Think about the last time you opened a mandarin. As soon as it is peeled, its fresh scent permeates the air. Simply breathing in this scent can boost your mood and make you feel more relaxed. The sweet, tart taste is a welcome addition to any breakfast, dessert, or mid-day snack. However, mandarins are more than just a healthy snack. The essential oil derived from this small citrus fruit can help ward off infections, relieve muscle spasms, aid in detoxing the body, ease nervous tension, and reduce the appearance of scars. It can also improve digestion, maintain healthy blood circulation, and more.
History of Mandarin
Mandarin essential oil is derived from Citrus reticulata. You may recognize this as the scientific name for tangerines. Both mandarins and tangerines come from the same family, yet mandarins are more yellow in color while tangerines are more orange. Mandarins also have pips (small, hard seeds), while tangerines do not. Nevertheless, the two are closely related and offer many of the same therapeutic benefits—and their names are often used interchangeably.1
There are three different types of mandarin essential oil: red, green, and yellow mandarin. These are all derived from the same fruit but at different stages of maturity. Green mandarin essential oil is derived from unripe fruits, while red mandarin is the most mature. Yellow mandarin sits right in the middle.2
Mandarins are native to Southeast Asia and grow abundantly in India, Japan, Southern China, and the East Indies. A couple of varieties were taken to England in the early 1800s, and from there spread across the Mediterranean. In the mid-1800s, another variety was introduced to New Orleans. From there, mandarins spread to Florida and across the United States to California.3
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In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the mandarin has been traditionally used to support both the digestive and respiratory systems, as well as to improve poor appetite. The peel itself is used to stimulate metabolism and reduce excess phlegm. Both the mandarin and its peel are used in Ayurveda in similar ways.4
Mandarin essential oil is derived from the peels of Citrus reticulata through cold compression. As opposed to many other cold-pressed citrus oils, mandarin essential oil is not phototoxic. The resulting oil is fragrant and light yellow in color. It is known to have antiseptic, stomachic, circulatory, antispasmodic, digestive, hepatic, sedative, relaxant, tonic, digestive, depurative, and cytophylactic properties. This is all due to its unique chemical composition, which is made up of a variety of important terpenes:
Many batches of mandarin essential oil consist of 65–75% limonene, which greatly contributes to its cleansing and relaxing properties.
Uses for Mandarin Essential Oil
Mandarin essential oil offers a wide range of therapeutic benefits. This sweet-smelling essential oil can be used both aromatically and topically to boost mood, prevent infections, alleviate spasms, and more.
Reduces the Appearance of Scars and Prevents Infections
Mandarin essential oil is a mild, gentle oil, making it ideal for use on the skin. Try diluting a few drops of mandarin essential oil in a carrier oil and massaging it onto problem areas. Its cytophylactic properties help reduce the appearance of scars, acne, and other skin blemishes. It also helps add moisture to dry skin and promotes regeneration of cells, boosting the skin’s overall appearance.
Mandarin essential oil’s high limonene content also provides antioxidant properties. When used topically, it can help fight free radicals and reduce signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines.
The antiseptic properties of mandarin essential oil are effective at preventing infections in minor wounds such as scrapes, bites, and burns. It forms a protective barrier over the wound to block any harmful microbes from entering.5
For clear, healthy skin, add a drop or two of mandarin essential oil to your daily moisturizer. To help prevent infections, add a drop of this oil onto a bandage before covering the affected area.
Supports the Digestive System
The peel of the mandarin orange has been used traditionally in both TCM and Ayurveda to help support the digestive system, and the essential oil boasts the same benefits. The fresh, citrus scent helps promote digestion and is thought to stimulate the release of bile. It can also help eliminate toxins from the body.
Mandarin essential oil can help fight off stomach infections, increase appetite, protect the stomach from ulcers, and relieve indigestion. Try diffusing this essential oil throughout your home about 15–20 minutes before eating. If you are experiencing some digestive discomfort, try mixing mandarin essential oil with a carrier oil and gently massage over your abdomen. Alternatively, add a drop to a glass of water and drink it with a meal.6
Boosts Mood and Promotes Relaxation
Mandarin essential oil is calming and can help alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety. It’s a natural mood-booster that can also be used to improve sleep quality, soothe frazzled nerves, and reduce tension.
While many citrus oils are energizing, mandarin essential oil is unique in the fact that it is also sedative. Instead of boosting both your mood and energy, it uplifts your mood while promoting a sense of peace and relaxation. This is a great oil to diffuse right before bedtime or add to a warm bath.
Maintains Healthy Circulations
Topical use of mandarin essential oil can help promote healthy blood circulation. This is especially beneficial for those who may be suffering from rheumatism or arthritis. Proper blood circulation helps boost overall health and can provide the skin with a healthy, youthful glow. For these benefits, try using diluted mandarin essential oil in a full body massage.
Used topically, mandarin essential oil can help reduce muscle spasms, nervous tics, and intestinal spasms. It can also help support the respiratory system by reducing spasmodic cough when used aromatically. Try diffusing this oil throughout your home when you feel a cough coming on. You can also dilute mandarin essential oil in a carrier oil to use for massage. The fresh scent will help alleviate spasms while promoting full-body relaxation.
Mandarin essential oil is a wonderful oil to turn to when you feel as though you need support for both your body and your mind. It’s gentle enough to be used around children and can help promote a sense of peace in your home. Whether you’re looking to relieve spasms, boost your mood, or support the systems of the body, mandarin essential oil can help. Those who are constantly on-the-go can reach for our new Peace blend to reap many of these benefits.
Photo credits: YakovOskanov/shutterstock.com, NikolayLitov/shutterstock.com, SydaProductions/shutterstock.com