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Love Citrus? Give Mandarin Essential Oil a Try

Maybe it's because mandarins and holidays seem to go hand in hand but one of my favorite essential oils lately is mandarin. Both green and red mandarin (Citrus reticulata). The red is cold pressed (or can be distilled) from a riper fruit than the green but both have a delightful citrus aroma distinctly different from orange and lemon.

Both oils are high in d-limonene which is known for it's anti-microbial (1) and liver supportive properties. It also has been shown to activate white blood cells (2) and has anti-inflammatory properties (3).

Mandarin also contains a fair amount of gamma-terpinene which has been shown to have anti-bacterial (4), anti-viral (5), anti-spasmodic (6), and anti-oxidant (7) properties and has been shown to kill head lice (8).

Another great thing about mandarin is that unlike some other cold pressed citrus oils it is NOT phototoxic, which means it can be used in topical application without working about going out into the sun. Just be careful that the mandarin oil is not old or oxidized. It's best to keep essential oils stored in cool places, away from light, and air (seal bottles tightly or move oil to smaller bottle as you use it up). It's also recommended to keep to a 1% dilution for sensitive skin (5-6 drops/oz) but higher concentrations (8%) were not irritating or sensitizing when tested on 25 volunteers (9).

Mandarin is wonderful to diffuse or use in an inhaler. It has a sweet, soft, slightly tart aroma. Green mandarin is often used for kids fighting colds or flu. It is soothing and fights germs. Mandarin is also used to reduce feelings of stress. Energetically mandarin is said to unblock and circulate stagnant energy.

I often add a few drops of green mandarin to my diffuser at night along with lavender, ravintsara, and eucaplytus to support sound sleep, fight germs, and support my immune health. It would also work wonderfully with clove, cinnamon bark, and fir oils to create a holiday blend that smells beautiful and does double duty at killing germs in the air.

If you have questions about mandarin, aromatherapy, classes, or aromatherapy wellness products, contact Tricia.

And for those who are wondering (I know you're out there):

" Here’s a breakdown of the differences between these popular and delicious citrus fruits:

Oranges are second in size to the grapefruit. This citrus fruit has a thick skin, is round in shape, and has a tart flavor.

Mandarins are a type of orange and the overarching category that Tangerines, Clementines, and Satsumas fall into. They are generally smaller and sweeter than oranges, a little flatter in shape, and they and have a thinner, looser skin that makes them easier to peel.

Tangerines are a specific type of mandarin orange. They are a bright orange color, slightly tougher skins, and their flavor is a little less sweet and a bit more tart.

Clementines are the smallest type of mandarin orange. They are super sweet, seedless, and have red-orange skins that are smooth and shiny. The mandarins you see in grocery stores called Cuties and Sweeties are Clementines. They are easier to peel than tangerines, but not as easy to peel as Satsumas.

Satsuma Mandarins are a specific type of mandarin orange, originating in Japan more than 700 years ago. They are a lighter orange, sweet, juicy, and seedless. They are also the easiest variety to peel. The most tender, easily damaged type of mandarin, Satsuma mandarin oranges are harder to find fresh in stores." (quoted from )

1. Nannapaneni R, Chalova VI, Crandall PG et al (2009) Campylobacter and Arcobacter species sensitivity to commercial orange oil fractions. International Journal of Food Microbiology 129:43-49

2. Del Toro-Arreola S, Flores-Torales E, Torres-Lozano (2005) Effect of d-limonene on immune response in BALB/c mice with lymphoma. International Immunopharmacology 5:829-838

2. Hamada M, Uezu K, Matsushita J et al (2002) Distribution and immune responses resulting from oral administration of d-limonene in rats. Journal of Nutritional Science & Vitaminology (Tokyo) 48:155-160

3. Souza MC, Siani AC, Ramos MF et al (2003) Evaluation of anti-inflammatory activity of essential oils from two Asteraceae species. Pharmazie 58:582-586

4. Juven BJ, Kanner J, Schved F et al (1994) Factors that interact with the antibacterial action of thyme essential oil and its active constituents. Journal of Applied Bacteriology 76:626-631

5. Astani A, Reichling J, Schnitzler P (2010) Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils. Phytotherapy Research 24:673-679

6. Astudillo A, Hong E, Bye et al (2004) Antispasmodic activity of extracts and compounds of Acalypha phleoides Cav. Phytotherapy Research 18:102-106

7. Takahashi Y, Inaba N, Kuwahara S et al (2003) Antioxidative effect of citrus essential oil components on human low-density lipoprotein in vitro. Bioscience Biotechnology & Biochemistry 67:195-197

8. Yang YC, Choi HY, Choi WS et al (2004) Ovicidal and adulticidal activity of Eucalyptus globulus leaf oil terpenoids against Pediculus humanus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae). Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry 52:2507-2511

9. Tisserand, R. and Young, R. (2014) Essential Oil Safety 2nd edition, p. 343

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