Mandarin (scientific name Citrus reticulata) is a low-growing, evergreen tree. Mandarin generally grows up to a height of 20 feet and bears green leaves and fragrant flowers. The fruits of this tree are small and similar to those of oranges. However, one should be careful not to confuse mandarin fruits with those of the orange tree. Belonging to the Rutaceae family, mandarin was introduced into Europe way back in 1805 and subsequently into the United States sometime in 1845. In the United States, mandarin later came to be referred as the tangerine.
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Occasionally known as common mandarin, mandarin is believed to have its origin in China and neighbouring areas of Southeast Asia. Currently, this plant is found growing profusely in southern China, Japan and India. These are evergreen trees that rarely grow higher than 9 meters (30 feet). The leaves of mandarin tree are glossy and oval-shaped, while its flowers are small, aromatic and have a white hue. Since mandarin fruits bear a close resemblance of tangerine, people in the United States use the terms tangerine and mandarin interchangeably to refer to this orange-like fruit. However, in the business involving citrus fruits, the term "tangerine" strictly refers to fruits having an orange-red peel, while the term "mandarin" is only used for yellow hued fruits.
In addition to the above-mentioned differences between mandarin and tangerine, the aroma as well as the chemical composition of the two fruits are also dissimilar. In fact, the essential oil extracted from mandarin possesses a sharper aroma and is usually preferred for medicinal uses. This essential oil is among the safest and medical practitioners often recommend its use for children as well as for pregnant women.
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Generally, production of unadulterated or pure mandarin essential oil is quite limited. The quantity of genuine mandarin essential oil is usually subject to the demand for fresh mandarins in the domestic as well as export markets. In Italy, people mainly use most of the fruits for their consumption, while a very small fraction, about just 5 to 6 percent of the fruits produced is used to extract the essential oil. Hence mandarin essential oil is generally expensive compared to the essential oils extracted from other citrus fruits.
The essential oil of mandarin is extracted from the external peel of the fruit employing a process called cold expression. The aroma of this citrus is light and fruity-citrus, something akin to that of orange essential oil. Mandarin essential oil possesses numerous therapeutic properties. It is balancing, soothing and also lifts the mood. In addition, this oil possesses antiseptic, anti-depressant, and digestive attributes. Mandarin essential oil is also used in the manufacture of perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and in the form of a flavoring agent in confectionery and liqueurs.
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In aromatherapy, mandarin essential oil is employed for treating indigestion, stomach cramps, constipation, grief, depression, nervousness, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), various skin conditions including, oily skin, acne, renewing mature skin as well as removing stretch marks caused during pregnancy. In addition, this oil is effective for treating fluid retention, insomnia, obesity as well as dejection. While this mandarin essential oil is quite gentle allowing its use on infants, children as well as the aged, it should be used with caution; especially people using this oil should avoid sunlight as it has the potential to cause photo toxicity.
Mandarin essential oil is very versatile and compliant, making it possible to use it for treating various different types of physical as well as emotional conditions. A blend by adding a few drops of this essential oil to any good carrier oil can be employed for massaging to successfully cure stretch marks, cellulite and fluid retention. You can augment the effectiveness of mandarin essential oil by adding it to other essential oils which are also effective in treating these conditions. When blended with juniper berry and cypress essential oils, mandarin essential oil becomes more effective creating a valuable synergy together.
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Since mandarin essential oil possesses antispasmodic attributes, it is effective more alleviating muscle spasms. When it is massaged on the skin in the abdominal region, mandarin essential oil is effective in alleviating gastritis and dyspepsia. This oil has a calming, relaxing and uplifting aroma that is perfect for curing negative emotional conditions like anxiety, irritability, stress, nervous tension, trauma and restiveness. The best thing with this oil is that it can be safely used on children as well as adults for treating these conditions.
The essential oil extracted from mandarin possesses antiseptic properties and, hence, is useful for protecting wounds from turning septic and also infections by bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Use of this oil forms a defensive covering on the affected place and, at the same time, encourages accumulation of platelets and white blood cells (leucocytes) in the area around the wounds. In this way, mandarin oil works to block the invasion of various microbes. In addition, the anti-bacterial and fungicidal properties of mandarin essential oil help to kill the microbes, thereby augmenting its protective actions.
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Any type of contraction in the respiratory tract may result in breathing problems, exhausting coughs and congestion. On the other hand, muscular spasms lead to muscle pulls and cramps that are generally extremely excruciating. When spasms occur in the digestive system, especially the intestines, it may result in vomiting as well as pulling aches inside the stomach and intestines. Similarly, any spasm in our nervous system can lead to convulsions as well as nervous afflictions. There are several means to treat these conditions, but treating them with mandarin essential oil is not only effective, but also does not cause any adverse side effects. Using only a few drops of mandarin essential oil will help one to get relief from such spasms.
The essential oil obtained from mandarin also helps to augment blood as well as lymphatic circulation, especially in the region just beneath the skin, thereby ensuring that the skin is rejuvenated and appears youthful and lively. When circulation is improved, it generates warmth and offers respite from the symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism. At the same time, enhanced blood and lymph circulation helps in growth and heightens the immune system.
Use of mandarin essential oil also cleanses the blood, as it helps to get rid of the toxic and other harmful substances from our body via various modes of excretion, counting sweating, urination and passing fecal matter. Cleansing the body of unwanted materials helps to keep off diseases, which usually occur due to accumulation of toxins. In this way, the oil of mandarin helps to prevent conditions like acne, arthritis, gout, boils and abscesses.
Ingesting just a few drops of mandarin essential oil following your meals, both lunch and dinner, will help to improve digestion by encouraging the secretion of different digestive juices as well as bile into the stomach. Use of this oil also improves appetite.
In addition, use of mandarin oil is also beneficial for the health of the liver, since it aids in sustaining the appropriate release of bile from this vital organ, thereby protecting it from various infections. The essential oil of mandarin also works to reinforce the liver as well as optimize its functioning.
While mandarin essential oil is a general sedative, the sedative actions of this oil is more useful in unwinding and soothing the nervous problems and disorders. Use of mandarin possesses the attribute to soothe epilepsy attacks, in addition to convulsions and hysteria. In addition, it also helps to get rid of anxiety and stress.
Mandarin essential oil also helps to encourage new cell and tissue growth, thereby aiding to accelerate healing wounds as well as all other symptoms of physical deterioration. Apart from this, this oil also ensures proper development of the body.
Use of the essential oil of mandarin also helps to reinforce the overall health and, at the same time, improves the functioning of our immune system. As this oil possesses tonic properties, its use aids in growth as well as the right functioning of our body by means to toning up all the organ systems, such as the digestive, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, nervous, neurotic, endocrine and excretory systems. Moreover, this oil perks up the immune system in general.
Mandarin essential oil is well known for its sedative properties. It is effective for alleviating inflammation and nervous disorder.
It is worth mentioning here that use of mandarin essential oil is also useful for maintaining the acid and alkaline balance in the stomach. At the same time, this oil helps to protect the stomach from various types of ulcers and other problems. Mandarin oil also helps to combat stomach infections.
This essential oil needs to be used with caution, as there are reports that it has resulted in photo-toxicity in some people. As a result, use of mandarin essential oil may cause irritation in some specific types of skin.