Essential oils have gotten a lot of publicity lately and have been proven to be powerful medicinal allies in our home apothecary. But did you know you can make orange essential oil at home? For free?!
Before I get into how to make orange essential oil at home, though, check out my post on the 13 Things You Need to Have in Your Home Apothecary.
I originally found how to make orange essential oil from a beautiful Australian blog called Blah Blah Magazine. I was shocked at how simple it was!
Most essential oils you can buy are created by distilling flowers, roots or herbs to make a flower essence. Originally designed for the perfume industry, a French perfumist accidentally burnt his hand and after he plunged it into some lavender essential oil that he was working with, he noticed how quickly his burns healed.
Voila! Herbal medicine in a concentrated form (essential oils) was born!
Read about the full story, and all of the medicinal benefits of lavender in my post: Medicinal Plant Profile: Lavender.
For the best resource on how to use flower essences on your animals, I love Herbal Academy’s course below: It’s inexpensive, thorough, and I love that they’ve finally built something for the four-legged and furry friends in our lives.
However, citrus essential oils – such as that from oranges, lemons and limes – is made by “cold pressing” citrus rinds. I’ll show you how below:
Medicinal Benefits of Orange Essential Oil
For the nerds (like me!) the main components of orange essential oil are: alpha-pinene, citronellol, geraniol, sabinene, myrcene, limonene, linalool, and neral.
I, personally, can attest to orange’s uplifting and mood boosting properties when diffusing it throughout the house. It just seems to “fit” on a bright, sunny Spring day.
According to The Complete Book of Essentials Oils and Aromatherapy, it is also antibacterial, antiseptic, calmative, diuretic, sedative, stimulant, and a tonic. It’s been used for nervous anxiety, cellulite, insomnia, depression, tension and detoxifying.
The antibacterial and antiseptic properties are why I use orange peels in my homemade cleaning supplies, too!
According to one study: Orange essential oil and limonene, linalool and citral could affect the intestinal microflora of mice, and enhance the relative abundance of Lactobacillus. The intestinal bacterial structure of cecum and colon in the limonene group was quite different from other groups. This indicated a more obvious effect of limonene on intestinal bacteria, also resulting in significant changes in blood immune index and short-chain fatty acids in mice.
It has also shown some efficacy against lung cancer and prostate cancer.
Check out my post on the medicinal benefits of lime essential oil as well!
Instructions on How to Make Your Own Orange Essential Oils
When they’re in season, I’ll usually eat an orange or two a day. The littles can put away a dozen of oranges in a sitting. After we’re done, we collect the peels and lay them on a sunny windowsill to dry.
To make your own:
- Peel an orange with a knife, trying to get as little as the white pith as possible. Let the peel sit out and dry in a warm windowsill under dry and hard.
- Tear or cut the dried peel into smaller pieces and steep in vodka or any high-proof alcohol. Shake several times a day.
- After a week or so (the longer you steep the orange peel, the more oil will be extracted) strain the peel out of the vodka. Squeeze the remaining alcohol from the peel.
- Allow the remaining alcohol-oil mixture sit uncovered for a couple of days, to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Cover back up again before all of the alcohol has evaporated, though, or you risk the oil going rancid or growing mold.
This same process can also be repeated with lemons and limes, and for a fun variation, try using flavored vodkas, such as vanilla!