Orange, Sweet

Citrus sinensis

The sweet orange tree (botanical name Citrus sinensis) belongs to the Rutaceae family. This herb is also known by the name of Citrus aurantium var. dulcis. This is a very familiar evergreen tree having lesser spines compared to the Seville orange or the bitter orange tree. Sweet orange is a small tree, akin to a shrub, and has a greyish-brown bark and the tree is not as hardy as the Seville orange tree. The branches of this tree spread out into a somewhat regular hemisphere. The sweet orange tree bears evergreen leaves that are oval shaped and grows alternately to a length of three to four inches. On the upper side, the leaves are green and glossy, while pale in the reverse side. The flowers of this species are potently aromatic, while the sweet orange fruit is almost earth-shaped, somewhat rougher and darker compared to the common varieties of citrus. According to ancient records, the fruit was first mentioned in the writings of Arabs. Aromatic, volatile oil is extracted from the peels of the sweet orange oil, which is also known as the Oil of Portugal.

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Sweet orange essential oil is among the various citrus oils that has several therapeutic properties and, hence, is used extensively in aromatherapy. Use of this natural oil not only cures several ailments and disorders, but it also possesses the invigorating features of solar energy which infuses into our body and the nervous system. This natural oil extracted from the peel of the sweet orange fruit also enhances the clarity of the mind and emotional balance. In fact, sweet orange essential oil is especially beneficial during the harsh winter months. Use of sweet orange essential oil facilitates in sorting out as well as liberating our deep emotional concerns. Unlike many other essential oils, the oil of sweet orange is very inexpensive and one can afford to use it generously in the home. In effect, use of this oil brings in a relaxing and soothing effect on the nerves and, thereby, helps one to have a sound sleep.

The distillate of the sweet orange is obtained from a tree which is said to be native to China. However, the species has been introduced to various other regions of the world and is now cultivated commercially in the Mediterranean region, France, the North and South America and Portugal. Sweet orange essential oil is highly uplifting and its use helps to give a feeling of being alert and cheerful, while remaining relaxed. Sweet orange oil also soothes the nerves and the digestive system and alleviates stiffness from throbbing and tense muscles when a blend of this oil is massaged on the affected areas. In addition, the oil of sweet orange also helps to purify the blood, thereby, detoxifying the system and renewing the skin. This attribute of the oil helps one to maintain his or her youthful appearance.

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It may be noted here that sweet orange essential oil is perhaps among the most extensively used citrus essential oils. This oil is obtained from an assortment of orange trees that are actually much smaller and less tougher compared to the bitter orange tree. Sweet orange essential oil is obtained from the peel of the orange fruit by a process known as cold compression. Alternately, sweet orange essential oil may also be extracted through distillation of the fruit peels. However, sweet orange essential oil obtained by distillation is more prone to oxidation quickly compared to the oil that is extracted by the cold compression process.

Sweet orange essential oil has a variety of uses in aromatherapy. For instance, this natural oil is used to cure oily skin, constipation, bronchitis, colds, flu, insomnia and stress. Some of the therapeutic properties of sweet orange oil and the essential oil extracted from the aromatic blossoms of the bitter orange tree are common. In addition, sweet orange essential oil and orange blossom essential oil also share a number of common properties.

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The essential oil obtained by cold compressing the peels of the orange fruit is known to be vivid and glowing oil that brings in pleasure and warmness to the mind, facilitating people to relax and sleep. This oil is especially beneficial for children as it helps to induce sleep among them at night. Sweet orange oil is highly effective in strengthening the immune system. At the same time, it helps to cure and combat colds and flu as well as get rid of toxic substances from the body.

Sweet orange oil possesses diuretic properties and is, therefore, helpful in balancing the water retention of the body as well as in regulating obesity. This oil has the aptitude to invigorate the lymph, which, in turn, facilitates in balancing the water processes, and detoxification of the body. In addition, sweet orange essential oil promotes the immune system and ensures the overall well-being of people who use it on a regular basis.

This essential oil is also stomachic, which denotes that it is good for everything concerning the stomach. As far as the digestive system is concerned, sweet orange essential oil is effective in treating constipation and dyspepsia (indigestion). In addition, this natural citrus oil also helps in alleviating nervousness, anxiety and stress.

In addition to the therapeutic properties of sweet orange oil and its importance in aromatherapy, this citrus oil also has numerous industrial as well as domestic utilities. Below is a brief discussion on some of the industrial and domestic uses of sweet orange essential oil that may be of use and interest to you.

  • Sweet orange essential oil is used in a variety of foods to add essence. It may be added to foodstuff, such as chocolates, biscuits, beverages, desserts, sweets as well as bakery items or confectioneries. The industrial uses of sweet orange essential oil include its addition in the manufacture of body lotions, soaps, face creams, deodorants, room sprays or air fresheners.
  • D-limonene is an important element or chemical found in sweet orange essential oil and it is known to be a highly effective insect repellent. You may spray this oil or wipe it on places from where insects may be invading your home - for instance cracks around the doors and windows and you will be surprised to see that your house if free from all types of insect intrusion. In addition, you may also use this essential oil in your pantry with a view to ward off moths, ants and worms. Using sweet orange essential oil for this purpose instead of any chemical substance that is loaded with toxins, is safe.

