Common name: Sweet Orange
Botanical name: Citrus sinensis
(C. aurantium var. dulcis, C. aurantium var. sinensis)

Part of the Rutaceae family, Sweet Orange is derived from the peel of the sweet orange fruit. A byproduct of orange juice production, the peel is most often cold-expressed, but it can be steam-distilled as well. Big areas of production include Portugal, China, and the United States.

Looking at the biochemical class, Sweet Orange is a monoterpene because of its high limonene content. It’s very similar to Lemon. There’s up to 89% d-limonene* and a-pinene in Sweet Orange. It has a little bit of alcohol in the form of linalool, with a few other aldehydes (octanal, citronellal) and ketones.

The Sweet Orange fruit was used in traditional medicine. The essential oil was not, but we have found that Sweet Orange oil has some useful properties. These include: antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bactericidal, choleretic, fungicidal, nervous sedative, lymphatic stimulant, and tonic-digestive (stomachic, carminative).

In terms of skincare, it is useful with its antiseptic properties. Sweet Orange is said to aid chapped and fissured skin. It strengthens the epidermis and increases circulation. However, it can make any open wound burn. AVOID USE ON SENSITIVE OR DAMAGED SKIN.

Mentally, Sweet Orange energizes, yet harmonizes the physical and mental, gives courage, and counters worry. Tested at a low dose, it is non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitizing in most people. (Older oxidized oils or those with high d-limonene increase the potential for sensitization.)

Diffused in the air, it makes the perfect, inexpensive, bright, clean environmental blend by itself—shown to be especially relaxing for children. It can also be diffused with other oils. In public places, it refreshes and provides a nice atmosphere. If you’re concerned about complaints, simply diffuse it with a bowl of fruit to create the perception that it’s coming from that. Everyone loves Orange!

Sweet Orange is perfect for kids’ rooms as well. They seem to like it, and it has been shown to decrease anxiety in school-age kids. See how orange essence helps reduce anxiety in school-age children with diabetes.

We recommend that you DO NOT use Sweet Orange in the bath. It should be used in the air only. Note: Sweet Orange has properties similar to Bitter Orange, but Sweet Orange is milder and useful for children.

According to Tony’s book, oranges are the most extensively produced citrus crop in the United States and Brazil, with Brazil leading the way. Despite the high limonene content of Sweet Orange, the characteristic smell of Orange is probably due to its oxygenated fractions. For many years, this weighed heavily towards aldehyde C10 (n-decanal), but recent thinking suggests that aldehyde C8 (n-octanal) may be more influential.  

In perfumery, Orange oils are often used in citrus blends, air fresheners, and in cheaper perfumes. Though they are also found in oriental top notes, along with tropical and fruity blends.

Sweet Orange oil can also be produced by distilling the fresh peel, or by distilling the oils separated during the juice-pressing process. (These are sometimes separated by centrifugation or other physical means.)

From Tony’s book: “Orange essence oil is the oily layer separating from the aqueous juice layer when oranges are pressed for juice (Gaffney 1996).[1]”

Watch as Sylla compares her Orange samples, including Orange essence and Blood Orange. You can also see what happens when Orange oil oxidizes.

We hope you enjoyed this segment on Sweet Orange! Let us know what you like and dislike about Sweet Orange and how you’ve used it.


Experience the full Inner Sanctum Membership.

Become a full member of the Inner Sanctum and enjoy new content like this each month, while getting to enjoy our vast collection of resources.

Learn more here and get yours today!