Okay, I confess: this is one of my favorite citrus fruits ever. I have so much love for lemons, limes, oranges, and the rest of the citrus family. But whenever I bite into a fruit salad with mandarins in it, I remember – this is the one I dig the most.
It is small, sweet, and fragrant, and it gives you such a boost. How can you not love this fruit? But, as good as fresh mandarins are, their peels are used for something which is arguably even better: mandarin essential oil.
What Is Mandarin Essential Oil? Where Does It Come From?
Known as the mandarin orange, red mandarin, or simply mandarin, the little tree named Citrus reticulata is native to countries located primarily in south-east Asia. It can be found in abundance within the borders of Japan, China, India, and the surrounding areas. It was first introduced to the Western world in the early 1800’s, and later during that century made the voyage across the ocean to the States. It has become highly popular over time.
The essential oil of the mandarin orange is produced by means of cold compression. The fruit’s peels disengage quite easily from the actual fruit, and the cold compression yields a yellow/green colored oil, which smells of orange and lemon, and is mild yet effective.
The Difference Between Red Mandarin & Green Mandarin Essential Oil
These are probably two of the most commonly confused fruit in the business. What business? You tell me. Whether you are eating them, distilling them, throwing them at your neighbor’s cat, or simply using them for decorations, the red mandarin (Citrus reticulata) and green mandarin (Citrus reticulata blanco, aka tangerine) trees have so much in common, it is no wonder they are so often confused.
These two are constantly interchanged, especially in the U.S., but they are in fact two separate fruits, which yield two different kinds of essential oil.
Now, they are both citrus fruit, which means that they retain many of the same properties and health benefits. Their obvious similarities notwithstanding, there are some differences between them:
First of all, the actual fruit. Tangerines are normally lighter than mandarins, and historically speaking, mandarins were the first to make it to Europe and the U.S.
As for the oil, mandarin is considered more valuable, and thought of as being the more therapeutic of the two. Honestly, for most patients and wellness-prone individuals, the differences are negligible. It could be that certain aromatherapists will be partial to one over the other, and recommend them for different conditions, but on the whole they can be used to treat the same issues.
Prevalence is – or should I say was – also an issue. In the U.S., there was always a larger presence of tangerine essential oil, while in Europe it was the mandarin variety which was more commonly found. Of course, now with world markets advancing and growing like never before, both oils can be obtained with ease and comfort, online and offline. What amazing times we live in, huh?
Mandarin Essential Oil For Skin: Scars, Stretch Marks & Acne
The skin is our largest organ, and as such it merits special attention. It is the outer-most organ, and is therefore the most susceptible to attacks from the outside. To quote Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore: “Every day, every hour, this very minute perhaps, dark forces attempt to penetrate this castle’s walls.”
In other words, treat your skin right, people. Mandarin essential oil can certainly help you there, not only with reactive treatment, but also as a preventive measure.
Applying mandarin oil topically can help to treat blemishes, spots, wrinkles, stretch marks, and acne of all kinds. This is never a 100% thing. You won’t wake up with milky baby-like skin after only a few days, but mandarin oil can be helpful. Like other citrus fruit, the essential oil contains ingredients like limonene and alpha-terpinene, which have been proven to combat skin-related conditions, and also to help the skin stay tighter, brighter, and happier. And hey, we all know how important it is to feel comfortable in your own skin. *rimshot!*
Mandarin Essential Oil For Hair
Aside from skin, many cosmetics products are geared towards hair: cleaning it, shaping it, styling it, and keeping it – and our scalp – balanced. Some may disagree, and they have every right to, but I – along with so many others – feel that hair is an important feature. Men and women of all ages invest significant time and effort into keeping their hair looking young and healthy, and mandarin oil can help you achieve that goal.
This is surely not the only essential oil which can be used on your hair. Many others can boost your follicles’ health, and provide relief from conditions like dandruff, itchiness, and split ends. It can also be used to prevent hair loss.
One important note on hair loss: certain things cannot be undone. In other words, what’s gone will usually stay gone. I don’t know of an essential oil which can promote entirely new growth. Of course, I’d love to be proven wrong about this, but I have found that essential oils are usually used as a preventive treatment, rather than a way to induce new growth in spots where the hair has fallen out.
Adding mandarin oil to your haircare regiment – whether in a shampoo or conditioner – can help to provide your locks with a fresh bounce and a healthy shine. We all have different scalps and hair types, but this has proven to be quite useful. The different vitamins which make up the oil (such as E and B12) can be the very thing you’ve been looking for. Oh, and the oil is also rich in vitamin C, as all citrus fruit and oils are.
Mandarin Essential Oil Scent Described
I already mentioned the scent briefly, and it is one which I love. Citrus oils generally have the same type of fragrance for me. I don’t know, perhaps someone with a better sense of smell would be able to discern and identify them better just by smelling them. That is not the case with me.
To be clear, there is certainly a rich and sweet fragrance to this oil, but I honestly don’t know if I would be able to differentiate it from other citrus oils like lemon or orange. Maybe, maybe not. This changes from one person to another. I haven’t done a blind-folded test yet, and I have no immediate plans to. Though now I am certainly pondering doing it, just for the heck of it. I enjoy a good challenge.
Mandarin Essential Oil Potential Side Effects
All essential oils have some kind of potential side effects. Because they are highly concentrated and potent substances, it is recommended using them with care. Young children and expecting or nursing women are advised to consult with their physician before beginning any kind of treatment with essential oils. Mandarin is no exception. It is generally good practice to get the okay from your healthcare professional, even with natural oils.
As for more specific side effects, the most common one to look out for is skin irritation. This oil is not an irritant by definition, but for those who have sensitive skin, it could bring about some kind of reaction. Furthermore, there is the matter of sun exposure. Some recommend waiting a day or so before prolonged sun exposure, like during a day at the pool or beach, or when apple picking in your underwear. Oh, wait. Am I the only one who’s done that? Ah, well.
— Aroma of Eden (@AromaofEden) May 17, 2017
We can’t all have cold compression equipment running, nor do we all have the time and money to make our own essential oil. Thankfully, we don’t have to! Mandarin oil is now available in so many products, and also as a standalone essential oil. Whether you use it on your hair and skin, burn it in a diffuser, or eat the actual orange, this small fruit is one of nature’s sweetest and most beneficial citrus products.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of being introduced to this little wonder, now is the time. Make the move, get yourself some mandarin in your system, and your body (and mind) will thank you. We all have different bodies and genetic makeups, and because of that we react differently to various substances. But mandarin oil is a pretty safe bet. Make it a part of your life, and see just how beneficial it can be for you!
And hey, if you find it doesn’t yield the desired results, there is always the actual oranges. They are truly delicious, and come highly recommended. Eat them plain, or throw them in a fruit salad along with grapes, watermelon, pineapple, and cantaloupe. OMG.