Neroli oil (Citrus aurantium)
By Hwaa Irfan
The blessings of the citrus group of fruits avail for us their blessings again through Neroli essential oil.
The old botanical species aurantium relates to aurum, gold. Known as Naranj, Zahr (flower) Arabic), Narenj (Farsi, Iran), Suan cheng (Mandarin, Chinese), Seville orange, Sour orange (English), Bigarde, Bigaradier, Orange amère (French), Bitter orange, Pomeranze (German), and Bigarde, Naranja amarga, Naranja agria (Spanish), it is a member of the Rutaceae family of the Plant Kingdom.
Consisting of 150 species, the homeopathic characteristics of the nature of the Rutaceae family are:
- A feeling of being drained, weakness
- Squeezed, broken, constricted
- Struggling and then crushed
- psychological shock, fear, anxiety (inner turmoil) – (particular to Neroli)
The ancient Egyptian priests and priestesses used this oil to heal their body, mind, and spirit. The Western romantic historical origins places it with the name princess of French origin, Ana Maria de la Tremolle, Princess of Nerola (town near Rome), which is more of an indication of how it was introduced to the West. However, it is believed to originate from Northern or North Eastern India. Became popular in the West through Italy and Portugal with the slave trade. Sweet oranges were introduced to the West half a millennium later, probably by Portuguese traders.
Citrus aurantium (commercially) can be found today in Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Haiti, Morocco, France, Spain, Italy, Algeria, Egypt, and the U.S. Naturally it is found both sides of the hemisphere with its centre in South Africa and Australia. It is an evergreen and subtropical tree growing to a height of 33 feet. It has glossy dark green, ovate leaves, and small, dark fruits; the hand-harvested pure white flowers are distilled immediately to avoid unpleasant off notes due to decomposition. It takes at least 1,000 pounds of orange blossom flowers just to make one pound of Neroli oil.
It is yellow – brownish orange in colour and sweet to smell, with a metallic tinge, however watch out for substitutes.
The essential oil from the blossoms is sold as Oil of Neroli. When you are looking for therapeutic value it will not do. Neroli essential oil substitute is being sold as Petitgrain and vice versa. If your fortunate enough to have the content listed, look for limonene and linalool which usually indicates they were produced synthetically from petroleum rather than extracted from a plant. The E.U requires companies to list these chemicals even if they are within an essential oil.
If one is looking for therapeutic grade, certified herbalist Jade Shutes has this to say:
“The truth is that there is no such thing as ʻtherapeutic gradeʼ (or grade b, c, or d) in the sense that some organization or higher power has bestowed on an essential oil line. A grading system, quite simply, does not exist for essential oils. It is a product of marketing and marketing alone”
At home, the oil should be stored like all oils in a dark glass bottle and kept away from direct light in a cool place to protect the oil from deteriorating.
Please note that the content of the following properties will vary from specie to specie:
Carvacrol (not present in the flowering plants)
terpinen-4-ol and y-terpineol
Examples as follows:
Limonene is the source of the smell of the oil. Limonene has anti-cancerous effects, and increases the enzymes of the liver concerned with detoxification. D-limonene has been used clinically to dissolve cholesterol-containing gallstones.
Pinene increases airflow to the lungs, and is both an analgesic and anti-inflammatory, making it useful for a sufferer of chronic pain. It helps fight cancer by encouraging apoptosis, is an antioxidant and helps memory retention.
The aroma is calming and relaxing, yet joyous and uplifting bringing confidence, courage.
It has cellular regenerative properties, making it an excellent component for all skin formulations, but particularly those for scars, stretch marks, and sensitive, mature, dry or oily skin. It is also said to have a tonic effect on the cardiac and circulatory systems.
A study by the Stem Cell Medical Research Center and Department of Applied Cosmetology of Hung Kuang University, Taiwan found that on ‘inhalation activates the limbic system of the brain enhancing left-right brain work.
