10 Mandarin Oil Benefits You Will Be Surprised To Read

Mandarin oranges, also known as mandarine or mandarin, come from tiny citrus trees with fruits resembling oranges. They are a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants. They can prevent arthritis, cold, fever, and neuro-degenerative diseases. Besides these, there are many other mandarin oil benefits you will be surprised to read about.

Let’s understand them in detail.

Fact: The cultivars of light reddish-orange mandarins often market them as tangerines. However, that is a different botanical classification.

What is Mandarin Oil?

what is mandarin essential oil

Mandarin oil is extracted from the peels of mandarin oranges either by cold-pressing or steam distillation method. Due to its varied uses, it has a high commercial value. The oil extracted is known for its soothing, aromatic, and calming properties. (1)

Note: Mandarins & Tangerines are often incorrectly referred to as the same fruit. However, tangerines are a subgroup of mandarins. Though tangerines are typically classified as a type of mandarin oranges, not all mandarins are tangerines. The main difference between both the species is their color. (2)

  • Tangerines: The color of the peel is dark-reddish orange.
  • Mandarins: The color of the peel is light-reddish orange.

Scientific Name of Mandarin Oil

The botanical name of mandarin Citrus reticulate.

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History of Mandarin Oil

Mandarin belongs to the genus citrus and family Rutaceae. They originated from Southeast Asia especially east India, Southwest China, and North Burma.

Citrus reticulata is commercially important. While the fruits are mainly used for making desserts, the essential oil has high commercial value - owing to the presence of aromatic compounds.

Mandarin tree grows up to 7 meters and has a larger width. It has slender twigs as well as thorns. The leaves are oval-shaped but narrow, and pointy at every end. They also have small, rounded teeth, and narrow-winged stalks.

The tree blooms fragrant white flowers, and when the mandarin fruit ripens, it looks light red-orange in color and slightly oblate in shape.

The medicinal use of Mandarin dates back to the early Chinese, European, and Indian traditions. According to the ancient medicine, the fruit peel of unripe mandarin oranges can treat various ailments such as chest pain, GIT/ Gastrointestinal tract disorders, spleen & liver diseases, coughs, and hiccups.

Fact: Ripe mandarine oranges are firm to somewhat soft, pebbly-skinned, and heavier. They are oblate and small rather than sphere-shaped that you see with common oranges. 

Color, consistency, and Smell of Mandarin Oil

  • The color of mandarin oil is greenish orange.
  • The consistency of mandarin oil is thin.
  • The smell of mandarin oil is sweet, citrusy, and refreshing.

Properties of Mandarin Essential Oil

The main properties of mandarin essential oil include:

  • Antioxidant – Inhibits the process of oxidation
  • Flavoring – Adds flavor and aroma to a dish
  • Aromatic – Has a pleasant, soothing smell
  • Antifungal – Fights against fungal infections
  • Antibacterial – Effective against bacteria
  • Anti-inflammatory – Reduces, pain, redness, and swelling
  • Anxiolytic – Eases anxiety
  • Sedative – Relaxes and induces sleep
  • Depurative – Detoxifies your body
  • Antispasmodic - Relieves muscle spasms
  • Antidepressant - Reduces stress and eases depression
  • Anti-cellulite - Prevents cellulite formation
  • Antiseptic - Prevents pus and infections
  • Circulatory - Boosts blood circulation
  • Cytophylactic - Protects your cells
  • Digestive - Aids in digestion
  • Hepatic - Protects the liver
  • Stomachic - Boosts your appetite
  • Tonic - Makes you feel good
  • Anti-pimple - Reduces acne or skin eruptions
  • Skin-lightening - Brightens your skin
  • Antiaging - Lightens scars, age spots, and wrinkles
  • Carminative - Relieves gas

Chemical Compounds in Mandarin Oil

The main components of mandarin orange essential oil include:

Methyl-N-methyl anthranilate, Thymol, Linalool, Terpinen-4-ol, Limonene, Β-pinene, Decylaldehyde, Y-phellandrene, Terpineol, Nerol, Linalyl, Terpenyl acetate, Aldehydes, Citral, Citronellal, D-limonene, Geranial, Neral, Geranyl acetate, Geraniol, Β-caryophyllene, Neryl acetate, Α-Thuyene, Α-Pinene, Sabinene, Myrcene, Α-Terpinene, Β –phellandrene, Γ-Terpinene, P- Cymene, Octanal, Decanal, Linalol, Terpinene-4-ol, L-Caryophyllene, Α- Terpinenol, N-N-butylpyrrole, L-Caryophyllene, Dimethylanthranilate, Germacrene-d, Thymol, Δ-murolen, Β-Cubebene, Copaen, 2-isopropyl5metylphenol, and Α-alpha pinene.

