Type of plant: Thorny evergreen tree ranging in size from 10 to 30 feet in height with evergreen leaves, waxy white flowers with tufts of yellow stamens, and small orange fruits
Part used: Blossom
Method of extraction: Steam distillation
Data: The fragrant flowers of the bitter orange tree are nestled in the leaves and must be carefully hand-picked early in the morning. It takes 220 pounds of flowers to produce 2½ fluid ounces of neroli oil. Highly prized in perfumery. The name neroli was given to the fragrance of orange blossom after it was made fashionable in the seventeenth century by the Princess of Nerola in Italy. Neroli blossom was traditionally used by brides to decorate their hair, as it was associated with purity and marital fidelity. The bitter orange tree, also known as Seville orange, is cultivated for making marmalade and for bitter orange essential oil, which is used in food manufacture and perfumery. The essential oil from the leaves, twigs, and small unripe fruits is called petitgrain.
Principal places of production: Tunisia, Morocco, Italy, France, Egypt
When buying look for: A pale-yellow to golden-yellow liquid that turns darker with age, with a highly radiant, light, sweet, floral aroma
Therapeutic properties: Antidepressant, anti-infectious, antimicrobial, antiseptic, calmative, carminative, cicatrizing, circulatory, cytophylactic, regenerative, restorative, sedative, spasmolytic, tonic
Therapeutic uses: Insomnia, convalescence, indigestion, abdominal spasm, intestinal cramp, stress and related conditions, scar tissue, scarring, skin regenerating, acne, problematic skin, stretch marks, menopausal anxieties, insomnia, sleep disorders, nervousness, depression, tension, emotional exhaustion
Blends well with: Bergamot, black pepper, cananga, cardamom, chamomile roman, clary sage, frankincense, geranium, jasmine, lavender, lemon, magnolia leaf, mandarin, orange (sweet), petitgrain, rose otto, rosewood, sandalwood, tangerine, ylang ylang
Precautionary advice: No contraindications known. GRAS status.