Sweet Orange: Product Highlight

Plant Details

Sweet Orange, or Citrus sinensis (also called Citrus aurantium dulces), is a fruiting tree that belongs to the Rutaceae family of citrus plants. Originally, the Sweet Orange tree was believed to be a form of the Bitter Orange tree or Citrus aurantium amara and was referred to as Citrus aurantium var sinensis. It is believed that oranges were first obtained from trees native to China but the exact origin of the Sweet Orange is unknown as it does not grow anywhere in the wild. Botanists believe that Sweet Oranges occur as a natural hybrid of the pomelo (Citrus maxima) and the mandarin (Citrus reticulata) citrus trees and originated somewhere in the southwest region of China.

Sweet Orange trees are evergreen and typically grow to be around ten to twenty-five feet in height, but can reach up to fifty feet at a mature age. They have grayish-brown bark and slender branches that grow evenly around the tree, forming the shape of a hemisphere. The leaves of the tree are oval-shaped and dark green with a glossy surface and grow to be around three to four inches. Sweet Orange trees produce small white flowers that grow individually or in small clusters and are beautifully fragrant. Sweet Orange fruits are round with a thick, almost leathery rind that changes from green to orange in color as the fruit ripens. In warmer climates, the rind can retain patches of green color or even stay entirely green. The rind of the fruit is dotted with glands that contain the essential oil. On the interior side of the orange's rind is a layer of spongy white tissue commonly referred to as the “pith”. The flesh of Sweet Orange fruits forms in a dozen wedge-shaped segments that are each covered in a thin translucent membrane. Each section contains two to four seeds, and juice-filled pulp, which can range from yellow to red.

History

Sweet Orange Essential Oil has been used for thousands of years in folk remedies across China, India, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean to help naturally boost the immune system and relieve symptoms associated with colds, flu, fatigue, depression, and many other ailments. In China, oranges are a significant part of traditional medicine, even today, as they are believed to symbolize good fortune. The Sweet Orange was mentioned in Chinese literature as early as 314 B.C. Sweet Oranges are believed to have been introduced to the Iberian Peninsula during the tenth century. This idea is supported by the existence of complex irrigation techniques that are specifically adapted to support orange orchards. Sweet Oranges did not spread into the Mediterranean until the beginning of the fifteenth century when Portuguese and Italian merchants brought the trees into the area. Soon after, the Sweet Orange was recognized as an edible fruit but was considered a luxury item afforded only to the wealthy. By the middle of the seventeenth century, oranges were well known throughout Europe, with many European aristocrats having private orangeries at their estates. Louis XIV, king of France built a particularly grand Orangerie at the Palace of Versaille as he had a great love of orange trees. This allowed the year-round cultivation of oranges for food for the court. 

It was Spanish travelers that eventually brought the Sweet Orange to the Americas. In 1493, on his second voyage, Christopher Columbus brought orange seeds and may have planted them in Hispaniola. During the Age of Discovery, sailors from many different countries would plant citrus trees, including oranges in places along their trade routes. This was done to help sailors consume more citrus to prevent scurvy, as oranges are high in vitamin C and do not spoil easily. Oranges were spread to South America and Mexico during subsequent expeditions in the sixteenth century and eventually made their way into Florida in 1565 when Pedro Menéndez de Avilés founded St Augustine. Orange trees were spread across North America over the next two centuries by missionaries and explorers. Orange trees finally made it to the Hawaiian islands in 1792. A botanist named Archibald Menzies collected orange seeds in South Africa and raised the seedlings onboard a ship during his travels, later giving them to several Hawaiian chiefs. The Sweet Orange was grown widely throughout Hawaii until the arrival of Mediterranean fruit flies stopped its cultivation in the early twentieth century.  

Extraction

Unlike many other fruits, the Sweet Orange does not continue to ripen once harvested. This means that the fruit must be harvested at the right time to ensure maximum ripeness and essential oil yield. Oranges are still harvested by hand in some cases but many oranges cultivated for essential oil production are mechanically harvested with the use of limb shaking machinery or air jets. Sweet Orange, like many other citrus essential oils, is extracted from the rinds of the fruit through cold pressing. To process oranges for extraction, the rinds are removed from the fruit and can be punctured, ground, or chopped before being pressed. Cold pressing protects antioxidants and their beneficial aspects of the oil from being destroyed by heat. The resulting essential oil is thin, can vary from yellow to deep orange, and has a sweet, fresh citrus aroma.

