Orange Essential Oil Found to Alleviate PTSD

orange essential oil helps ptsd

By Heather Callaghan, Editor

We’ve written before about the power of essential oils like lavender essential oilEssential oils are the condensed, aromatic compounds that occur naturally in plants. Many, many of them have profound effects on the senses and our emotional state. They can be be inhaled from the hands or in diffusers, used in body care products or applied on the skin if diluted in carrier oils like jojoba oil.

In the past, lavender, cedar, vetiver, jasmine, blue tansy and rose have been noted by people to reduce stress, ease depression, anxiety and heart break.

But now, orange essential oil can join the list and even has its own research to back up claims.

There is growing awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As you may know, it is not just confined to the battlefield – but also in the battlefield of life. While researchers offer a conservative estimate of 8% of the population struggling with post-traumatic stress, my estimation as a Self-Referencing practitioner is that it is much, much higher.

Cassandra Moshfegh, research assistant in Paul Marvar’s laboratory at the George Washington University, will present work on orange essential oil and PTSD at the American Physiological Society’s annual meeting this week.

Orange essential oil is made from the peels of the citrus fruit and is one of the most inexpensive essential oils in existence. In fact, a bottle of organic orange essential oil – which is made from many peels – can be cheaper than a couple bags of oranges.

Moshfegh said (emphasis added),

Relative to pharmaceuticals, essential oils are much more economical and do not have adverse side effects.

The orange essential plant oil showed a significant effect on the behavioral response in our study mice. This is promising, because it shows that passively inhaling this essential oil could potentially assuage PTSD symptoms in humans.

Science Daily reports:

The researchers tested the effects of orange essential oil using Pavlovian Fear conditioning, a behavioral mouse model used to study the formation, storage and expression of fear memories as a model for PTSD. Mice were exposed to the orange essential oil by passive inhalation 40 minutes before and after fear conditioning. Typically mice freeze in fear when they hear a certain audial tone later, a response that diminishes gradually over time.

Twelve mice received the tone by itself, 12 mice received water and fear conditioning, and 12 mice received an orange essential oil and fear conditioning. Mice exposed to orange essential oil by passive inhalation showed a significant reduction in freezing behavior and stopped freezing earlier than the water-exposed, fear-conditioned mice. They also showed significant differences in the types of immune cells present after fear conditioning. The immune system contributes to the inflammation associated with chronic stress and fear, so immune cells are a marker of the biochemical pathways involved in PTSD.

Initial results do show changes in gene expression after exposure to orange oil hinting that essential oils help PTSD. It is not clear if other variations of orange oil or tangerine oil have the same effects. Obviously, further research is warranted, and in humans, too, to see the specific effects of orange essential oil in the brain and nervous system.

In the meantime, here are a few easy recipes to play with that will at the very least, soothe the senses.

Soul Soothing “dream-sicle” Bath or Shower

  • 4 drops of orange essential oil and
  • 3 drops of vanilla oil added to bath or on shower surfaces

Can also add this to a diffuser with some lavender at night.

Anti-Insomnia “Pillow Spray”

In a 2 oz spray bottle, add vodka and 5-10 drops each of the following: orange essential oil, marjoram, lavender, a few drops of vetiver and spruce and blue tansy (if you can find it reasonably priced).

Shake before use. Spray in room before you go to bed or on a handkerchief that you keep next to your pillow.

Anti-anxiety Cologne

In a roller bottle, add a carrier oil like almond oil and…

Experiment with amounts.

You may also place a couple drops of orange and a drop from cedar or vetiver and mix in your hands with a sploosh of vodka. Rub hands together and dab on wrists and shoulders (may stain so be careful). The ladies will love it, too!

Anti-anxiety Perfume

In a roller bottle, add a carrier oil like almond oil and…

  • 5 or more drops of orange oil
  • 3 drops of Jasmine (great for emotions!)
  • Optional: a drop or two of Vanilla or Rose

Kitchen Therapy Cleaner

In a spray bottle filled with either straight vodka or half water and half distilled white vinegar, add 10-20 drops of orange essential oil making a soothing degreaser for the kitchen. Cedar or vanilla drops optional. Shake before use.

Keyboard Disinfectant

In a 2 oz. spray bottle, add straight vodka and 5-10 drops of orange essential oil. Shake before use. Spray on cloth and wipe down.


  • Do not use on face even if diluted – increases sun sensitivity. Can use in shampoo or soap diluted.
  • Never use undiluted on skin.
  • Never use orange essential oil around cats!

Also see: Supplement Recently Discovered To Help PTSD Better Than SSRIs

DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Natural Blaze / CC SA-4.0 / eBook

 favorite-velva-smallHeather Callaghan is an independent researcher, writer, speaker and food freedom activist. She is the Editor and co-founder of NaturalBlaze as well as a certified Self-Referencing IITM Practitioner.

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