Continuing with our citrus theme from the previous column, today we’ll discover a few more uses of the spiritually potent, beautifying, healing orange and its citrus relatives.
In general, these fruits are known to calm anxiety and raise the spirits, while offering a wide range of additional benefits to beauty and the immune system. It should come as little surprise that such a beneficent botanical group is considered especially important for supporting what is known as ki in Japanese, qi in Chinese, or, in English, as the vital energy of the being. The following are some intriguingly creative and practical ways to add some citrus to your everyday life, and reap the multifaceted rewards to body, mind and soul.
In Japan and China, a bath in powdered tangerine peel is taken not only to perfume and beautify the skin, soothe aching muscles and combat fatigue and colds, but also to recharge the body’s vital energy.
The treatment is said to act as a general tonic, strengthening the immune system and preventing signs of aging. To prepare such a bath, you may purchase zhen bi (powdered peel) from a Chinese medicine store, or make it yourself by drying organic tangerine peels in a cool, dry, dark place, then grinding them to a powder. You can also use the fresh peels or fruits in season: Simply add these to your hot bath and breathe in the lovely fragrance as you absorb the benefits.
Why not revive the old European tradition of studding an orange with cloves to create a pomander with which to scent a room or a wardrobe? The combination of aromas is wonderful in midwinter — warming, invigorating and spicy. If you then sprinkle the orange with oil of lemon or oil of orange you will intensify the effect. Clove, like orange, is a purifying agent, so you will be helping not only to freshen and sweeten the atmosphere, but perhaps also to keep it free of germs as well.
These days antibacterial products are popular. Most of them contain lots of chemicals. Essential oils are naturally antibacterial, and if you add a drop or two of any of the citrus oils to your kitchen sponge or your cleaning water, you’ll enjoy the scent as well as the cleansing effect.
The best, most natural air freshener is a spritzer of water containing a few drops of essential oil. To bring lighthearted freshness to the air of your home, try a mixture of oils of grapefruit, lavender, lime and tangerine. This is a stimulating blend, good for creating an uplifting, sparkling mood in the home. Encourage the flow of ki and positivity!
Do you work in front of a computer screen? In researching the dangers of VDU exposure, I discovered that it is recommended that essential oils be used to help increase the effectiveness of negative ions in the atmosphere of your workplace. Some of the best essential oils to use for this purpose are lemon, orange, bergamot and grapefruit. Try using these oils in a diffuser to let their fragrances float everywhere, battling the radiation and electricity you are bombarded with from the screen.
Finally, make sure you always have a bowl of fresh, fragrant oranges, lemons, and tangerines on your kitchen table. Eat them with abandon! If you are a gardener, you can always try growing your own little citrus tree, just for fun.