Sweet Orange Oil Guide - Benefits, Properties, Characteristics And Usages

Sweet orange oil is one of the most popular essential oils in aromatherapy because of its versatility, affordability and uplifting aroma. Sweet orange oil is extracted from the peel of the fruits of Citrus sinensis plant. Sweet Orange essential oils is also commonly called orange oil; however, it may lead to confusion with bitter orange oil.

Orange fruit peel - essential oil


Sweet orange is also known as Citrus aurantium var. dulcis, Citrus aurantium var. sinensis, China orange, Portugal orange. For many years, sweet orange was considered a variety of bitter orange and hence is known as Citrus aurantium var. sinensis.

Sweet Orange

Citrus sinensis or sweet orange is most popular and widely cultivated citrus fruit variety in the world.

It is a hybrid species between pomelo (Citrus maxima) and mandarin (Citrus reticulata). It is believed to be originated in China, somewhere between South-western China and the Himalayas.

Sweet orange tree is a small spiny tree of medium size, around 7-10 meters. The leaves are leathery and evergreen, often with narrow wings on the petioles. The shape f the leaves may vary from elliptical to oblong to oval. The flowers are white in colour, fragrant and are grow in clusters of upto 6.

The many cultivars of sweet orange are are grouped into 4 major categories.

  • Common Oranges: Commonly known as white oranges. These are some of the old varieties and are mostly used for juice production. Some examples of the variety are Jaffa, Pera, Cadenera, Valencia, etc.
  • Sugar Oranges: This variety of oranges have low acidity and hence known sugar or acid-less oranges. Some examples are Imperial, Succari, Sucrena.
  • Blood Orange: This variety is characterised by the intense red colour of juice, peel and pulp. This red colour is attributed to presence of anthocyanin. This variety is cultivated in cold countries. Some examples are Moro, Taroco, Ruby, Doblefina.
  • Navel Oranges: This variety is characterised by the presence of a navel at the stylar end. Some examples of the variety are Washington, Thompson, Newhall, Navelina. etc.

Sweet orange is cultivated commercially in tropical, semi-tropical, and some warm temperate regions. The largest producer of sweet orange are Brazil. Other countries where it is widely grown are China, India, United Stated of America, Mexico, Spain, Egypt, Turkey, Italy and South Africa.

Sweet orange belongs to Rutaceae family (Citrus genus) that contain about 1700 species. Other essential oils produced from the citrus fruits are bergamot, bitter orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin, neroli, petitgrain essential oils.

History of Use of Sweet Orange

Sweet orange has been cultivated for thousands of years. Oranges is one of the oldest cultivated fruit and were mentioned in ancient Chinese literature as long ago as 314 BC.

In traditional Chinese medicine, peel of the orange fruit has used for a variety of illness including anorexia, colds, coughs, digestive spasm relief and to stimulate digestion. In addition, orange oil has been used in polish to protect furniture against insect damages.

It is believed that, Arab traders introduced oranges in eastern Africa and the Middle East region around 800 AD. Further, sweet oranges were introduced in the forest regions of West Africa and Europe by Portuguese travellers during 15th century. Later on, in 1493 Christopher Columbus carried sweet orange seeds on his second expedition to New World. The Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon is credited with introducing the fruit to Florida in 1513.

Extraction of Sweet Orange Oil

Sweet Orange Essential oil is extracted by cold pressed expression method from the ripe peel of sweet oranges. In some cases, sweet orange essential oil is also extracted using steam distillation of the fresh ripe peel.

Characteristics of Sweet Orange Oil

Sweet orange oil is a liquid with deep yellow to orange in colour with a lively, fresh, sweet, fruity and sweet citrus aroma, distinctly reminiscent of the odour from a scratched orange peel. It has a top note and is rich in monoterpenes.

NameSweet Orange Oil
Botanical NameCitrus Sinesis
ColourDeep Yellow to Orange
AromaFresh, Sweet, Fruity and Sweet Citrus

Composition of Sweet Orange Oil

There are more than hundred compounds present in the sweet orange essential oils. The main compound present in sweet orange essential oils is limonene, between 71%-95%. Some other compounds present in the oil are a-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, linalool, citronellal, neral and geranial.

Blending with Sweet Orange Oil

Sweet orange essential oil blends well with clary sage oil, vetiver oil, sandalwood oil, rose oil, geranium oil, jasmine oil, lavender oil, ylang-ylang oil, lime oil, grapefruit oil, bergamot oil, lemon oil, cinnamon oil, clove oil and ginger oil.

Sweet Orange Essential Oil Guide

Properties of Sweet Orange Oil

Sweet orange oil is believed to have antiseptic, anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, antibacterial, antiviral, digestive, digestive stimulant, disinfectant, energising, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, carminative, diuretic, cholagogue, sedative and tonic properties.

Benefits of Sweet Orange Oil

Sweet orange essential oil has a wide variety of domestic, industrial, and medicinal uses.

Largest use of citrus essential oils including sweet orange oil is for flavouring foods, beverages, perfumes and cosmetic products. Industrially, it is used in soaps, body lotions, creams, anti-aging, and wrinkle-lifting applications, and as a concentrate for soft beverages, room fresheners, sprays, deodorants, biscuits, chocolates, confectionery, and bakery items.

Sweet orange essential oil helps boost mood and increase energy, but also boasts a variety of other health benefits. This powerful essential oil can fight acne, relieve inflammation, promote better digestion, and improve the appearance of skin. It can also be used around the house to disinfect surfaces and freshen the air.

Digestive Aid

Sweet orange oil is beneficial in improving digestion and relieving from constipation as it is a cholagogue that stimulates the flow of bile from the liver. In addition, it’s carminative and antispasmodic properties helps in relieving flatulence and reduce stomach ache. It is a strong stimulant and helps in secretion of healthy enzyme and hormone.

