Mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco), sometimes referred to Common Mandarin,
is considered a native of China and Southeast Asia. It is most abundantly
grown in Japan, southern China and India. Trees of Mandarin are evergreen,
seldom exceeding 9 m (30 ft) high. The leaves are shinny and oval, and the
flowers are small, white and fragrant. Mandarin resembles what is known as
Tangerine in the United States, and the terms Mandarin and Tangerine are
used interchangeably; however, in the citrus trade, the term “Tangerine” is
strictly applied to those with orange-red skin while “Mandarin” is reserved
for the yellow fruit varieties.
Moreover, there exist significant differences in the fragrance and chemical
composition in the essential oils of Mandarin and Tangerine. Mandarin
essential oil has a sharper floral fragrance, and is generally preferred for
therapeutic purposes. It is one of the safest oils often recommended for
children and for use during pregnancy. The genuine Mandarin essential oil is
usually produced on a limited scale, which often depends on the demand for
fresh Mandarins in the local and export market. In Italy, most of the fruit
is utilized primarily for consumption; only a small percentage (5 -6%)
serves for the extraction of oil. Therefore, Mandarin (Citrus reticulata
Blanco) essential oil is usually more expensive than other citrus oils.
One of the major applications of Mandarin essential oil is in treating
digestive problems, as it has a tonic and stimulant effect on both the
digestive function and the liver. Its antispasmodic properties can stimulate
appetite and have a calming effect on the intestinal tract. It has been
found to be even more effective when used in a synergistic combination with
other citrus oils.
Mandarin is also widely regarded as a ‘happy’ oil that lifts away feelings
of irritability and sadness. It is extremely useful for those who suffer
from stress, nervous tension and anxiety to the point where they find it
difficult to sleep and relax at all. It has a marked sedative quality, which
derives from a calming influence rather than a soporific one. Its slightly
hypnotic effect is often useful to help small children at bedtime especially
when they’ve become overtired or hyperactive.
Mandarin essential oil is also a famous moisturizing agent. It is used
extensively, and often the main ingredient, in stretch-mark prevention
cream, which helps to prevent and reduce the appearance of existing stretch
marks in the abdomen area. It is one of the very few oils which can be used
during pregnancy, as it will not harm either the mother or the developing
child. It usually works best as a preventer during the early stage of
pregnancy, before the stretch-marks develop.
Mandarin essential oil possesses a very delicate aroma, a nice sparkly
citrus, true to the scent of its fresh-peeled fruits. It has distinctive,
sweet, citrus top notes and deep, warm, floral undertones to which it owes
its value in perfumery works. A wonderful mixture can be created by mixing
it with Neroli, Ylang-ylang, Rose and Jasmine.
The delicious fragrance of Mandarin is stimulating, refreshing and
revitalizing. It creates a feeling of joy and hopefulness.
Mandarin essential oil is generally regarded as non-toxic and
non-irritating; however, like many other citrus oils, Mandarin oil is
phototoxic. The amount of Mandarin used in any formula that is allowed to
stay on the skin should not exceed 0.04%.
Do not take essential oils internally or use without the guidance of a
qualified practitioner. The information provided here is for general use
only and is not intended to replace medical diagnosis or treatment.
Pregnant women should always consult their physician prior to using.