what is orange essential oil good for?

The use of essential oils, specifically orange essential oil, has increased dramatically in the last few years, prompting lots of requests about what orange essential oil is good for. Perhaps its most important function is how it lifts mood and reduces anxiety.

Sweet orange oil has been used in several studies to show how effectively it can help soothe people's nerves before they go to the dentist. Orange also has a lovely laxative quality and is soothing for spasms in the gastrointestinal tract. Composed of almost 97% limonene, the orange essential oil is one of the main ingredients in many household cleaning products, also helping to cut down grease and cleanse surfaces. 

The History of Orange Essential Oil

Oranges are believed to be native to the tropical regions of Asia, especially the Malay Archipelago. However, it’s said that Christopher Columbus some their seeds on his voyage to the Americas. As trade routes expanded, the seeds were distributed all over the new and old worlds. Eventually, orange seeds made their way to Haiti and the Caribbean. Today, the orange tree is considered one of the world's oldest and most commonly grown fruit trees.

Over the years, the orange essential oil has been used in aromatherapy for various ailments. Folk remedies using orange essential oil are abundant in multiple regions, including the Mediterranean and the Middle East. In China, the orange is considered a symbol of good fortune.

Also Read: What is Lavender Oil Good for?

About Sweet Orange Essential Oil

Europe leads the way with essential oil production, closely followed by Asia. Sweet orange, though, is the darling of US exports. Grown under our gorgeous warm sun, the whole world enjoys our lovely Florida treasure. 

The oil is pressed from the orange peel by a machine covered in tiny needles. Then the oil is separated from any juice and water using a centrifuge. 

In 2015, orange accounted for the most significant portion of the essential oils market; During that one year alone, it generated approximately 480 million U.S. dollars. Moreover, market research guru Statistica reported that orange oil made up 9.5% of all essential oils sold in 2020. 

That’s a staggering number of oils, so what’s everyone doing with it?

The most significant percentages go to the flavoring and cleaning industries. Orange is a desirable food additive and a cleaning agent. We’ll look at both of those. It is also well loved by the perfumery industries since orange pairs with woods and spices but also appears in many lights, fresh, summer-y citrus fragrances. 

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of this citrus delight, let’s debunk a popular myth. 

When people write articles about the benefits of sweet orange essential oil, they will often talk about the benefits of vitamin C.  One site we found even touts it as a source of 88% of an adult’s RDA. That would be all well and good if essential oils have the same effects as the fruits and herbs they are extracted from, but often that is not true because not all parts of the plant will arrive in the essential oils. 

There are several reasons for this. Usually, it will be because vitamins are water-based substances that will not pass through distillation. In the case of sweet orange essential oil, which is expressed rather than distilled, trace amounts may pass through. However, the weights of the molecules are so different, that they are easily separated off later in the manufacturing process. 

So if we ask what is sweet orange essential oil good for? The answer is lots of things. It makes you feel happier. It may help with weight loss. It’s helpful for your heart,  but please do not buy it as a source of vitamins. The amount of vitamin in sweet orange essential oil is a trace, verging on negligible. It would not be accurate to say there are none at all, but it is pretty damn close. Buying it for that purpose is not only a waste of money, but if you decide to drink it, as some suggest, it can be hazardous too. 

It’s always best to be transparent about these things, we feel.

Also Read: What Is Cypress Essential Oil Good For?

What is Orange Essential Oil Good for?

1. Aromatherapy

In a way, the title answers itself because the most beautiful thing about sweet orange oil isn’t necessarily what it can do to the body but more what it can do to emotions and the mind. Its aroma is the medicine.

Predominantly, it’s how uplifting orange essential oil makes people want to use it. Unlike a rose that uplifts but relaxes, an orange has a real get-up-and-go feeling about it.

It’s almost like it sings a song as you inhale it. Remember the lovely song from West Side Story? 

I feel pretty

Oh so pretty

I feel pretty and witty and gay

And I pity

Any girl who isn't me today

I feel charming

Oh so charming

It's alarming how lovely I feel

And so pretty

That I hardly can believe I'm real

You got it! It’s not got the bossy swagger of sweet basil or the dignified restraint of lavender. Instead, sweet Orange is playful, charming, and confident. 

Confident with a ribbon in her hair,  of course.

An article in the International Journal of Essential Oil Therapeutics described a series of experiments for thirty-nine healthy volunteers. First, the researchers monitored sweet orange essential oil's effects on blood pressure, breathing rate, pulse rate, and skin temperature. Then a series of rating scales were used to gauge any emotional places that may have taken place.

