Sweet orange peel essential oil

Sweet Orange (Citrus Sinensis)

4 minutes to read
Miki Tameishi

Miki Tameishi

ITEC Therapist (Aromatherapy, Holistic Massage, Reflexology), IEB Reflexologist, LCICI Japan Champissage trainer, Chakra-Aroma Reiki Master, Hbps Hydrotherapist

Note — The article was checked and updated May 2023.

With its fantastic scent, sweet orange essential oil is simply energising

It has a great positive impact on our mind and body and can assist with conditions such as

  • Anxiety
  • Bronchitis
  • Cellulite and ageing skin
  • Cold
  • Gum disease
  • Sleep, and others.

Let’s see how and in which ways we can enjoy sweet orange essential oil.


In Chinese and Japanese culture, dried sweet orange peel (Chénpí in Chinese, Chinpi in Japanese) has been used as a herbal medicine for over thousands of years for numerous maladies.

Common name: Orange oil, Citrus aurantium dulcis, Citrus aurantium var. sinensis.

Botanical name: Citrus sinensis. 

Family name: Rutaceae.

Extraction methods: Cold pressed steam distillation.

Parts used: Ripe or almost ripe outer peel of orange fruit. 

Countries: The region between the Himalayas and Southwest China.

Colour: Yellow or dark orange.

Odour/smell: Lingering rich, fruity aroma (if expressed), or lighter aroma if distilled. The top note is the fresh citrus odour, like scrunched orange peel.

Properties: Antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, digestive, sedative, stomachic, digestive tonic, and lymphatic stimulant.[1,2]

Chemical composition: The major constituent of orange is limonene monoterpene hydrocarbon.[1]

Sweet Orange essential oil - chemical composition

Limonene, which is found in many citrus peel oils (60-90%), has antiseptic properties, and is thought to be anti-tumor and may dissolve gallstones.[3]

Limonene is metabolised into perillyl alcohol and perillyl acid by the body, both of which have greater inhibitory effect than limonene in preventing the isoprenylation of proteins involved in cancer growth.[3,4]

Traditional uses

In many countries, oranges are symbols of marital happiness, prosperity and fertility.

Ancient scholars believed the Aphrodite’s “golden apples”, stolen by Heracles from the Garden of Hesperides, were actually oranges. The reasons for this belief is the colour (orange) and also because Gaia’s gift to Hera, during her wedding to Zeus, was an orange tree.

The royal palace of Versailles in France also has orange trees in its garden.

Christmas and New Year celebration

  • Oranges are often a part of holiday giving and presents in Canada, USA and China
  • Orange cake (Greece)
  • Decorations (Japan) 
  • Decoration trees (Russia)
Orange decorations in Japan
Kagami mochi decorated with Japanese bitter orange

The medicinal properties of oranges were first recognised in Ancient China, where they were used to treat cough, cold, anorexia, and malignant breast sores.

Li Shizhen (Chinese acupuncturist, herbalist and physician from the Ming dynasty) said: “The fruits of all different species and varieties of citrus are considered to be cooling”.[2]

Therapeutic uses

The refreshing, cheerful and sensual nature of sweet orange gives warmth and joy to all who are around it, adults and children alike.[1]

Sweet orange oil is ideal to use when we take life too seriously

At the moment, I’m using sweet orange oil on my clients who are under stress. As a result, I can see that they are quite relaxed after the treatment, with a much warmer facial expression.

Essential oil cabinet

Calms and aids the digestive system

Sweet orange has proven constipation, dyspepsia, antispasmodic activities, and is a stimulant  which is useful for regulating digestion.[1,5]

Limonene from the citrus oils is thought to be bile stimulant, whether in the production of bile or in the release of bile from the gallbladder.[4]

Relaxes the nervous system

Sweet orange has a sedative and antidepressant warming effect. It can help to reduce

  • Anxiety
  • Tension 
  • Insomnia 
  • Stress related conditions

Circulation and immune system support

Sweet orange is rich in terpenes which are effective in neutralising many types of bacteria, mould and viruses, helping to reduce air-borne illness. 

Sweet orange can help with 

  • Colds 
  • Flu
  • Chills 
  • Bronchitis 

Also, sweet orange is known as a lymphatic stimulant and helps to flush out toxins. It can also assist with 

  • Fluid retention
  • Palpitations 
  • Obesity

Skin care

Sweet orange has regenerative properties 

  • Cellulite
  • Ageing skin
  • Rough/calloused skin
  • Dull and oily complexion 

Sweet orange is beneficial for soothing dry, irritated, or acne- prone skin.[1]

Anti fungal, anti inflammatory, antiseptic properties 

  • Mouth ulcers 
  • Gum disease

How to use

Sweet orange oil can be used for 

  • Topical application (facial oil, cleanser, toner)
  • Massage
  • Compress
  • Bath
  • Sauna
  • Room sprays
  • Ointment 
  • Amigel
  • Inhalation (direct inhalation, aroma diffuser, oil vaporiser)

