Essential Oil Spotlight: Orange

Orange essential oil (Citrus sinensis) is cold expressed from the rinds of the fruit. It is very easy to extract—if you have ever peeled an orange, you have likely ended up with essential oil on your hands. The oil is deep golden yellow with a characteristic orange peel aroma.

Orange essential oil is used primarily for anxiety, digestion (sluggish), fear, heart palpitations, insomnia, menopause, nervousness, uplifting, and withdrawals.

Oranges have historically been used for palpitations, scurvy, jaundice, bleeding, heartburn, relaxed throat, prolapse of the uterus and the anus, diarrhea, and blood in the feces. This essential oil may also help appetite, rickety bones, bronchitis, colds, colic (dilute for infants; helps them sleep), dermatitis, digestive system, fever, flu, lower high cholesterol, mouth ulcers, muscle soreness, obesity, sedation, tissue repair, water retention, and wrinkles.

Some of the properties of orange essential oil include anticancer, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, digestive, sedative, and tonic.

Applications of Orange Essential Oil and Safety Data

Topical Application: Orange essential oil can be applied neat (with no dilution) when used topically. Apply directly on area of concern or to reflex points. Avoid direct sunlight for up to 12 hours after using on skin.
Aromatic Application: Orange essential oil can be diffused or inhaled directly. Orange oil is calming and uplifting to the mind and body when inhaled.
Internal Application: Orange essential oil can be taken internally and is often used as a flavoring in cooking. Put 1–2 drops of orange oil under the tongue or in a beverage. It can also be taken in capsules.

5 Ways to Use Orange Essential Oil

1. Diffuse
Orange essential oil is effective to help influence emotions. It is often used for balancing emotions, confidence, happiness/joy, loss, counteracting negative emotions, feeling overburdened/overwhelmed, pity (especially self-pity), and uplifting the mind. Try diffusing orange essential oil alone or in one of the following recipes:

Here are a few other diffuser blends that use orange essential oil:

2. Add to a Massage Oil or Bath
Try adding one of the following blends to 1 1/2 Tbsp. massage oil, such as fractionated coconut oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, or sweet almond oil. You can also use these blends in a diffuser or a bath (combine with 1/4 cup epsom salt to evenly disperse throughout the tub).

Uplifting Massage
5 drops juniper berry
3 drops orange
3 drops lime
Invigorating Massage
3 drops cypress
2 drops bergamot
2 drops orange
Relaxing Massage for Men
5 drops sandalwood
4 drops orange
2 drops vetiver

3. Combine in a Roll-on Blend
Orange essential oil is known for helping heart issues, stimulating sluggish digestion, relieving insomnia, and turning frowns into smiles. If you need help with any of these conditions, try making a blend and rolling it on the area of concern or on the bottoms of your feet. Just add the recommended number of drops to a 10 ml roll-on bottle, and then fill the rest of the bottle with a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, or sweet almond oil. These recipes are formulated at a 5% dilution ratio.

Circulation Roll-on
7 drops orange
3 drops ylang ylang
2 drops lavender
Digestive Roll-on
(eases constipation)

7 drops orange
3 drops black pepper
2 drops peppermint
Insomnia Roll-on
6 drops orange
6 drops lavender
Happy Roll-on
4 drops orange
4 drops lavender
4 drops ylang ylang

4.  Put in a Natural Mouthwash
Try putting orange essential oil in a coconut oil mouthwash. Just add 1 drop each orange and lemon essential oil to 1 tsp. coconut oil. Swish the solution around in your mouth, and then swallow or spit into the garbage. (Don’t spit into the sink because coconut oil can solidify in the pipes.)

5. Use in Cooking Recipes
Orange essential oil is easy to add to any of your favorite recipes. Just substitute 1 drop of orange oil for 1 tsp. of orange zest. Here are a few of our favorite recipes to help you get started:

Other Ideas Using Orange Essential Oil

Sources:
Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition, p. 94.
Healing Oils: 500 Formulas for Aromatherapy by Carol Schiller & David Schiller

Essential Oil Spotlight: Spikenard

Spikenard essential oil (Nardostachys jatamansi) gets its name from the spike-shaped rhizomes (or “spikes”) of the plant that the oil is distilled from. Highly prized in the Middle East during the time of Christ, spikenard is referred to several times in the Bible. Spikenard was also used in the preparation of nardinum, a scented oil of great renown during ancient times. Prized in early Egypt, it was used in a preparation called kyphi with other oils like saffron, juniper, myrrh, cassia, and cinnamon.

