Bitter orange, Seville orange, sour orange, bigarade orange, or marmalade orange refers to a citrus tree (Citrus × aurantium) and its fruit. It is a hybrid between Citrus maxima (pomelo) and Citrus reticulata (mandarin). Many varieties of bitter orange are used for their essential oil, and are found in perfume, used as a flavoring or as a solvent. The Seville orange variety is used in the production of marmalade.
Bitter orange is also employed in herbal medicine as a stimulant and appetite suppressant, due to its active ingredient, synephrine. Bitter orange supplements have been linked to a number of serious side effects and deaths, and consumer groups advocate that people avoid using the fruit medically.
The extract of bitter orange (and bitter orange peel) has been marketed as dietary supplement purported to act as a weight-loss aid and appetite suppressant. Bitter orange contains the tyramine metabolites N-methyltyramine, octopamine and synephrine, substances similar to epinephrine, which act on the α1 adrenergic receptor to constrict blood vessels and increase blood pressure and heart rate. P-Synephrine alone or in combination with caffeine or other substances has been shown to modestly increase weight loss in several low-quality clinical trials. Following bans on the herbal stimulant ephedra in the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere, bitter orange has been substituted into “ephedra-free” herbal weight-loss products by dietary supplement manufacturers. Like most dietary supplement ingredients, bitter orange has not undergone formal safety testing, but it is believed to cause the same spectrum of adverse events as ephedra. Case reports have linked bitter orange supplements to strokes, angina, and ischemic colitis. The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health found that “there is currently little evidence that bitter orange is safer to use than ephedra.” Bitter orange may have serious drug interactionswith drugs such as statins in a similar way to grapefruit.
Following an incident in which a healthy young man suffered a myocardial infarction (heart attack) linked to bitter orange, a case study found that dietary supplement manufacturers had replaced ephedra with its analogs from bitter orange.
What is Neroli Essential Oil?
Neroli oil is produced by steam-distilling the fragrant flowers of the bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium), which is cultivated in the Western parts of India, Eastern Africa, and the Himalayas. During the mid-1500s, the Spaniards brought the tree back to St. Augustine, Florida, where it thrived and was exported by 1763. This is why Florida became known as one of the world’s largest producer of oranges, with the orange blossom flower and fruit even regarded as official state symbols. Today, orange blossom trees are also commercially grown in Morocco, France, Tunisia, and Egypt.
Neroli oil was named after the 16th century Princess Anna Maria de La Tremoille of Nerola, Italy, who loved the fragrant orange blossom scent and introduced it to Italy. Both Duchess Marie Antoinette and the French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte loved neroli oil, using it every day as a fragrance or aftershave.
Most of the parts of the bitter orange are valued for their strong but alluring fragrance, and are vital in the fragrance industry. The essential oil comes from the orange peel, the leaves are used to make petitgrain oil, and the flowers are distilled to make neroli (or orange blossom) oil.
Neroli oil has a sweet and intensely floral aroma, and can be pale yellow or coffee-brown in color. Oftentimes it is classified as a floral oil instead of a citrus oil. However, be very cautious when purchasing neroli oil, as many manufacturers adulterate their oil with chemical compounds in order to increase their sales. Even when diluted, neroli oil still retains its strong floral smell.
Major Constituents of Egyptian Neroli:
- Linalyl acetate
- Geranyl acetate
Extraction and Properties
This is obtained by the steam distillation of the flowers of the Seville or bigarade orange. Neroli oil has beautiful aromatic fragrance that leans a bit towards fresh and green petitgrain. Orange blossom absolute, on the other hand, has deeper and sweet fragrance that strongly reminds of the heady scent of fresh flowers, intoxicating and overwhelming, it feels close to the scent of jasmine (as it actually shares some of the common chemical components with this flower, Methyl anthranilate, for example).
Uses of Neroli Oil
- Neroli oil is also widely used in the perfume and fragrance industry. In fact, Eau-de-Cologne, the famous perfume from Cologne, Germany, used this oil as its main ingredient. Today, neroli oil is added to various fragrances and perfumes. Not only does it complement other citrusy notes, but it also acts as a natural fixative that helps maintain the original composition of the oils without losing its true fragrance.
- Neroli can be applied topically or diffused or inhaled. It helps improve skin health by regenerating and keeping your skin elastic, preventing the appearance of stretch marks, banishing acne, reducing the appearance of scars, and helping heal broken capillaries.
- In aromatherapy, neroli oil is valued for its calming and relaxing scent, which acts as a tranquilizer that can help alleviate anxiety and heart palpitations, relieve insomnia, and even prevent or treat stress-related depression. Its fragrance can also help alleviate digestive issues, such as intestinal spasms, colitis, dyspepsia, and diarrhea.
- Neroli oil’s pleasant aroma can also work as a deodorant to drive away foul odors. When used on the body as a perfume, or sprayed as an air freshener or diffused via a vaporizer in a room, the oil not only eliminates the odor, but also helps kill germs and toxins.
Here are some ways to use neroli oil:
- Wet a cotton ball, add a drop of neroli oil, and lightly dab it on your skin to help treat acne.
