Orange essential oil: The cleaning oil - The essential oils collection [Oils101]

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Our sense of smell is strongly connected to our emotions and memories as our scent receptors are located next to the emotional centres in our brain, the amygdala and hippocampus. That is one of the reasons why aromatherapy is so powerful – using oils can trigger the body’s own healing process to begin, as well as soothe and calm your mind to actually allow the process to take place.  Essential oils can also interact with certain hormones, neurotransmitters, or enzymes, resulting in a specific change to our bodies’ chemistry. Oils are powerful, and they have little or no side effects.

Orange Essential Oil

Sweet Orange Essential Oil, or as it is more commonly known as, Orange oil, is one of the most affordable, versatile and cheerful oils you can use. It has a beautifully uplifting aroma and is one of the most popular oils to use as an ingredient in household cleaners.

Derived from the peels of the fruit of Citrus sinensis, Orange essential oil is an anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antispasmodic, antiseptic, aphrodisiac and sedative. Based on these properties, the oil has a wide variety of uses domestically, industrial as well as medicinally. Domestically it can be used to add flavour to desserts, sweets, and drinks. Industrially it is used in personal care products, cleaning products, as well as hygiene products. The oil is obtained through a process of cold pressing, and the main components are alpha-pinene, citronellol, geraniol, sabinene, myrcene, limonene, linalool, and neral.

Aromatherapists claim the oil has the following uses in treating or preventing health problems:

  • acne

  • anxiety

  • colds and flu

  • constipation

  • depression

  • inflammation

  • stress

  • dull skin

  • flatulence

  • dental health mouth

Orange essential oil is also used to improve mood and promote detox.

[Refer to the safety information mentioned below.]

Botanical name

Citrus sinensis

Common method of extraction

Cold Pressed/Expressed

Plant part typically used

Citrus Rind (Peel)


Pale Yellow to Orange



Perfumery note


Strength of initial aroma

Medium - Strong

Aromatic description

Citrusy, sweet, reminiscent of orange peels, but more concentrated.

Essential oil uses

1.       Aphrodisiac properties

Orange essential oil has mild aphrodisiac properties. Systematic and regular use can cure problems such as frigidity, erectile problems, impotence, loss of interest in sex, and decreased libido.

2.       Skin saver

Orange oil has been shown to effectively fight bacteria that causes acne breakouts, and is effective even against antimicrobial resistant bacteria. The oil can fight signs of aging like wrinkles and dark spots since its high vitamin C content means it can help to promote the production of collagen.

3.       Relieves depression and anxiety

Research published in the Advanced Biomedical Research journal suggests that orange essential oil helps reduce pulse rate and salivary cortisol that is secreted when one is in a state of anxiety. Breathing in the scent of orange essential oil may help alleviate anxiety, according to a small study published in Physiology & Behavior, in 2000. In a more recent study (published in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry in 2010), scientists found that the aroma of orange essential oil significantly reduced anxiety in rats during a maze-based experiment. Orange oil has also been proven to be uplifting and tranquilizing. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Complimentary Therapies of Medicine found that olfactory stimulation using orange and rose oils induces physiological and psychological relaxation. The study investigated the effects of orange and rose essential oil on prefrontal cortex activity in 20 female participants’ brains, which revealed their level of stimulation or relaxation

4.       Better sleep

Research has shown that orange essential oil is both uplifting and calming, making it the perfect oil for brightening your mood in the morning or calming your nerves after a long day. A systemic review of essential oils published in 2015 includes sweet orange on its list of beneficial oils for insomnia.

5.       Pain reducer

If you suffer from muscle, bone or joint pain, orange oil can help turn off inflammatory responses that increase swelling in tissue, making it a natural remedy for bone and joint pain. A randomized clinical trial published in 2017 looked at the effects of orange oil aromatherapy on patients admitted to the emergency ward of a hospital for bone fractures. It was found that orange oil can relieve pain in patients with fractured limbs while having no effect on their vital signs.

6.       Lower blood pressure

Orange oil is a natural remedy for high blood pressure and is capable of improving blood flow and fighting hypertension, some of the biggest risk factors for heart disease. A study published in 2014 compared the effects of inhaling fresh air compared to orange essential oil. They found that the people who inhaled the orange oil experienced significant reductions in both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In addition, they experienced a “feeling of comfort” during inhalation of the orange essential oil.

7.       Natural antibacterial

Orange oil has been found to prevent the proliferation of E. coli bacteria in one 2009 study published in the International Journal of Food and Science Technology. E. coli, a dangerous type of bacteria present in contaminated foods like some vegetables and meat, can cause serious reactions when it’s ingested, including kidney failure and possible death. Another 2008 study published in the Journal of Food Science found that orange oil can inhibit the spread of salmonella bacteria since it contains powerful antimicrobial compounds, especially terpenes.

