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Tangerine Essential Oil Benefits and Uses, Backed by Science

Tangerines are one of the most cherished among the 17 plant varieties within the Citrus fruit family. Across time, tangerines have remained a sought-after delicacy as a result of their exceptional flavor and aroma. 

Currently, tangerines are grown commercially in the Middle East, Spain, Italy, and parts of the United States. After the commercial success of the fruit, it became the subject of scientific research for its chemical, pharmacological, and cosmetic properties. Many of the biological activities associated with tangerines closely paralleled the traditional applications of the fruit.

Scientific studies have linked tangerines to a wide range of potential biological effects including anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anti-fungal to even anti-cancer effects. Consequently, the essential oil derived from tangerines has many applications in cosmetics and therapeutics. This piece will discuss how tangerine essential oil can best be used to harness these properties. 

Where Does Tangerine Essential Oil Come From?

oil bottle with tangerines

Tangerine essential oil is derived from the Citrus reticulata plant belonging to the Rutaceae or Rue family. Plants in the Rue family are known for their strong aroma and five-petalled flowers. The essential oil in the plant is present in the leaves, rind, and flowers. 

The most widely used tangerine essential oil is derived from the rind or peel as it has the highest flavonoid and phenol content, antioxidant chemical components that are medicinally important. It also contains other chemical components including terpenes, sesquiterpenes, sterols, and aldehydes. 

The essential oil derived from tangerine peels should preferentially be extracted via the cold pressing method. Cold pressing has advantages regarding the preservation of active chemical compounds. The tangerine essential oil that is extracted via the hydrodistillation or steam distillation method may be less effective in its biological properties. 

The tangerine essential oil at Wholesale Botanics is cold pressed to ensure that it retains maximum biologically important effects. The essential oil appears clear and has a sweet, bright aroma with the characteristic notes of citrus. 

Chemical Constituents and Their Medicinal Benefits 

Scientific inquiry into the uses and effects of tangerines has yielded information about the chemical composition of tangerine essential oils. Monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes are the class of compounds found predominantly in tangerine essential oil. 

Limonene is the chemical compound present in the highest proportion, making up between 50 to 75 percent of the essential oil. Other compounds identified include myrcene, y-terpinene, and a-pinene. The exact proportion of these organic compounds may vary in different cultivars due to external factors, such as soil and weather. 

The monoterpene d-limonene is an organic compound found in the peels of citrus fruits. It is responsible for giving citrus fruits their distinct tangy flavor and aroma. Limonene has a number of health benefits due to its effects as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory agent. It has also been linked to improving heart health by reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in the blood.

Another compound found in tangerine known as myrcene is a powerful antioxidant. It is a terpene with many reported biological effects including pain relief, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and sedative. It is also known for its calming effects that are beneficial for reducing anxiety. 

Similar to other terpene present in the essential oil, a-pinene has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. In addition, the compound is also reported to have neuroprotective properties. This means that it is useful in safeguarding and supporting the health of nerve cells, potentially providing protection from degenerative diseases. 

Further exploring the chemical components in tangerine essential oil, y-terpinene is a notable compound that is present in all cultivars of tangerine tested in research studies. Y-terpinene is associated with a number of therapeutic benefits, encompassing anxiolytic, anti-stress, calming, anti-fungal, and antioxidant effects. As a result of these properties, it can potentially be used to supplement the treatment of diabetes and Alzheimer’s. 

Health Benefits of Tangerine Essential Oil

Tangerines held a significant position as herbal medicine in ancient China. The tangerine peel known as ‘Chen Pi’ was used to treat neurological disorders such as depression and anxiety, and to calm stress. Tangerine peels were also used for issues such as indigestion, vomiting, congestion, and coughs. The following sections expand on the use of tangerine essential oils for various medicinal benefits. 

