Citrus aurantium is an evergreen tree with hardy branches and beautiful white flowers. It is a tree from which four essential oils are produced: Neroli, from the flowers; Petitgrain, from the leaves; Bitter Orange, from the rind; an oil from the juice of the fruit (used in food flavoring only).
A valuable medicinal herb, the orange originated in China, and by the Middle Ages was a favorite with Arabian physicians. In the 16th century, an Italian princess named Anna-Marie de Nerola reputedly discovered an oil extracted from the flowers, which she used to scent her gloves; today neroli oil, as it became known, is expensive.
Bitter Orange has a fresh, dry, almost floral aroma with a rich, sweet undertone
It is antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive febrifuge, sedative, stomachic, tonic.
May help stomach ailments such as, nervousness, diarrhoea and constipation. Aids the absorption of vitamin C which could ward off viral infections. Appears to deal effectively with dry skin, wrinkles and dermatitis.
The oil is used chiefly as a flavoring agent, but may be used in the same way as oil of turpentine in chronic bronchitis. It is non-irritant to the kidneys and pleasant to take.
The powdered Bitter Orange peel should be dried over freshly-burnt lime. For flavoring, the sweet peel is better, and as a tonic, that of the Seville or Bigaradia is preferred. A syrup and an elixir are used for flavoring, and a wine as a vehicle for medicines. The compound wine is too dangerous as an intoxicant, being mixed with absinthium, to be recommended as a tonic.
Blends with - Lavender, lemon, clary sage, myrrh and spicy oils such as nutmeg, cinnamon and clove.
Cautions - Generally non toxic, non irritant, non sensitizing.
The essential oils of bitter orange, especially neroli, are sedative. In Western medicine, these oils are used to reduce heart rate and palpitations, to encourage sleep, and to soothe the digestive tract. Diluted neroli is applied as a relaxing massage oil. The distilled flower water is antispasmodic and sedative.
Bitter orange peel contains a volatile oil with limonene (about 90%), flavonoids, coumarins, triterpenes, vitamin C, carotene, and pectin. The flavonoids have several useful properties, being anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal. The composition of the volatile oils in the leaves, flowers, and peel varies significantly. Linalyl acetate (50%) is the main constituent in oil from the leaves (petit grain), and linalool (35%) in oil from the flowers (neroli). The unripe fruit of the bitter orange contains cirantin, which reputedly is a contraceptive.
Grieve's classic 'A Modern herbal': 'The volatile oil of the bitter Orange peel is known as Oil of Bigarade, and Sweet Orange oil as Oil of Portugal.'
'The oil is used chiefly as a flavouring agent, but may be used in the same way as oil of turpentine in chronic bronchitis. It is non-irritant to the kidneys and pleasant to take.'
'On the Continent an infusion of dried flowers is used as a mild nervous stimulant.'
'The powdered Bitter Orange peel should be dried over freshly-burnt lime. For flavouring, the sweet peel is better, and as a tonic, that of the Seville or Bigaradia is preferred.'
Bitter Orange oil is used extensively in flavors where it forms the main ingredient in the 'orange sec' or 'triple sec' liqueur flavors.
For perfumes, the Bitter Orange oil finds use among the other citrus oils in all types of colognes, chypres, fresh fragrances, topnotes, aldehydic citrus bases, etc.
Blends excellently with Lavendin and Lavender, Rosemary, Clary sage, Oakmoss and Labdanum, Linalool and linalyl propionate, etc. Olibanum (Frankincense) Resinoid is an excellent fixative for the volatile Bitter Orange oil.
Essential and resin oils are volatile, fragrant materials extracted from the root, bark, wood, seed, fruit, leaf or flo