Compared to placebo, sweet orange oil caused significant decreases in their breathing and pulse rates, indicating that their degree of autonomic arousal had dropped. However, subjects in the group that inhaled the sweet orange group had described themselves as more vigorous and cheerful than the people in the control group. (Hongratanaworakit, 2007)

Also Read: What Is Peppermint Oil Good For?

2. Mental Health

Orange essential oil is a beautiful tool for aromatherapy. Have you ever drunk in the pure joy of freshly squeezed oranges? The bright, citrusy smell evokes warmth, happiness, and fond memories. The oil can provide that same effect, bringing a smile to your face every time you open the bottle.

A 2013 study gave thirty children between 6 and 9 years old some orange essential oil to inhale before they saw the dentists. Results showed that the aroma reduced their stress hormone levels and pulse rates. [1]

In a 2105 study, 100 women were divided into two groups. One group was considered the control group, while the other was an intervention group. The women in the intervention group were exposed to orange essential oil.  All women in the study were in labor. Interestingly, when researchers assessed the anxiety levels experienced by both groups, both groups reported feeling less anxious. Exciting to note, those in the group exposed to the essential oil showed better results than those in the control group. [2]

This decrease in anxiety may be due to Linalool, a constituent found in orange essential oil, which is believed to be helpful as an antidepressant, among other things.

Also Read: What Is Eucalyptus Oil Good For?

3. Limonene and Hypertension 

One of the reasons why orange is so sought after by the cleaning industry is thanks to its high levels of limonene; it comprises over 97% of the oil.

Limonene has many properties, including being investigated to slow the progression of COVID-19 infections.

Most pertinently, though, limonene seems to have an extraordinary action on fat. This is why it is so helpful for cleaning because it can cut through grease. Consider how that might be useful within the human body.

A fascinating trial published by a team in India in 2010 showed how promising its effects might be.

The trial involved tiny Wistar mice. They were fed a high-fat diet made of beef fat for eight weeks and then had their blood investigated; as we would imagine, things like cholesterol and blood pressure looked pretty dire. However, there were two groups of rats, and one was also treated with a 2% d-limonene added to their food pellets.  

Analysis showed that the d-limonene-treated rats had decreased blood pressure. The limonene had reversed the changes in the associated lipids (fats) and their related by-products and had acted as an antioxidant agent. In their words, d-limonene should be considered a promising lipid-lowering agent and antioxidant activities with blood pressure-lowering properties. (Santiago, 2010)

Also Read: What Is Ginger Essential Oil Good For?

Limitations of This Trial

Before you go bombing to grab the nearest sweet orange essential oil bottle, let us get some perspective on trial. We, as researchers, love to use these kinds of studies because our minds immediately go… “Ah, we have solved the problem of hypertension….”

But have we? Because these are mice, remember. Moreover, while rodents are used in these experiments for several reasons, including the fact they are evolutionarily similar to humans, they are not the same. There are often species differences, not only in physiology but also in cause and effect. A great example to illustrate this is anandamide. Anandamide is a neurotransmitter involved in mood. Research shows that low levels of anandamide in rats lead to depression. However, mice that have low grades are pleased little beings. So, we cannot say the same will be valid for humans.

Low levels of anandamide are associated with depression in humans, but it is unclear whether the low levels cause depression or the depression makes the levels dip. See how it can get confusing? Alternatively, at least less clear than it first seemed.

Nevertheless, there is more…

When we use essential oils in aromatherapy, we might inhale them or apply them topically. However, these rats ate the limonene, didn’t they?

The liver metabolizes essential oils in both topical or ingestion, but they have to get through different processes to get there,  so the dilution by the end will not be the same. So 2% concentration might be an ample dosage for a mouse, but it may not be the same for a human.

Also Read: Is Orange Essential Oil Safe For Dogs?

Are We Saying Sweet Orange Essential Oil is No Good for hypertension Then….?

So…You might think we are missing this.

Nothing could be further from the truth. We are excited! There are loads of associated trials that lead to similar conclusions. A 2017 trial showed that d-limonene protected rats against cerebral ischemia (brain being starved of oxygen) when they had strokes spontaneously induced by hypertension (Wang, 2017). A 1995 trial showed how it had protected hypertensive rodent lungs from changes in the veins and arteries. (Touvay, 1997)

It is all excellent stuff.

We expect to see great things happen, but we will not rely on it to help with hypertension.

Not this way, anyway.

But another way, maybe….

Also Read: Is Orange Essential Oil Safe For Cats?

