IchiBan’s Citrus Peel Extraction and Pain Relief Topical

I’ve been experimenting with citrus peel extraction for joint pain and inflammation for a few years and I’m so excited for the relief it’s brought so many people.  It’s my pleasure to share this with everyone that would like to give it a try.  It’s very easy to make, very fast acting, all natural, and quite frankly too good to be true.  The first time that I really woke up to what I had was when I tried it on my elderly mother who was having trouble walking and really struggled to walk up the stairs to go to bed when visiting.  Her ankles were so painful she was nearly incapacitated, so she became my first volunteer.  I had a batch of orange and lemon peel extract I’d recently made and already combined with coconut oil to be used as a topical so we put that on her pained ankles to see what would happen and I went back downstairs.  After about 5-minutes she was calling my name from upstairs so I went up expecting that she was going to ask for ice, ibuprofen or something else for the pain, but she was sitting on the bed with a confused look on her face and said, “You aren’t going to believe this but the pain is gone.”  I made the stuff and put it on her ankle hoping for the best, but even I thought it was too fast and effective to be believed.  We kept experimenting with it and every time without fail it eradicated the arthritic pain in her ankle.  Most interesting was the cumulative effect it appeared to have.  In the beginning she would apply the topical every day but soon realized she didn’t need it so often so it became once a week, once every two weeks, and finally only periodically when the pain came back. She was so happy to be pain free but still said, “If it wasn’t me using it and experiencing the results I wouldn’t believe it.”  She had tried everything and this is the only thing that helped, and it helped miraculously.  Since then I’ve given it to many people and taught many how to make it and it hasn’t failed yet.  My hope is sharing this discovery and how to make it will help you with joint pain and inflation troubles.


I use food-grade ethanol extraction to make the a full spectrum orange and lemon peel concentrated oils known as ‘absolute oils.’  To perform the extraction and recover the ethanol at low temps safely I use the ExtractCraft Source Turbo or EtOH PRO.  If you are unfamiliar with the process of ethanol extraction you can go to my main page www.extractcrafter.com and checkout some of the extraction how-to posts or the ExtractCraft website www.extractcraft.com and their learning resources.

Source Turbo by ExtractCraft

I’m currently using equal amounts of orange and lemon peels for the extraction, but I encourage you to experiment using just one of them or different ratios if you think it might work better for you.  Dried peels can either be purchased or prepared yourself.  It’s a lot more time and effort to prepare your own but the color you get from the extraction is absolutely incredible compared to the oil you get from processed dried peel.  Peels used for extraction should include only the outermost skin, not including any pith and dried completely, preferably with a food dehydrator.  You can use cut or ground up peels for your ethanol extraction. 

Left: Dried orange and lemon peels Right: Making the wash

Ground peels have proven to provide a higher yield of oil but provides two difficulties over diced peels that required attention.  First, a good filtration plan in necessary as the powdery material will be difficult to filter well.  To keep your final extraction clean and sediment free you will most likely need something like a Buchner funnel to do the job.  Second, while the peels are soaking in ethanol they will settle in a compacted sediment layer so you will have to remember to shake it up once in a while for the ethanol to circulate through the material.  Working with the material in a chopped form will result in less yield but require less effort to process. 

The extraction can be performed with the orange and lemon peels together or separately, either way works equally as well.  I crafted 120 ml of concentrate oil using 2 lbs of purchased peel soaked for 2 days with periodic agitation.  You can use smaller amounts for smaller personal sized batches, a little of this oil goes a long way.  My first couple of runs used just a couple ounces of peels and got plenty of oil for personal use formulation size.

13 ml of orange and lemon peel concentrate straight out of the source turbo by ExtractCraft


Winterization is a simple process to eliminate lipids and wax from an ethanol extraction.  After soaking the peels in ethanol and filtering out the solids from the solution we have the “wash” containing all components mentioned earlier as well as lipids and wax.  The lipids and wax are not necessarily undesirable for topicals because we will normally add in some form into the final formulation.  The problem is they can be a little messy with the extraction and if a really pure oil is preferred removing the fats and lipids make quite a bit of difference.  Once they are removed they can be saved to incorporate later or used in another project. 

Left: Wash ready for freezer Right: Wash at frozen temp with lipids and wax chunks floating and a layer on the bottom

The concept is simple, when the wash is subjected to freezing temperatures the lipids and fats coagulate and precipitate out of the solution in a semi-solid state, then you just rough filter to separate.  Here are the simple steps:

  1. Put a well filtered wash in the freezer for 48-hours, or with dry ice for 3-hours.
  2. Don’t touch it or move it while it sets up.
  3. Remove it from the cold and run it though a medium/fast flow filter around 12-25 micron. An unbleached coffee filter is around 20-25 micron and can work fine, but for better filtration and ethanol recovery a Buchner funnel can be used.
  4. The resulting wash is ready for the ethanol recovery stage of extraction and the separated lipids and fats can be used as desired.
Buchner funnel filtered lipids and wax


With ethanol extraction people often ask, “how do you know if all the ethanol is out of the oil?”  I get the feeling that most people ask this question without really understanding what the question actually means or what, if any, problem is caused by minute amounts of residual ethanol.  The truth is there will always be some residual ethanol, but it’s food-grade and a very minor amount.  Then, once that very minute amount of residual ethanol in the oil is incorporated into the larger formulation volume it will be diluted even further, so I’m not concerned and add it directly into my mix.


