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24 January 2022 / Laura Garvin Gomez

Tangerine Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits

Tangy tangerine can lift low moods and soothe stress for uninterrupted sleep.

Tangerine cut in half on a wooden block

Often confused with mandarin essential oil, tangerine oil is surprisingly derived from the very same plant.

Distinguishing mandarin oil and tangerine oil can be confusing.

This is because the tangerine is actually a version of the mandarin fruit that evolved after mandarin was brought from China to the west.

The two oils have very similar benefits, as well as a similar tangy citrus scent, but there are subtle differences between the two that set them apart.

One such difference is that tangerine is generally considered to be more potent, and therefore less safe for the skin than gentle mandarin.

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What is Tangerine Essential Oil?

Also known by the botanical name Citrus Reticulata, tangerine oil is cold pressed from the rind of the tangerine fruit, which tends to be much larger than that of its cousin mandarin.

Because of this, the orange to pale yellow coloured oil is much fresher with a thinner scent body to that of mandarin. Some have even compared the scent more to a bitter orange, as opposed to a mandarin.

Nevertheless, its sweetness and distinctive citrus-like aromas still very much shine through, and tangerine oil has been used extensively in aromatherapy as well as in flavour compositions for its potent composition.

What are the benefits of Tangerine Essential Oil?

Despite the comparison to mandarin, tangerine oil has many important characteristics that make it a worthy remedy in its own right.

Some of the most prominent tangerine essential oil benefits include:

  • Aiding sleep
  • Antioxidant qualities
  • Soothing inflammation
  • Reducing stress

Segments of a tangerine

Can Tangerine essential oil improve sleep?

Tangerine oil is a sedative oil, which means that inhaling it can have calming effects on the mind.

As a result, it is suggested that diffusing tangerine oil can help reduce sleep-onset latency, meaning it can decrease the time it takes to fall asleep, allowing for a longer and better-quality night’s sleep overall.

In fact, a demonstrated these benefits when it found that inhaling tangerine oil – especially at higher concentrations – helped participants to fall asleep more quickly.

The study attributed these results to tangerine’s sedative properties. This evidence suggests that tangerine essential oil may be particularly useful for reducing symptoms of stress-induced insomnia, as its calming properties removed stress as an obstacle to sleep.

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Is tangerine oil an antioxidant?

Tangerine essential oil has been shown to have antioxidant properties.

This means that diffusing it into the air may help to attack and inhibit the activity of toxins and free radicals in the body, preventing oxidative damage and general health complications later in life.

By protecting our cells from damage in this way, tangerine oil reduces our risk of some serious diseases and so provides extra protection for our overall health.

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Does tangerine essential oil soothe inflammation?

Tangerine oil is a natural anti-inflammatory.

This means that it can calm the swelling around sore muscles and joints and relieve some of the pain involved with these types of injuries.

You may want to add a few drops of tangerine oil to muscle balms in order to feel these effects – however, since tangerine oil is potentially phototoxic, these balms should only be used in the evening or at times when the skin will not be in contact with sunlight for a significant period.

Another and perhaps safer way to feel tangerine oil’s soothing effects is to add a few drops of oil to a hot bath and soak sore muscles for as long as needed.

These anti-inflammatory qualities may also make tangerine an effective remedy against acne, although application should once again be avoided during the day.

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Does tangerine oil reduce stress and boost mood?

Tangerine oil’s sedative qualities allow it to reduce symptoms of anxiety and restlessness, letting us fully relax even in times of stress.

This isn’t the only benefit that this citrus oil holds for our minds, however. Like other citrus oils, tangerine is known to have uplifting, joy-inspiring effects, promoting positivity and lifting low moods.

Diffusing tangerine oil in the home can help you to feel happier and less stressed as you go about your day.

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How to use Tangerine Essential Oil

Aromatherapy

Sweet and citrusy, aromatherapy is possibly this oil’s greatest and most popular use.

The tangy notes provide the perfect backdrop for starting your day as well as finishing it, with the sedative qualities of tangerine allowing the mind to switch off quicker before bed.

Try adding a few drops to your chosen diffuser or oil burner and allow this uplifting oil to balance your emotions and calm your spirit.

Massage

The anti-inflammatory qualities of tangerine oil work very well in a pain-relieving massage, particularly if you find yourself suffering from sore or swollen joints.

Combining some tangerine oil with a carrier oil and applying sparingly can help relieve these effects, although it is important to note that this practice should only be performed in the evening to avoid the oil’s phototoxic effects.

Cleaning

Though it may not contain the same potent antibacterial effects as some of its other citrus relatives, tangerine oil can still be of great use in a homemade cleaning spray to help top up surfaces and brighten spaces.

Add a few drops to a spray bottle filled with water and an emulsifier (like washing-up liquid) and apply at will.

Candle and soap making

Because mandarins have such a potent scent profile, they make great additions to springtime or summertime-themed candles and can blend very well with other aromas.  

If you’re looking for a trusted candle recipe to utilise your tangerine essential oil, you can check out our Easter candle recommendation using tangerine, lemongrass, and spearmint.

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History of Tangerine Essential Oil

Originally known by the full name of the “tangerine orange”, tangerines were named as such due to their exportation through a port in Tangier, Morocco in the mid-1840s. This port would allegedly supply tangerines to Mainland Europe during this time.

The history of tangerines beyond or before this point is limited, however, as their ancient significance is assumed to be shared almost entirely with that of the mandarin. You can find out more about the history of both oils here.

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    Although far from the most famous citrus oil, tangerine has plenty of useful benefits for you and your household. A potent oil, a little goes a long way with tangerine oil, and so lots of use can be gotten out of every bottle.

    Shop our tangerine essential oil here.

    Tangerine Essential Oil 10ml Bottle

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