4. Pain Relief

Orange Essential oil comprises over 90% limonene, Linalool, Citronellal, a-Pinene, and b-Myrcene. All these components are thought to assist with anti-inflammatory issues.

Two studies (one published in 2008 and the other in 2017) indicated that orange essential oil benefits those suffering from joint pain, at least in the short term. [3], [4]

The 2017 study involved inhaling orange essential oil. The previous one used a topically applied blend of orange and ginger essential oils.

Also Read: What Is Patchouli Oil Good For?

5. In The Home

The orange essential oil has a variety of uses in the home. Not only does it smell amazing, but with the antimicrobial benefits of Citronellal, it is also perfect for cleaning.

You can create an all-purpose spray cleaner by mixing 1 liter of water, 15 drops of orange oil, and 3 tablespoons of baking soda. Shake the blend before each use, and enjoy the intoxicating smell throughout your home.

The orange essential oil also acts as an excellent degreaser. You can apply a drop or two of the oil to the surface and wipe it down with a damp sponge or cloth. Be sure to do a spot check before using the oil in this way. It is worth noting that the degreasing action of orange essential oil will continue long after it has stopped being safe to use on the skin. This is a great way to use up old essential oils.

If you are looking for a wood cleaner for your furniture, orange essential oil might be the ticket. Not only will your furniture shine, but the orange scent will also spread throughout the space, which is a benefit for all.

Moreover last but not least, the orange essential oil can be a natural weed killer. Add dish cleaner, a few drops of orange essential oil, and white vinegar to a spray bottle and apply directly to your weeds. Be mindful not to spray on the plants you want to keep.

Also Read: What Is Juniper Essential Oil Good For?

Inhalation of Sweet Orange Essential Oil 

A study published in The Journal of Complementary Medicine in 2012 assessed the effects that inhaling sweet orange essential oil had.

Forty healthy male volunteers were split into five different groups. Each was given a different dilution of sweet orange essential oil, tea tree, and water used as control substances. So, ten drops, five drops or two and a half drops of sweet orange, 2.5 drops of tea tree, or the non-aromatic control, water. 

This paper is unclear how long they inhaled the oil, but they were exposed to a stressful test afterward. You may have seen it on social media. The Stroop Color-Word Test asks you to read the name of a color written in a different color. The test was then video monitored.

Researchers then tested psychological parameters to test how anxious they were, the tension in some of their muscles, and how tranquilized and sedated they had become. These were gauged through various means, including heart rate and electromyogram. 

The subjects were evaluated before inhaling their oil, before, during, and after the SCWT.

Results were not recorded for tea trees, except to say that those who had inhaled the sweet orange had significantly better results than those in the two control groups. All three groups presented a lack of significant alterations in state of anxiety, emotional tension, and levels of tranquility throughout the stressful situation. The anxiolytic activity of sweet orange essential oil was revealed. (Costa-Goes, 2015)

So many other trials, sweet orange essential oil helps reduce women's anxiety in labor (Rashidi -Fakari, 2015) and children waiting to see the dentist. (Soni, 2018)

This improves low libido, lowers PMS-related health problems, and fights hypertension because of its blood-dialing property. In addition, high vitamin C content coupled with the antioxidant property of orange oil helps reduce dark spots and wrinkles, which is the major driving factor for its demand in the personal care industry.

Safety Notes for Orange Essential Oil

As always, test the use of orange essential oil before diving right in and ensure proper dilution, less than 3% essential oil. In addition, pregnant women should be mindful not to use the oil during the first sixteen weeks of pregnancy.

Also, an orange essential oil comprises 90% Limonene, which oxidizes quickly and can lead to skin sensitization. So, replace your orange oil every six months,  and never use old oil.

Also Read: What Is Oregano Oil Good For?

DIY Recipes for Orange Essential Oil

1. Energy Diffuser Blend

Safety: Not for topical use.

2. Orange Vanilla Sugar Scrub

Method of Use: Mix all the ingredients in a glass jar.

Safety: Not suitable for use in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Do not use old oils...


The overall answer to what is sweet orange essential oil suitable for is that it makes you feel better. You feel calmer, more confident, and bursting with energy. Like all laxative fruits, the sweet orange essential oil will loosen stools, and as my dad used to say, always bet on the horse that just pooped. They are always on top of their game. Lastly, sweet orange makes your house smell unique and cuts through grease and grime and sanitizes counters of germs like E-coli and wounds of staph aureus. (Sonali Pathak, 2021)

It has a variety of uses in your home. The versatility available to apply it topically or diffuse it provides you various options. Furthermore, the aroma is uplifting when used in your space.


Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published