You can use complex formulations or something as simple as solid form coconut oil alone.  My latest formulation was 120 g orange and lemon peel extract (from 2 lbs. material, 2 day soak), 400 g grape seed oil, 200 g shea butter, 200 g bees wax.  This combination can be greasy so a little Arrowroot or Diatomaceous Earth can be added to the mix to reduce the greasiness (both suggestions came from members in the “ExtractCraft Text Kitchen” Facebook user group).

Citrus peel extract pain relief topical

Incorporating the citrus peel oil into the mix is the only tricky part of the process.  If the concentrate is mixed into a hot and thin oil the components will separate with the water solubles falling out in clumps.  This problem can be avoided by following this simple guidance:

  1. Don’t over process the concentrate, leave it a light oil consistency.
  2. Concentrate should be warm when you are ready to use.
  3. Use a base formulation that sets up at room temp.
  4. Don’t apply heat while combining the concentrate with the carrier/formulation.
  5. Warm the base formulation only slightly so its barely loose and mixable, then add the concentrate and mix well as it’s cooling.

The separation can also be overcome by using an emulsifier.  I may try a few things and come back to update this at a later time.


Now that you know how to make the amazing citrus peel extraction for joint pain and inflammation, there are a few warnings and cautions to keep in mind:

  • Citrus peel concentrates are extremely strong and the components of the citrus peel concentrate can cause skin irritation, especially if used at full potency, so test just a small amount of your formulation before jumping in fully. 
  • Citrus peel extractions are flammable with or without ethanol present in them so they must be kept away from an ignition source.
  • The citrus peel extraction is very photosensitive and can cause sunburn if applied to the skin and exposed to sunlight. It is not recommended to use this kind of formulation on skin that will be outside in direct sunlight.
  • The pigments from the citrus peels contained in formulation can stain fabric so use caution with what it comes into contact with before it is fully absorbed.
  • I am not a medical professional so before using any information in this post you should consult your medical professional to make sure this type of product is safe for you to use.




23 thoughts on “IchiBan’s Citrus Peel Extraction and Pain Relief Topical

    1. I’ve never used them but I’m not aware of any reason you couldn’t use them.

  1. My first filtered liquid looked very clear (dark green). I used my Buchner filter and a combination 2.5 micron filter for a second filtration and it still looks awfully clear. Do I still need to winterize it? I am using it for a pain topical.

    1. You don’t really “need” to do anything, it’s more about what you prefer for what you are making. The wash will be mostly clear without winterizing, the lipids and waxes in a room temp wash will not be visible until freezing. Having said all of that, for topicals I’d say winterizing isn’t really necessary.

  2. I am half way in, orange done and lemon with a day to go. Then I will extract each with my Source. Normally I add 2-4 gm of cannabinoid oil to four ounces of base cream to make topical salve. (Good Earth Soap’s Garden Balm is perfect for this). Do you have any suggestions as to how many grams of the citrus oil should be combined with the 120 gram base?

    It is inexpensive to make, and I want a potent cream, but don’t want to be wasteful. Thanks in advance.

    1. Based on your formula if my math is right, your recipe is 15% citrus oil (120/800 =15% x my 120 would be 18 gm).

      1. Kirby Mitlon: how do you combine the concentrate with the Garden Balm — do you simply stir in or do you use some heat?

    2. I use pretty much the weighting in my article. Its a personal preference and a personal tolerance consideration. Everyone is different

      1. Is it 120 ml or 120 grams that you stated you incorporated ? Earlier on in the article it says you extracted 120 ml from 2 lbs and then under the incorporation heading it states you extracted 120 grams. In general how much would one add of citrus oil in a recipe in terms of ml per oz or grams per oz ? Very interested in trying this out !

      2. 1g is pretty close to the same as 1ml so I may use them interchangeably. Probably should be consistent but I may not have been

    1. Depends on the material. The semi ground up stuff can be just 2-3 days. Larger chunks I do about a week or so

  3. Hello and thank you or this information!

    I have a Source but I also have some 100% lemon oil and 100% orange oil from LorAnns Oils in dram sizes: one lemon and one orange will be 7mL+. I also have organic coconut oil on hand. With 15% combined oils, I think I should mix the 7+ mL of citrus oils to 45g of melted coconut oil and 1g lecithin (2% of compound).

    Do those portions sound right?

    Thank you!

    John Geary

    1. I’m not sure, I haven’t used those oils and am not sure how they would work or what proportion to recommend.

    2. You can make 120 grams of pure oil for around $50. Buying lorann oil is way more expensive and it is not organic.

  4. Wondering if using dmso added would help absorption or if the lemon and orange is too strong and would cause burning.

  5. Just started to make this and am loving it on my arthritic thumb! Question for you, what is lost if you mix everything while warm? It’s so much easier to mix and then pour it into containers vs doing it while balm has started hardening. Also it’s hard to get the wax to combine with the rest of the ingredients without getting it hot enough to melt?

    1. And I should mention it is not separating because I keep mixing it until just before it’s no longer pourable and then I pour it into the containers. Haven’t had separation so far.

      1. If you don’t have separation then it shouldn’t be any problem at all. I hope it continues to help!

    2. A little warm should do the trick. The problem as mentioned in the post is you may end up with separation and the higher water components falling out

  6. Hello, and thanks for posting this. Are there any updates about lethicin? I assume one would use liquid sunflower lethicin, but I would be interested in anyones ideas about amounts and where in the process it would be incorporated. My experience with that stuff is that it is very hard to mix well, and is the stickiest mess imaginable to clean up!

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