Sweet orange oil is an essential oil extracted from Citrus sinensis, also known as the sweet orange. Sweet oranges are native to China, but today they are cultivated all over the world and they are utilized to make juice and essential oils as well as being eaten plain. Many people who eat oranges have noticed the distinctive scent which is released when the rind is ruptured in preparation for peeling; this scent is the result of the release of fragrant sweet orange oil.
The traditional method for extracting sweet orange essential oil is a cold pressing, in which the peel of the orange is squeezed at roughly room temperature to rupture it so that the oil is released. Processing the oil can be a bit tricky, and several techniques have been developed to facilitate smooth and even extraction. It is also possible to distill sweet orange essential oil, but this process usually yields an inferior oil which is not preferred.
This essential oil has a sweet, crisp, refreshing fragrance and a yellow to green color. For people who practice aromatherapy, sweet orange essential oil is used to elevate mood, as it is believed to stimulate happy, warm feelings. The oil is also used to treat digestive complaints, and in a diluted form, it may be applied to the skin to treat dry, flaky, irritated skin.
One thing to be cautious about when purchasing sweet orange oil is the extraction method. Cold pressed oils tend to smell better, and distilled oils can increase photosensitivity when applied to the skin. It is also important to pay attention to the dilution level of the oil. Pure sweet orange oil can be an irritant, and needs to be diluted before use in a carrier oil or cream if it is going to be applied directly to the body or taken internally.
One use of sweet orange oil can be in a homemade skin toner which is applied after baths and showers to refresh the skin and help it retain moisture and stay clear. It can also be blended with massage oils for a relaxing massage, and it may be utilized in an aromatherapy diffuser to scent a room. Home herbal remedies can also be prepared with sweet orange oil, with the oil adding to the remedy and covering up unpleasant tastes and smells which are sometimes associated with herbal preparations. Food grade oils can also be used as food flavoring.