To benefit as digestive aid, orange oil can be use any of the following methods.

  • Mix a few drops to a carrier oil and message on abdomen area.
  • Add few drops of sweet orange oil to a glass of water and take internally.
  • Diffuse the oil throughout the home 15–20 minutes before eating. This particular method is helpful in aiding digestion.

Stress Buster

Sweet orange oil is one of the best choices as anti-depressant. Its uplifting aroma helps to reduce stress, fatigue and anxiety and uplift mood and increase energy and mental clarity. The limonene present in the orange oil is an anxiolytic compound.

To work as stress buster, it is advisable to inhale the oil. Either use a diffuser or inhale directly from the essential oil bottle or dab a drop or two onto your wrists and neck to keep the scent with you throughout the day.

Immunity Booster

Limonene present in the sweet orange oil is known to be an anti-oxidant that helps to fight free radicals. In addition, sweet orange oil is also known as a tonic and helps helps strengthen all systems of the body.

To boost immune system function, diffuse this oil throughout the home or add a drop to a glass of water and take internally.


Sweet orange oil is a natural remedy for bone and joint pains. According to a research, aromatherapy with orange oil can relieve pain in patients with fractured limbs but has no effect on their vital signs. Therefore, aromatherapy with orange oil can be used as a complementary medicine in these patients.

To get relief from muscle or joint pain due to inflammation, add a few drops of orange oils in a carrier oils and ru it on affected area, especially sore muscles or swollen areas.

Skin Care and Acne

Sweet orange oil is high in vitamin C that help protect and heal skin. In addition, it is antiseptic and antioxidant, which is not only effective to achieve healthy, young-looking skin but also to help fight signs of aging like wrinkles and dark spots.

For skin care, add a few drops of sweet orange essential oil to cleanser or moisturizer.

Sweet orange oil is also effective in fighting against acnes. Its anti-microbial and antiseptic properties fight acne-causing bacterias that causes breakouts.

To fight acnes, mix in a carrier oil and apply directly to the affected areas. Add 2-3 drops pf orange essential oil to 1 cup of water and use this mixture to wash the face before going to sleep. This simple cleansing face wash helps in reducing the amount of oil on the skin and controls acne breakouts.

Disinfectant and Repellent

Sweet orange oil is effective in repelling ants and flies as per a 2011 study. In addition, its anti-bacterial properties and fresh, sweet, citrus smell makes it a perfect cleaner for your kitchen.

Add 10-15 drops of orange oil in a spray bottle with water and use the mixture to clean countertops, cutting boards or appliances in your kitchen. You may also add white vinegar to the mixture. You can also add it into your household cleaners.

It can be sprayed or diffuse in the rooms/kitchen areas to eliminate odour.

Flavouring Food and Drink

Sweet orange essential oil may be used at home to flavour food and drinks like water, deserts, candies among others. Essential oils are extremely concentrated and hence it is advisable to use only a few drops of oils.

Other Benefits of Orange Oils

  • Sweet orange essential oil’s anti-microbial property make it a good choice to be applied to cut, bite, abrasion, boil, eruption, or any wound that may potentially become septic.
  • Sweet orange oil is a natural diuretic. Orange oils is believed to eliminate bodily toxins including excess salts, fluids such as water, and uric acid due to its diuretic properties. Its astringent and lipolytic properties help break down fat cell deposits and cleanse and detoxify the tissues.
  • Orange oil as tonic helps in maintaining metabolic health and function, while exhibiting anti-oxidant activity that repairs damaged cells.

Add few drops of orange oil to bathwater to help eliminate toxins, boost the lymphatic and immune systems and calm the nerves.

Other Ways to Use Orange Oil

  • Add several drops orange oil to a clean damp washcloth and toss in the dryer to freshen linens.
  • To make an air freshener, mix 10 drops of orange oil and 3 drops of peppermint oil to a spray bottle.
  • To make insect spray, add 4 drops of sweet orange oil, 2 drops of grapefruit oil, 2 of drops lavender oil, 2 drops of Roman chamomile oil in 4 oz bottle.

Safety With Sweet Orange Oil

Sweet orange oil is a safe non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing oil. However, please note that citrus oil including sweet orange oil can have photo-toxic effect. Hence, it is preferably should not be applied before going out into sunlight for prolonged periods.

In addition, sweet orange oil may cause skin irritation to some individuals; hence, a patch test must be conducted before use. Sweet orange oils is to be diluted with carrier oil before applying topically, preferably low dilution of 1 percent – five drops per ounce of carrier oil.

Consult your healthcare provider if you’re pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or being treated for other health challenges. Keep out of reach of children. Care must be taken in storing sweet orange oil. Must be stored in a cold and dark place as sweet orange oil is highly prone to oxidation. The shelf life of orange oil dependent upon the storage condition. The maximum shelf life of orange oils is usually around 2 years under best storage conditions.

In case you intend to ingest sweet orange oil, please make sure that you’re using a very high-quality, therapeutic grade oil.


The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This information is for educational purposes only, it is not intended to treat, cure, prevent or, diagnose any disease or condition. Nor is it intended to prescribe in any way. This information is for educational purposes only and may not be complete, nor may its data be accurate.

Konstantine, Ramit. Essential Oils: A Complete Guide to Healing With Natural Herbal Remedies, Alternative Therapies, and Using Essential Oils For Beauty, Essential Oils For Stress and Weight Loss.
Kymberly Keniston-Pond. Essential Oils 101.
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Essential Oils: The Guide to Getting Started

Learn about basics, composition, properties, benefits and usages of popular aromatherapy essential oils.