Many of orange oil’s medicinal uses originated in times before any of its defining components had been discovered or given names. With today’s technology, ingredients in essential oils can be pinpointed and their individual properties can be discovered, giving reasoning to why the oil can be used to treat different conditions. Orange oil is no exception and its defining components give merit to the medical claims that have been made for centuries. Studies also open up the doors to new uses for the oil that can eliminate the usage of dangerous man made treatments with harsh side effects.
Orange essential oil is mainly composed of a-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, limonene, linalool, citronellal, neral and geranial. It is made up of nearly 90% limonene. Here is an explanation of the more common components and how they give orange oil its healing and aromatherapy characteristics.
Limonene is a hydrocarbon classified as a cyclic terpene and is the most pronounced compound in orange essential oil. In some cases, it can make up nearly 95% of the oil. It possesses a strong orange scent, not surprisingly, and is a common ingredient in cleaning products.
Several scientific studies have pointed to limonene as being a cancer preventative and treatment. The compound seems to built up in tumors in indivuduals with advanced stages of cancer. While it is uncertain if this will have an effect on the person’s survival odds, the limonene does seem to slow down the progress of the cancer. In a separate study involving study animals, the animals were fed a diet that contained 5% orange oil. After several weeks, it was concluded that they had a significantly reduced risk of developing mammary tumors and in rats that already had tumors, the size shrunk. Phase I trials in humans, which focus on whether or not the needed amounts of limonene would be toxic, showed that the compound is well tolerated by cancer patients and has little toxicity. More testing will be needed before orange oil can be considered a viable cancer treatment but the future is promising.
A-pinene is an organic compound that is part of the terpene class. Studies show that it may be a broad-spectrum antibiotic and exhibits activity that supports memory retention. Orange oil is often recommended to be diffused as it has several mental benefits. It can reduce anxiety and stress but can also make someone more confident and focused, which may be linked to a-pinene. The component’s antimicrobial properties may be the reason that orange oil is often used to help prevent infections from developing after injuries or why it may be beneficial in certain skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.
Myrcene is an organic compound that is classified as a hydrocarbon. It is common in the fragrance industry but is also known for its analgesic effect. It also has anti inflammatory properties that may be linked to orange oil’s ability to decrease inflammation from a variety of reasons. Myrcene has been shown to induce sleep in mice when taken in high doses. Orange oil has been known to treat insomnia and help establish a healthier sleep pattern. When diffused throughout a bedroom, it has been shown to help people fall asleep faster and sleep for longer periods without waking.
A natural occurring terpene alcohol chemical, linalool is found in many flowers and spice plants. It is also an important compound in orange oil. Alone, linalool is used as a scent in perfumed hygiene products and cleaning solutions. Chances are that you’ve used a soap, shampoo or lotion containing linalool. Studies have shown that the component may have the ability to lower stress levels. Orange oil is often a recommended anxiety reliever and has shown promising results when diffused throughout a room.
In other studies, linalool has shown promising results when added to cancer cells, causing them to self destruct. A small amount of linalool was able to inhibit 50% of liver cancer cells from replicating while a higher concentration of the compound inhibited 100% of the cells from replicating, which in turn destroyed the presence of cancer. While linalool is not found in large quantities in orange oil, it adds more evidence to the concept that orange oil may one day be a common cancer treatment that is not only effective but has less side effects.
Citronellal is a monoterpenoid and is known for its insect repellent properties, especially against mosquitoes. It also possesses strong anti-fungal qualities. Orange oil is becoming a more common ingredient in pesticides that are classified as natural and green. Orange oil is also known for its ability to fight infections, including fungal. Both of these properties of the oil can be traced back to citronellal.
Geranial is a monoterpenoid and is commonly used in perfumes. It’s also used to add flavor to processed foods, including those with peach, plum, lime and orange profiles. Research has shown geranial to be an effective mosquito repellent, giving more evidence to support the use of orange oil in both homemade insect repellents and manufactured solutions that are geared toward families looking for effective bug sprays with less dangerous chemicals.
Oranges are a rich source of vitamin C, folic acid and dietary fiber. They also contain a large amount of minerals, including calcium and magnesium. Oranges can help with conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease and stomach ulcers. They also contain antioxidants, which are critical to the body’s immune system. Many of these qualities are passed through the process of making oranges into essential oil. Here is the nutritional information for a raw orange, which may help to show you just how amazing this fruit can be for the body.
1 cup of raw orange sections
Total Carbohydrate: 21g
Dietary Fiber: 4g
Vitamin C: 160%
Vitamin A: 7%