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 oil 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.

The 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 grow in clusters of up to 6.

The many cultivars of sweet orange 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 characterized by the intense red colour of juice, peel, and pulp. This red color is attributed to the presence of anthocyanin. This variety is cultivated in cold countries. Some examples are Moro, Taroco, Ruby, Doblefina.
  • Navel Oranges: This variety is characterized 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 is Brazil. Other countries where it is widely grown are China, India, the United States of America, Mexico, Spain, Egypt, Turkey, Italy, and South Africa.

Sweet orange belongs to Rutaceae family (Citrus genus) that contains 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. Orange is one of the oldest cultivated fruits and was 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 illnesses 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 travelers during the 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, the 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.

Name Sweet Orange Oil
Botanical NameCitrus Sinesis
Family Rutaceae
Genus Citrus
Colour Deep Yellow to Orange
AromaFresh, Sweet, Fruity and Sweet Citrus
Note Top

Composition of Sweet Orange Oil

There are more than a 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.

The largest use of citrus essential oils including sweet orange oil is for flavoring 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 help in relieving flatulence and reduce stomach ache. It is a strong stimulant and helps in the secretion of healthy enzymes and hormones.

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

  • Mix a few drops to a carrier oil and massage on the abdomen area.
  • Add a few drops of sweet orange oil to a glass of water and take it 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 an 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 a 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 antioxidant that helps to fight free radicals. In addition, sweet orange oil is also known as a tonic and 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 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 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 rub 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 moisturiser.

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

To fight acne, mix in a carrier oil and apply directly to the affected areas. Add 2-3 drops of 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 antibacterial 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 to 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 flavor 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 makes 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 oil 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 a 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 of 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 a photo-toxic effect. Hence, it should not to be applied before going out into the 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 oil is to be diluted with a 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 the 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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