- Mix with your favorite skin cream to help regenerate your skin.
- Put a few drops in a diffuser to help fight lethargy, depression, anxiety, stress, and digestive problems.
- Mix a few drops with a carrier oil and massage all over your body to help improve circulation.
- Apply a few drops to a hot or cold compress to alleviate headaches and neuralgia.
- Ease premenstrual discomfort by mixing a few drops in your bath water.
Health Benefits of Neroli Essential Oils
If you cannot escape from depression, even when you are out at parties or discotheques, you can try this essential oil to relieve your chronic depression. Neroli Essential Oil drives away sadness, invokes a feeling of joy and happiness while uplifting your overall mood. That is why this oil is extensively used in Aromatherapy techniques.
Those who want to relive those pink and blue moments of their youth, even in their fifties, sixties or nineties should give this essential oil a try. It not only promotes arousal and increases the libido, but it also helps to cure loss of interest in sex, frigidity, impotence and erectile dysfunctions. It has also been known to create romantic and sexual feelings, which is very important for having a happy and successful sex life. As they say, “Sex is in the brains!”
When you get a cut or wound and the doctor is too far to reach for an anti-tetanus injection, you should apply this oil on your wounds. This will effectively protect your wounds from infections and tetanus. You can then take your time to visit the doctor, but you should still definitely see a physician, just in case.
This powerful essential oil kills bacteria and keeps your body free from a number of microbial infections and toxins. In diseases like cholera, typhoid, and food poisoning as well as certain skin conditions caused by bacteria, this oil may prove useful in giving considerable relief.
Do you want some protection from colds during the winter? Neroli essential oil would be a very good choice. It will keep you warm and won’t let coughs and colds infect you. It will also curb the production of excess mucus and make it easy for you to breathe and sleep in winter.
This will make an “Exit” sign for the gases that build up inside your stomach and intestines. You know how it feels when you are relieved of your gases. You feel light, your appetite comes back, no more indigestion, inflammation is gone, as are stomachaches. On top of that, you get a lower blood pressure as a bonus.
This property of Neroli Essential Oil works better than any anti-mark cream or lotion. In fact, some herbal anti-mark applications use this essential oil. This causes scars, spots and after-marks left by acne, boils, and pox to fade away.
Neroli essential oil promotes the generation of new cells and stimulates the health of those already present. This makes you grow bigger, stronger and healthier.
It disinfects the body as well as your surroundings, while curing infections of the colon, prostrate, kidneys and urinary tracts when taken internally. In other uses, it helps cure skin infections and protects against new infections as well.
This essential oil efficiently handles spasms and gives relief from spasmodic coughs, cramps, spasmodic aches and spasmodic cholera. It also relaxes the muscles throughout the body.
It sedates all of the organ systems and metabolic functions of the body, including those in your head. It gives relief from anxiety, distress, anger, depression, inflammations and irritations. In other words, it relaxes both the body and soul.
Neroli essential oil safeguards all the aspects for good health, such as maintaining the correct rate of metabolism, proper circulation and a boosted immune system.
This essential oil can also drive away foul odors. It can be used on the body as a perfume or in rooms as room fresheners or vaporizers. This will not only drive away odor but will also disinfect the rooms against germs and toxins.
Neroli essential oil promotes digestion and increases appetite.
This is one of the most popular properties of neroli essential oil, which is its ability to care for the skin. It makes the skin smooth, free from infections and adds a glamorous glow. It also helps to maintain the right moisture and oil balance in the skin.
Other Benefits: It can be used to cure neuralgia, colitis, diarrhea and fat-cracks. It is also effective in reducing weight.
How Does Neroli Oil Work?
Neroli oil can be inhaled, diffused, or massaged or applied directly to your skin to acquire its benefits. It can also be taken orally, but I strongly advise doing this under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner.
When used topically or inhaled, neroli oil works an antidepressant that has a soothing and calming effect on your mind and body. It eases tension and anxiety and uplifts your mood. It can also relax your nervous system and digestive tract.
Neroli oil can help stimulate the growth of new cells, supporting your skin’s renewal process. It’s said to work for all skin types and conditions, but I still advise doing a skin patch test before applying this oil liberally all over your skin.
Side Effects of Neroli Oil
Neroli oil may cause certain side effects like uneasiness and headache on some individuals. It can also be addictive or nauseating if used too often.
I also advise against using neroli oil if you need to concentrate and stay alert, such as when you’re driving. The oil’s sedative effects can affect your concentration and cause drowsiness.
Neroli oil not only smells exquisite, but can also relax and calm the nervous system, the digestive tract and is helpful in skin care.
- Burners and vaporizers
- As vapor therapy, neroli oil is useful for insomnia, nervous tension, headaches, vertigo, depression, as well as anxiety and shock.
- Blended massage oil or in the bath
- As a blended massage oil or diluted in the bath it helps with insomnia, headaches, neuralgia, nervous tension, heart palpitations, anxiety, depression, colitis, stomach upsets and diarrhea and for boosting the skin.
- Cream or 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.
Neroli oil blends well with