Orange Is The New Black
No, we’re not talking about the Emmy-winning Netflix series – orange essential oil has become a well-loved must-have in many households. Learn how its amazing health benefits can work for you
Have you noticed how your body reacts at the aroma of an orange being peeled? That fresh, crisp scent sharpens your senses almost instantly and makes your mouth water. What you’re smelling is the natural essential oil found within the rind of the orange. In citrus fruits, the rinds are the source of their fragrant and familiar aroma.
Orange is well loved for its mood lifting, antibacterial and immunity stimulating benefits, but it is also amazing for many other reasons. Did you know that organic farmers use orange essential oil as a natural ant repellent? It is strong enough to erase the scent trail they use to recolonise a nest. So if you’re looking for a non-toxic method of pest control, why not give orange essential oil a try?
In fact, orange essential oil has many other modern uses. The food industry uses it in the manufacturing of juices, soft drinks, and candy. The beauty and skin care industry also harness its anti-aging benefits and use as a natural preservative. Thanks to its natural antiseptic properties, orange essential oil is also used widely in cleaning products (it also has the ability to naturally cut through grease)!
EXTRACTING ORANGE ESSENTIAL OIL
Orange oil is extracted by cold pressing the rind of the fruit. Interestingly, unlike other citrus fruits, oranges do not continue to ripen after picking and as such, have to be harvested at the right time to obtain maximum essential oil yield.
Orange essential oil contains active compounds such as limonene, myrcene, citronellal, neral, alpha pinene, geraniol, linalool, and sabinene. These phytochemicals are highly potent, and can act individually, as well as synergistically, to bring about many metabolic changes at the cellular level.
The phytochemical content of orange essential oil is really rather impressive – an Egyptian study found over 200 phytochemicals in its leaves, peel and flowers! D-limonene, its most abundant phytochemical at 80 to 96 percent, has been extensively studied for its health applications, especially for cancer.
HOW AROMATHERAPY WORKS
The beauty of essential oils lies in how quickly inhalation can avail us to their beneficial properties. The volatile agents in essential oils dissipate into the air as very tiny particles and get directly absorbed through the lining of the nasal passages. So when we inhale through our nose, airborne molecules interact with our olfactory organs and travel through a variety of receptor sites, including our limbic system. Commonly referred to as our “emotional brain”, the limbic system connects directly to the parts of our brain that control blood pressure, heart rate, memory, stress levels and hormone balance (this relationship also explains why smells often trigger emotions).
Orange essential oil is certainly a must-have for its many uses. Here are the top five ways you can use it at home:
Orange essential oil acts as a tonic which refreshes the body and mind. Its anti-depressive properties also provide an uplifting boost – a mere whiff of this oil is enough to perk you up!
How to use: For fast absorption, apply two drops of orange essential oil on your palms and then rub them together to spread the oil evenly. Hold your open palms close to your face and inhale deeply! To enhance the potency of its effects, try mixing it with lavender essential oil in an equal ratio in a diffuser (try 5:5).
ARTHRITIC PAIN RELIEF
The swelling of joints can cause pain that’s extremely debilitating. Loss of cartilage, bone deformities, and autoimmune diseases are also contributing factors to arthritic conditions. Fortunately, orange essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties which may provide some relief from the pain.
How to use: Mix 10 drops of orange oil into a tablespoon of coconut oil. Warming up the mixture over a lighted candle may make its application more soothing. Apply the mixture on affected areas and gently rub it in until completely absorbed. You can also add in another two to three drops of capsaicin oil to enhance pain reduction.
IMPROVEMENT OF DENTAL HYGIENE
The zesty and refreshing scent of orange essential oil may be great in combatting bad breath, but more than that, it carries properties that fight gum infection and inflammatory conditions like gingivitis and pyorrhea. This multi-purpose oil reduces the bacterial load in the mouth, thereby lowering the chances of gum inflammation.
How to use: Take a cup of warm water and add five drops of orange essential oil, plus half a teaspoon of salt and five drops of orange essential oil to it. Mix vigorously and use it for gargling. People who frequently get mouth ulcers find it very helpful for numbing the pain and reducing incidence.
Orange essential oil has a drying effect that can help to reduce acne in those with oily skin. If commercial cleansers tend to disagree with your skin, you can also try making your own deep cleanser using orange essential oil and a light carrier oil (such as olive oil or sweet almond oil). Simply mix three drops of orange essential oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil and apply the mixture on your face with a cotton ball (this also doubles up as an natural yet effective way of removing makeup)! Let your sweet-smelling homemade cleanser sit on your skin for five minutes before wiping it off.
How to use: Add three drops of orange essential oil to a cup of water and wash your face with it before bedtime. For targeted spot treatment, dip a cotton swab in orange essential oil and apply it directly to the acne spot. Its antiseptic effect can help to reduce the bacteria that worsens acne conditions.
Chronic inflammation can lead to edema (the abnormal accumulation of fluids in certain tissues within the body). In edema sufferers, water retention typically shows up on the face and feet. Some people also develop swollen ankles after sitting for a long time. Edema may not cause severe pain, but it leads to the feeling of lethargy – because of the increased volume of water retained in the body, the heart has to work harder to increase circulation, so even walking for short distances can lead to a feeling of exhaustion.
How to use: To reduce fluid retention, warm three tablespoons of sesame seed oil and mix in 10 drops of orange essential oil, then massage onto the feet. For facial edema, try adding a teaspoon of sea salt to a cup of warm water and stir in five drops of orange essential oil. Alternatively, dip cotton balls into the mixture and place them along your undereye area.