The mandarin (Citrus reticulata), also known as the mandarine, is a small citrus tree with fruit resembling other oranges.
Depending upon the variety, the mandarin tree is often smaller than that of the sweet orange, usually attaining a height of only 5 meters (16 ft), although with great age some trees occasionally reach a height of 7 meters (23 ft).
Sometimes thorny or spiny, this willowy evergreen tree has slender drooping twigs, and broad or narrow lanceolate leaves which are glossy on both surfaces and form a symmetrical, rounded crown. Small, fragrant white flowers are borne singly and are abundant on the branches. The fruit is oblate (a flattened ball shape) and measure 5-10 cm, colored bright orange and turning red-orange upon ripening.
Mandarin is usually eaten plain or in fruit salads. Specifically reddish-orange mandarin cultivars can be marketed as tangerines, but this is not a botanical classification.
Mandarins are smaller and less spherical than common oranges (which are a mandarin hybrid). The taste is considered less sour, as well as sweeter and stronger. A ripe mandarin is firm to slightly soft, heavy for its size, and pebbly-skinned. The peel is very thin, with very little bitter white mesocarp, so they are usually easier to peel and to split into segments. Hybrids generally have these traits to a lesser degree.
The tree is more drought-tolerant than the fruit. The mandarin is tender and is damaged easily by cold. It can be grown in tropical and subtropical areas.
According to molecular studies, the mandarin, the citron, the pomelo, and the papeda were the ancestors of most other commercial citrus varieties, through breeding or natural hybridization; mandarins are therefore all the more important as the only sweet fruit among the parental species.
During Chinese New Year, mandarin oranges and tangerines are considered traditional symbols of abundance and good fortune. During the two-week celebration, they are frequently displayed as decoration and presented as gifts to friends, relatives, and business associates.
Mandarin oranges, particularly from Japan, are a Christmas tradition in Canada, the United States and Russia. They are commonly purchased in 5- or 10-pound boxes, individually wrapped in soft green paper, and given in Christmas stockings. This custom goes back to the 1880s, when Japanese immigrants in the United States began receiving Japanese mandarin oranges from their families back home as gifts for the New Year. The tradition quickly spread among the non-Japanese population, and eastwards across the country: each November harvest, “The oranges were quickly unloaded and then shipped east by rail. ‘Orange Trains’ – trains with boxcars painted orange – alerted everyone along the way that the irresistible oranges from Japan were back again for the holidays. For many, the arrival of Japanese mandarin oranges signaled the real beginning of the holiday season.”
This Japanese tradition merged with European traditions related to the Christmas stocking. Saint Nicholas is said to have put gold coins into the stockings of three poor girls so that they would be able to afford to get married. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold, and oranges became a symbolic stand-in for these gold balls, and are put in Christmas stockings in Canada along with chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil.
Satsumas were also grown in the United States from the early 1900s, but Japan remained a major supplier. U.S. imports of these Japanese oranges were suspended due to hostilities with Japan during World War II. While they were one of the first Japanese goods allowed for export after the end of the war, residual hostility led to the rebranding of these oranges as “mandarin” oranges.
The delivery of the first batch of mandarin oranges from Japan in the port of Vancouver, British Columbia, is greeted with a festival that combines Santa Claus and Japanese dancers — young girls dressed in traditional kimonos.
What is Mandarin Essential Oil?
Mandarin is the only official language of the Republic of China with more native speakers; similarly Mandarin essential oil is an exceptional natural remedy with numerous documented health benefits in the world of Complementary and Alternative medicine including Ayurveda and the Traditional Chinese Medicine. Known as skin-friendly oil, its essential oil is cold pressed from the rind of the Mandarin fruits.
Mandarin essential oil has a delicious aroma that brings a feeling of joy and happiness to any occasion, and is appreciated equally by young and old alike. Mandarin is actually the collective name given to a class of oranges that possess thin, loose peel and a flavor much sweeter than that of the orange. This large group of citrus fruits are all characterized by brightly colored peel and pulp, segments that separate easily and a rind that is easy to peel.
