Orange Essential Oil generally comes from the Citrus sinensis plant, using the peel of the fruit to obtain the oil. It is extracted via cold-pressing the peel, and generally yeilds around 0.3 -0.5 %. Citrus sinensis (also known as Citrus aurantium var. dulcis and C. aurantium var. sinensis) is part of the Rutaceae family and can also be known as Portugal or China orange.
There are a few variations of Orange Essential Oil, and each is usually obtained from different variations of the plant itself.
Bitter Orange Essential Oil is obtained via the Citrus aurantium var. amara plantn known as the bitter orange tree. The bitter orange tree is an evergreen tree that is hardy and resistant to most diseases (source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless). The bitter orange tree is native to the Far East but today it is commonly found in the Mediterranean region and the the warmer states of the United States.
Sweet Orange Essential Oil comes from the Citrus sinensis plant. It is a species of orange tree that is smaller than the bitter orange tree. The fruit of the sweet orange tree is larger than the bitter orange variety (source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless). However, the sweet orange tree is found in more or less the same places as the bitter orange tree. Sweet Orange Oil is also extracted from the fruit of the tree via cold expression; it is possible to distill Sweet Orange Oil.
The main difference between these two oils is that Bitter Orange Oil is photo-toxic whereas Sweet Orange Oil is not photo-toxic (unless it is distilled). Both types of orange oil are predominately composed of similar chemical components, giving them the same therapeutic properties.
Orange Blossom Essential Oil also comes from the Citrus aurantium var. amara plant. It is also commonly known as Neroli Essential Oil, and is extracted from the flowers of the bitter orange tree by distillation. The flowers of the orange tree produce essential oil in small quantities and therefore this is an expensive essential oil because of the difficulties and labor required to extract it.
Orange Essential Oil can reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Many people diffuse this oil in their home or in the workplace, where it can improve and calm your mind and emotions. The uplifting vapours of Orange Essential Oil has also been found to reduce the pulse rate, and creates a serene atmosphere. It is also an excellent aid for a good nights sleep.
Orange EssentialOoil can also be a very good remedy for acne due to its anti-bacterial and inflammatory properties. Like most oils, it is too strong to be used undiluted on the skin, so it should be mixed with carrier oil before use. Once diluted, you can apply it to your face and it will fight infections and soothe any swelling and redness.
When massaged into the muscles with carrier oil, Orange Essential Oil can ease cramps and reduce muscle spasms, therefore not only can it assist with leg cramps, for example, but also is effective with easing menstrual cramps. The antispasmodic properties of Orange Essential Oil can also be useful for easing a very persistent and heavy cough.
Due to its antiseptic properties, Orange Essential Oil can be used as a mouthwash to treat mouth ulcers and the gum disease gingivitis. Its anti-inflammatory properties will also reduce swelling of the gums and ease the pain of ulcers. To use it as a mouthwash, add a few drops of Orange Essential Oil to a glass of water and rinse around your mouth.
If you struggle with seasonal allergies, even a small quantity of Orange Essential Oil can help. Once you start feeling that funny sensation in your nostrils, just sniff the oil immediately. You can also apply a drop of oil in each nostril (for people who are not sensitive to strong aromas). Inhaling Orange Essential Oil will help relieve you of the allergies.
The oil can aid digestion, curb constipation and reduce or eliminate flatulence. To ease indigestion, add 6 drops of Sweet Orange Oil in your diffuser for inhalation. You can also mix 4 drops of the oil with a teaspoon of olive oil and rub it on the abdominal area. The oil stimulates quick secretion of all digestive enzymes, so constipation and flatulence will gradually fizzle out.