An Explanation of the ORAC Scale
An Explanation of the ORAC Scale

ORAC - stands for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity and is a scale supported by the USDA to measure antioxidant capacities of foods and essential oils.  The higher the ORAC value, the more a food or essential oil is able to destroy free radicals in the body and therefore retard the ageing process and help prevent disease.  

Free radicals, and the damage they can do at the cellular level, have received a lot of attention in the last few years. The oxidative stress caused by free radicals – which are produced during normal metabolism and cell function, as well as from stress and pollutants in our air, water and food – is implicated in everything from aging and wrinkling of skin to DNA damage, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants offer powerful, effective protection for your body and cells against their oxidative stress, by blunting the damaging effects of free radicals.

A study published in 2005 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Ilja CW Arts and Peter CH Hollman states
 "In addition to their antioxidant properties, polyphenols show several interesting effects in animal models and in vitro systems; they trap and scavenge free radicals regulate nitric oxide, decrease leukocyte immobilization, induce apoptosis, inhibit cell proliferation and angiogenesis, and exhibit phytoestrongenic activity"

Phenols are a main constituent in essential oils such as Clove and Wintergreen.  You can see from the list below that Clove essential oil contain the highest ORAC of any known substance on the earth!  Measured in micromole Trolox Equivaments pr 100 grams, the ORAC values are often listed in other publication as measured in 'use per liter' which would add another zero to the end of the numbers.  In the following table, the essential oil ORAC values are listed in grams. 

One of the highest ORAC of a healthy food source is found is wolfberries coming in at 25,300 which blueberries at 2,400 to give you a reference.  Raw cacao power is around 100,000.

  1. Clove                      1,078,700 !!!
  2. Myrrh                         397,800
  3. Citronella                 312,000
  4. Clary Sage                221,000
  5. Cedarwood              169,000
  6. Rose                              160,400
  7. Ylang Ylang               130,000
  8. Wintergreen            101,800
  9. Geranium                   101,000
  10. Vetiver                            74,300
  11. Blue Tansy                    68,800
  12. Spikeard                        54,800
  13. Peppermint                 37,300
  14. Cypress                          24,300
  15. Grapefruit                     22,600
  16. Oregano                         15,300
  17. Cinnamon                      10,340
  18. Lemongrass                     1,780
  19. Helichrysum                    1,740
  20. Lemon                                     660
  21. Frankincense                       630
  22. Lavender                                360
Wolfberries 25,300
Blueberries 2,400

Reference:  The Essential Oil Truth - The Facts Without the Hype by Jen O'Sullivan

Enjoying my blog posts?  contact me here  

Follow me on social media : 

1 Comment

  1. Really good and helpful blog

Leave a Comment