Red Mandarin Chemistry

Contributed by Dr. Damian Rodriguez, DHSc, MS


Known as the sweetest of all citrus fruits, the red mandarin from the Citrus nobilis tree is usually peeled and eaten whole or used in salads and desserts, but its rind also contains a wonderfully unique essential oil. Although it is similar to the tangerine—in fact, mandarins are often referred to as tangerines interchangeably in some parts of the world—the fruit and the essential oil of Red Mandarin is quite unique in the citrus world. Whether experienced aromatically, topically, or internally, Red Mandarin essential oil can provide a multitude of benefits.*


The biological and physiological activity of essential oils comes down to their chemistry. Red Mandarin’s composition is much like most other citrus oils in its high concentration of limonene, but there are a few twists. Depending on harvesting conditions, approximately 65% to 75% of Red Mandarin’s composition is the cleansing and uplifting monoterpene known as limonene, but it is also rich in an aromatic compound often associated with Cumin, Black Pepper, and Ginger essential oils: gamma-Terpinene (up to 14%).1

Research has shown that gamma-Terpinene may have cleansing properties.2 The concentration of gamma-Terpinene adds to the already potent surface and skin-cleansing abilities of limonene. Whether you are looking for a mild skin toner and clarifier, a great addition to your DIY all-purpose cleaner, or something a little different that can uplift your mood when diffused, Red Mandarin is a great choice.


With its concentration of gamma-Terpinene, Red Mandarin is more than just another sweet-smelling citrus essential oil. Try combining a few drops with your favorite skin care products and experiment with its cleansing power around the home.


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