Spikenard is commonly used for aging skin, insomnia, nervousness, perfume, and rashes. The oil is known for helping in the treatment of allergic skin reactions, and according to Victoria Edwards, “The oil redresses the skin’s physiological balance and causes permanent regeneration.”

It may also help with allergies, candida, flatulent indigestion, insomnia, menstrual difficulties, migraines, nausea, neurological diseases, rashes, staph infections, stress, tachycardia, tension, and wounds that will not heal.

This essential oil contains the following properties: antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, deodorant, relaxing, and skin tonic.

Spikenard has an earthy, animal-like fragrance. It is balancing, soothing, and harmonizing.

Spikenard can be applied neat (without dilution) on adults when used topically on area of concern or to reflex points. It can also be diffused or inhaled directly.

at_spikenard

5 Ways to Use Spikenard Essential Oil

1. Diffuse
Try these oil blends in your diffuser:
2. Roll on for Sleep
Spikenard essential oil is also beneficial in helping with insomnia because of its relaxing properties. Here is a good recipe to put in a roll-on bottle to rub on the bottoms of your feet at night when you need a little help falling asleep:

Insomnia Blend:
1 drop Roman chamomile
2 drops lavender
2 drops marjoram
2 drops orange
1 drop tangerine
1 drop ylang ylang
1 drop spikenard
Add oils to a 5 ml roll-on for short-term use or a 10 ml roll-on for daily use. Fill the roll-on the rest of the way with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil.

All-Natural Deodorant3. Add to Deodorant
Try putting spikenard in your all-natural deodorant. You could even make your own by using this recipe and replace the oils with this blend:
5 drops orange
3 drops juniper berry
2 drops spikenard

4. Add to a Warm Bath
Here is a bath blend that will remind you of being deep in the woodlands:

Relax in the Woodlands Bath:
1 drop spikenard
1 drop vetiver
5 drops cedarwood
10 drops white fir
4 drops cypress
1 cup (240 g) epsom salt
Mix oils in epsom salt, and add 1/4 cup of the mixture to your warm bathwater.

5. Use in a Massage
According to Patricia Davis, spikenard “is a wonderful oil for anybody who is tense or anxious, and has the ability to help people let go of old pain or emotional blocks that they are holding inside. Aromatherapists who work with chakra energy or auric massage would find this a very appropriate oil” (Aromatherapy: An A–Z, p. 301). Try using this blend that includes spikenard for a relaxing massage:

Relaxing Massage Blend:
3 drops neroli
3 drops petitgrain
3 drops marjoram
1 drop spikenard
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) carrier oil (such as Fractionated Coconut Oil, Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, or Jojoba Oil)

To learn more about spikenard essential oil, see the book Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils.

Sources: Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition, p. 110.
Aromatherapy: An A–Z by Patricia Davis.

Essential Oil Application: Topical

Topical-Application-branded

Topical application is the process of placing an essential oil on the skin, hair, mouth, teeth, nails, or mucous membranes of the body. Since essential oils are so potent, and because some essential oils may irritate the skin or other areas of the body, they are often diluted with a pure vegetable oil (usually called a “carrier oil“) such as Fractionated Coconut Oil, Almond Oil, olive oil, Jojoba Oil, etc. However, some essential oils can be applied directly to the skin without dilution (this is referred to as applying the oil “neat”). Several topical application methods are defined below.

Direct Application

Direct application refers to applying the oils directly on the area of concern. Sometimes it isn’t possible to apply the oils to the area of concern, so the next best areas to topically apply essential oils are on the feet, behind the ears, and on the wrists. These are the fastest absorbing areas of the body because they contain larger pores. When applying oils topically, it is important to remember that because essential oils are so potent, more is not necessarily better; 1–3 drops should be sufficient.

When applying oils to infants and small children, dilute heavily with a carrier oil. Use 1–3 drops of essential oil to 1 Tbsp. of carrier oil for infants and 1–3 drops of essential oil to 1 tsp. of carrier oil for children ages 2–5. An easy way to make sure your essential oil is properly diluted is to pre-mix the essential oil with a carrier oil in a roll-on bottle. The roll-on bottle also helps make application easier.

AromaTools_Vertical

Use caution when creating blends for topical use. Layering individual oils is preferred over mixing your own blends.

Note: “Layering” refers to applying one oil at a time (i.e., apply the first oil, rub into the skin, apply the second oil, rub into the skin, etc.). If dilution is necessary, a carrier oil can be applied to the skin before or after the essential oils.

Massage

Massage is the stimulation of muscle, skin, and connective tissues using various techniques to help promote healing, balance, and connection. Essential oils can enhance the invigorating, relaxing, stimulating, or soothing feelings of massage.

