Flower Power Hour: The Essential Facts about Orange Essential Oil.
by Harry Garland on Mar 16, 2023
Welcome to flower power hour - a series where we get up close and personal with many of the natural ingredients that we use in our products. Today’s focus is Orange Essential Oil!
I am certain that you are familiar with oranges, considering they are the most widely cultivated citrus fruit globally, constituting 50% of all citrus fruits produced. However, you may be unaware of the definition and uses of orange essential oil, as well as the eco-friendliness of oranges. Unless you have been comatose since the 1600s, this information is probably not new to you.
Find out all this and more in this weeks Flower Power Hour!
Benefits and use of Orange Oil:
The extraction of orange oil involves obtaining it from the outer layer or zest of an orange, and sometimes from the leaves and blossoms using the cold pressing method. Interestingly, when you peel an orange, and some liquid spurts out from the skin, that's actually the orange oil, not the juice that comes from the fleshy segments.
Although there is an abundance of information available on the internet, in health stores, and from self-proclaimed essential oil experts like Aunt Deborah, much of it is anecdotal. Nevertheless, there is substantial scientific evidence supporting the numerous benefits of orange essential oil, including its antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and mood-enhancing properties. Let's delve into these benefits in more detail.
Antibacterial and antifungal:
Research has verified that orange oil possesses significant antibacterial properties, making it one of the most potent agents available. The high levels of D-limonene naturally present in it are responsible for its effectiveness against bacteria. It's noteworthy that D-limonene constitutes about 90% of the compound in orange oil, which is remarkably high!
Orange essential oil has been proven to be an effective remedy against two of the most prevalent disease-causing bacteria worldwide. Additionally, it's an excellent inhibitor of various fungal agents, making it an ideal solution for preventing and treating a wide range of conditions, including athlete's foot and yeast infections.
The oil's antibacterial and antifungal characteristics alone justify its suitability in any skincare or aftercare product. As a result, our Sunkiss range and some of our tattoo butters incorporate it as a natural choice.
Mood Boosting Properties:
If you have any familiarity with the concept of aromatherapy, then you would know that specific scents can have a positive impact on your mental well-being, mood, and relaxation levels. However, if you are not acquainted with this notion, here is a brief explanation: Suppose you wake up in the morning and are greeted with the fragrance of a beautiful present that your dog has left on the carpet in the living room. In that case, you will most likely notice an immediate effect on your stress levels. Conversely, when you return home after a stressful day at work and are immediately greeted with the aroma of your favourite meal being cooked by your partner, your stress levels are likely to decrease. Aromatherapy takes this idea one step further by examining the effects of various oils and extracts on mood, but the fundamental principle remains the same – scents can change your mood.
Orange oil, like many essential oils, has been the subject of numerous studies investigating its impact on mood. For example, researchers assessed the effects of orange oil on stress levels in children during a visit to the dentist. One group was exposed to a control scent of evaporated water, while the other was exposed to the scent of evaporated orange oil. The results showed that the group exposed to orange oil had lower levels of stress hormones during the dental procedure.
Animal studies have also explored the effects of orange oil on mood. A study involving mice, for instance, found that orange oil reduced depression and anxiety while increasing their general activity and curiosity.
Similarly, humans have reported reduced stress, anxiety, and depression following exposure to orange oil, making it an ideal choice after a long day at work or even after getting a tattoo.
A research study aimed at examining the potential use of orange oil in cancer treatment revealed that the compound limonene had the ability to hinder and frequently eradicate cancer cells. Additionally, the study inferred that orange oil demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, it is probable that orange oil or its extracts, particularly limonene, will be utilised in various medications in the future, potentially playing a vital role in the treatment of cancer - a remarkable feat for the unassuming orange!
Numerous other investigations have been conducted into the effects of orange oil on pain and inflammation, indicating that it is a highly beneficial ingredient to possess, particularly in skincare products.
Environmental impact of Oranges:
We are aware that Orange Essential Oil provides numerous benefits to your skin, body, and brain. However, does its usage have a detrimental impact on the environment?
The information appears optimistic, with oranges having a low water usage, carbon footprint, and environmental impact. Let's examine this more closely.
To produce 1kg of oranges, it takes 560 litres of water, which may initially sound like a lot. Nevertheless, compared to other items, it is reasonable. Beef, for instance, necessitates a massive 15,415 litres of water per kg, but this is meat. In contrast, apricots require over 1,280 litres per kg and bananas require 790 litres, making oranges a fruit with a low water footprint.
Moreover, the amount of CO2e generated per kg of oranges is also low, at 0.6kg per kilo of oranges, comparable to driving a car 1.5 miles. In comparison, potatoes have a CO2e production rate of 2.9kg per kg.
Overall, oranges are a highly sustainable crop, particularly since orange farming does not lead to widespread deforestation or pollution. The only environmental harm may result from the improper use of pesticides, although this seems to be negligible overall.
Considering all the aforementioned points, it is evident that there are multiple advantages of incorporating oranges/orange oil and other natural ingredients in various products. Such ingredients offer natural alternatives to artificial antibacterial and fungal agents, while also uplifting one's mood, alleviating inflammation, and potentially aiding in the cure for cancer. Moreover, the use of natural ingredients is sustainable and does not pose any harm to the environment.
Words and content by Kirk Diggler.