Health Benefits of Mandarin Oil

Though mandarin oil benefits are abundant, the most important ones proved by different researchers include:

  • Prevents food poisoning & spoilage
  • Powerful anxiolytic
  • Works as a sedative
  • Repels mosquitoes naturally
  • Fortified with antioxidants
  • Great flavoring agent
  • Widely used in perfumes
  • Fights fungal infections
  • Has anticancer properties
  • Reduces redness & pain

1. Prevents food poisoning & spoilage

Citrus reticulata oil prevents food spoilage as well as food poisoning by inhibiting the growth of microorganisms belonging to the genus Aspergillus, which include A. ochraceus, A. niger, and A.avus.

The oil prevents the toxic moulds such as ochratoxigenic (common in grains, coffee, wine, and fruits – known to cause kidney diseases) and aatoxigenic (food and feed toxin that harms the liver). (3, 4, 5)

2. Powerful anxiolytic

Mandarin essential oil has strong anxiolytic properties. A study also confirms that the oil is useful in both GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorders).

*GAD is when you excessively worry about your day-to-day issues persistently for more than 6 months. The worry is extreme and apparent. Some of the symptoms of GAD unclude:

  • Rapid heavy breathing
  • Fast heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling irritable and nervous
  • Having sleeping problems
  • GIT/ Gastro-Intestinal Tract troubles such as indigestion or chest-burn

*OCD is when you are obsessed or engaged in a repetitive behavior or both. Obsession is when you are so particular about things that you overthink – so much that it is beyond practical.

For instance, you feel your family members might get hurt if they don’t arrange clothes in a particular order. Compulsion is when you repeat things unnecessarily.

For instance, after locking you check seven times if it’s locked right. Obsession and compulsion can occur independently or as a combination.

Experiments were conducted on rats wherein light-dark box tests were performed to mimic GAD, and the oil was effective at a dose of 0.5 gram/ kg. Each mouse was in a single light compartment facing the dark compartment. (6)

The researchers observed each mouse for 5 minutes and kept a note of the number of shuttle crossings and the time for which the mouse was in the light compartment.

The researchers mimicked the obsessive-compulsive disorder with the marble-burying test, and the essential oil was effective at a dose of 1 to 1.5 grams/ kg.

The researchers selected the mice, which had a stable scoring on hiding marbles. During the experiment, each mouse was in a cage which had 25 glass marbles over 5 centimeters of the sand layer. The mouse was in the cage for 30 minutes, and they counted the marbles which were entirely covered by sand.

The synergy of different compounds such as limonene and terpene could be contributing to these actions state researchers.

Few other resources also state mandarin oil can calm down different types of nervous system disorders such as epilepsy (or seizures).

3. Works as a sedative

Citrus reticulata essential oil has a sedative effect. The compound limonene present in mandarin oil depresses the nervous system without hampering the motor (ability to move) functions. (7)

Sedatives reduce your irritability by calming you down and are useful during certain diagnostic procedures.

During a study, a few researchers collected fresh mandarin orange fruits from the trees that were producing fruits for the past 6 to 8 years. They washed the fruits with portable water, peeled them, and collected the essential oil from the peels via hydro-distillation method.

The researchers conducted the experiments on 45 to 55 days old Swiss male mice from the Central Animal House of UNESP, kept for a week at a controlled temperature condition. The mice had good access to water and food until before 2 hours of the experiment.

The mice were in a sound-proof chamber within a controlled temperature and as per the ethical rules.

During the study, the researchers noticed that at a dose of 1 gram per kg, induced via ether inhalation, C. reticulata oil increased the sleep duration considerably in rats. This proved that C. reticulata EO can be useful in insomnia. (8)

Since ancient times, citrus fruit decoctions or infusions made of leaves or flowers were helpful for dealing with insomnia. This particular study assessed the effects of citrus reticulate oil on sleep. Also, the oil had no side-effects or toxic effects.

4. Repels mosquitoes naturally

A study reveals that about 20 to 25% volume concentration of citrus reticulate oil repels mosquitoes effectively for 2 to 5 hours. (9)

So, the next time you stroll outdoors, make sure to spray diluted mandarin essential oil (5-10 drops of mandarin oil mixes in ½ cup warm water) on your clothes.

5. Fortified with antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that prevent oxidation by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals generate from pollution and aging. They cause deadly diseases such as diabetes.