The German Commission E for safe use found it treats cramps, spasmodic coughs, neuralgia, diarrhoea, kidney and urinary tract infections, cold, headache and hysteria. inhibits the growth of tumor especially in lung cancer.
A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine investigated the effects of using essential oil inhalation on blood pressure and salivary cortisol levels in 83 prehypertensive and hypertensive subjects at regular intervals for 24 hours. The experimental group was asked to inhale an essential oil blend that included lavender, ylang-ylang, marjoram and neroli. Meanwhile, the placebo group was asked to inhale an artificial fragrance for 24, and the control group received no treatment.
The group that smelled the essential oil mix including neroli had significantly decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared with the placebo group and the control group after treatment. The experimental group also showed significant decreases in the concentration of salivary cortisol. It was concluded that the inhalation of neroli essential oil provides positive effects on blood pressure and stress reduction.
Some of the therapeutic properties are as follows:
As an antidepressant it works on the heart chakra. It relieves depression by acting on the CNS in stimulant manner when administered by inhalation or during relaxing baths. It has beneficial effect with the psychological shock, fear, anxiety (inner turmoil) and insomnia caused by mental stress. Pregnant women may use this oil – for psychophysical balance, the elimination of anxiety, fear, depression and stress.
As an antiseptic it is good for external and internal wounds
As an aphrodisiac it increases the libido, eases loss of interest in sex, frigidity, impotence and erectile dysfunctions.
As an antibacterial kills bacteria from food poisoning, typhoid, malaria, colic, and bacterial infections in the colon, digestive system, and urinary tract
As a carminative useful in cases of gastritis and associated problems of indigestion, nausea, vomiting, chest pains, hypertension and flatulence
As a cicatrisant it fades scars, spots and after-marks left by acne, boils, and pox.
As a cordial it keeps you warm, and curbs excess mucus and make it easy for you to breathe and sleep in winter
As a cytophylactic it promotes the generation of new cells and stimulates the health of those already present.
As a deodorant it dispels bad odours, freshens the room, and disinfects the rooms against germs and toxins.
As a digestive stimulates secretion of gastric juices, acids and bile.
As an expectorant relieves catarrh and congestion of nasal tract, larynx, pharynx, bronchi and lungs due to cold and viral infection.
As a sedative induces calm, relieves nervous stress and anxiety. It also gives a happy feeling in cases of anger or sadness.
As a stimulant improves peristalsis of the intestines thus aiding digestion
For glossary see It All Makes Good Scents!
Neroli essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing, but it should be avoided when you need to concentrate due to its strong sedative nature..
The oil can only be used for external use, though some traditions have specific applications for internal use. It is preferable to dilute it in a Carrier Oils at 3 drops per tablespoon.
Circulatory – Poor circulation, hypertension
Digestive – Acidity, colic, cramps, flatulence, indigestion, sluggish, stomach upsets
Gender – Relieves menopausal symptoms
Head – Aches
Mind – Physical exhaustion, nervous tension, anxiety, insomnia, improves memory, enhance your mental power, helps in self-purification, filters negative feelings and support you in bringing out your fullest potential in studies and at work.
Musculoskeletal – Reduces inflammation and pain
Nervous – Neuralgia
Renal – purported to treat urinary tract, kidney, colon and prostate infections when taken internally
Respiratory – Asthma, bronchitis, coughs, headaches, sinusitis
Skin – preserve moisture, scars, rejuvenate
Diffuser – for insomnia, nervous tension, headaches, vertigo, depression, as well as anxiety and shock.,
Vapor therapy – insomnia, nervous tension, headaches, vertigo, depression, as well as anxiety and shock..
Massage/bath oil – insomnia, headaches, neuralgia, nervous tension, heart palpitations, anxiety, depression, colitis, stomach upsets and diarrhoea and for boosting the skin.
Cream/lotion when used in a cream or lotion is not only fights stretch marks and broken capillaries on the skin, but also prevents ugly scarring. Its action of stimulating cell growth and cellular activity helps it to rejuvenate and regenerate the skin.