The health benefits of orange oil can be attributed to its long list of properties. It’s antimicrobial, anti-fungal, antiseptic and antiviral. In more recent years, science has begun to explore the uses of the oil in controlled studies with promising results that support many of the medicinal uses involving orange oil by people for centuries. The studies also help to introduce new ways that the oil can be used, both in daily life and in more serious conditions, paving the way for a bright future for orange oil.
In a study published by Biomedica, orange oil was studied in regards to acne. The study formed 4 gel formulas to test on 4 groups with 7 patients each. One gel was a keratolytic medication and another was the same medication combined with acetic acid. A third gel was simply essential oils (basil and orange) and the last gel was a combination of the oils with acetic acid. The 28 volunteers were evaluated weekly. All of the volunteers experienced an improvement in their acne but both groups that used the gels containing the essential oils experienced more stable results, demonstrating orange oil’s acne-fighting potential.
In a study published by Evidence-Based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, lavender oil was combined with 45 other oils, including orange, to see if a combination of oils would produce favorable interactions. Out of all of the combinations, orange and lavender were the most effective against Staphylococcus aureus. Although S. aureus is not typically pathogenic, individuals with compromised immune systems can develop an infection from the bacteria. If this does happen, S. aureus can cause skin infections. But with an effective and natural treatment, the danger of the infection is lessened.
In a study published in BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine, the antibacterial effects of orange oil were studied in regards to bacteria, specifically outbreaks of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). In recent decades, this bacteria has been showing resistance to antibiotics and has become a threat in hospitals, nursing homes and prisons. The study found that orange oil had an inhibitory effect on the dangerous strain without damaging any other cells. This opens the doors to orange oil being a treatment for the antibiotic resistant MRSA.
Published in Life Science, this study focused on the anticancer properties of orange oil, specifically in regards to colon cancer. Cancer cells were administered orange oil and soon after, apoptosis occurred. In other words, the cancer cells self destructed, eliminating the cancer threat. Another important discovery in this trial was that orange oil demonstrated as an antiangiogenic. While this is normal and crucial in regards to normal healing, it is also part of the reason that benign tumors transform into malignant tumors. Normally, cancer patients are treated with angiogenesis inhibitors to prevent this transformation. Orange oil proved to be a natural antiangiogenic, which would help to protect benign tumors. Therefore, the study concluded that orange oil can not only eliminate current cancer cells but can prevent the development of new cancer cells.
The possibility of orange oil being a cancer treatment is not new however. A study published in an issue of Carcinogenesis in 1989 was one of the first to reveal that orange oil may have an anti-cancer role that should be further explored. Certainly, with more research, orange oil may be revealed to be a cancer treatment that can change the way that we fight the disease.
While there are plenty of prescribed medications for anxiety, there is always a demand for more natural treatments that aren’t addictive or cause dangerous side effects. In a study published in PLOS One, the anxiolytic effects of orange oil were tested in regards to anxiety disorders. Several oils were tested, including lavender and orange. The oils were administered to rats who were then exposed to an anxiety causing maze. Their urine was evaluated afterwards, where levels of carbohydrates, aspartate and organic acids were measured. This continued for 10 days and with each passing day, levels dropped, leading to the conclusions that essential oils have a biological effect and can return metabolic levels back to levels associated with no anxiety.
While there have been plenty of success stories regarding orange oil and a variety of ailments, some conditions have either had little to no scientific research or results were inconclusive. If using orange oil for the following conditions, know that while others have experienced positive results there is little to no scientific support. However, there is no scientific evidence claiming that the oil will not work either.
-Hair Growth: Orange oil can help to regulate sebum secretions from the scalp while also improving dry and brittle hair, which is a great combination for increasing the volume of hair. However, science has not yet fully tested orange oil for hair growth.
-Insomnia: If you have trouble sleeping, you may benefit from orange oil. It has been known to decrease stress and help people not just fall asleep faster but also remain asleep longer. However, some report the opposite when using the oil to treat insomnia. Instead, they experience a burst of energy and actually have more difficulty falling asleep. With such opposite results, there is no way to tell if orange oil will help your insomnia without seeing how your body reacts to the scent.
Orange oil contains up to 90% limonene, which has a long list of health benefits. However, it can interact with other medications. Use orange oil cautiously if taking any medications that are changed by the liver, including cimetidine, fluvoxamine, omeprazole, ticlopidine and topiramate.
Orange oil is also phototoxic. If using orange oil for topically for any reason, be sure to avoid Sun exposure for up to 24 hours.
If pregnant, orange oil is considered to be most likely safe for consumption but should not be applied topically or inhaled during the first trimester. With limited research regarding pregnancy and essential oils, it is best to speak with your doctor before using any oil, including orange. Orange oil should be avoided by breastfeeding women and children under the age of 6.
Stop use of orange oil if there are any signs of rash or irritation.