Your Guide to Tangerine Essential Oil

From its soft scent and bright orange peel, to its sweet tangy taste, few foods are more inviting than a tangerine. This vitamin-rich fruit is healthy and delicious, but its benefits accede the culinary. Extracting their essential oils, we use tangerines in myriad ways—incorporating good health and lovely aromas into our lives.

Oil Overview

Tangerine essential oils are derived from the peel of a tangerine by using cold compression. The oils contain a variety of chemical compounds, including limonene, citronella, linalool, camphene and pinene, which in combination produce a sweet, citrusy aroma. Tangerines are closely related to mandarin oranges, thus, mandarin essential oils are often confused with oils from tangerines. The main difference between their essential oils is where they’re produced—tangerines mostly come from Guinea and the United States, while Mandarin oranges are grown anywhere from Brazil to the Middle East to Southern Europe. Tangerine and mandarin oils differ somewhat in color, and may provide different specific health benefits. Nonetheless, the two are sufficiently alike that they’re often used separately or combined.

Tangerines Through the Ages

Tangerines and their essential oils are native to China for over 3,000 years. Ancient Chinese scientists and doctors used tangerines to treat diarrhea, vomiting and indigestion. They incorporated tangerine extract into medicines used to treat gout, morning sickness and sexual dysfunction, as well as treating sports injuries and reducing inflammation.
Knowledge of the benefits of tangerine essential oils spread from China to the rest of the world. They arrived in Europe in 1805, and the French began using them to heal digestive problems, especially in the elderly and in children. Other European cultures followed. In India, tangerines and their oils became a key component in Ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine indigenous to the Subcontinent. Ayurveda doctors found the oils especially useful for aromatherapy. By burning them in lamps or incorporating them into hot baths, they produced a scent they believed raised patient's' spirits and gave them more energy. The Indian Diaspora helped spread the Ayurveda techniques to the rest of the world.

Present Purposes

Like many essential oils, tangerine oils have become more useful with time. Traditional claims about their benefits have given way to modern scientific research to demonstrate their value. For a healthier, happier, more aromatic life, consider using these oils to:

Clean Up Cuts

Due to antibiotic overuse and misuse, antibacterial soaps and sanitizers become less effective each year. If you have a minor cut or burn, clean the wound with tangerine essential oils diluted in a carrier oil such as jojoba oil. Recent studies indicate these oils have a powerful antimicrobial effect, meaning they kill bacteria on contact. They’re most effective if combined with garlic oils, though this will affect the scent.

Arrest Aging

Besides killing bacteria, tangerine oils also have a cytoplastic effect—they cause new skin cells to grow faster. Beauty experts recommend applying them to prevent skin aging and to heal burns and other skin damage. This also reduces signs of cellulite.

Soothe Stretch Marks

Tangerine and mandarin oils are popular with women who have just given birth. They reduce stretch marks and scars, and help you recover faster from the aesthetic effects of pregnancy, sudden weight gain or weight loss, or any other condition that stretches out your skin. Tangerine oils are most effective when used in tandem with lavender, neroli, and other skin-healing essential oils.

Banish Body Fat

Besides helping you rid of stretch marks, tangerine and mandarin oils help you shed those extra pounds. Aromatherapists use the oils, often in combination with lavender or bergamot extract, to regulate your appetite and metabolism. They also improve your mood, helping you to feel more motivated to exercise and cut calories.

Address Acne

Bacteria on the face can contribute to acne and other skin problems, but many are unwilling to use antibacterial face washes, both because of the risk of antibiotic resistance and because such washes can irritate the face. Tangerine oils eliminate facial bacteria with minimal risk to the skin. The oils also help heal scars from past acne.

Maximize A Massage

Ayurveda massage therapy makes heavy use of tangerine oils to enhance the rub's healing and energizing effects. Whether you're getting a professional massage or giving yourself a rub, try mixing several drops of tangerine oil with coconut, almond or some other carrier oil. Per Ayurveda practitioners, this will heal your body while alleviating anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

Sanitize Surfaces

Tangerine oils also disinfect your tables, counters and other household surfaces. Mix the oils with water and spray or scrub them on any items you need to clean. It’ll kill germs and permeate your house with welcoming, citrusy scents.

Prudent Precautions

Tangerine essential oils are safe, but you should still take care to avoid irritating your skin. Always dilute the oil in a carrier oil before use. Don’t go out in the sun for at least 12 hours after applying the oils, as your skin can be more vulnerable to sunburns. Be careful when applying to sensitive areas of your skin or applying too much in a single place, and never get the oils in your eyes, nose or ears. As with any essential oils, make sure you’re buying pure tangerine and not a diluted version.