Tangerine Essential Oil for Radiant, Youthful Skin

Packed with several antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, tangerine essential oil promises anti-aging effects when used for skincare. At the core of these benefits lies limonene, the compound present most abundantly in the essential oil. Limonene is known for its ability to repair the skin and reverse sun damage. 

A study conducted in 2014 investigated how d-limonene improved the skin’s healing capacity. Researchers applied limonene to two types of skin injuries: physical and chemical. Results demonstrated that physical injuries healed more efficiently with limonene, with fewer new blood vessels forming. As for the chemical injuries where the skin was irritated, limonene reduced the severity of inflammation. In addition to limonene, myrcene, and a-pinene also add to the anti-inflammatory potential of tangerine essential oil. 

Moreover, tangerine essential oil may reduce skin damage caused by sun exposure. Sun damage usually manifests in the form of dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles, giving the skin a prematurely aged appearance. 

A lab study on human skin cells provides evidence that limonene protects the skin from UVB rays. Application of the compound seemed to trigger a defense system in the skin through the activation of skin-protecting proteins. Another notable change that the researchers noticed after the application of limonene was the reduction of hyperpigmentation and dark spots. This is because the compound reduces the production of a hormone that is linked to dark spots, known as a-MSH. 

You can incorporate tangerine essential oil into your skincare routine to potentially protect from sun damage and brighten the skin, and for possible regenerative effects. Apply topically after diluting in creams or in carrier oils. 

Tangerine Essential Oil for Calming Anxiety

Anxiety disorders have become a common health concern that many people deal with in their daily lives. Most patients are treated with benzodiazepines, drugs that affect nerve signals to calm anxiousness. These drugs have both short-term and long-term effects on cardiovascular health and nervous system health. As a natural alternative to benzodiazepines, researchers investigated the effect of tangerine essential oil on anxiety and anxiety disorders. 

The study compared inhaling tangerine essential oil with diazepam, a benzodiazepine medication used commonly by anxiety patients. Test results analyzed how the two drugs affected electrical brain waves or EEG patterns. The EEG patterns altered by inhalation of tangerine essential oil were similar to the changes seen with diazepam. 

Another research, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology provided support for the use of tangerine essential oil to potentially improve outcomes of anxiety disorders. It can also be used to reduce feelings of anxiousness and to relax in stressful environments. 

Diffuse tangerine essential oil before bed or in your workroom to calm your nerves and reduce any feelings of stress and anxiety. You can also create your own essential oil blend for anxiety by combining tangerine with lavender, ylang-ylang, and clary sage essential oils. 

Tangerine Essential Oil for Promoting Restful Sleep

These days, a good night’s sleep is hard to come by owing to busy routines and 12-hour screen times. Not only is the duration of sleep declining, but the quality of sleep suffers as well. Many people rely on hormones such as melatonin to treat disorders related to the circadian rhythm. Some people avoid these entirely for fear of side effects such as daytime sleepiness and headaches.

There is some promise that tangerine essential oil can be used to induce sleep and even improve sleep quality. A study analyzed the brain states and sleep-wake cycles in subjects w inhaled tangerine essential oil. 

It was found that subjects entered the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep cycle stage more rapidly after inhaling tangerine essential oil. Additionally, they spent more time in the REM stage than in the non-REM and wakefulness stages. The REM sleep stage is the most important because it restores the mind and body, preparing it for the next day. 

In order to use tangerine essential oil for promoting restful sleep, use an ultrasonic diffuser that can fit on your nightstand and has sufficient capacity to diffuse essential oils throughout the night. Our raindrop essential oil diffuser is a good option as it can diffuse essential oils for 12 hours and does not take up too much space. 

Tangerine Essential Oil Potential for Anti-Cancer Activity

Tangerine essential oil is an important source of antioxidant compounds and carotenoids. Both of these plant compounds have demonstrated the ability to reduce cancer metastasis. As a result, researchers linked tangerine essential oil to cancer studies and investigated its effect on cancer development. 

