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Bitter Orange Oil

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Bitter Orange Oil (Citrus x aurantium)

Peppy citrus, bitter orange essential oil packs a bit of spice, uplifting the nose while envigorating the senses. Slightly sour in its expression ~ bright, zesty & cheery flavor; mood-elevating euphoriant, an inexpensive, must-have essence for every household.

- Antifungal (topical use)
- Antiseptic
- Digestive Balance (constipation, diarrhea, heartburn)
- Fatigue
- May reduce appetite (paradoxical appetite stimulation possible)
- Mood Enhancement
- Stimulant (relaxation also possible)

Dr. Nick Notes

Also known as sour orange or zhi shi, bitter orange has been used in Chinese medicine as a digestive aid as well as a stimulant, decongestant, and bronchodilator in other alternative medicine practices. Topically applied, it has also been used as an anti-fungal agent for ring worm, jock itch, or athlete’s foot. Stay aware with topical use (see Safety Summary below) to avoid sunlight and potential skin irritation.

Citrus x aurantium tree is native to tropical Asia and East Africa although is grown in Mediterranean regions, and parts of the US. Citrus aurantium is processed to produce three lovely essential oils, each resulting from different parts of the tree. Bitter orange oil is typically produced using a cold-press method using the peels of the bitter orange fruit. Petigrain oil is produced using the twigs and leaves of the citrus x aurantium tree ~ Neroli oil is produced from the blossoms of the citrus x aurantium tree. Most of my experience with Bitter Orange EO has come from organic, cold-pressed Egyptian fruit peels... and it's a phenomenal product!

I enjoy using bitter orange oil as a cocktail spritzer, in huge kales or salad (single drop application). The uplifting, smiley properties are rather awesome while having applications in the social setting at larger doses. Personally I enjoy about 5-10 drops in a capsule full of fractionated coconut oil taken internally for social lubrication for the warm, fuzzy experience bitter orange oil produces. The comparison frequently is likened to a light-to-moderate dose of an entactogen without a day-after crash. The dose stated may be higher than necessary and I am unsure of this dose’s safety for other individuals, especially with regular usage. The author is not recommending this usage to others but personally appreciates this application when timing aligns.

Some successful reports for clinical applications have included suppression of appetite for patients with desire to lose weight. This oil can be used for mood elevation and should not be used when driving. Never apply this or other citrus oils before entering sunlight as an elevated risk for phototoxicity exists. Do not apply undiluted to skin & wait at least 2 hours before stepping into the sun for prolonged exposure and .

Simple uplifting citrus fragrance, add to spray bottle as an anti-microbial room freshener. Cool citrus fresh pep uplifting the nose and envigorating the senses, slightly sour in its expression, definitely pops other flavors and fragrances in a new dimension. This EO is incredible used with an Essential VAAAPP ~ for whatever reason, this is the only EO that I notice has a time latency of about 5-10 minutes before the therapeutic effects (buzziness) onset when vaporized. One drop in an empty vial, 1-3 inhalations works galactic wonders for me.

How to Use

  • Use aromatically in room diffuser or diluted in a spray bottle.
  • Never apply topically undiluted, may cause irritation in some individuals. Stay out of sunlight for at least two hours after application or increased risk of sunburn!
  • Nice additive in food/drink at appropriate dilutions. Never use more than one or two drops.
  • Delicious vaporized in an Essential VAAAPP at 1 drop using standardized oil vaporization technique for approximately 3-5 seconds.

Safety Summary

Hazards: Skin sensitization if oxidized; phototoxic (low risk). Old or oxidized oils should be avoided.
Avoid applying undiluted lotions or wearing citrus oils for prolonged periods of sun exposure – serious potential phototoxicity [sunburn]
Contraindications: If applied to the skin at over maximum use level, skin must not be exposed to sunlight or sunbed rays for 12 hours.
Maximum Dermal Use Level: 1.25% (to avoid phototoxicity)

~ Adopted from Tisserand & Young, Essential Oil Safety, 2nd ed. 2013 ~

Origin: Egypt
Cultivation: Organic
Extraction Method: Cold Pressed
Parts of Plant Used: Peels

Constituent Range (Lawrence 1989, p. 41, 2000b p. 46-49, Dugo et al 1999a):

( )-Limonene (89.7 - 94.7%)
β - Mycrene (1.6 - 2.4%)
Linalool (0.1 - 2.0%)

Non-volatile compounds

Bergapten (0.035 - 0.073%)
Epoxy-begamottin (0.082%)
Psoralen (0.007%)

This information was documented by Lawrence 1989, p. 41, 2000b p. 46-49, Dugo et al 1999a; SCCP 2005b published by Robert Tisserand & Rodney Young in 2013 and is posted to demonstrate some general range of chemical constituents of this essential oil. Each distillation & plant source varies and current batch will likely have some variance to the information published above. When possible, we will post current GC-MS analysis separately for our oils sold on this site, correlating with batch numbers for your enjoyment & awareness.

~ Be Blessed ~


  • National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Herbs at a glance. Bitter Orange.
  • Web MD. Bitter Orange. ORANGE.aspx?activeIngredientId=976HYPERLINK " ORANGE.aspx?activeIngredientId=976&activeIngredientName=BITTER ORANGE"&HYPERLINK " ORANGE.aspx?activeIngredientId=976&activeIngredientName=BITTER ORANGE"activeIngredientName=BITTER ORANGE
  • Bitter Orange (Citrus aurantium). Natural Standard Database. Accessed 10/24/13
  • Composition of Bitter Orange Oil. Leung’s Encyclopedia of Natural Ingredients.
  • Ben Hsouna A, Hamdi N, Ben Halima N, Abdelkafi S. Characterization of essential oil from Citrus aurantium L. flowers: antimicrobial and antioxidant activities. J Oleo Sci. 2013;62(10):763-72
  • Sarrou E, Chatzopoulou P, Dimassi-Theriou K, Therios I. Volatile constituents and antioxidant activity of peel, flowers, and leaf oils of Citrus aurantium L. growing in Greece. Molecules. 2013 Sep 2; 18(9); 10639-47. Doi: 10.3390.molecules180910639
  • Tisserand, Robert, and Rodney Young. Essential Oil Safety. Second ed. Churchhill Livingstone, 2013. Print.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product. *


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