Sweet orange essential oil is known to most as simply "orange essential oil." However, the name "sweet orange" helps distinguish it from other varieties of orange essential oils, such as bitter orange.
Think about the last time you ate an orange—the scent alone is instantly uplifting and energizing. Sweet orange essential oil helps and increase energy and mood, but also boasts a variety of other health benefits. This powerful essential oil can fight acne, relieve inflammation, promote better digestion, and improve the appearance of skin. It can also be used around the house to disinfect surfaces and freshen the air.
The History of Sweet Orange
Sweet orange essential oil is derived from Citrus sinensis . This particular variety of orange does not grow wild anywhere, but it is thought to have originated in Asia. The sweet orange is believed to be a hybrid of the pomelo and the mandarin. For a while, botanists believed it to be a type of bitter orange tree, so it was referred to as C. Aurantium var. sinensis.
In the 15th century, Portuguese travelers brought sweet oranges from China to West Africa and Europe. In the 16th century, these oranges were introduced to England. Today, the sweet orange tree is widely cultivated throughout warmer regions. 1
The sweet orange tree can reach up to 20 feet (6 meters) in height and has beautiful white flowers that develop into delicious fruit. You may be familiar with a popular variety of sweet orange known as blood orange, whose pulp is not a bright orange color, but rather a beautiful red. 2
Sweet orange has been used throughout history as a natural remedy for many ailments. Folk remedies in the Mediterranean, Middle East, China, and India used orange for several therapeutic benefits. For example, orange was used to relieve fatigue, treat colds, cough, indigestion, poor circulation, spasms, and skin infections. 3
Sweet orange essential oil is cold pressed from the rind of the Citrus sinensis fruit. The resulting essential oil is yellow to orange in color and has a sweet, fresh, citrus scent. It is known for being an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, diuretic and tonic. This is all due to its chemical composition, which consists of:
- Sabinene 3
Sweet orange essential oil has a very high limonene content, which makes for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Common Uses for Sweet Orange Essential Oil
Sweet orange essential oil boasts a range of health benefits. Whether you’re looking to stimulate your digestive system, reduce spasms that lead to cramps or a cough, or fight off infections, this essential oil can do the trick.
Alleviates Muscle Spasms
Spasms are involuntary muscle contractions, and they are often the cause of cramps, muscle pain, abdominal discomfort, and even coughs. The antispasmodic properties of sweet orange essential oil help reduce spasms. 4
For abdominal pain, muscle pain, or cramps, mix a few drops of sweet orange essential oil with a carrier oil and massage gently onto the affected area. To treat a spasmodic cough, you can use this massage oil directly on your chest and neck, or simply diffuse sweet orange essential oil throughout the home.
Accumulation of gas can often be painful, causing heartburn or extreme stomach discomfort. The carminative properties of sweet orange essential oil can relieve this pain and reduce the accumulation of gas. It helps to relax the abdominal muscles, allowing gas to be eliminated without pain. 4
To reduce gas, add a couple drops of sweet orange essential oil to a carrier oil and massage onto the lower abdomen. You can also add a drop of this essential oil to a glass of water and take internally.
Improves Mood and Increases Energy
Perhaps one of the most well-known therapeutic properties of sweet orange essential oil is its ability to reduce stress and fatigue. Simply inhaling this oil can reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. By improving mood, it also helps promote mental clarity.
For a quick pick-me-up, diffuse sweet orange essential oil throughout the home with a room diffuser. You can also keep a bottle on hand and dab a drop or two onto your wrists and neck to keep the scent with you throughout the day.
Promotes Better Digestion
Sweet orange essential oil is a cholagogue, meaning it stimulates the flow of bile from the liver. The secretion of bile is vital to the entire digestive process. It also helps stimulate healthy enzyme and hormone secretion. Sweet orange essential oil’s carminative and antispasmodic properties also work to relieve flatulence and reduce stomach cramps. 4
To help stimulate your digestive system, diffuse this oil throughout the home 15–20 minutes before eating. Alternatively, mix a few drops with a carrier oil and use as a massage oil on the stomach and lower abdomen, or add a drop to a glass of water and take internally.