Sweet Orange oil is a byproduct of the juice manufacturing industry.  There are two types of extractors. One method of extraction scrapes the outer layer of the orange peel, water is added and the essential oil is separated in a centrifuge. The fruit then goes to a juice press.  Another method of extraction uses sliced oranges.  The half orange slices are then pressed.  The result is a mixture of juice and essential oil which is then separated in a centrifuge

 

Benefits

When used in aromatherapy, Sweet Orange Essential Oil is known to be invigorating to the mind and body. It works to uplift the mood while also combatting stress and anxiety. Sweet Orange Essential Oil helps to reduce pulse rate and diminish negative thoughts for a calming and relaxing effect when we may be feeling strong emotions. It can help to enhance brain function and improve memory, while inducing a sense of mental clarity. This brain-boosting oil also works to increase cognitive energy, keep us more mentally alert, and improve motivation. 

Inhaling diffused Sweet Orange Essential Oil can stimulate the immune system and help facilitate the body's natural detoxification process to help avoid illness. Sweet Orange’s anti-inflammatory properties can also help to relieve coughs and runny noses that may be associated with seasonal allergies by soothing nasal irritation. It is also known to help induce sleep and improve sleep quality when used before bed. When diffused, Sweet Orange Essential Oil works to eliminate airborne bacteria and pathogens in our homes as well as being a powerful deodorizer. It diminishes unwanted and unpleasant smells while leaving behind a clean and fresh scent. 

Sweet Orange Essential Oil can work to improve the health and appearance of our skin when used topically. It helps to promote clearer skin by reducing signs of acne and irritation while smoothing skin texture. It does this by eliminating bacteria, reducing inflammation and swelling, and preventing dryness in acne-affected areas. Sweet Orange Essential Oil can also help deeply cleanse the skin and reduce oiliness that may lead to acne and blemishes. It works to reduce the size of pores and enhance collagen production for a plumper, more youthful complexion. Sweet Orange Essential Oil, like many other citrus oils, can be photosensitizing to the skin so sunlight should be avoided directly after using it topically. Sweet Orange Essential Oil also contains properties that make it beneficial for the hair and scalp. It can help to eliminate bacteria on the scalp and restore moisture, thereby reducing itchiness and dandruff. It also helps to balance the pH on our scalp without compromising any of the naturally occurring oils.

When applied topically to other parts of the body, Sweet Orange Essential Oil is known to relax the muscles which can help to reduce pain or discomfort due to muscle contractions or spasms. It works to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation which can decrease swelling in injuries and joints while also soothing headaches and muscle tension. Sweet Orange Essential Oil contains antimicrobial properties that help it to prevent infection and bacterial growth in minor cuts, abrasions, and insect bites. 

Here are some recipes using Sweet Orange essential oil that we love...

Rise and Shine Diffuser Blend

Rise and Shine Diffuser Blend

Ingredients

Instructions

Add water to your diffuser up to the fill line. Add drops of the essential oil blend. This diffuser blend recipe is formulated for a 200ml ultrasonic diffuser. Adjust the amount according to size and directions of your diffuser.

 

Scalp Relief Hair Rinse

Scalp Relief Hair Rinse

Ingredients

Instructions

Combine ingredients and shake well to mix. After shampooing and conditioning your hair, pour the mixture over your hair and rub it gently into your scalp. Dry and style hair as normal.

 

Fresh and Clean Hand Soap

Fresh and Clean Hand Soap

Ingredients

Instructions

Add all ingredients to the foaming soap dispenser, replace the top, and shake well to combine.

 

Destress and Relax Roll-On

Destress and Relax Roll-On

Ingredients

Instructions

Add the essential oils to the bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle to the top with fractionated coconut oil. Replace the rollerball and cap, gently shake, and roll across your skin. 

 

Odor Fighting Room Spray

Odor Fighting Room Spray

Ingredients

Instructions

Add 2 ounces of high percentage alcohol to the bottle. Add the essential oils and fill the remainder of the bottle with witch hazel, leaving a little space at the top. Shake well before each use.