Bitter orange is an evergreen plant with dark green, leathery leaves and thorny branches. It can grow up to 8 meters in height and produce white, fragrant flowers. Its fruit looks similar to that of the sweet orange but is a lot smaller. It has a sour taste on the inside while the skin is bitter. The different parts of the bitter orange plant is used to produce different essential oils.
Petitgrain oil is derived from the leaves, twigs, and ripe fruits of the bitter orange. It is extracted through steam distillation. It’s known for its intoxicating scent. Petitgrain essential oil was traditionally used in perfumes and cosmetics.
Bitter orange oil
Bitter orange oil is harvested from the peel of the ripe fruits. Its scent it described to be much fruitier and uplifting than the common sweet orange. Bitter orange oil is extracted through cold pressing.
Neroli essential oil
Neroli essential oil is harvested or extracted from the flowers of the bitter orange plant. The extraction of the oil is done through steam distillation. Neroli essential oil’s sweet, floral, citrusy scent is described to be refreshing and soothing. Bitter orange flowers quickly lose their oil after they are harvested from the tree. These flowers are hand picked and held carefully to avoid bruising or damaging the flowers which will more likely to reduce the quality and quantity of neroli essential oil.
Some of the most important compounds of neroli oil are linalool, linalyl acetate, nerolidol, alpha-terpineol, and limonene.
History of the use of Neroli Essential Oil
Neroli essential oil has been used as an incense in churches since ancient Egyptian times. It was also used to combat diseases and at some point, to help fight the plague.
During the 12th century, Seville Spain became one of the major cultivators of bitter orange, thus having the name Seville orang.
By the late 17th century, the Princess of Nerola in Italy used neroli oil to add aroma to her bath water and to her clothing. This is where it got its name neroli.
Benefits of Using Neroli Essential Oil
Good for the skin
Neroli essential oil is riddled with antioxidants that helps reduce signs of aging, stretch marks, and damages caused by free radicals. To reduce the appearance of wrinkles, a blend of neroli oil, patchouli or rose oil, and a carrier oil can be applied on the skin.
Its antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties have proven to lower the occurrence of acne breakouts and skin irritation. Neroli oil also helps eliminate free radicals and microbes from the bloodstream, which can cause psoriasis and eczema.
Components of neroli oil can inhibit the growth of six kinds of bacteria, two types of yeast, and three different types of fungi.
Reduces the appearance of dark circles
Dark circles underneath the eyes are signs that blood vessels are weak or damaged, leaking small amounts of blood that may seem visible because of the skin’s delicate nature. Neroli oil mixed with almond oil as a carrier oil can help strengthen the blood vessels and reduce the dark under-eye circles.
Neroli oil, when used in a diffuser, can help ease stress and anxiety. It stimulates the brain to release serotonin and reduce the level of cortisol in the body. Cortisol increases heart rate and elevates blood sugar. A reduced level of cortisol gives a relaxing effect to the body. A blend of neroli and lavender oil can create a very calming atmosphere which is beneficial for people who are suffering from insomnia to enhance their sleep quality.
Relief from muscle pains
Neroli oil can be mixed with carrier oils or massage oils to help reduce tension in the muscles. It can ease body aches and muscle pains and can also reduce or relieve headaches.
Neroli essential oil used in aromatherapy can improve the symptoms of menopause, which includes high blood pressure, elevated stress, and reduced libido. This is because neroli oil can act on the endocrine system which can regulate the production of hormones.
Lower blood pressure
Neroli oil mixed with ylang-ylang, lavender, and marjoram oil can help lower blood pressure. It’s because the cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormones, level in the body is reduced.
When used in a diffuser or mixed in massage oil, neroli essential oil can help improve digestive problems and pains. It can treat diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and nervous dyspepsia.
A cold remedy
Neroli essential oil is he used to relieve symptoms of cold or flu. Its ability to reduce the production of mucus in the nasal passageway improves breathing.
Neroli oil’s scent was found to prevent sudden changes in the brain’s electrical activity. These changes in electrical activity within the brain can trigger convulsions and seizures.
Safety Tips and Precautions
Neroli essential oil should not be used undiluted specially in delicate parts of the body. It is always best to perform a patch skin test before using neroli essential oil topically.
Never ingest neroli essential oil unless recommended by a qualified practitioner.
Just like other citrus essential oils, it is recommended to avoid sun exposure or using a tanning booth after applying neroli essential oil.
Although it has the ability to lower blood pressure, it should not be an alternative the standard care and medication. It should be kept away from pets and small children.