The Health Benefits of Orange Essential Oil

Orange essential oil laying on a table

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Orange essential oil is a natural product commonly used in aromatherapy. Thought to possess healing properties, orange essential oil contains the aromatic compounds of the sweet orange plant (Citrus sinensis).

Orange essential oil is used to relieve stress in aromatherapy but is also utilized as a flavoring agent by food manufacturers and a fragrance by cosmetics and cleaning supplies manufacturers.

Health Benefits

According to aromatherapy practitioners, inhaling essential oil molecules (or absorbing essential oils through the skin) transmits messages to the limbic system (a brain region responsible for controlling emotions and influencing the nervous system).

These messages are believed to affect biological factors such as heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, and immune function.

Proponents claim that using orange essential oil in aromatherapy can treat or prevent the following health problems:

  • Acne
  • Anxiety
  • Colds and flu
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Inflammation
  • Stress

In addition, the orange essential oil is said to improve mood and promote detox.

To date, research on the health effects of orange essential oil is limited. However, some preliminary studies suggest that orange essential oil may offer certain health benefits.

Here is a look at some of the findings from the available research:

Anxiety

Breathing in the scent of orange essential oil may help alleviate anxiety, according to an early study published in Physiology and Behavior

For the study, 72 women ages 22 to 57 were placed in one of two waiting rooms prior to undergoing dental treatment. In the first waiting room, an electrical dispenser was used to diffuse the aroma of orange essential oil; in the second room, there was no ambient odor.

According to the research, people exposed to the aroma of orange essential oil had less anxiety, greater alertness, and a more positive mood than those offered no aroma.

In a more recent study published in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, scientists found that exposure to the aroma of orange essential oil significantly reduced anxiety in rats during a maze-based experiment.

Food Poisoning

A number of laboratory studies suggest that orange essential oil may possess antibacterial properties that could be useful in destroying bacteria known to cause food poisoning.

A 2008 study published in the Journal of Food Science reported that orange essential oil was able to neutralize 11 strains of the Salmonella bacteria associated with food poisoning. It is unclear if the results of the test-tube study might translate to actual benefits in humans.

Due to the lack of research, it is too soon to recommend orange essential oil for the prevention or treatment of food poisoning of any sort.

Administration

When combined with a carrier oil (such as jojoba, sweet almond, or avocado), orange essential oil can be applied directly to the skin.

Orange essential oil also can be inhaled after sprinkling a few drops of the oil onto a cloth or tissue (or by using an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporizer). Several drops of the oil can be added to a warm bath.

Like most essential oils, orange oil is not intended for internal use. Although it may be safe to add a drop or two to water as a health tonic, as some alternative practitioners suggest, it is unknown at which point it may become toxic.

Orange essential oil can cause mild to severe toxicity when consumed, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, fever, anxiety, dyspnea (difficulty breathing), hematuria (blood in urine), and tachycardia (rapid heartbeat).

Keep all essential oils out of the reach of children.

A Word From Verywell

Due to a lack of supporting research, it is too soon to recommend orange essential oil for any health purpose. If you're considering using it, talk to your doctor to weigh the potential risks and benefits.

Keep in mind that alternative medicine should not be used as a substitute for standard care. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

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