Soothes Sore Muscles and Joints
Chronic inflammation is an underlying cause of many diseases. No matter what the cause of inflammation, sweet orange essential oil can help. It is especially effective against the pain caused by inflammation.
If you are suffering from muscle or joint pain caused by inflammation, mix a few drops of sweet orange essential oil with a carrier oil and massage onto sore areas. You can also add a few drops of this oil to a relaxing bath.
Boost Immune System Function
The high limonene content in sweet orange essential oil makes it a powerful antioxidant. It helps the body to fight free radicals, which helps reduce signs of aging and the risk of developing certain diseases. The diuretic properties of this oil assist in ridding the body of toxins, which in turn helps the immune system function more efficiently.
Due to the tonic properties of this oil, it helps strengthen all systems of the body. When all systems are working efficiently, you are healthier overall. 4
To boost immune system function, diffuse this oil throughout the home or add a drop to a glass of water and take internally.
Treats Skin Problems
Sweet orange essential oil is a powerful antiseptic and antioxidant, which is the perfect combination to achieve healthy, young-looking skin. The antiseptic properties fight acne-causing bacteria. Rather, the antioxidants reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging.
The antiseptic properties in this oil are also effective at preventing infections in minor scrapes, burns, bites, or other minor wounds.
For clean, healthy skin, add a few drops of sweet orange essential oil to your daily cleanser or moisturizer. You can even spot-treat acne by placing a drop of this oil onto a cotton swab and gently dabbing the affected areas. To prevent infection in minor wounds, add a drop of this oil onto a bandage before covering the wound.
Alternative Uses for Sweet Orange Essential Oil
While sweet orange essential oil holds a lot of health benefits, it is also a useful essential oil to use around the home.
Repels Ants and Flies
Sweet orange essential oil is a great way to get kill ants without the use of harmful chemicals. 5 A 2011 study showed that this essential oil is particularly effective at killing houseflies, especially the larvae and pupae. 6
If you’re having an insect problem in your kitchen, simply mix 10–15 drops of this oil in a spray bottle with water. Spray this mixture in the areas you suspect are infested.
Flavors Food and Drink
Essential oils are extremely concentrated, so you only need a drop or two when using them in recipes. You can use sweet orange essential oil to flavor water, your favorite citrus dessert, or homemade candies.
The antibacterial properties of sweet orange essential oil make it a great way to naturally disinfect surfaces. Make a quick and easy disinfecting spray by mixing 10–15 drops of orange essential oil in a spray bottle with water and white vinegar. Use this mixture to clean surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom.
Sometimes your space just needs a quick freshen up. To make your entire home feel cleaner, diffuse sweet orange essential oil throughout a few rooms. The delightful, uplifting scent can get rid of odors from pets, cooking, and smoke. As a bonus, it can help you feel happier and more energized.
Safety and Precautions
Sweet orange essential oil is safe for aromatic, topical, and internal use when used with caution.
Although most cold-pressed citrus oils are considered phototoxic, this particular variety of orange essential oil is not. 7 However, sweet orange essential oil may irritate sensitive skin, so you should always conduct a patch skin test before use. It is recommended to dilute in a carrier oil before applying this oil topically.
If using this essential oil internally, you should always consult with a doctor before use and ensure that you are only purchasing 100 percent therapeutic grade essential oil.
If pregnant or breastfeeding, consult with a doctor before you use any essential oils. You should never attempt to use essential oils in place of a prescription medication or to treat a chronic condition without first consulting a medical professional.
In conclusion, sweet orange essential oil is a versatile essential oil that is a wonderful addition to everyone's collection. It can be used aromatically to improve mood and freshen the air in the home, topically to alleviate pain and reduce chances of infection, and internally to boost immune system function. With its wide range of uses, sweet orange essential oil should be a part of everyone’s daily routine.