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15 December 2021 / Laura Garvin Gomez

Orange Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits

Whether sweet or bitter, orange essential oil has tons of benefits for the body and mind.

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Seven slices of orange lined up in a circular pattern.

A symbol of good fortune, the orange has been used for centuries throughout India, China and the Mediterranean to treat a wide range of conditions.

More than just a juicy addition to a delicious breakfast, oranges are renowned for their abilities to brighten and boost – and their essential oils are no exception.

Oranges were once considered the food of the gods due to their vibrant flavour and brightening qualities, and throughout history have been prized not just as a fruit but as a medicinal extract too.

Like many other citrus oils, oranges show strong antibacterial behaviours and are often used for cleaning, as well as facilitating wellness across the body and mind.

What is Orange Essential Oil?

There are many different variations of orange essential oils or oils that are derived from various parts of the orange tree, native to China, and its similar species.

These include orange blossom oil (also known as ), sweet orange, bitter orange, oil, and (which is derived from the leaves of the bitter orange tree).

Generally, however, sweet orange and bitter orange are considered to be the most distinctive of the orange essential oils.

These oils are cold pressed from the peel of the orange fruit and tend to be dark yellow in colour, producing a sweet and vibrant scent akin to the fruit itself.

Sweet Orange Oil vs. Bitter Orange Oil

There are two main types of orange essential oil commonly sold. These are:  (Citrus Sinesis) and  (Citrus Aurantium).

The two oils are extracted from slightly different species of the fruit (the sweet orange is naturally smaller) but both have highly similar uses and benefits.

The main difference between the two oils is that bitter orange is considered more phototoxic and is therefore not recommended for skin.

What are the health benefits of Orange Essential Oil?

So, what does orange essential oil do? Considered to be one of the most popular citrus oils, orange oil carries a host of benefits shared by this fruit family. Orange essential oil has been known to:

  • Be a successful cleaning agent
  • Reduce blood pressure and inflammation
  • Calm anxiety
  • Cleanse skin
  • Relieve pain

Close up of a juicy orange sliced open.

Is orange essential oil a useful cleaning agent?

The cleaning power of citrus oils extends to orange; the oil is highly antibacterial and can attack a number of dangerous microorganisms. 

Evidence suggests that orange oil is particularly useful for cleaning kitchens and pantries.

found that orange oil was able to successfully prevent E.coli contamination in foods, and a  found that it was able to inhibit the spread of salmonella.

Orange essential oil is also said to naturally repel ants, a common pest to find around food. 

A few drops of orange essential oil in a spray bottle of water makes for an effective cleaning spray that you can use on surfaces, shelves and other places in which food needs to be protected.

You can also include an emulsifier such as dish soap to prevent the oil and water from separating over time.

Orange oil can help reduce inflammation and blood pressure

Orange oil is also a soothing oil, able to calm the body in a number of ways.

found that orange oil was able to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure more effectively than fresh air when inhaled, helping to protect against the damage caused by a spike in blood pressure, and guard heart health in particular.

The anti-inflammatory abilities of the oil also help it to turn off inflammatory responses in the body that cause swelling in muscular tissue.

This helps it to prevent an inflammatory reaction around injured muscles and joints and soothe the accompanying pain.

These effects are so powerful that a found that sweet orange essential oil was even able to reduce the pain levels of patients with fractured limbs.

When applying sweet orange essential oil topically, it is important to remember that the oil may be mildly phototoxic, so it is always safer to use it in the evening and stay out of direct sunlight until the morning.

As with all our essential oils, we always recommend diluting the oil with a carrier oil before application to the skin.

You should not apply bitter orange essential oil to the skin.

Does orange oil help with anxiety?

Orange essential oil has anxiolytic properties, which means that it can function as a natural remedy for anxiety.

demonstrated this ability when it found that orange essential oil was able to boost feelings of relaxation and comfort in subjects.

in the same year found that the anxiety-reducing effects of orange oil were so powerful that the oil could even reduce feelings of stress and worry surrounding labour.

Using orange essential oil for the skin

Due to the phototoxicity of some types of orange oil, only sweet orange essential oil should be used on skin, and it should only be applied in the evenings to be safe.

That said, orange oil can be beneficial for the skin in many ways. It is deeply cleansing thanks to its antimicrobial properties and can help to reduce signs of aging and increase elasticity by boosting collagen production.

also found that the oil’s anti-inflammatory properties make a great natural treatment for acne.

How to use Orange Essential Oil 


Many orange essential oil benefits can be unlocked through the practice of aromatherapy – whereby the scent oil is spread through the air and inhaled.  

Diffusing this bright and uplifting scent throughout your home can help boost emotions as well as facilitate a sense of calm and happiness.  

Combine 5-7 drops of the oil with water and add to an oil burner or diffuser for a vibrant, citrusy scent.  

Alternatively, you can simply hold a bottle of orange essential oil to your nose and gently inhale or add a few drops to a tissue or cotton ball for on-the-go aromatherapy. 


Orange oil is great for cleansing and promoting elasticity in the skin, and its anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving properties make it a great choice for a restorative at-home massage.  

Remember that only sweet orange essential oil should be used on the skin. 

Dilute 5 drops to 10ml of carrier oil (such as  or oil) and massage evenly into the skin. 

We always advise performing a patch test before using applying orange essential oil on the skin, and remember that only sweet orange e oil should be used to avoid a phototoxic reaction.


Add 6-8 drops of orange essential oil to warm bathwater for an uplifting and stress-relieving experience on the mind.  

Adding orange oil to your bath can carry many of the same therapeutic benefits as aromatherapy, as the scent will carry through and fill the air with a bright and vibrant aroma.


Add a couple of drops of sweet orange essential oil to a carrier oil (such as or oil) or your chosen lotion and spread evenly, or onto affected areas. 

Sweet orange oil makes for a highly effective acne treatment due to its excellent antibacterial properties, and can be used to spot treat these areas as well as create an effective anti-inflammatory cleanser.  

We always advise performing a patch test before using sweet orange essential oil on the skin. Bitter orange oil should never be used on the skin.

Soap & Candles  

Suitable for soap making and candle making. We recommend following a tested recipe.  

Looking for creative ways to use your orange essential oils? Discover a number of fun candle and soap recipes in our Make at Home blog section.

History of Orange Essential Oil

For centuries, the Chinese would use oranges in traditional offerings and gifts, as a sign of good fortune and wellness.

The oils medicinal properties also added to this prestige – one which was then extended to regions of the Mediterranean and later to Europe, who discovered these benefits from the fruit’s refreshing taste.

Oranges have also been pictured in ancient myths, including the story of Hercules and Titan Atlas where they were named “golden apples”.

    The bright, joyful scent of orange gives a lift to any space and is unfailingly refreshing.

    With the added benefits of its cleansing, calming and soothing properties, there’s really no reason not to incorporate it into your routine.

    Shop our orange essential oil here.

    Product Name

    100% Pure Orange Essential Oil
    Botanical Name Citrus Sinensis
    Scent Type Citrus
    Benefits & Uses Mood Boosting, Cleaning Agent, Pain Relief
    Suitable for Diffusers? Yes, this orange (sweet) essential oil is perfect for diffusers.
    Suitable for Candles and Soaps? Yes, this orange (sweet) essential oil is perfect for candle and soap making.
    Extraction Method Cold Pressed
    Bottle Type Tamper proof and UV resistant

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