Orange Bitter Essential Oil

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Orange-bitter-bannerBitter’ has been the most neglected taste all around the world and the truth is that bitter things are often better for your fitness regime. On a deeper note, most of the medicines are bitter and they pave way for the sweet fruit of health and harmony.

Unlike the sweet oranges, bitter oranges are not much favored mainly for its tart, astringent and acidic taste. Since the ancient times, bitter oranges and the essential oil cold pressed from the rind of these fruits have carried away the world of medicine with its enormous medicinal values.

Known as Narange in Sanskrit, bitter orange is used in Ayurveda in the treatment of gout, gastrointestinal problems, lack of appetite, anxiety and digestive disorders.

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Scientifically known as Citrus aurantium, bitter orange is an evergreen tree indigenous to the tropical parts of Asia and Africa. Almost all the parts of this tree are used in extracting essential oils due its healing values.

Essential oil extracted from the leaves and twigs of this tree is known as Petitgrain oil, the oil distilled from the flowers of this tree is the celebrated Neroli oil and the oil extracted from the peel of the bitter orange fruit is called as Bitter orange essential oil.

Historical importance of Bitter Orange:

The Traditional Chinese Medicine used bitter oranges as a natural carminative and tonic for treating dyspepsia. They also used dried bitter oranges in the treatment of diarrhea, ptosis of the anus and uterus, blood in feces and abdominal distention.

The rind of bitter orange fruits were used in Homeopathy for relieving abdominal pain, headache, constipation, digestive disorders, weight loss and high blood pressure. Due to the presence of the active ingredient synephrine, bitter oranges are used in herbal medicinal system as an appetite suppressant and as a stimulant.

The Brazilian folklore medicine used bitter orange and its oil in treating insomnia and anxiety. The ancient Europeans used it as a prophylactic and as a sedative for curing nervous problems, gastrointestinal disorders, insomnia, sore throat and gout.

This medicinal herb has been in use in various cultures across the globe in the treatment of cancer, anaphylactic shock, cardiac exhaustion, heartburn, fungal infections and certain other heart problems.

The native Latin Americans used it in the preparation of a tonic for treating insomnia, lessening anxiety and also as a laxative. It is also used in the United States as an effective aid in preventing colon, breast and skin cancer.

In addition, bitter orange essential oil is used in flavoring baked goods, alcoholic beverages, gelatins, candies, puddings, meat products, frozen desserts and certain other condiments. It is also used as a marinade for meat in the Haitian, Cuban, Nicaraguan and Dominican cooking.

Therapeutic properties and constituents of Bitter orange essential oil:

The remedial properties of this oil are antiseptic, carminative, sedative, stomachic, digestive, antidepressant, anti-hyper cholesterolemic, tranquilizer, anti-inflammatory, choleretic, antifungal and antibacterial. Synephrine, tyramine metabolites N-methyltyramine, pinene, carotenoids, limonene, cymene, camphene, octopamine, ocimene and few other alkaloids are its major chemical constituents.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Bitter orange essential oil:

Ayurveda is the oldest of all the healing methodologies in the world and it still flourishes due to the simplicity it preaches and practices in its remedial rule. According to this ancient science, every individual is a part of nature and his/her poor health and good health depends upon their harmony with nature.

Sickness in Ayurveda is a strong symbol that the individual’s system is out of balance with nature and needs immediate assistance with natural remedies like essential oils, herbal medications, yoga, healthy lifestyle and meditation.

Ayurvedic remedies aim at treating the actual root cause of an illness instead of treating the illness alone and suggests an Ayurvedic routine for preventing such illnesses in the future as well.

Every human being according to Ayurvedic principle is unique with an individual constitution that comprises of three energy elements known as doshas, namely vata, pitta and kapha. The predominance of any one of these doshas determines the personality and characteristics of an individual and imbalance of any of these doshas leads to diseases.

Ayurvedic treatments vary from individual to individual based upon their dosha predominance and unique constitution. Bitter orange essential oil is said to increase vata and pitta doshas and pacify kapha dosha.

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Bitter orange oil are:

1. Treats skin problems:

Bitter orange essential oil has been proved effective in treating numerous skin problems with its antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties. The rind of this fruit from which its essential oil is extracted contains non-bitter flavonoids, which is known to have considerable venotonic properties.

It is for this reason; bitter orange essential oil is used in cosmetics for preventing capillary fragility. Bitter orange extracts are also used in the treatment of cellulite as it has the potent to normalize the affected parts and stimulate the cutaneous tone of the skin.

