10 Benefits of Orange Essential Oil & Ways to Use It

If you’re feeling low or anxiety is causing you to lose sleep, then orange oil may be the remedy for you. Known for its stimulating and energizing aroma, orange oil can alter your mood and diffuse anxiety.

This oil is also well-known for its immunity-boosting effects. Orange oil has been used for thousands of years to improve digestion, treat skin problems, and for cleansing and purification rituals.


What is orange oil?

Orange oil, also known as sweet orange oil, is derived from the fruit peel of the Citrus sinensis orange plant. The process of cold compression is used to extract this oil.

It contains at least 83 percent limonene, which gives it the distinctive citrus scent. It also includes 9 % linalool, 4% myrcene, 1% alpha-pinene, 1% sabinene and less than 1% of many other compounds (1).

This oil is yellow or orange in color and watery in viscosity. It has antiseptic, anti-depressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, carminative, diuretic, cholagogue, sedative and tonic properties.

History of orange oil

The sweet orange tree is believed to have originated in Asia. It is considered to be a hybrid of pomelo and the mandarin.

The Portuguese travelers brought sweet oranges from China to West Africa and Europe in the fifteenth century. They were introduced to England in the sixteenth century. This tree is now grown throughout warmer regions.

Sweet orange has been used as a natural remedy for many ailments for centuries. It has been used in folk medicine in India, China, Mediterranean, and the Middle East as well.

Health benefits of orange essential oil

1. Lowers stress

One of the best-known benefits of orange oil is its ability to reduce stress and improve mood. Natural health practitioners have been using orange oil to lessen depression and uplift the mood for centuries.

Thanks to its anxiolytic properties, even a five-minute exposure to this oil can promote mental clarity and improve mood.

According to a 2014 study from Japan, when 20 female university students inhaled orange oil or rose oil, there was a significant decrease in oxyhemoglobin concentration in the right prefrontal cortex and an increase in comfortable, relaxed and natural feelings (2).

Orange oil is also helpful in calming the nerves after a long day and improving sleep. It is beneficial for people with insomnia

You can diffuse orange oil throughout your home or inhale it directly to bring on relaxation.

2. Boosts immunity

Orange oil improves the immune system by being a potent antioxidant and fighting against free radicals that can negatively affect our health.

It contains limonene, a monocyclic monoterpene, which helps the body to fight free radicals and reduce the risk of certain diseases. The tonic properties of this oil improve the functioning of different systems of the body.

According to a 2003 study, when limonene is fed to mice, it improves their white blood cell count, and this boosts immunity (3).

To boost your immune system, diffuse orange oil in your home. You can also dilute a drop of orange oil in a glass of water and drink it.

3. Alleviates muscle cramps

Orange oil has antispasmodic properties. Spasms, also known as muscle cramps, are involuntary muscle contractions that can cause pain, abdominal discomfort and even cough.

Spasms in skeletal muscles can result in sprains and muscle tears. The relaxing effect of orange oil can help reduce spasms and bring immediate relief.

For muscle cramps or abdominal pain, dilute orange oil with a carrier oil and massage it gently on to the affected area.

4. Prevents bacterial infections

Orange oil has antibacterial properties which help in preventing serious diseases.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Food and Science Technology, orange oil can prevent the proliferation of E. coli bacteria in food. E. coli is a dangerous bacteria that can contaminate vegetables and meat products and lead to kidney failure and even death (4).

The terpenes and limonene present in orange oil also show inhibitory activity against salmonella (5). This oil helps prevent gastrointestinal reactions, fever, and other side effects.

5. Improves digestion

Orange oil has cholagogue properties, which means it stimulates the flow of bile from the liver. It also boosts healthy enzyme and hormone secretion. These actions help to improve the digestive process.

Orange oil also has carminative and antispasmodic properties which help to reduce flatulence and stomach cramps.

You don’t have to ingest this oil to avail its benefits for the digestive system. You can diffuse this oil in your home or mix it with a carrier oil and massage it on your stomach.

6. Lowers blood pressure

Orange oil also helps to reduce high blood pressure. It also helps to improve blood flow. During a 2014 study, 13 male university students either inhaled orange oil or fresh air.

The results showed that the students who inhaled orange oil experienced a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The subjective ‘feeling of comfort’ was significantly higher during the inhalation of orange oil than during the inhalation of fresh air (6).

You can diffuse orange oil in your home or massage diluted orange oil on your abdomen to lower high blood pressure and to improve blood flow.