Mandarin oil is a powerful antioxidant. Thanks to the compound d-limonene in it.

During a study, the researchers extracted mandarin essential oil from fresh peels of mandarin oranges via hydrodistillation, which yielded 0.2% volume.

The researchers assessed the antioxidant potency of the Citrus reticulata oil via several methods such as DPPH assay, reducing power assay, Nitrogen Oxide assay, and β-carotene bleaching assay. They determined the effect of the oil on free radicals such as DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl). This is mainly due to the linoleic acid in it. (10)

6. Great flavoring agent

Citrus reticulata oil extracted from its peels, is useful as a flavoring agent, in candies, chewing gums, ice creams, bakery goods, and gelatins.

Mandarin paste is also useful as a flavoring agent for carbonated beverages. Mandarin EO with terpenes and sesquiterpenes removed is helpful as a flavoring agent in liquors. (11)

7. Widely used in perfumes

In Italy, Algiers, and Sicily, they use tinctures and essences prepared from mandarin oranges for perfumes, especially colognes and floral perfumes.

The oil is also popular as a fragrant component in oils, soaps, cosmetics. The compound limonene present in the oil is responsible for the typical odor of the oil. (12)

8. Fights fungal infections

The researchers tested the antifungal activity of Citrus reticulata essential oil via Poisoned Food (PF) technique and Volatile Activity (VA) assay on these 5 plant pathogenic fungi:

  • Rhizoctonia solani (Rs)
  • Curvularia lunata (Cl)
  • Alternaria alternata (Aa)
  • Fusarium oxysporum (Fo)
  • Helminthosporium oryzae (Ho)

The effects of mandarin essential oil were more pronounced in the VA assay. While the Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) for Aa, Rs, and Cl was 0.2 ml/100 ml, it was more than 0.2 ml for Fo & Ho in PF technique. (13, 14)

9. Has anticancer properties

Cancer is a deadly disease which occurs when the abnormal cells grow without interruption and further, spread to other internal organs of the body.

However, mandarin oil is found effective against lung cancer cells and protects them from bleomycin (BLM)-induced pulmonary fibrosis (lung disease), states an article published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. (15)

Research says that the compound D-limonene in mandarin oil prevents the growth of cancer cells. (16)

10. Reduces redness & pain

A research paper published in the Journal of medicinal plants states that mandarin essential oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties.

The oil tames the inflammatory markers such as TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor) -alpha and NO (nitrous oxide,) COX-2iNOSinterleukin 1 beta, and interleukin 6.

This is mainly due to limonene and terpene in it, which fights pain and can be used for making analgesics (pain reliever medicines).

Swelling, pain, and redness are few of the signs of inflammation. Chronic/ long-standing inflammation can cause many deadly diseases such as cancer. (17, 18)

What Blends with Mandarin Oil?

The sweet and refreshing aroma of mandarin oil blends well with almost all types of oils. However, the best ones include:

How To Use Mandarin Oil?

how to use mandarin oil safely

Store mandarin oil carefully. Keep away from sunlight to prevent oxidization.

Massage: Mix 4-5 drops of mandarin oil with a carrier oil like olive oil or almond oil. Use this mixture to massage your body. However, a few might be allergic. So, it is important to do a patch test.

Patch test: Apply a little of the diluted mandarin oil with the tip of a cotton swab on the back of your forearm. Observe for 10 minutes. If your skin doesn’t turn red, itchy, or swollen, it is safe to use.

  • You can apply the oil over the affected area, for instance, muscles to relieve spasms.
  • Apply the diluted oil over your scars to lighten them, and over the painful areas to relieve pain.
  • You can also add them to your bath.
  • Add a couple of drops in a diffuser to freshen up your room.
  • Add a few drops to the water to disinfect and clean your house.
  • Through aromatherapy (diffusing a few drops using a diffuser), the oil can help you relieve anxiety, nausea (vomiting sensation), and pain. Ginger is a pain reliever, and mandarin oil is even better than that, states a 2016 observational study conducted over 30,000 hospital patients.
  • Do not use oxidized oil.
  • Never use it undiluted.

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Side Effects of Mandarin Oil

Mandarin oil is usually safe when used as advised. But there are a few things to note:

  • If you are pregnant/breastfeeding/are a senior citizen/have any disease/ on any medication, it is best to seek advice.
  • Mandarin essential oil phototoxic in nature. So, don’t step out in sunlight after applying the oil. Otherwise, it may make your skin sensitive, and it may also react to sunrays (photosensitivity).
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