Orange & Blood Orange oil

The warm sparkling bright citrus oils, including the ORANGE & Blood Orange, have great value in diffuser blends to cleanse the room air and refresh the senses. They are often very calming, soothing, and relaxing. You can use Orange oil as part of a Massage oil, Bath oil, or Skin conditioner.


By Jeanne Rose

Photo of cold-pressed oils of Orange and Blood orange with some fruits and a art nouveau paperweight.
photo by Jeanne Rose of PrimaFleur oils of Orange and Blood Orange


ORANGE Introduction ~ The citrus is so beautiful and so healthful for eating, and — is just delicious. The cold-pressed oil has a serious sweetness and bright happiness that makes it super in blends for mental health.

SCIENTIFIC NAME OF THE ORANGE ~ Oranges have had many scientific names in the past, but Citrus x aurantium is now the standard. Citrus taxonomy is often inconsistent and confusing because there are only five pure original Citrus genus, and there are dozens maybe hundreds of varieties and combinations of these five.

______Family ~ Rutaceae

Countries of Origins ~ Big juicy Oranges and blood Oranges are no longer known in the wild, it is surmised that they originated in China.

Endangered or Not ~ Orange plant and most of its varieties are not considered endangered in any way; however, the wild Orange plant of India is considered endangered because of its very specific growing and habitat needs.

Navel oranges - photo by Jeanne Rose
Navel oranges at the Farmer’s Market

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF ORANGE PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ This is a small, evergreen tree that can be propagated by seeds, but the seeds will probably not grow true to form; or propagate by grafting on a suitable rootstock. It has large dark green leaves; white flowers, and the fruit has a sweet pulp that is deliciously juicy. The orange is a hybrid between a pomelo (Citrus maxima) and a Mandarin (Citrus reticulata).

Portion of plant used in distillation, and yields: Citrus peel is either steam-distilled or cold-pressed for Orange oil. The peel is also Solvent extracted for the absolute.

            Yield ~ Orange peel oil yields up to 0.5% by cold pressing.

a chart with the organoleptic characteristics of Orange Peel and Blood Orange oil
Sensory aspects of Orange Peel and Blood Orange

Orange Odor Description/ Aroma Assessment ~ Blood Orange has a rich scent brimming with citrus, and a subsidiary note of fruit, and green and herbal back notes; the scent is deeper and the flavor more intense and fruitier like berries because of the content of red anthocyanins.  Sweet orange is the same with orange carotenoid pigments and less scent and less intense on all levels.

            Language is important in recognizing smells.  An important part of perfumery training is to develop in common an odor language based on olfactory standards.  The possession of such an odor language increases the powers of discrimination. If you can name it, you own it.

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS of Orange Scent ~ Varieties of citrus are often based on scent chemistry especially the component limonene which has a chiral difference — both a left-turning molecule, (S) for sinistral with the sour smell of Lemon or Bitter Orange,  and a right-turning molecule, for right hand or clockwise or dextral, the sweet smell of Oranges. This is the reason we all as lovers of essential oils and aromatherapy need to learn some chemistry along with good taxonomy.

            “(+)-limonene or D-limonene (dextral) is the main constituent of this oil.  The aldehyde content of Sweet Orange oil is the measure of the oil.  The preferred Valencia oil possesses up to 3% aldehydes. One of which is decadienal with an extremely high aroma value.   Other constituents that contribute to the character and quality of Orange oil are the sinensals. X-sinensal has a high orange aroma scent and low odor threshold while b-sinensal has a metallic-fishy note that can be very objectionable.

            The difference between Orange and Grapefruit oil can be as simple as the amount of (+)-valencene. When the amount of a-terpineol exceeds normal level, off-notes occur.  This terpineol forms during the aging or oxidation of orange juice.  (Some essential oil of Orange is indeed produced from Orange Juice). The acetates contribute to the floral notes of Orange oil.”1


Shows the color of orange oil and blood orange oil with the fruit.
Beautiful Orange oil and fruit



The essential oil of Orange is antiseptic, taking the peel as a tea is antispasmodic and slightly diuretic,
both oil and peel are purifying, stomachic; when inhaled in a blend or massage the oil can be calming and sedating; and in skin care or by external application it has antiseptic properties.

_______Application/ Skincare of Orange oil ~ When using Orange oil or any citrus oil in skincare products, never apply directly and always use with a carrier oil or in a blend in the product. Orange is an antioxidant protecting the skin from damage, free radicals, and excess pigmentation and it is an antiseptic.  This can be a useful addition in a skincare product besides the lovely odor.

_______Diffuse/Diffusion ~ The citrus especially the Orange and Blood Orange are wonderful in perfumes, blends, massage oils and they are particularly useful in all types of room sprays or in diffusion. It is a calming, sedative, tonic, and purifying scent. These two oils are a happy, cheerful scent.  Here is one formula.

Orange/Blood Orange Floral Herbal Scent
2 parts each of Orange and Blood Orange
+ 1 part each of Ylang complete and Rosemary verbenone.
Mix together and succuss thoroughly.
Inhale as needed to uplift the emotions and ease tension.