Unless you are a certified massage therapist and have a thorough understanding of anatomy, it is best to use only light to medium strokes for applying oils and to avoid the spine or other sensitive areas of the body.

Modern Essentials™ outlines a specific massage technique that can be done using essential oils and includes instructions and illustrations of various strokes.

Young woman having a massage

Simple Massage Oil

  • Servings: Yield=1 oz.
  • Time: 2 minutes active
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients & Supplies:

Instructions:

  1. Combine ingredients in a small glass bowl, and stir to combine. Pour mixture into the 1 oz. plastic bottle. (Use a funnel if needed to avoid spills.)
  2. To use, simply apply small amounts of your mixture to the desired area, and massage lightly into the skin.

Essential Oil Recommendations:

You can use one or more of the following oils to equal a total of 15–30 drops.

  • Calming/Relaxing: Oils that are good for a calming or relaxing massage oil include cedarwood, Roman chamomile, lavender, clary sage, jasmine, myrrh, or ylang ylang.
  • Invigorating/Energizing: Some oils that would create a more invigorating or energizing massage oil include cypress, white fir, juniper, lemon, nutmeg, orange, grapefruit, or peppermint.
  • Romantic: Some oils that can be used to create a more romantic massage oil include rose, jasmine, clary sage, or ylang ylang.

Reflexology/Reflex Therapy

“Reflex therapy is a simple method of applying oils to contact points (or nerve endings) in the feet or hands. A series of hand rotation movements at those control points create a vibrational healing energy that carries the oils along the neuroelectrical pathways. The oils either help remove any blockage along the pathways or travel the length of the pathway to benefit the particular organ” (Modern Essentials™, p. 48). Refer to our reflex hand and foot charts for more information.

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Auricular Therapy

Auricular therapy is a method of applying the oils to various points on the rim of the ears to effect changes on internal body parts. Similar to reflexology, small amounts of an essential oil are applied to the point before the point is stimulated with the fingers or with a glass Auricular Probe. Refer to our Auricular Body Points Chart for more details.

Compress

A compress helps with topical application of essential oils because the water helps drive the oils into the skin. There are 2 ways explained in Modern Essentials™ for doing a compress:

  1. Basin: Fill a wash basin with 2 quarts of hot or cold water, and add the desired essential oils. Stir the water vigorously; then lay a towel on top of the water. Since the oils will float to the top, the towel will absorb the oils with the water. After the towel is completely saturated, wring out the excess water (leaving much of the oils in the towel), and place the towel over the area needing the compress. For a hot compress, cover with a dry towel and a hot water bottle. For a cold compress, cover with a piece of plastic or plastic wrap. Finally, put another towel on top, and leave for as long as possible (1–2 hours is best).
  2. Massage: Apply a hot, wet towel and then a dry towel on top of an area that has already been massaged with essential oils. The moist heat will force the oils deeper into the tissues of the body.

Baths

The concept of using baths to help topically apply oils is similar to using a compress—oils and water don’t mix, so the warm water will help drive the oils into the skin. There are a few methods that you can use to help you apply oils while bathing.

  1. Bathwater: You can simply add oils directly to your bathwater, but keep in mind that the oils will rise to the top, so it is best to avoid oils that could cause irritation to sensitive areas of the body. To add oils to your bath, place 3–6 drops of oil in the bathwater while the tub is filling. Soak for 15 minutes.AT-Bubble-Bath
  2. Bath and Shower Gel: Using a bath and shower gel as a base helps to evenly disperse the essential oils throughout the water and can increase the benefits obtained from using essential oils in the bath. To do this, just add 3–6 drops of oil to 1/2 oz. of a Bath and Shower Gel Base, and add to the water while the tub is filling.
  3. Bath Salts: Similar in concept to using a bath and shower gel, bath salts or Epsom salts help disperse the oils more evenly throughout the water. Combine 3–10 drops essential oil with 1/4–1/2 cup of bath salts or Epsom Salts, and dissolve the salt mixture in warm bathwater before bathing.
  4. Washcloth: When showering, add 3–6 drops of oil to a Bath and Shower Gel Base before applying to a washcloth and using to wash the body.
  5. Body sprays: A body spray can be used before or after taking a bath or shower. When used before, the water from the bath or shower can help drive the oils into the skin. When used after a warm bath or shower, the pores are open and will absorb the oils quickly. To make a body spray, fill a small spray bottle with distilled water, and add 10–15 drops of your favorite oil blend or single oils. Shake well, and spray onto the entire body.

15ml Spray Bottles

Want to learn more about topical application of essential oils? See Modern Essentials™ for more information on topical use of specific oils and more.

Source: Modern Essentials™, 7th Edition, pp. 48–59.