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Orange Essential Oil Benefits Explained: Oranges For Life!

Published on Apr 09, 2017 in Essential Oils

In our fast-paced lifestyle, where targets in the workplace always need to be met and goals seem ever-harder to reach, the constant drive to push ourselves more and more just to get by on a daily basis is enough to bring even the most healthy among us down from time to time. It is true that the human body is much like a well-regulated machine, always healing itself and coordinating a series of complex, interconnected systems that we would actually struggle to replicate in reality through our own means of invention. Really mindblowing stuff, that generally goes by totally unnoticed – so long as everything is functioning normally. And much like machinery, it’s only when something isn’t working that we realise there’s a problem.

I’m quite sure that you’ve experienced the flu before or been run down by the common cold? After all, we aren’t actually machines – we’re mortals made of flesh and blood. Have you ever tried using a costly multi-vitamin or a supplement and found that you’re still feeling the same two or three days later? Perhaps at some point, someone has recommended an orange or two to help you get better?

It’s a well known fact that oranges are a strong source of Vitamin C – a powerful agent in strengthening the body’s immune system and boosting your energy levels. If you have ever eaten an orange when your body is rundown, then you’ll know the feeling I’m trying to describe – it’s like a rush, a kick – a natural stimulant of pure healthy goodness! Cultivating that feeling is what we’re all about.

What is Orange Essential Oil? Where Does it Come From?

Orange Essential Oil

Orange oil is is generally concentrated in the peel (or rind) of the fruit and is extracted through a process that is known as centrifugation. In the past, the oil was extracted by making a puree’ out of the rinds and through using a process known as steam distillation, which was essentially a method of separating the essential nutrients contained in the core of the rind through evaporation.

As the nutrients are evaporated by the steam, they pass through pipes that gather in a condensation chamber where they are left to cool and form droplets that eventually constitute the finished product – the oil. Centrifugation is a much more complicated procedure that I recommend you research if you’re interested in learning more about how essential oils are extracted today, but it’s not something you’ll come into contact with unless you have a PhD and access to high-tech, pharmaceutical laboratory. So let’s not worry about that for now.

Oranges, more specifically sweet oranges, are commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions and are currently rated as the most cultivated tree in the world. They are one of nature’s healthiest citrus fruits containing multiple phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are basically the compounds that make fruit healthy – however, phytonutrients also form the basic building blocks of some of nature’s most deadly poisons. But worry not – oranges are super healthy and totally safe for all means of consumption. The combination of all of these phytonutrients (such as hesperetin, naringenin, anthocyanins and hydroxycinnamic acids) all account for the oranges high Vitamin C levels and antioxidant properties.

However, one of the most important of these is a flavanone known as hesperidin – which helps to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels and acts as an anti-inflammatory. It’s not hard to see why oranges work as such amazing antioxidants and immune boosters. In fact, scientists have recently proven that drinking a single glass of freshly squeezed orange juice has more pure Vitamin C in it (and more of an effect on your body) than a Vitamin C supplement. Just goes to show that the natural solution is always the right option.

Benefits of Orange Essential Oil for Hair

Orange Essential Oil For Hair

The strong citrusy odor that is produced by orange oil makes it very suitable for hair use, however it is not limited to fragrance alone. The antibacterial qualities contained in the citrus flavanones of the orange make it suitable as a treatment for hair infected with lice. Most over the counter solutions for a headful of lice contain high levels of a toxic pesticide known as lindane – a chemical that is actually banned in many countries around the world for agricultural use. So why on Earth would you want to get anywhere near the stuff, let alone wash your hair with it?

The natural antioxidants and antibacterial qualities of the orange essence helps to ward off any lice that might be in the your hair as well as give your hair a protective coat that keeps them from coming back. The powerful citrusy odor repels them, much like eucalyptus or lemongrass oil does to mosquitos and the anti-inflammatory agents in the oil will also kill off any eggs they might have been laid, as well as reduce any itchiness or irritation that usually occurs on the scalp during an infestation.

These same anti-inflammatory agents also kill off any dead skin cells on your scalp which normally lead to dandruff. So by treating the source of the problem, not only the symptoms – you can effectively use orange oil as a natural substitute for anti-dandruff shampoos, that can leave some hair types feeling dry or brittle. When used in a homemade (DIY) shampoo recipe, or with a normal conditioner, you can treat dry or damaged hair that can cause split ends as orange oil works as a natural moisturizer and will increase the elasticity of hair follicles which will prevent breakage as well as nourish the follicles from the root – making them healthier, stronger and more resistant.

Aloe Vera Gel

One additional benefit of the high natural Vitamin C content found in orange oil is that it dilates the blood capillaries when massaged into your scalp, which means that your blood circulation will be improved and can be used to promote hair-growth – in both men and women. Here is a recipe for a homemade lice treatment that is quite effective and all-natural.

Ingredients:

  • 2x cups of water 2x tbsp of aloe vera gel.
  • 10x de-seeded, whole soapnuts 2x tbsp of unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
  • 2x tbsp of dried orange peel 4x tbsp of extra virgin oilve oil.
  • 1x cinnamon stick 10x orange oil drops.
  • 1x tbsp of lemongrass 5x drops of tea tree essential oil.
  • 9x drops of cinnamon leaf essential oil (or 5 cinnamon sticks).
  • 2x empty spray bottle.

