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Although Scotland isn’t renowned for growing oranges we have a few stories to tell about this citrus fruit. Marmalade was apparently invented in Dundee when a storm-damaged Spanish ship carrying Seville oranges sought refuge in the city of jute, jam, and journalism.
More famously, Scottish surgeon, James Lind, discovered citrus fruit could cure scurvy. In one of the first controlled clinical trials recorded in medical science, he successfully treated sailors on board HMS Salisbury in 1747 by feeding patients two oranges and one lemon each day.
Oranges have since become synonymous with vitamin C but the peel of the fruit also holds hidden benefits. Limonene is a promising lipid-lowering agent as studies suggest it can help lower both triglyceride and cholesterol levels. This terpene is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent too, with several studies suggesting it may boost immunity. In fact, limonene has well-established chemopreventive activity against many types of cancer.
On the mental health front, Sweet Orange essential oil has been shown to help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Studies conducted on dental patients and pregnant women found those who inhaled orange essential oil prior to treatment or in labour experienced lower levels of anxiety. Another study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that orange essential oil may be an effective remedy against depression. The limonene in Sweet Orange acted like an antidepressant and reduced hyperactivity.
Originating in China, orange peel has been applied in traditional Chinese medicine for millennia and today aromatherapists use Sweet Orange essential oil for its relaxing, detoxifying, and cleansing properties.