, a 1 percent or lower concentration of orange essential oil inhibited the bacteria at refrigeration temperatures.

Another study looked at the effect of orange essential oil on strains of Staphylococcus aureus (staph bacteria) that are resistant to antibiotics. They found that when added to infected human cells in culture, low concentrations of orange essential oil killed the bacteria without harming the cultured cells.

Orange essential oil may also prevent the growth of fungi that can cause food to spoil. One study found that orange oil provided some protection against four species of fungi.

Another study recorded activity against eight fungi that affect vegetables, although essential oils like clove and garlic were more effective.

Summary

Orange essential oil can be effective at stopping the growth of some types of bacteria and fungi.

Anxiety and depression

Aromatherapy with orange essential oil appears to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

In a 2013 study, it was found that aromatherapy with orange essential oil reduced the pulse rate and stress hormone levels in children undergoing a dental procedure.

Additionally, in a 2015 study, women in labor reported less anxiety after inhaling orange essential oil than women in the control group who inhaled distilled water.

A 2019 study on mice looked at the inhalation of orange essential oils and its potential effect on depression. The researchers found that the mice who inhaled the orange essential oil displayed fewer depression-like behaviors.

Summary

Orange essential oil appears to be effective at reducing levels of stress and anxiety. It may also be beneficial for depression, although more research is needed.

Pain relief

A 2017 study involving people with bone fractures looked at whether inhaling orange essential oil could help with pain. Compared to a control group, people inhaling orange oil reported less pain.

In 2008, researchers assessed if a blend of ginger and orange essential oil could help with knee pain when applied to the skin. Compared to a control group, people using the essential oil blend reported greater short-term pain relief, but the oil didn’t seem to help with long-term pain.

Summary

Some small studies have indicated that using orange essential oil topically or for aromatherapy may help with short-term pain.

Anticancer and antioxidant activity

Limonene, a component of orange essential oil, has been investigated as a potential cancer treatment. A study from 2012 found that orange oil rich in limonene both inhibited the growth and promoted the death of colon cancer cells in culture.

A 2017 study found that orange essential oil inhibited the growth of lung and prostate cancer cell lines in culture. Additionally, increased cell death was seen in the lung cancer cell line. Orange essential oil was also observed to have antioxidant activity.

Summary

Studies have indicated that orange essential oil or its components can inhibit the growth and lead to cell death in some cultured cancer cell lines.

Because these studies were done in a test tube and not in the human body, additional research is needed to learn more about these properties.

Exercise performance

A small 2016 study evaluated the effect of inhaled orange flower essential oil on exercise in student athletes. The researchers found that people who inhaled the oil had a significant decrease in running times as well as an increase in lung function.

Due to the small size of the study, more research is needed to support this benefit.

Weight loss

A 2019 study on rats evaluated if orange essential oil could promote weight loss. They found that obese rats that were fed capsules of orange essential oil showed a reduction in weight gain as well as lowered cholesterol.

More research is needed to determine if orange essential oil can have the same effect on humans.

Insecticide activity

A 2012 study looked at the effect that orange essential oil had on housefly larvae and pupae. It was found to have insecticidal properties by both contact and fumigation.

Diffusion

Perhaps you’d like to raise your mood a little? Or maybe you’d like to add the refreshing scent of orange to a room? Diffusion can help you do that.

A diffuser allows an essential oil to evaporate, typically using heat. As evaporation occurs, the scent of the essential oil spreads throughout the room.

There are many types of diffusers you can buy, either online or at specialty stores that sell aromatherapy products. Each type of diffuser will have its own specific set of instructions. Be sure to carefully follow all product instructions when using your diffuser.

Spray

Do you want another way to add an orange scent to a space? Or maybe you’d like to use orange essential oil as a natural cleaner? You can make an orange oil spray by following these steps:

  1. Add orange essential oil to water, preferably in a glass bottle. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) recommends using 10 to 15 drops per ounce of water.
  2. Although not necessary, adding a dispersing agent such as solubol to the solution can help the oil to better disperse through the water.
  3. Shake the bottle well to mix the contents.
  4. Spray as desired.

Massage oil

Are you looking to relieve pain or inflammation? Consider making your own massage oil infused with orange essential oil.

To do this, you’ll need to dilute orange essential oil in a carrier oil, like coconut oil or jojoba oil. The NAHA suggests using 20 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil to make a massage oil with a 3 percent solution.

Any essential oil has the potential to cause a skin reaction when applied topically. If you’re concerned about a possible reaction, test a little bit of diluted orange essential oil on the inside of your elbow before using it on larger areas.

Avoid using old or oxidized orange essential oil, which can cause dermal sensitization. This is a type of allergic reaction that may not be noticeable after one use, but it can cause severe reactions after you’ve used it a few times.

Some citrus essential oils are phototoxic. This means they can cause a painful skin reaction if you use them on your skin and then go out in the sun.

Orange essential oil has a low risk of phototoxicity, but you should still exercise caution if you plan on going outside after using it on your skin.

As with other essential oils, follow these safety precautions when using orange oil:

  • Don’t apply undiluted essential oil to your skin.
  • Keep the oil away from your eyes.
  • Store the oil out of reach of children and pets.
  • If you use the oil for aromatherapy, make sure that the space you’re in is ventilated well.
  • If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking prescription medications, speak to your doctor before using orange essential oil.

Orange essential oil can be purchased either online or at a store that sells natural products. Follow the tips below to ensure you purchase good quality orange essential oil.

  • Check the label for the scientific name: Citrus sinensis. Bitter orange essential oil is another oil with a very similar name: Citrus aurantium. Don’t confuse the two.
  • Verify product purity. You should be buying 100 percent orange essential oil. If this isn’t the case, it should be indicated on the label.
  • Choose dark bottles. Essential oil can be damaged by sunlight and dark bottles help prevent this.
  • Smell the oil before you buy, if possible. If it doesn’t smell like orange, don’t buy it.
  • Stay away from any product that claims on its label or through advertising that it can treat a specific health conditions. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate essential oil like it does medications.

Orange essential oil can be used for a variety of applications that range from lifting mood and reducing stress to adding a fresh, citrusy aroma to a room.

Research has shown that orange essential oil may have several benefits. Some examples include antimicrobial activity, pain relief, and anticancer properties.

Always be sure to use essential oils safely. If you’d like to use orange essential oil but have health-related questions or concerns, speak with your doctor before using the oil.