The name Mandarin comes from the fruit that was a traditional gift to the Mandarins of China. There are two varieties of this oil; Mandarin, mainly from Europe, and Tangerine, mainly from the United States. Mandarin and Tangerine are considered the same botanical species although there is a slight difference in fragrance between the two. Mandarin tends to be preferred for therapeutic aromatherapy.
The book Ayurveda and Aromatherapy states that Mandarin essential oil can be combined with Orange oil to make ‘happy oil’. It is also said that this oil is known to bring liveliness in the atmosphere. With excellent pacifying properties, Mandarin essential oil is used in Ayurveda for treating insomnia, nervous tension, stress, mental exhaustion, digestive problems and skin disorders like acne, eruptions and stretch marks.
Chemical Constituents of Mandarin Essential Oil
The essential oil is extracted by cold compression of the fresh peels of these fruits and contains alpha thujone, alpha pinene, beta pinene, camphene, citral, citronellal, gamma terpinolene, geranial, geraniol, limonene, linalool, methyl methylanthranilate, myrcene, nerol, sabinene and terpineol.
Benefits of Mandarin Essential Oil
The health benefits of Mandarin Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties as an antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, circulatory, cytophylactic, depurative, digestive, hepatic, nervine, sedative, stomachic and tonic substance.
It protects wounds from becoming septic as well as from other bacterial, fungal or viral infections. It forms a protective covering on the wound and promotes the collection of blood platelets and leucocytes at the affected place, thereby blocking the intrusion of microbes. Furthermore, the oil itself has bactericidal and fungicidal properties and kills them, thereby adding to this protective effect.
A spasm in the respiratory system can make you suffer from breathing troubles, congestion and exhausting coughs while muscular spasm gives cramps and muscle pulls, which are very painful. Spasms in the digestive system (intestines) can cause vomiting and pulling aches in the stomach and intestines while a spasm in the nervous system can result in nervous afflictions and convulsions. There are a number of treatments, but one that is herbal and has no adverse side effects is mandarin essential oil. Just a few drops and the spasm will be cured.
The oil of mandarin oranges also improves the circulation of blood and lymph, particularly below the skin, which keeps the skin rejuvenated and looking young and vibrant. This improved circulation also creates warmth and provides relief from rheumatism and arthritis. This also aids growth and boosts immunity.
The essential oil of mandarin also promotes the growth of new cells and tissues, thereby helping to speed the healing time of wounds and other signs of wear & tear. This also promotes proper growth of the body.
It purifies the blood by helping remove toxic and unwanted substances from the body by means of excretion, including urine, fecal matter and sweat. This prevents diseases that result from the deposition of toxins, such as abscesses, boils, acne, gout, and arthritis.
Mandarin essential oil is a popular citrus oil with excellent benefits to the digestive system. The rich, tangy and citrus aroma promotes digestion and stimulates the flow of bile and other digestive juices. The stomachic and digestive properties of Mandarin essential oil aids in fighting against stomach infections, protects the stomach and intestines from ulcers by maintaining the optimum level of acids and enhance the appetite. It also increases the appetite.
Mandarin essential oil is good for the liver as it helps to maintain the proper discharge of bile from it and protects it from infections. It also strengthens the liver and optimizes its functions.
Mandarin essential oil is known as ‘happy oil’ for its uniqueness in bringing joy and solace in the environment. The well-known book ‘Ayurveda and Aromatherapy’ quotes Mandarin essential oil as “calming and soothing for stress.” The soothing, calming, nervine, sedative and hypnotic actions of this oil appease the mind and boost your self-confidence. Although the oil is a common sedative, its sedating action is more prominent in relaxing and calming nervous afflictions and disturbances. It can calm attacks of epilepsy, hysteria and convulsions. Furthermore, it removes stress and anxiety.
The essential oil of mandarin oranges is a reputed sedative for inflammation and nervous disturbances. This lovely quality lends perfectly to quieting restless minds and soothing anxieties.
This oil helps maintain the acid and base balance in the stomach and protects it from ulcers and other disorders. It also fights any infections in the stomach.
