Whenever I peel an orange and the smell of fresh citrus fills the room, I have the sense that it’s affecting my body at a deeper level.
In fact, as I breathe it in, the scent actually makes me feel good.
Oranges – including their peel – are packed with health-giving vitamin C.
Although vitamin C has been maligned by mainstream medicine, it’s one of the most powerful anti-aging nutrients I know of. And there are thousands of clinical studies that back me up.
Here at the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine, I offer high-dose IV vitamin C therapy as an immune system booster and a treatment for cancer, stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Studies also show that raising the level of vitamin C in your cells can slow down the shortening of your telomeres up to 62%.1 Telomeres are the protective end caps of your chromosomes. Shortened telomeres equal premature aging and early death.
And vitamin C-rich natural citrus oil from orange peel is also great for skin, because it boosts collagen production, elastin and other “reinforcement molecules” – which is why I’ve added into in to the formula for one of my face cream products.2
But that scent – especially when it’s concentrated in an extract form – has another, ancient remedial property you won’t hear about from mainstream medicine, especially psychiatry.
I’m talking about the power of orange peel to relieve anxiety and depression.
These days, with even the slightest signs of anxiety, your doctor is likely to prescribe you antidepressants. Unfortunately, they rarely work. In fact, they can do more harm than good. And their side effects can include nausea, fatigue, insomnia, blurred vision, headaches, low libido and suicidal thoughts.
I use vitamin C therapy to help get my patients off antidepressants like Prozac and Zoloft.
Increase Your Feelings of Comfort
Essential orange oil is cold-pressed from the rind of the orange. And orange rind contains around twice as much vitamin C as the orange itself. Chinese medicine has used essential orange oil for millennia to treat coughs and colds.
Scientific studies show just how potent it is…
Research in the Journal of Complementary Therapeutic Medicine found that using orange oil increases feelings of comfort and relaxation.3
A study published in the Journal of Neuroimmunomodulation showed that orange oil reduces the need for antidepressant medications. And it found that it in some cases it can even be more effective than antidepressants at treating depression and anxiety.4
And a study published in the Journal of Advanced Biomedical Research found that orange oil diffused in the air reduced stress levels of dental patients. Researchers measured the pulse rates and levels of the stress-hormone, cortisol, in the saliva of 30 children before and after dental treatment. Those exposed to orange oil had lower cortisol levels and heart rates, compared with the group who received nothing.
You see, on top of the high vitamin C content, more than 90% of orange oil is made up of an extraordinary natural compound called D-limonene, a liquid hydrocarbon that has proven anticancer and other therapeutic properties.6
With depression and anxiety, the D-limonene in orange oil works to normalize your neuroendocrine hormones, like cortisol, and restores your stability — so you can more easily handle life’s ups and downs.
Essential orange oil can…
- Reduce stress, nervousness and tension;
- Energize you, and fight lethargy and fatigue;
- Treat depression during menopause;
- Induce sleep when combined with lavender;
- Promote creative thinking;
- Encourage right-brain functioning.
I advise patients to use essential orange oil as part of their morning routine — either diffused or applied topically. This gives you a mood-boost you need to start your day off right.
When you are buying essential oils, it’s important to get organic and cold-pressed, because distillation, the other method of extraction, uses heat which reduces the therapeutic content in the oil.
You should check the label on the back of the bottle to make sure that the oil is pure and not mixed with fillers.
You can get essential orange oil online and at most health food stores. I recommend diffusing the oil, so you can benefit from it all day.
There are many brands and types of diffusers. I like ultrasonic diffusers. They’re the least expensive and they work by creating a fine mist, so they double as a humidifier.
Each diffuser requires a different amount of water, but the label should tell you how to use the one you choose. I recommend 5 drops of oil in the water for the best results.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Furumoto K. et al. “Age-dependent telomere shortening is slowed down by enrichment of intracellular vitamin C via suppression of oxidative stress.” Life Science 1998, vol. 63, no. 11 pp. 935-48.
2. Grumman, R. “Vitamin C can keep you healthy, looking younger.” CNN.
3. Goes, TC., Antunes, FD., Alves, PB., Teixeria-Silva, F. “Effect of sweet orange aroma on experimental anxiety in humans.”Journal of Alternative Complimentary Medicine. 2012.
4. Komori, T., et. al. “Effects of citrus fragrance on immune function and depressive states.” Neuroimmunomodulation. 1995. 2(3). 174-180.
5. Jafarzadeh M, Arman S, Pour FF. “Effect of aromatherapy with orange essential oil on salivary cortisol and pulse rate in children during dental treatment: A randomized controlled clinical trial.” Advanced Biomedical Research. 2013;2:10. doi:10.4103/2277-9175.107968.
6. Brudnak, Mark, “Cancer-Preventing Properties of Essential Oil Monoterpenes D-Limonene and Perillyl Alcohol,”