         Emotional & Energetic Uses the Orange oil ~ The oil can be used by inhalation and is most often recommended for obsessions, or to stimulate the appetite, and to improve your self-image by boosting self-confidence. The oil is also added to blends in massage to also boost these feeling.


BLENDS AND PERFUMERY WITH ORANGE ~ “Citrus oils are used in the perfumery business to impart a fresh, sparkling note to any blend.  They are usually not overpowering.  They can be used in up to 25% as the base for classic type of eau de cologne.  Citrus oils harmonize with a large number of other essential oils and they are used in different concentrations in almost all scent blends and modern perfumes”.1

Perfume formula called Citrus Nectar
Nectar for the Gods, reminiscent of delirious perfume prepared by men of the cloth for generations

All essential oils can be purchased from PrimaFleur Botanicals.

BLENDS BEST with most other scents including all other citrus, herbal scents, Mediterranean scents (Lavender, Rosemary, Marjoram, etc.), florals, and resins. Orange oil is much used in blends and perfumery as the scent is so pleasing; Blood Orange has more intensity, fruitiness, and tenacity that sweet Orange.

Classic Type of Eau De Cologne

The company 4711 has the Original Eau de Cologne formula. “It consists of seven main ingredients which have relied upon since 1792: Lemon, Orange, Bergamot, Lavender, Rosemary, Petitgrain and Neroli. Is it a traditional product? Of course! Is it monotonous? Never! Splash it, spray it, do whatever you want with it, it’s yours. Take a deep breath for a moment of freshness, relaxation and calm.” – from 4711 website.

old formula for eau de cologne
Formula for Eau de Cologne


 HYDROSOL ~ A well-distilled hydrosol from either citrus flowers, citrus peel, or whole citrus can be obtained.  The hydrosol of bitter Orange flowers is specifically called Neroli.  All these Citrus hydrosols are easily used – in baths, in facial masks, as toners or in many products and they all have positive benefits for the skin, especially for dry or dehydrated skin.  Neroli hydrosol is popular in cooking and in cocktails but be aware that it does not seem to keep very well, oxidizes, and often molds easily.

            PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil, or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh.

Blood Oranges at the market
Blood Orange – photo by JeanneRose

HERBAL USES OF ORANGE PEEL ~ The peel of the Orange has many uses. It can be sliced from the Orange, dried, and added to bath herb mixtures where it acts as an antiseptic aromatic.  If you powder the dried herb peel you can mix it with clay or powdered Almonds and use in your facial mask for dry and oily skin.  This peel can be simmered for a few minutes in water and the water used in herbal shampoos for oily scalp or dandruff and it can also be added to vinegar rinses for these same conditions. Orange flowers are dried and used in potpourris or mashed up with other facial herbs and used to condition the skin.

HISTORY & INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE ORANGE: “By the 1500, Spanish colonists spread Oranges in the New World, now called the Americas and soon, Oranges were grown on an island off Sao Paulo in Brazil. Ponce de Leon is alleged to have brought the first orange trees to Florida, in the early 1500s.2”The Orange is the most cultivated fruit tree in the world.

            The oil is used for flavoring food, drink, and confectionery, Curacao type liqueurs, and for flavoring cigarette paper. 

Key Use ~ The Oil of Refreshment (for antiseptic and digestive problems).



1. Ohloff, Günther:  SCENT AND FRAGRANCES: Springer-Verlag. 1990. Translated by Pickenhagen and Lawrence

2. Wikipedia

Arctander, Steffen. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin, 1960
Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.
Rose, Jeanne.  375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.  Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999
Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California:
Rose, Jeanne. The Herbal Body Book.
Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose & Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1992

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.


Safety Precautions chart

Contraindications ~ Some citrus when handled and especially Bergamot and Lime oil cold pressed will cause photosensitivity when used undiluted or if you are exposed to sun directly after application. These citruses contain furanocoumarins, (natural chemicals found in some essential oils). Be wary. Keep total amounts of these under 2% of the total of your blend or perfume.  Lime peel oil or any citrus steam-distilled does not have the plant components that cause photosensitivity.


3 thoughts on “Orange & Blood Orange oil

  1. I appreciate all citrus essential oils but Orange makes me feel the happiest and Grapefruit makes me feel the most refreshed. I often make Orange Vinegar for cleaning or add a couple of drops of Orange essential oil to my homemade cleaning products because I dislike cleaning generally but the wonderful scent never fails to make me happier despite the work. I use orange peel in my favorite Bitters formula for digestion. The times that I neglected to include it the difference in effectiveness was noticeable. Thank you for sharing your expansive and amazing store of knowledge!

  2. Mahalo nui for your informative post. Here in Hawaii the abundance of citrus presents infinite opportunities beyond the basic uses as food. I have distilled the flowers, peels and whole fruits of assorted citrus. Each time has been a blissful journey.

Thank you for reading and your comments.