Directions:

  • Combine the water, soapnuts, orange peels and cinnamon oil (or sticks) into a pan and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add the lemongrass. Let the mixture cool.
  • Once cool, pour the mixture into a bowl through either a mesh strainer or muslin/cheesecloth.
  • Now add the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, aloe vera gel and the essential oils to the mixture.
  • Pour this into a spray bottle and shake well.

Application:

Make sure you shake well before using the mixture each time. For the first treat mean, spray the mixture into your hair until it is completely saturated. Then cover your hair with a shower cap and let it sit for 1-4 hours (the longer the better). Now, rinse your hair in a shower and follow this up with an apple cider rinse and then use a lice comb on your hair. Repeat this process each day for 7 days, and allow the mixture to soak into your hair for at least 10-15 minutes each time.

To make the vinegar rinse, simply combine the following ingredients into a separate spray bottle:

  • 2 ¼ x cups of herbal tea 10 x drops of cinnamon oil (4-5 sticks).
  • ¼ x cups of apple cider vinegar 9 x drops of orange oil.
  • ¼ x cup of aloe vera gel 5 x drops of lavender essential oil.
  • 4 x tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.

Benefits of Orange Essential Oil for Skin

Orange Essential Oil For Skin

Because our hair and skin are so similar, they can often be treated with the same natural products. Orange oil is a natural conditioner and moisturizer. When applied topically to your skin, it can nourish and replenish your skin with moisture that is often lost throughout the day due to sun overexposure or a lack of hydration (drinking 2 liters of water a day is essential to keeping healthy skin).

The antioxidants contained in the vitamin c rich essential oil will also neutralize any free-radicals that we often come into contact with on a regular basis due to harmful pollutants that are contained in our atmosphere – especially if we live in or around a city.

These particles can clog up or pores and lead to blemishes or even worse – may lead to rashes or irritations on the skin. Well-balanced skin is healthier skin, and orange oil works as a natural toner which is much healthier for your skin than most toner products – which generally contain isopropyl alcohol as a main ingredient. The oil also removes any dead skin cells that naturally occur on our skin (it may sound gross, but we humans also shed), helping to balance the oil levels that our skin naturally produces.

The strong anti-inflammatory agents contained in the citrus flavonoids of orange essential oil also make it suitable as a natural disinfectant or antiseptic treatment for open wounds such as cuts, abrasions or insect bites. The oil works to kill off any germs that may cause infection and the antioxidants penetrate the skin layer, ensuring that the surrounding area is kept clean too.

What is Sweet Orange Oil?

Sweet orange oil is the more commonly found pure nutrient extract from sweet oranges. There are over 40 different varieties of oranges that are cultivated on a large scale basis, however, sweet oranges are the most common of those. The name describes the attributes of this variety pretty accurately – they are sweet, tasty and contain some of the highest levels of Vitamin C out of all the orange varieties. They are not only cultivated for eating, but also used in making juices (pure orange or juice blends) and essential oil extracts.

As I mentioned earlier, they are generally found in tropical or subtropical regions and are currently the most commonly cultivated trees in the world. The oil produced by extracting the nutrients from the fruit of this tree (as explained under the first heading) is known as sweet orange oil.

How to Make DIY Orange Essential Oil

Making orange oil at home is quite simple really – and it’s always handy to keep a bottle of the stuff around, whether you’re using it for cooking, baking or treating your hair and skin. The ingredients are cheap and readily available and the process is quick and simple.

What you will need: A Zester (or paring knife), grain alcohol (or vodka), some muslin or cheesecloth, a paper towel, a glass jar with a lid and roughly 7-9 oranges (use more if you plan on making oil).

Firstly, grate or cut off the peel (or rind) of the oranges. As much as you can and with as little as the white pith that’s found on the inside of the peel. Once you have a sizeable amount of peels (a handful will work), cut them into smaller pieces, place those on a paper towel and allow them to dry on a windowsill with as much direct sunlight as possible. Note that this may take up 2 days.

Once the peels are dry, place them in the glass jar. Now, heat up the grain alcohol or vodka by placing the whole bottle in a bowl of warm (preferably steaming) tap water. Once the temperature of the alcohol has risen (touch to tell), pour the alcohol into the glass jar until it just covers the orange peels. Now, tightly secure the lid of the jar and shake the liquid vigorously for about 3-5 minutes. Do this a few times daily for at least 3 days.

The rule of thumb here is that the more you shake the jar, and the longer you leave the peels in the alcohol, the more oil will be extracted. Then, strain the liquid through your muslin or cheesecloth filter into a bowl and cover with a paper towel – make sure that the towel doesn’t fall into or touch the liquid. Leave this in an open and cool space for a few days (3-4). Once the alcohol has evaporated completely (you’ll know by consistently gauging it’s smell) – what’s left is the oil.

Conclusion

It’s hard not to see why orange essential oil is an essential item to any household. It’s cheap, healthy and readily available, not to mention easy to make, and can be used in a variety of situations. Whether you’re using it as a topical treatment to help rid yourself of skin irritations or inflammations, a natural lice treatment or even as an ingredient in your next dish or baking experiment – it will always come in handy. It has a delicious and lasting scent that will lift your spirits and help to calm you whenever you’re feeling nervous or anxious and is a really effective immune booster – so always a necessity around winter time to keep your body strong and healthy. Why waste time and money on expensive supplements or toxic treatments when nature has everything you need right at your local green grocer or supermarket, at less than a third of the cost!

Read up on Eucalyptus and Rosemary Essential Oil while you’re here at Maple Holistics!