The 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).


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, 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's a look at some findings from the available research:


Breathing in the scent of orange essential oil may help alleviate anxiety, according to a small study published in Physiology & Behavior in 2000. For the study, 72 people (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. Study results showed that participants exposed to the aroma of orange essential oil (especially females) had lower levels of anxiety and a more positive mood than those in the control group.

In a more recent study (published in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry in 2010), 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. For instance, a test-tube study published in the Journal of Food Science in 2008 determined that orange essential oil helped inhibit the effects of Salmonella.

Since there is currently a lack of clinical trials testing the use of orange essential oil against foodborne pathogens, it's too soon to recommend orange essential oil for prevention or treatment of food poisoning. It's also important to note that orange essential oil should not be taken internally without the supervision of a health professional.


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.

A Word From Verywell

Due to a lack of supporting research, it's 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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