A 2018 research paper published in the journal Food and Function found that tangerine peel essential oil stopped the growth of lung cancer cells in a lab dish. The study also concluded that tangerine essential oil would not affect the liver or other organs when used in the potential treatment of cancer. 

This highlights a potential avenue for the application of tangerine essential oil as an alternative therapy for cancer. It is important to note that essential oil cannot be used in place of cancer treatments, but it may be used in conjunction with modern cancer treatments to enhance the anti-cancer effects.

To use, diffuse tangerine essential oil in your surroundings and enjoy a calming experience as you breathe in the dispersed essential oil. 

Tangerine Essential Oil Blends: Tailored for Every Mood

Tangerine essential oil is great for blending with essential oils from other botanical families owing to its complementary characteristics in terms of scent and therapeutic effects. Its bright, citrusy scent can be used to add depth, or to balance or enhance the fragrance profiles of other essential oils, improving the overall aromatherapy experience. 

In this section, we have curated essential oil blends that you can create with tangerine essential oil to suit different moods and purposes. 

Focus and Clarity Blend

Combine these essential oils to create a blend that helps you focus:

  • 4 drops of tangerine essential oil 
  • 3 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 3 drops of peppermint essential oil 

This blend combines the bright citrus scent of tangerine essential oil with the woody scent of rosemary. Peppermint essential oil adds freshness to the blend, giving it aromatic synergy. In terms of therapeutic benefits, both rosemary and peppermint essential oils are known for their cognition-enhancing effect. 

Sweet Dreams Blend

Craft a blend with the following essential oils to fall asleep fast and promote deep sleep:

  • 4 drops of tangerine essential oil 
  • 3 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops of chamomile essential oil 

Mixing these essential oils yields an aromatic blend with sedative properties that will put you to sleep in no time. Chamomile and lavender essential oils bring a gentle floral scent to the blend, softening the slight tang in tangerine essential oil. 

This essential oil blend is not only pleasing to the olfactory senses but is also therapeutically effective. Lavender contains the compound linalool which interacts with the hippocampus and amygdala to induce sleep. On the other hand, the sedative effects of chamomile are attributed to the flavonoid compound apigenin. Together, the three essential oils will work synergistically to improve sleep time and quality.

Uplifting Energy Blend

This blend works well for invigorating the senses and energizing the mood:

  • 4 drops of tangerine essential oil
  • 3 drops of lemon essential oil
  • 2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil

This blend combines the zesty notes of tangerine and lemon essential oil with the fresh, minty aroma of eucalyptus essential oil. Lemon essential oil is scientifically proven to stimulate the mind and boost energy. Researchers deemed it more effective at improving energy levels in comparison with lavender and rose essential oils. Similarly, eucalyptus also awakens the senses with its strong camphoraceous scent. 

In combination, the essential oils in the blend are great to use whenever you need a pick-me-up during the day. You can also add them to your morning bath to prepare yourself for the day. 

Precautions for Using Tangerine Essential Oil Safely

When using tangerine essential oil topically, make sure to patch test before use. Take special care when going out in the sun if you have applied the essential oil to any exposed areas. Also, make sure that you dilute the essential oil before application, or it may cause irritation and adverse effects. 

Additionally, tangerine essential oil consists of a high percentage of terpenes, compounds that are easily oxidized. When oxidized, tangerine essential oil may be harmful when used for topical application, so it is important to use the oil within 2 to 3 years of purchase.

The use of tangerine essential oil is not recommended for pets, pregnant women, or children. Breastfeeding women should also exercise caution when exposed to tangerine essential oil. 

Closing Notes on Tangerine Essential Oil

oil in glass bottle with tangerines

Tangerine essential oil is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that can be used for a plethora of applications. Incorporate it into your skincare, morning shower, or bedtime routine and this essential oil will seamlessly meld into your everyday routine. 

Should you plan to use this essential oil for addressing medical concerns, remember to consult a healthcare professional. Tangerine essential oil is not a standalone treatment for any health issues and may even interact with any medication that you take.

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