In aromatherapy, sweet orange essential oil is generally used as an anti-viral oil to facilitate in avoiding the spread of viruses. It may be noted that sweet orange oil has very high vitamin C content. In addition, it also possesses sufficient antioxidants. These two features of this inexpensive citrus oil make it a product that is in high demand in the cosmetics industry. Inhaling sweet orange essential oil works as a tranquilizer and helps to sedate the nervous system, thereby, providing relief from several nervous problems. Unadulterated sweet orange essential oil is beneficial for treating infections and it also acts as a general tonic when it is inhaled or applied externally. Like in the case of many other citrus oils, sweet orange oil is used by aromatherapists to help getting rid of toxic substances from the body. In addition, unadulterated sweet orange essential oil is held in high esteem because it possesses depurative (purifying or sanitizing), diuretic and anti-spasmodic characteristics. In fact, this citrus essential oil obtained by cold compression of the peels of sweet orange fruit is extensively used in different formulations and blends since the aroma of this oil is highly gratifying to most people. As aforementioned, sweet orange essential oil possesses tranquilizing properties which aid in the preparation of remedies that help to induce sleep by sedating the mind. This essential oil has a calming effect in blends meant for promoting relaxation and, at the same time, this oil possesses uplifting or inspiring properties when used in creative blends.

Before winding up the topic, it may be mentioned once again that while sweet orange oil is extracted from the peel of the orange tree by the cold processing method, other "orange or citrus" essential oils are obtained from the Seville orange or bitter orange tree. For instance, petitgrain essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the bitter orange tree, while neroli essential oil is obtained by distilling the aromatic blossoms of the Seville orange tree. Similarly, bergamot essential oil is obtained by pressing the peels of the bitter orange fruits.

Sweet orange essential oil possesses a citrus-like and cheerful aroma that is extremely helpful in uplifting or inspiring the emotions as well as the mind. While this citrus oil is somewhat stimulating, in general, use of sweet orange essential oil produces a calming effect and, hence, can be used as an anti-depressant. This essential oil obtained by cold processing the peels of the sweet orange fruit is considered to possess cheering, warming and soothing properties. These properties of this citrus oil are believed to help in balancing the nervous system as well as our emotions. In effect, in aromatherapy it is advisable to blend the different citrus or orange essential oils to treat some conditions, especially mental tension and nervousness.

Sweet orange essential oil easily blends with several other oils creating a wonderful and effective amalgamation having a sweet citrus tone. This essential oil especially blends well with spice oils like clove. The blend of sweet orange essential oil and clove oil is very alluring and effective during the cooler months as it provides pleasant warmth to the body and the mind. In addition, this citrus oil also mixes wonderfully with other essential oils, such as lavender and frankincense. When blended with lavender, sweet orange essential oil offers a pleasant and relaxing fragrance, while its mixture with frankincense essential oil has a slight citrus tone.

Sweet orange oil is not only one of the most common essential oils, but has also been used traditionally to treat and provide protection from several ailments and disorders. Traditionally, this citrus oil has been used to pacify palpitations, for skin care applying it topically in very little measures and also for treating bronchitis by using the oil in steam inhalers. Many people also promote sweet orange essential oil as a remedy for tumors, to cure inflammation as well as an anti-coagulant that may help in perking up the blood circulation throughout the body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), dried out peels of the sweet orange are used to cure colds, coughs, malignant breast sores as well as anorexia (loss of appetite and incapability to eat).

General properties

  • antispasmodic
  • digestive
  • immune system
  • sedative
  • stomachic

Blends well with

General uses


Sweet orange essential oil extracted by distilling the peel of the sweet orange tree should be used for therapeutic purposes with caution and only after consulting a medical professional familiar with the use of essential oils. When applying this oil topically on the skin, one should refrain from exposure to sunlight, since a few varieties of this natural oil may result in making the skin photosensitive. As in the case of any other genuine essential oils, ensure that children do not have access to sweet orange essential oil and use it on their own. Often allowing children to use pure essential oils may prove to be detrimental for their health simply owing to the fact that they may become over enthusiastic and use these oils in excessive amounts. Remember, when you are using any essential oil in its pure form, the lesser used is better for health.

Both sweet orange essential oil and bitter orange essential oil contains a chemical substance known as limonene and it may result in dermatitis (skin inflammation) in some people having sensitive skin. It may be noted that in aromatherapy, the essential oil of Mandarin (botanical name Citrus reticulata) is also frequently referred to as the 'orange oil'.

If you are using sweet orange essential oil for therapeutic purposes, never use it in high concentrations. Instead, always dilute it by adding suitable carrier oil or a lotion base before you apply the natural oil on your skin. This essential oil may result in different reactions in different people using it and in specific situations/ conditions. Hence, it needs to be reiterated that you should consult a professional and competent medical practitioner or someone who is familiar with the use of essential oils before using the sweet orange oil in aromatherapy.


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