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Blood orange aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is awesome. We’re huge fans, and if you’re reading this, you probably are, too. One of the very best aromatherapy oils, whether alone or in blends, is blood orange. Despite the aggressive name, this crimson citrus (dibs on the band name) is extremely high in anthocyanins, a particular family of antioxidants.

For the curious, it’s a natural mutation of the orange (itself a hybrid, likely of the pomelo and tangerine), with disputed origin, but likely developing in either China or the southern Mediterranean. In either case, blood oranges attested in the Mediterranean at least as far back as the 18th century, and are now primarily grown in Italy, with particular heritage distinction and protected status in Europe given to the arancia rossa di Sicilia (or ‘red orange of Sicily’).

They’re a pretty cool fruit.

But onto the exciting part! We had a hard time narrowing this list to just five, but here are our top picks for reasons you’ll love blood orange aromatherapy.


  • Reduces Inflammation
  • Whether internal or external, blood orange essential oil can relieve inflammation quickly and effectively. Blood orange aromatherapy can help with anything from fevers to arthritis, and can mitigate uncomfortable after effects from certain medications and toxins. It’s a non-invasive way to augment pain relief, and fever-relief too, so go ahead and diffuse it while you’re home sick, and don’t worry about it co-mingling with the ibuprofen.


  • Cholagogues
  • Not generally a word you see too often, cholagogues are medicinal agents that help your system to discharge and purge bile. Bile, for its part, is a greenish-brownish fluid produced by the liver, stored in the gallbladder, which digests fats in the small intestine. Though this certainly makes terrible table conversation, it’s important to understand the underlying mechanisms because it gives some context for why cholagogues are so healthful.

    Cholagogues encourage your body to produce and discharge bile. The extra bile production helps treat a number of digestive complaints, for one, and the stimulated production and discharge of bile helps to regulate any number of other enzymes and hormones throughout the body. It’s remarkable just how interconnected different body systems are, such that a little extra bile here can trigger an enzyme there and suddenly the whole body cascades into a symphony of general wellness.


  • Body Detox
  • Since we’re on the subject of cholagogues, the process of bile production also engages and exercises the liver, so it aids in detoxification, and the steady surplus of bile can help to break down gallstones to boot. Blood orange is also a diuretic, causing you to urinate more frequently. All those toxins getting processed and expelled have to go somewhere, so you might as well do it sooner than later. Those diuretic effects also help the body purge excessive salt, uric acid, and other toxins. The diuretic process itself kicks the digestive system into overdrive, and can help you purge excess fats. That’s good for you, good for your system, and especially good for your cardiovascular health.


  • Bugs
  • We got pretty deep into some body systems stuff there, and odds are you weren’t reading this exclusively to prep for your hepatology final. Let’s move on to a totally different sort of benefit. Blood orange aromatherapy is an excellent, all-natural insect repellent. It’s an all-natural aromatherapy alternative to harsher chemical insect repellents. In clinical trials, it’s especially good for keeping away houseflies and controlling their larvae. Plus, it smells great. Maybe we should have mentioned that sooner, come to think of it.


  • Mental Well-Being
  • For all its myriad benefits, aromatherapy is primarily about improving your space, your mood, and your overall mental state, and blood orange aromatherapy is one of the very best. Like other citrus oils, blood orange is commonly used to improve depression, anxiety, and grief.

    In one 2013 study, blood orange essential oil, when diffused through a dentist’s office during children’s dental operations, had a very clear positive impact on overall stress. It decreased cortisol production (it’s an oversimplification, but cortisol is often referred to as a “stress hormone”) and regularized heart-rate.


    Blood Orange Aromatherapy Essential Oil Blends

    At Heliotrope, we’ve got a few different options when it comes to blood orange aromatherapy. For starters, there’s a straight-up blood orange essential oil. It’s a pretty good option, but you might prefer to blend the blood orange with something else. For instance, this one here adds vanilla and ginger. While blood orange is already calming, the addition of vanilla and ginger add an ever deeper calming, warming effect. Ginger also boosts immune response, and has been used for centuries as a treatment for seasonal affective disorder.

    This last one is a little more intricate. It’s got a blend of various oils, including blood orange, ylang ylang, cardamom & black pepper. It’s got calming properties, but also a stimulating spice, excellent for elevating mood and cognition.

    Blood orange aromatherapy really is just excellent. We’ve only just scratched the surface of its many benefits. If you’d like to hear more, come find us on Valencia Street in San Francisco, or Jackson Street in Oakland. We’re always eager to talk about what we do, and we’ve got plenty more to say on the subject of blood orange aromatherapy.

    Written by Heliotrope San Francisco — May 28, 2018

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