8.       Immunity enhancer

Limonene, which is a monocyclic monoterpene that’s present in orange peel oil, is a powerful defender against oxidative stress, which can negatively affect our immune systems.

9.       Relieves inflammation

The strong anti-inflammatory effects of orange oil have been researched in regard to its effects for fighting pain, infection and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In fact, among several popular anti-inflammatory oils, including lemon, pine and eucalyptus oils, orange oil has shown the greatest reduction in inflammation.

10.   Prevents infections

Wherever there is a cut or abrasion, there is always a chance of the wound becoming septic due to a bacterial infection. This is even more likely when the wound has occurred from an iron object because there remains a chance of it becoming infected by tetanus germs. Essential oil of orange can help people avoid both, septic fungal infections and tetanus as they inhibit microbial growth and disinfect the wounds. A study conducted by Dr. Steven Ricke et al. at the University of Arkansas, US throws light on the antistaphylococcal properties of orange essential oil.

11.   Spasms

Spasms can result in many irritating or serious problems including continuous coughing, convulsions, muscle cramps, and diarrhea. To avoid these effects, spasms must be treated early or prevented entirely. This can be done with the help of orange essential oil, which relaxes muscular and nervous spasms.

12.   Insecticidal properties

Research suggests that orange essential oil is effective against larvae and pupae of a housefly and may help in the elimination of houseflies. Orange essential oil is also great to keep ants away.

13.   Sedative effect

Orange essential oil alleviates anxiety, anger, depression, and certain bodily inflammations. A study cited in the Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry journal confirms the anxiolytic-like effect of this oil.

14.   Treating arthritis

Arthritis or pain and swelling of joints can be extremely debilitating. Bone deformities, loss of cartilage, and autoimmune diseases can cause arthritis. Irrespective of the cause, chronic inflammation is the main symptom of arthritis, so the anti-inflammatory action of orange oil can provide relief.

15.   Relieve seasonal allergies

Seasonal allergies are usually caused by respiratory allergens such as pollen and spores of mould.  When these particles are inhaled, the lining of the nasal passages get irritated. White blood cells in the capillaries recognize these particles as foreign bodies trying to enter the body, and they unleash an immune response against the allergen by releasing histamines. This starts an inflammatory process characterized by red and itchy eyes and nose, excessive mucous secretion, and sneezing. Smelling the oil can help with the treatment of allergic reactions.

16.   Dental hygiene

Because orange oil has the ability to fight bacterial growth, it can help to protect teeth and gums from infections. It is also used as a teeth brightener.

Major constituents:


Blending tips:

Orange essential oil blends well with other citrus essential oils as well as essential oils of cinnamon, cloves, frankincense, ginger, black pepper, sandalwood, and vetiver.

Tips on using this essential oil safely:

Orange oil can be phytosensitive. Only apply the oil to your skin at night, and if during the day stay out of direct sunlight for at least 12h after application.

When buying orange essential oil, make sure you are buying from a high-quality brand that is therapeutic grade and that is organic, so it hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals. This is especially important if you are planning to use it topically.


General safety information

Because essential oils are highly concentrated they should always be used with caution. Essential oils should not be used undiluted, and should never be applied to the eyes or mucous membranes. Toxicity can occur if too much of the oil is absorbed, hence always dilute. A skin patch test is always recommended prior to using any new essential oil, or after first time use after a long break. Although most essential oils have been proven by science to work as efficiently, or even more, as allopathic drugs, they are not a substitute for medical care. Chronic conditions should not be self-treated, and you should never avoid or delay getting standard medical care. Always consult with your doctor first. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult with their doctor before using any natural or alternative treatment, and also speak to your doctor first before using oils on your kids. People who are epileptic, have liver damage or issues, have cancer, are diabetic, or have any other medical problem, or who suspect they might have any of these conditions, should definitely consult with their doctor first.


Shelf life and care:

Although pure essential oils do not go rancid, they do gradually lose their therapeutic value and aroma as a result of oxidation. The lifespan varies according to the botanical, distillation process, storage and care as well as manufacturer and supplier. To maximize the shelf life, store the oils in dark glass bottles, tightly closed, in a cool and dry place. Keep out of the sun. If the aroma, thickness or colour has changed, discard.


Important information about essential oils:

The essential oil information provided on A life lead simply is intended for educational purposes only. The references to safety information, constituents and percentages is generalized information. The data is not necessary complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate. The essential oil photos are intended to represent the typical and approximate colour of each essential oil. However, essential oil colour can vary based on harvesting, distillation, age of the essential oil and other factors.


Essential oil book suggestions:

Wilson, R. 2002. Aromatherapy: Essential Oils for Vibrant Health and Beauty. This book covers the extraction of Essential oils.

Lawless, J. 2013. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health and Well Being. San Francisco: Conari Press.