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12 Citrus Oils You Must Have

Below are brief descriptions of the aromatic properties of each of the citrus oils. Each oil also offers some benefit for topical application, i.e. when used prudently and mindfully regarding its phototoxicity for those with lighter complexion.

Please note that the aromatic descriptions presented pertain primarily to the cold pressed versions of each citrus oil, and the information has been updated and edited from Aromaweb.com.

All the oils mentioned can be obtained as steam distilled oils by checking this catalog.

Bergamot Essential Oil (Citrus bergamia)

This is amongst the more expensive of the cold pressed citrus oils, and is well worth the cost. Its aroma is reminiscent to that of orange, but it is more complex and almost has an underlying floral characteristic to it. It can be helpful in use during periods of depression and is known for its ability to help combat oily skin and acne. Bergaptene is the naturally occurring chemical constituent that makes the oil so highly phytotoxic. Varieties of Bergamot Essential Oil are available that have the bergaptene synthetically removed, but this action reduces the holistic effect of the oil.

Grapefruit Orchard

Grapefruit Essential Oil (Citrus paradisi)

Not everyone enjoys the flavor of eating grapefruit segments, as grapefruit is known for its bittersweet, tart flavor. Grapefruit Essential Oil, however, although still possessing slightly tart characteristics, is sweet-smelling, bright and uplifting. It is quite an energizing and uplifting oil and is wonderful to diffuse in the mornings or while working out to help awaken and energize me.

Lemons on Tree

Lemon Essential Oil (Citrus limon)

Lemon oil has a powerfully fresh traditional lemon fragrance that is quite energizing and uplifting. Lemon Essential Oil is a good choice to diffuse when trying to clear a room of the smell of cigarette smoke or other unpleasant aromas.

Limonene is the naturally occurring chemical constituent within Lemon Essential Oil that gives it its distinctive lemony aroma. There are a few other non-citrus essential oils available that include limonene naturally and feature a lemony aroma. Lemongrass and Lemon Myrtle essential oils both include noteworthy concentrations of limonene.

Regular Lemon – citrus limon

  • Very detoxifying
  • Great for cleaning
  • Very economical
  • Great for all general uses of lemon

Jade Lemon – Citrus limon L. var. Eureka

  • Grown in China
  • Stronger than regular lemon essential oil and has been said to have a lime smell to it
  • Invigorating, uplifting and energizing

Limes Ready to Be Picked

Lime Essential Oil (Citrus aurantifolia)

With the exception of floral Neroli Essential Oil, cold pressed Lime Essential Oil is the most aromatically potent of the fruity citrus oils. A little goes a long way. It is so fresh and brite smelling and adds a nice complexity to other aromas. Including a few drops of Lime Essential Oil is a must when for diffusing or for creating room mists. Lime Essential Oil is well known in folklore for its ability to cleanse, purify and renew the spirit and the mind. It is also said to be effective in cleansing the aura.

Mandarin Oranges

Mandarin Essential Oil (Citrus reticulata)

Mandarin is a favorite of children and parents. Of all the citrus oils, Mandarin Essential Oil is the sweetest and tends to be the most calming. If desiring to use a citrus oil in the evenings before bed or with children, this is usually the best choice.

Neroli Blossoms

Neroli Essential Oil (Citrus aurantium)

The most costly of citrus essential oils, Neroli is steam distilled from the fragrant blossoms of the orange tree, Citrus aurantium. Neroli is intensely floral, citrusy, sweet and exotic and is most often categorized as a floral essential oil instead of as a citrus. It is highly concentrated and is amongst the more rare and costly of essential oils. A little goes a long way and the complexity of the aroma is best detected when enjoyed in very low dilutions.


Orange, Sweet,  Essential Oil (Citrus sinensis)

Sweet Orange Essential Oil, often simply referred to as Orange Essential Oil or Orange Oil, is readily available and is amongst the most inexpensive of all essential oils. The oil aromatically blends well with other citruses and most all other essential oil types including floral, spice and mint oils.

Orange Essential Oil is energizing and is usually well loved by men, women and children. It has few contraindications when diffused in moderation making it one of the first choices to consider when selecting an oil to diffuse around a diversity of individuals.

This oil is widely used in commercial cleaners as it can help to naturally cut grease (though beware of a lot of commercial cleaners as they can still also include significant levels of synthetic fragrance oil and color to give consumers the illusion that the product contains more natural essential oil than it actually has).

Orange, Bitter,  Essential Oil (Citrus aurantium)

As the name implies, this oil has a bitter orange aroma reminiscent of a cross between the sweetness of sweet orange oil and the slight bitterness of grapefruit oil. Citrus aurantium is valued for its essential oils. This type of citrus fruit is typically used in perfumes and aromatherapy products. It is used for flavoring and been used as an herbal medication due to its have antiviral characteristics. Moreover, bitter orange has become a main ingredient in many weight loss products as it has been proven to suppress appetite.

Blood Oranges

Blood Orange Essential Oil (Citrus sinensis)

The blood orange is considered a variety of sweet orange. Blood Orange Essential Oil can be used in the same applications as Sweet Orange Oil. It has a lovely aroma that is a bit tarter and more complex than Sweet Orange Oil.

Except for blood orange, the oils mentioned can be obtained as steam distilled oils by checking this catalog.

Petitgrain Essential Oil (Citrus aurantium, var. amara)

Though steam distilled from the same botanical species as neroli and bitter orange, Petitgrain Essential Oil possesses its own characteristically unique aroma. At first the oil was extracted from the small green unripe oranges. The name petitgrain comes from this, meaning little grains in French.

Today, the oil is distilled from the leaves and sometimes the twigs and branches of the tree whereas Neroli is distilled from the blossoms and Orange Oil was originally cold pressed but lately steam or hydro-distilled from the rinds of the fruits.


Tangerine Essential Oil (Citrus reticulata)

Tangerine Essential Oil is fresh, sweet, citrusy and is similar to the brighter aroma of tangerine peels (as compared to orange peels), but has a more concentrated, intense aroma than does Sweet Orange Essential Oil.

Named after Tangier, Morocco, from which it was first introduced to Europe, the health properties of the oil include its use as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, cytophylactic, depurative, sedative, stomachic and tonic substance.

Tangerines are almost identical to mandarins, with the exception of its deeper orange color, lack of seeds, and being harvested in a different time of the year than mandarin oranges.

Botanically, they are both Citrus Reticulata. Just like mandarin orange oil, tangerine oil contains alpha pinene, alpha thujone, beta pinene, camphene, citronellal, gamma terpinolene, geranial, limonene, linalool, myrcene, nerol, sabinene and terpineol as its main components.


Yuzu Essential Oil (Citrus junos)

The aroma of Yuzu Essential Oil resembles a combination of mandarin and grapefruit. It makes it a good candidate for uplifting diffuser blends intended to help the body-mind cope with anxiety, depression and nervousness.

Yuzu improves clarity yet is calming to the body. In Japan, it has been used to enhance relaxation in the bath and to promote sleep. Use to unwind before bed time, or to increase focus.

This oil enhances flavor and increase the antioxidant effects and the amount of Vitamin C in nutrient dense drinks such as Ningxia Red. Yuzu contains more Vitamin C than the other citrus fruits.

All the oils mentioned can be obtained as steam distilled oils by checking this catalog.


Aromaweb.com 85% of this article is adapted from information on this website.


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