Other uses

Sweet orange peel tincture is used to flavour pharmaceuticals

Also, it is extensively used as a fragrance component in soaps, detergents, cosmetics, perfumes, and in the food and drinks industry.[2]

Essential oils inhalation instructions

  • Tissue or handkerchief – 1 drop
  • Water bowls – 1 to 9 drops 
  • Candle / scented light bulbs – 1 to 2 drops 
  • Vapour – 2 to 3 drops 
  • Diffuser – 1 to 6 drops 
  • Humidifiers – 1 to 9 drops
Essential oils instructions

Essential oils bath instructions

  • Bath – 1 to 8 drops 
  • Shower – 1 to 8 drops
  • Hand bath – 2 to 4 drops 
  • Foot bath – 1 to 6 drops
  • Sauna – 2 drops per 600ml water[6]

Essential oils massage instructions

Ron Guba generally recommends a dilution from 2.5% to 10% essential oil in different carrier oils.[7] 

Robert Tisserand’s table recommends topical percentages and dilution guidelines.[8] See below.

Purpose of the essential oil mixture

Dilution range

Facial cosmetics


Body massage


Bath & body products


Specific problems


Pain, wounds


Essential oil dilution guidelines

Essential oils dilution guidelines and chart

Aromatherapy blends

A good combination for sweet orange are

  • floral essential oils (jasmine, geranium, rose)
  • herbal essential oils (lavender, clary sage, rosemary )
  • woody essential oils (cypress and rosewood)
  • spice essential oils (juniper and cinnamon leaf)
  • oriental essential oils (ylang ylang)

Constipation blend (massage)

Apply to the abdominal area.

  • Sweet orange – 5 drops
  • Rosewood – 2 drops
  • Coriander – 1 drop 
  • Carrier (vegetable) oil – 10ml

Promoting bile production (massage)

Apply to the epigastric fossa area (slight depression in the midline just below the sternum).

  • Sweet orange – 3 drops
  • Lovage – 2 drops
  • Chamomile Roman – 1 drop
  • Rosemary verbenone – 2 drops
  • Carrier (vegetable) oil – 10ml

Insomnia blend (massage)

Apply to the epigastric fossa area (slight depression in the midline just below the sternum).

  • Sweet orange – 5 drops
  • Lemon verbena – 3 drops
  • Carrier (vegetable) oil – 10ml

Cellulite vanishing blend (massage)

Apply to the affected areas.

  • Sweet orange – 2 drops
  • Eucalyptus lemon – 2 drops
  • Cedar wood – 2 drops
  • Cinnamon – 1 drop
  • Rosemary campher – 1 drops 
  • Carrier (vegetable) oil – 10ml

Mouth ulcers blend (mouthwash)

  • Sweet orange – 2 drops
  • Bay laurel – 1 drop
  • Echinacea tincture – 2 teaspoons
  • Lavender or Roman chamomile hydrosol (or both mixed together – total 150ml) and add 150ml of water 

Use (gargle) 3 times daily.

Precaution and Safety

Sweet orange is generally non-toxic although using large amounts of essential oil is not recommended around small children.[2,9]

Sweet orange is a non-irritant and non-sensitizing although limonene can cause dermatitis in few individual.[2]

Sweet orange is not considered to be phototoxic

Monoterpenes in general have a stimulating effect, but they can become skin-sensitising if used over time.[3]

For more articles on essential oils, please see our Natural Medicine page.

Miki is a Japanese-born traditionally trained massage therapist and aromatherapy practitioner. She has Japanese expertise, techniques and Western training. Miki has studied in both Asian and Western modalities.

Miki can be found at Herbal Aroma Spa and Wellness shop and LCICI Japan School – NZ. For more information on Miki, please visit HanaAkari.


(1) Battaglia, S. (2003). The complete Guide to Aromatherapy, 2nd Ed. The international centre of aromatherapy.

(2) Lawless, J. (1995). Complete essential oils. Element.

(3) Buckle, J. (2003). Clinical aromatherapy, 2nd Ed. Elsevier.

(4) Joy, E. B. (2003). The chemistry of aromatherapeutic oils.

(5) Candy, R. (2005). Aromatherapy Essential oil in colour. 

(6) Worwood, V.A. (1991). The Fragrant Pharmacy. Macmillan, London.

(7) Guba, R. (2006). Aromatherapy and Regenerative skin care. The Centre for Aromatic Medicine.

(8) Tisserand, R. (2015) Tisserand institute. Retrieved from https://tisserandinstitute.org/essential-oil-dilution-chart/

(9) Nard Japan (2005). Nard Japan – A dictionary of Chemotype essential oils for prescription.

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