I just wrote about all the many powerful benefits of orange oil for whole body wellness, healthy cells, critter protection, and antioxidant support. You can read all about this by “landing” here. I think you will find after reading this post that orange essential oil is “out of this world,” when it comes to its many wellness effects.
In this blog, I’m going to continue on the subject of orange essential oil and discuss all the marvelous mood and mind benefits of sniffing it.
1. Minding Emotions and Food Preferences
One study looked at how the scents of citrus and vanilla would affect physiological, behavioral, and psychological aspects. It was found that the aroma of citrus positively influenced movement, response time, emotions, and modulated food choice (bold emphasis mine):
Aromas have been associated with physiological, psychological affective and behavioral effects. We tested whether effects of low-level exposure to two ambient food-related aromas (citrus and vanilla) could be measured with small numbers of subjects, low-cost physiological sensors and semi-real life settings. Tests included physiological (heart rate, physical activity and response times), psychological (emotions and mood) and behavioral (food choice) measures in a semi-real life environment for 22 participants.
Results: Exposure to ambient citrus aroma increased physical activity (P <0.05), shortened response times in young participants (P <0.05), decreased negative emotions (P <0.05), and affected food choice (P <0.05). Exposure to ambient vanilla aroma increased projected introvert emotions (P <0.05). All effects were small relative to estimated effect sizes.
Conclusions: The test battery used in this study demonstrated aroma-specific physiological, psychological and behavioral effects of aromas with similar appeal and intensities, and similar food-related origins. These effects could be measured in (semi-) real life environments for freely moving subjects using relatively inexpensive commercially available physiological sensors.
Source: de Wijk RA, Zijlstra SM, Suzet M Zijlstra. Differential effects of exposure to ambient vanilla and citrus aromas on mood, arousal and food choice. Flavour. 2012; 1:24. DOI: 10.1186/2044-7248-1-24.
2. Soothing Our Children in the Dental Seat
Another study assessed how the scent of orange would affect 30 children, 6-9 years old, who were visiting the Isfahan Dental School in 2011. This citrus aroma was found to have a calming effect on the participants’ emotions, as well as their physiological measurements of salivary cortisol and pulse rate. The authors reported:
The mean ± SD and mean difference of salivary cortisol levels and pulse rate were calculated in each group before and completion of treatment in each visit. The difference in means of salivary cortisol and pulse rate between treatment under orange odor and treatment without aroma was 1.047 ± 2.198 nmol/l and 6.73 ± 12.3 (in minutes), which was statistically significant using paired t-test (P = 0.014, P = 0.005, respectively).
Conclusion: It seems that the use of aromatherapy with natural essential oil of orange could reduce salivary cortisol and pulse rate due to child anxiety state.
Source: Jafarzadeh M, Arman S, Pour FF. Effect of aromatherapy with orange essential oil on salivary cortisol and pulse rate in children during dental treatment: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Advanced Biomedical Research. 2013;2:10. doi:10.4103/2277-9175.107968.
3. Soothing Grownups’ Stress When Facing the Dental Drill
When the children leave the dentist seat, it may be our turn to wait our mouth’s fate. Time to grab the orange and lavender, according to this study:
The goal of this study was to investigate the impact of the essential oils of orange and lavender on anxiety, mood, alertness and calmness in dental patients. Two hundred patients between the ages of 18 and 77 years (half women, half men) were assigned to one of four independent groups. While waiting for dental procedures patients were either stimulated with ambient odor of orange or ambient odor of lavender. These conditions were compared to a music condition and a control condition (no odor, no music). Anxiety, mood, alertness and calmness were assessed while patients waited for dental treatment. Statistical analyses revealed that compared to control condition both ambient odors of orange and lavender reduced anxiety and improved mood in patients waiting for dental treatment. These findings support the previous opinion that odors are capable of altering emotional states and may indicate that the use of odors is helpful in reducing anxiety in dental patients.
Source: Lehrner J, Marwinski G, Lehr S, Johren P, Deecke L. Ambient odors of orange and lavender reduce anxiety and improve mood in a dental office [abstract]. Physiol Behav. 2005 Sep 15;86(1-2):92-5.
4. Calming Upcoming Mammas
Labor can be stressful for women. In a randomized trial of 100 women, blood pressure, pulse rate, and calmness were modulated more favorably in the stressed-out moms-to-be who were assisgned the orange armotherapy intervention. Here’s the abstract:
BACKGROUND: Labor is a stressful situation that may have an adverse impact. Aromatherapy is a method to control anxiety and stress of women. This study was conducted to investigate the effect of aromatherapy using essential oil of orange on women’s anxiety during labor.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this clinical trial study, 100 women during labor were randomly assigned to two groups: intervention group and control group. The women in the intervention group were exposed to orange essential oil, but the women in the control group were exposed to distilled water. The women’s anxiety was assessed using the Spielberger inventory. Moreover, physiological parameters such as systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respiration and pulse rates were assessed in all the women before and 20 min after the intervention. The data were analyzed by Chi-square, Wilcoxon, paired t-test, and Mann-Whitney U test. Data were evaluated with the SPSS 16 program. The significance level of P < 0.05 was considered.
RESULTS: The level of anxiety of women in both intervention (P = 0.03) and control (P = 0.003) groups reduced after the intervention. However, the reduction was more in the intervention group (difference in anxiety scores after the intervention in comparison to before intervention = -3.08) in comparison to the control group (score = -1.14). No significant change was found in the physiological parameters of women in the intervention group after the intervention.
CONCLUSIONS: Aromatherapy is a noninvasive and effective method to help women overcome their anxiety during labor. Orange scent can be useful in childbirth units to help women who are experiencing stress in labor.
Source: Rashidi-Fakari F, Tabatabaeichehr M, Mortazavi H. The effect of aromatherapy by essential oil of orange on anxiety during labor: A randomized clinical trial. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. 2015;20(6):661-664. doi:10.4103/1735-9066.170001.
These studies are wonderful demonstrations on the mind-body effects of odor, but don’t forget the additional benefits we receive from essential oils due to their active constituents. I have written several articles on this topic on my essential oils database under “Essential Oils & Brain.” Furthermore, citrus oils are a safe way to enjoy an enticing aroma, without the toxic effects of synthetic fragrances.
Therefore, orange essential oil truly is an integrative and extraordinary wellness tool that should be universally appreciated!
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies above are not solely based on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)