• Say Hello to Orange Essential Oil: Liquid Sunshine

    plate of orange slices

    A Little About Orange

    When you hear the word orange I’ll bet you think about the oranges you buy in the produce department to eat, juice, and/or zest. So do I. But… there are other types of oranges, and they are also used to make essential oils.

    I often tell you that you really need to know the Latin or scientific name for the oils you use, as well as the plant part that is distilled to make it and I stand by that assertion, especially when we’re talking about orange. To that end, here is a list of a few of the orange essential oils out there:

    • Sweet orange* – Citrus sinesis (pressed from the rind) – This is the classic orange we peel and eat
    • Blood orange* – Citrus sinesis (pressed from the rind)
    • Bitter orange – Citrus aurantium (pressed from the rind) – This is the orange typically used to make marmalade
    • Neroli – Citrus aurantium (distilled from the blossom)
    • Petitgrain – Citrus aurantium (distilled from the leaves)
    • Bergamot orange – Citrus bergamia (pressed from the rind) This orange is sometimes used to make marmalade and always used to make Earl Grey tea.
    • Mandarin orange** – Citrus reticulata (pressed from the rind)
    • Tangerine** – Citrus reticulata (pressed from the rind)
    • Clementine – Citrus clementina (pressed from the rind)

    *Blood orange and sweet orange are different varieties of the same species

    ** Tangerines are a sub-group of mandarins. So… all tangerines are mandarins but not all mandarins are tangerines.

    Confused or overwhelmed yet? If your oils are labeled properly, you’ll be fine. However, if your bottle simply says “orange” and doesn’t have a 2-part scientific name, you should be very confused. Which one of these oranges is it? Is it whole bunch of them blended together? Is it some synthetic oil masquerading as essential oil? You may never know.

    I just posted about bergamot a couple weeks ago, and plan to write about all of them at one point so today I’m going to confine myself to Citrus sinesis, better known as sweet orange and blood orange.

    What is Orange Essential Oil Good For?

    Sweet and Blood Orange essential oil are best suited for emotional complaints. It’s most often used to lift the spirits and ease mild to moderate depression*, but is also effective at calming anxiety*. One smell and you immediately know why it’s often referred to as liquid sunshine and why so many people like to diffuse it in the dead of winter.

    *Not an alternative to medical treatment for clinical depression and anxiety. It can, however, be a useful adjunct to the treatments your doctor prescribes.

    Orange Essential Oil Blends

    Orange blends with many oils that have similar or complementary actions, such as:

    • Lavender (my favorite combo)
    • Angelica
    • Neroli
    • Petitgrain
    • Cypress
    • Frankincense
    • Geranium
    • Jasmine
    • Juniper
    • Rose
    • Cinnamon
    • Clove
    • Nutmeg

    Keep in mind that blood orange has a bit tangier aroma than sweet orange so your blends will have to be adjusted depending on which one you’re using.

    Precautions When Using Orange Essential Oil

    There are no specific precautions for using orange. Just be aware that almost any essential oil can cause you to become sensitized to it if you apply it topically too often, especially without diluting it.

    Sweet orange is one of the few citrus oils that is safe to use topically if you’re going to be in the sun, so that’s not even a precaution.

    Orange Trivia

    I learned a couple interesting things while looking for orange trivia.

    1. The orange was once held to be a symbol of innocence and fertility.
    2. The word orange comes from the Arabic word Narandj.
    3. The orange most likely made its way to Europe as one of the spoils of the Crusades.
    4. The orange definitely made its way to California via missionaries.

    I have to admit I’m a bit shaken and conflicted about the first bit of trivia. On the one hand, I kinda like the idea of getting out the oranges if I want to put on an appearance of innocence. On the other, at 50 years old, I could do without the fertility juju. What about you? Did you learn anything interesting? Let me know in the comments, would ya?