Mandarin essential oil tones up overall health and boosts the function of the immune system. Being a tonic, it helps in the growth and proper functioning of the body by toning up all the organic systems functioning in it, including the respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular, circulatory, neurotic, excretory, nervous, and endocrine systems. It also boosts the overall immune system of the body.
Uses of Mandarin Essential Oil
A number of Mandarin Essential Oil uses are suggested here to guide you in any practical remedy applications.
- Add 1 drop of Mandarin essential oil to your hanky or add 2 drops of this oil to your diffuser to improve your appetite and support the process of metabolism.
- Adding 2 to 3 drops of Mandarin essential oil to warm bathing water can help in relieving gas, flatulence, nausea and indigestion.
- Gently massaging your abdomen with 2 drops of this oil blended with 10 drops of wheatgerm oil can assist in treating ulcers, gastritis, esophageal spasms, intestinal infections, colitis, dyspepsia, bloating, flatulence, hiccups and indigestion.
- 2 drops of Mandarin essential oil added to warm bathing water before bed can alleviate your tensed muscles, mental disturbances, epilepsy, convulsions and nervous afflictions. This medicated bath can help you to fall asleep soon by evoking a sense of encouragement and stillness.
- You can also add 3 drops of Mandarin essential oil to your diffuser, burner or vaporizer for treating anxiety, restlessness, fear, fatigue, irritability, stress, tantrums and other negative emotions. This formula works even with children who are over-excited and stubborn especially during the nighttime.
- Adding 2 drops of Mandarin essential oil in steam therapy assists in removing skin impurities, blemishes, black heads, marks and pimples. It augments the natural beauty and glow of the skin.
- Massaging with 2 to 3 drops of Mandarin essential oil with 15 drops of jojoba oil aids in improving blood circulation, enhancing the suppleness of the skin and diminishing scars and marks.
- You can also add 3 drops of Mandarin essential oil to your regular skin care cream or lotion and apply it on the affected area.
- Add 3 drops of Mandarin essential oil to warm bath or massage your body with 5 drops of this oil with 2 ml of coconut oil to get rid of the unwanted substances from the mind and body. This massage also helps in treating spasms in the respiratory system, intestine, muscles and the nervous system.
- When massaged onto the skin, 5 drops of Mandarin essential oil with 2 ml of sesame oil improves blood circulation and helps in relieving from varicose veins, blood clots, rheumatic pain and arthritis.
- This oil is also said to make the body resistant against contagious diseases by improving immunity. You can add 2 drops of oil to vaporizer, burner or diffuser during any time of the day or night to get yourselves rejuvenated and recharged instantly.
- Refreshing Sugar Scrub:Mix 2 cups brown sugar, ¼ cup coconut oil, and 10 drops each Mandarin and Spearmint essential oils. Store in an air tight glass container.
- Mood Lifting Perfume:In a 10 ml roller bottle, combine 3 drops Ylang Ylang, 3 drops Bergamot, 9 drops Clary Sage, 9 drops Lavender, and 12 drops Mandarin essential oils. Top with fractionated coconut or other carrier oils. Apply to pulse points throughout the day.
- Add 10 drops of mandarin essential oil and five drops lavender oil to a water-filled spray bottle to make a pleasant, disinfecting room spray.
Precautions for Mandarin Essential Oil
As with all citrus oil, avoid direct sunlight for a minimum of 12 hours after topical application. Always test for skin sensitivity prior to widespread use and use on the feet when possible. Excessive use of any oil can lead to skin sensitization. Keep out of eyes, ears, or nose. Not all oils are created equal, so test brands carefully, and never use an oil in a way not recommended by its maker.
Blending for Mandarin Essential Oil
Mandarin essential oil, being citrus oil itself, blends with most of the other citrus oils such as those of neroli, grapefruit, orange, lime, and lemon. Along with these, it also blends well with essential oils of basil, black pepper, bergamot, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, frankincense, lavender, palmarosa, ylang ylang, geranium, chamomile and nutmeg.