What Is Mandarin Orange Oil?
Mandarin orange oil is derived from the fruit peel of mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata Blanco), which has been widely cultivated in many parts of Asia, including Japan, China, India, the East Indies and the Philippines. Depending on the variety, mandarin orange tree can grow up to 7 meters (about 23 feet) high. Surrounded with fragrant white blooms, mandarin orange fruit is usually slightly oblate in shape and has an orange to red-orange color when it ripens.1
Aside from the common mandarin, some of the most common varieties based are the king mandarin (Citrus nobilis), Mediterranean or willow leaf mandarin (Citrus deliciosa), and satsuma (Citrus unshiu).2
Uses of Mandarin Orange Oil
Similar to other fruits from the citrus family, mandarin has a long history of being used in many folk medicine traditions, including traditional Chinese medicine, as well as in Indian and European home remedies.3 It’s believed that the unripe fruit peel can treat a wide range of conditions, from hiccups, coughs, phlegm, chest pain4 and gastrointestinal disorders,5 to liver cirrhosis and swelling of the spleen.6
Loved for its sweet and tangy flavor and scent, mandarin orange oil is also a popular flavoring ingredient in the food and beverage industry, and as a scent in cosmetics and perfumes.
Composition of Mandarin Orange Oil
Mandarin orange oil contains a variety of chemicals that contribute to its beneficial effects. A study published in the Scientific World Journal also found that the ripening stage also has a significant effect on these chemicals. For mandarin orange oil, the predominant compounds are limonene (51.81 to 69 percent), 1,8-cineole (0.01 to 26.43 percent) and y-terpinene (2.53 to 14.06 percent).
Other beneficial components in the oil include alpha-thujone, alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, camphene, terpinolene, octanol, geranyl acetate, linalool, myrcene, nerol, sabinene and terpineol.7
Benefits of Mandarin Orange Oil
Mandarin orange oil offers an extensive array of well-documented health benefits. It may help:8
Ease muscular spasms
Alleviate digestive problems like flatulence and constipation
Promote detoxification and help relieve body congestion
Ease stress, anxiety, nervous exhaustion and overall fatigue
Curb stress-induced insomnia
Protect against cellulite formation
How to Make Mandarin Orange Oil
The time of harvesting ripe mandarin orange fruits depends on where the fruit is grown and what the cultivar is. For example, willow leaf mandarin oranges are harvested in early spring, while satsumas are ready to be picked in late fall up to early winter. Traditionally, the fruits are carefully harvested by hand, as they’re prone to bruising and damage. You can also use a good pair of hand pruners.9
The essential oil is then extracted through cold compression of the fresh peels of the fruit.10 Mandarin orange oil can either be golden yellow, green or red, and can have differing fragrance notes.11
How Does Mandarin Orange Oil Work?
Therapeutically, mandarin orange oil is used topically or added in bath oils. To boost its effectiveness, use other essential oils with similar benefits as a carrier oil. To freshen up your home, add a couple of drops of this sweet and fruity oil in a diffuser or into a pail of water that will be used for cleaning.
Is Mandarin Orange Oil Safe?
As with any essential oil, mandarin orange oil is generally safe when used properly. However, I highly recommend seeking expert medical advice before incorporating it into your health or treatment regimen, especially if you have any existing medical condition, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Side Effects of Mandarin Orange Oil
There is varying literature regarding mandarin orange oil’s sensitizing or phototoxic effects.12 A good tip I can give you is to dilute it with milder carrier oils to lessen its negative effects, if any, and do not expose yourself under direct sunlight after use.
To avoid any unfortunate incidents, make it a habit to perform a skin patch test before using essential oils, or any new skincare product, topically. If irritation persists, discontinue use immediately and consult your doctor.