Dancy Tangerine is probably the best known and most highly prized citrus
fruit in the United States. The original type of Tangerine from which the
Dancy descended is considered to have originated in China and Southeast
Asia, where it has been in cultivation since 2200BC. It was first introduced
into Mediterranean Europe in 1805, and then arrived in Louisiana in 1840.
From there the Tangerine was brought to Florida in 1872 by Colonel George L.
Dancy, who began the cultivation of Tangerine and gave his name to this
popular fruit. Today, the term “Tangerine” is often used to designate the
type widely grown in Florida and California, while the term “Mandarin” is
older and more commonly referred to the type that scattered across Europe.
Although Dancy Tangerine (Citrus reticulata Blanco var. Dancy) and Common
Mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco) are botanically the same species, the
Mandarin established in Europe is now quite different than the original
fruit from China, while the Dancy type still remains similar
characteristics. The fruit of Mandarin is rounder and somewhat sweeter,
while the Dancy variety is flattened, smaller in size and has deep orange
skin color. The fragrances of the two essential oils also show significant
variations; the Dancy type resembles that of Sweet Orange, while the
Mandarin emits a clean, sharper top note that reminds the fragrance of
Although Tangerine and Mandarin are close relatives, their essential oils
share very little. Only a few actions of Mandarin essential oil can be found
in Tangerine’s, and such actions are much less intense. In fact, Tangerine
works more like Sweet Orange; therefore, the two oils are regarded as quite
different products from the standpoint of aromatherapists.
Even Tangerine essential oil does not benefit as much as Mandarin essential
oil; it still has some distinctive characteristics. One commonly known
application is infection fighting. Tangerine is a strong antiseptic,
antibacterial oil with powerful decongestant properties. It is extremely
effective in cases of cold and flu, particularly when fevers and throat
infections occur. A sore throat is often relived by inhalations of Tangerine
Another notable application is that it provides excellent result in cases of
hypertension and arteriosclerosis. It has been shown in numerous clinical
trials that using Tangerine essential oil in a full-body massage can help
improve peripheral and central circulation. It does so by making the blood
more fluid and keeping the arteries unclogged and supple. Even adding a few
drops of oil in a warm bath will also be beneficial.
Not only are the properties similar to Sweet Orange oil, the fragrance of
the two oils are also very much alike. Tangerine essential oil contains many
of the same volatiles as Sweet Orange oil, and has less of the dryness and
perfumery character associate with Common Mandarin oil (Citrus reticulata
Blanco), which makes it sometime hardly distinguishable from the oil of
Sweet Orange. In fact, many commercial lots of Tangerine oil are altered
with Sweet Orange oil for higher profit.
Tangerine essential oil is generally regarded as non-toxic and
non-irritating; however, like many other citrus oils, Tangerine oil is
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.