Therapeutic Properties Described in The Aromatherapy Literature
From The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy1:
- Antidepressant, Antiseptic, Therapeutic, Digestive, Sedative, Stomachic
- Excellent aroma for children – relaxing and joyful
- “refreshing, cheerful, and sensual nature gives warmth and joy…ideal when we take life too seriously and forget how to laugh.”
From Essential Oils: A Handbook for Aromatherapy Practice2:
- Antibacterial and astringent properties
- Uplifting and mood enhancing
Sweet Orange in Research
Orange essential oil is a very popular oil in aromatherapy and recent research studies report findings that support its use in supporting psychological health and wellbeing. It has been found to improve overall mood and calmness3, reduce anxiety3,4, boost energy5, and reduce autonomic nervous system arousal5. In addition to its psychological benefits, orange essential oil also exhibits antibacterial6, antifungal, and antioxidant properties7.
Summary of Research Studies
- Researchers investigated the effects of orange essential oil inhalation on mood and emotional states in a dental office waiting room and found that "women who were exposed to orange odor had a lower level of state anxiety, a more positive mood, and a higher level of calmness."3
- Subjects inhaled either orange essential oil, tea tree oil, or water and were then asked to perform a difficult, anxiety-inducing task. The subjects who inhaled orange reported significantly lower anxiety, subjective tension levels and significantly higher tranquility levels than those in the other two conditions.4
- A randomized, placebo-controlled trial investigated the effects of transdermal absorption of sweet orange essential oil on mood and physiological states. Even in the absence of the aroma (subjects wore breathing masks), the topical application of sweet orange oil on the abdomen and absorption through the skin caused subjects to rate themselves as "more cheerful and more vigorous" compared to the control group. The orange essential oil also caused significant decreases in breathing rate and pulse rate.5
- Sweet orange essential oil showed significant antibacterial activity against multiple strains of bacteria in vitro.6
- Orange essential oil was found to have significant antioxidant activity and significant antifungal activity against some common food molds in vitro.7
Generally considered non-toxic, large amounts of orange oil are not healthy to ingest or apply topically. In addition, it should not be applied to skin that will be exposed to direct sunlight, as it may cause heightened sensitivity and phototoxicity.
1 Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. International Centre of Holystic Aromatherapy, 2003.
2 Rhind, Jennifer Peace, and David Pirie. Essential Oils: A Handbook for Aromatherapy Practice. Singing Dragon, 2012.
3 Lehrner, J, et al. “Ambient Odor of Orange in a Dental Office Reduces Anxiety and Improves Mood in Female Patients.” Physiology & Behavior, vol. 71, no. 1-2, Oct. 2000, pp. 83–86., doi:10.1016/s0031-9384(00)00308-5.
4 Goes, Tiago Costa, et al. “Effect of Sweet Orange Aroma on Experimental Anxiety in Humans.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 18, no. 8, Aug. 2012, pp. 798–804., doi:10.1089/acm.2011.0551.
5 Hongratanaworakit, Tapanee & Buchbauer, Gerhard. (2007). "Autonomic and Emotional Responses After Transdermal Absorption of Sweet Orange Oil in Humans: Placebo Controlled Trial." International Journal of Essential Oil Therapeutics. vol. 1., pp. 29-34.
6 Tao, Neng-Guo, et al. “Chemical Composition and Antimicrobial Activities of Essential Oil from the Peel of Bingtang Sweet Orange (Citrus Sinensis Osbeck).” International Journal of Food Science & Technology, vol. 44, no. 7, 2009, pp. 1281–1285., doi:10.1111/j.1365-2621.2009.01947.x.
7 Singh, Priyanka, et al. “Chemical Profile, Antifungal, Antiaflatoxigenic and Antioxidant Activity of Citrus Maxima Burm. and Citrus Sinensis (L.) Osbeck Essential Oils and Their Cyclic Monoterpene, Dl-Limonene.” Food and Chemical Toxicology, vol. 48, no. 6, June 2010, pp. 1734–1740., doi:10.1016/j.fct.2010.04.001.