Depression is among the most prevalent psychological conditions, with a prevalence of 15-20 percent, which can cause diminution of the sufferer’s function on various personal and social levels and cause emotional distress and anhedonia. Orange essential oil is exhilarant, antidepressant, antispasmodic, stomachic, mild sedative and a suitable essential oil for fighting insomnia. The antidepressant mechanism of the citruses, especially extract of orange, is probably due to their effect on the immune and endocrine systems and thus regulating the disorders in these systems.
In a randomized clinical trial, the effect of orange extract was compared to fluoxetine in 150 patients of 18-50 years of age with major depression. The patients were prescribed in three groups: 10 drops of orange extract per day, fluoxetine 20 mg per day and 20 drops of orange extract per day. For all the patients, Hamilton depression scale and a questionnaire of adverse reactions were filled out at the beginning of the study, and after 3 weeks. 74 patients remained till the end of the course of the study. After 6 weeks of treatment, the rate of improvement in Hamilton depression scale in the patients receiving fluoxetine was 8.15 and in the groups receiving 10 and 20 drops of orange extract was 15.80 and 12, respectively. The rate of improvement in Hamilton depression scale in all the patients receiving orange extract, regardless of dosage, was 13.54. The degree of improvement with fluoxetine was not significantly different from orange extract (p>0.05). Also, the degree of improvement of depression did not significantly differ between 10 and 20 drops of orange extract (p>0.05). However, those patients receiving 10 drops of orange extract per day showed greater improvement compared to those receiving fluoxetine; based on results of analysis using ANOVA this difference was significant (p=0.001). Furthermore, significant difference was observed between the improvement of those administered orange extract and those receiving fluoxetine (p<0.05). In this study, the therapeutic efficacy of orange extract did not significantly differ in case of male and female participants. Also, no significant difference was observed in terms of adverse reactions among the three groups. The researchers came to the conclusion that orange extract can be a suitable adjuvant treatment for depression in adults.