7. Anti-inflammatory

Orange oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties which help in fighting pain, infection and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

It helps ease muscle and joint pain caused by inflammation. Applying orange oil to the site of injury can reduce the redness and swelling.

In case of respiratory allergens, the anti-inflammatory actions of orange oil can help relieve runny nose and cough.

According to a 2009 study that investigated the antioxidant potential of various essential oils, orange oil showed the most significant reduction in inflammation (7).

If you have muscle or joint pain caused by inflammation, massage the affected area with diluted orange oil. You can also add a few drops of orange oil to warm bath water and soak in it.

8. Treats skin problems

Orange oil is rich in antioxidants that keep the skin looking young and healthy. The vitamin content in orange oil helps fight the sins of aging like wrinkles and dark spots, and it also improves the production of collagen (8).

The antiseptic properties of this oil prevent infection of minor scratches, wounds, burns or bites.

The antibacterial properties of orange oil also help in treating acne breakouts. Orange oil is also helpful in cases where antimicrobial resistance has developed in bacterial strains involved in acne development (9).

For youthful and healthy skin add a few drops of orange oil to your daily moisturizer. You can add a drop of orange oil to a cotton ball and gently apply it on your acne. For minor wounds, put a drop or two of orange oil on a bandage before you cover the injury.

9. Improves dental hygiene

The antibacterial properties of orange oil can also help promote dental health. Orange oil reduces bacteria in the mouth and brings down inflammation of the gums. Not only does it combat bad breath it also protects teeth and prevents inflammatory conditions like gingivitis and pyorrhoea.

Orange oil can also help ease a sore throat when you add a few drops to salt and water and gargle with it. This remedy is also helpful for reducing the pain caused by mouth ulcers. Mix a few drops of orange oil with coconut oil and try coconut oil pulling with it.

10. Fights cancer

Orange oil contains large amounts of d-limonene, which is a dietary monoterpene with strong anti-tumor activities. Several animal studies have shown that d-limonene has chemopreventive activity against rat mammary, lung, and forestomach cancers.

Limonene and other monoterpenes can fight carcinogenesis due to the induction of Phase II carcinogen-metabolizing enzymes, which results in carcinogen detoxification (10).

According to another study from India, orange oil can suppress tumor growth because it enhances the detoxification function of the liver. It also improves nerve signaling and cellular rejuvenation (11).

Another study from 2010 has shown that orange oil can stop the proliferation of human lung and colon cancer cells. This is because hydroxylated polymethoxyflavones found in orange oil can modulate key signaling proteins related to cell proliferation and apoptosis (12).

Some other uses for orange oil

1. Ant and fly repellent

Orange oil can also be used to get rid of ants and flies in the kitchen without the use of harsh chemicals. Put 15 drops of orange oil in a spray bottle filled with water and spray on the infested areas.

2. Cleaner and disinfectant

The sweet and citrusy fragrance and antibacterial properties of this oil make it a great natural disinfectant. Add around 10 to 12 drops of this oil in a spray bottle filled with water and white vinegar. Use this to clean countertops, cutting boards, and appliances.

3. Flavoring agent

You can use orange oil to flavor desserts and candies. Since this oil is so concentrated, you need just one drop to add flavor to your recipe.

4. Air freshener

Diffuse orange oil in your home to get rid of odors from pets, cooking or smoke. This uplifting aroma will energize you as well.

Side effects and precautions

Orange oil is safe when used with caution. Always dilute it when you use it topically. Also, avoid sunlight after you apply it topically as it may cause phototoxicity.

Orange oil can cause an allergic reaction in some people which can lead to hives, redness, and swelling. People, who are allergic to oranges or other citrus fruits, should not use this oil.

Always do a skin patch test before you use orange oil on your skin.


Pregnant and nursing women, children and people with medical conditions should exercise caution while using orange oil. Consult with your doctor before you use orange oil.

Final thoughts

Orange oil is derived from the fruit peel of the Citrus sinensis orange plant.

This oil is yellow or orange in color and watery in viscosity. It has antiseptic, anti-depressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, carminative, diuretic, cholagogue, sedative and tonic properties.

These properties of orange oil help lower stress, boost immunity, alleviate muscle cramps, lower inflammation, fights cancer, improve oral health, and treat skin problems.

You can use this oil aromatically, topically and internally. However, use this oil with caution and avoid it if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medication.


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