orange essential oil

An Orange Essential Oil for All Seasons

This article discusses how to use an orange essential oil for all seasons. Written by certified aromatherapist Sharon Falsetto.

Part of this article originally appeared in the NAHA Journal (Summer 2019.2) and it is re-published here according to the NAHA Writer Guidelines 2019-20 copyright statement. Original referencing can be found in that article.

Orange is an extremely versatile plant for aromatherapy use as it gives up not just one, but three essential oils. An essential oil is extracted from the fruit, leaf, and flower of the bitter orange (Citrus aurantium) tree, in addition to an essential oil extracted from its close relative, the sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) tree.

Here’s a quick overview of why orange is suitable for all seasons.

Orange Essential Oil: Who’s Who

Bitter orange essential oil is cold expressed from the fruits of the bitter orange tree. It is predominately made up of monoterpenes. It is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, and a tonic. Bitter orange essential oil is also useful for anxiety, for calming the mind and body, to ease colic, to ease indigestion and to ease constipation.

Sweet orange essential oil is usually cold expressed from the fruits of the sweet orange tree. It is predominately made up of monoterpenes. However, there is also a steam distillation of sweet orange essential oil from the fruits. Note that expressed sweet orange essential oil usually contains a higher percentage of monoterpenes than distilled sweet orange oil. It also contains the phototoxic component bergapten. Sweet orange essential oil promotes rest and relaxation and it is also useful for acne, oily skin, bronchitis, colds, flu, palpitations, and water retention.

Petitgrain essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves of the bitter orange tree. It contains up to 80% of esters. It is used a lot in skin care for acne and for toning. It can also be used to treat insomnia, stress, nervous exhaustion, and flatulence. It is digestive, antiseptic, and a digestive and nervous stimulant.

Neroli essential oil is steam distilled from the flowers of the bitter orange tree. It contains a high percentage of the alcohol linalool, the ester linalyl acetate, and the monoterpenes limonene and pinene. Neroli essential oil is used extensively in skin care for mature skin, wrinkles, sensitive skin, stretch marks, and scars. It is also used for digestive disorders, such as colic, flatulence and diarrhea. I find neroli essential oil extremely useful to treat shock, anxiety, stress, grief, and depression.  

Aroma Profile of Orange Essential Oil

Essential Oil Aroma Notes
Bitter Orange

(Citrus aurantium)

Fresh, floral, sweet undertones Often overlooked for sweet orange in aromatherapy work.
Sweet Orange

(Citrus sinensis)

Sweet, fresh, fruity The “happy” oil due to its warm and uplifting nature.

(Citrus aurantium var. amara (fol))

Floral, citrus, woody-herbaceous undertones A good substitute to neroli, in terms of price and a lighter aroma.

(Citrus aurantium var. amara (flos))

Floral, sweet, light, intoxicating The absolute is thicker in texture. The aroma is richer and warmer.

Orange for All Seasons

Season Bitter Orange EO Sweet Orange EO Petitgrain EO Neroli EO
Spring Colic for little ones Oily and acne-prone skin Skin toner Colic for little ones
Summer Uplifting, energizing for summer days Palpitations from summer heat Summer exhaustion and heat Sensitive summer skin from sun
Autumn Combine with spices for seasonal aroma Stress Depression
Winter Overindulgence of Holiday foods Colds and flu Insomnia Dry winter skin


Essential Oil Cautions
Bitter Orange (Expressed)

(Citrus aurantium)

Phototoxic. Avoid exposure to sunlight and other forms of ultraviolet light after use.
Sweet Orange (Expressed)

(Citrus sinensis)

Generally believed to be non-toxic.
Sweet Orange (Distilled)

(Citrus sinensis)

Phototoxic. Avoid exposure to sunlight and other forms of ultraviolet light after use.

(Citrus aurantium var. amara (fol))

No known cautions for aromatherapy use.

(Citrus aurantium var. amara (flos))

No known cautions for aromatherapy use.

Just Breathe Inhaler

Using an inhaler is one of the quickest ways in which an aromatherapy blend reaches the brain and instigates the required reactions in the body.


  • Use for sudden shock.
  • Use for panic attacks.
  • Use for morning sickness in pregnancy. *

*Consult a certified aromatherapist for use in pregnancy.

For adult use only.

Essential Oils:

  • 10 drops neroli (Citrus aurantium amara (flos))
  • 3 drops sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)
  • 5 drops petitgrain (Citrus aurantium amara (fol))

 Instructions for Use:

  • Pre-blend the essential oils required for the blend in a glass beaker.
  • Add the wick from the inhaler to the essential oil blend and allow it to fully absorb the blend. Avoid touching the soaked wick with your hands (use gloves if necessary) as you may have a reaction.
  • Insert the soaked wick into the inhaler. Make sure that you fix the bottom cap on securely.
  • Your inhaler is now ready to use!
  • Make sure that you cap it when not in use and affix a label with the contents for reference.

Cautions: Avoid contact with mucous membranes. For inhalation purposes only. Keep out of reach of children and pets.

About the Author:

The author of this article has a combined 24-year history in the health care and aromatherapy industry. She is UK-certified aromatherapist and a NAHA Certified Professional Aromatherapist®. She is both a published author and editor in aromatherapy, a consultant, custom blend formulator and herbal studies student. She is the author of Authentic Aromatherapy and the current chief editor of the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal. She has taken the online Master Gardener short course series with the University of Oregon. Sharon works from her garden studio in Sedona, Arizona, where she gardens and distills plants from her own aromatic gardens, surrounded by natural fauna and flora on an original pioneer homestead property.

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