The effects and unique properties of bitter orange essential oil in the Aromatherapy Workbook by Shirley Price states bitter orange essential oil “help restore an acne skin to normal and is prophylactic against the signs of ageing”. When applied to the affected area after blending 2 drops of bitter orange oil with coconut oil, the antifungal properties of this oil help in treating fungal infections like athlete’s foot and ringworm.

Bitter orange oil also acts as a natural antiseptic and aids in clearing acne, cold sores, wounds, psoriasis, eczema and certain other skin problems due to excessive stagnation of oil. You can add 2 drops of bitter orange oil with refreshing carrier oil like jojoba oil or to your skin care creams and lotions and gently massage onto the affected parts for quicker effects.

2. Enhances the digestive mechanism:

For more than thousands of years, bitter orange has been used in the world of Complementary medicine for treating digestive problems like flatulence, dyspepsia, constipation, sluggish digestion, loss of appetite, intestinal gas, nausea and indigestion.

Gently massaging your stomach with 2 drops of bitter orange oil blended with sesame oil can help you enhance the entire process of digestion. You can also add 2 drops of this oil to your bath tub to help with digestive disorders.

3. Assists in weight-loss:

Weight loss supplements with bitter orange formula are the most popular and the recent use of bitter oranges in the therapeutic world. Numerous researches have proved the effectiveness of bitter orange supplements in treating obesity.

“At present, Citrus aurantium may be the best thermogenic substitute for Ephedra” reveals the Georgetown University Medical Center study on ‘Citrus aurantium as a thermogenic, weight-reduction replacement for Ephedra’.

A recent research on ‘The safety of Citrus aurantium (bitter orange) and its primary protoalkaloid p-synephrine’ states “The data indicate that based on current knowledge, the use of bitter orange extract and p-synephrine appears to be exceedingly safe with no serious adverse effects being directly attributable to these ingredients”.

It also notes that bitter orange extract and its principal protoalkaloidal constituent p-synephrine are extensively used in weight management, weight loss and products promoting sports performance.

A 2006 study on ‘Citrus aurantium and synephrine alkaloids in the treatment of overweight and obesity’ by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, MD, USA states that there are certain promising evidences that Citrus aurantium containing several compounds including synephrine alkaloids is a safe alternative to Ephedra, which is a weight-loss supplement banned in US for its adverse health effects.

To boost your metabolism and lessen energy absorption, you can massage your body with 2 to 3 drops of bitter orange oil blended with coconut oil or add 3 drops of this oil to your bath tub.

4. Alleviates stress and reduces anxiety:

Bitter orange oil has a much similar aroma to that of fresh tangy oranges. Inhaling the energizing and enlivening fragrance of this oil especially during the early hours of the day promises a serene atmosphere and instills complete calmness in your mind.

This is why Ayurvedic healing suggests the use of bitter orange oil during your meditation practice. Add 1 drop of bitter orange oil to your diffuser or air freshener and start your deep meditation after which you will feel a never before freshness and increase in your confidence level.

The Aromatherapy expert, Dr. Vivian Lunny recommends an invigorating bath blend with 2 drops of bitter orange oil, 1 drop of neroli oil and 2 drops of petitgrain oil for reducing anxiety, lethargy and tiredness.

When added to your warm bathing water especially after a tiring and stressful day, this blend is said to give a new lease of life, augment stress relief, promote relaxation and stimulate positive feelings. You can also add 1 drop of bitter orange oil to your handkerchief or to your pulse points to renew yourself throughout the day.

Other benefits:

Bitter orange essential oil is also used in treating chronic fatigue syndrome, intestinal ulcers, lowering blood sugar level in diabetic patients, sleep disorders, joint pain, muscular aches, bruises, cold and certain other liver and gall bladder problems.

It is also used in making soaps, cleaning products, disinfectants, cosmetics, perfumes, pharmaceuticals, eau de colognes and certain other household cleaners. Bitter orange oil is also used as a commercial flavoring agent in foods and beverages in many countries.

Disclaimer:

Pure and organic essential oils are highly concentrated liquids so always use it after diluting in suitable carrier oils. Never use essential oils internally. Citrus oils in general have a photo-toxic effect so avoid going out in the sun immediately after using it on your skin.

Pregnant women, nursing mothers, children and people suffering from hypertension and glaucoma should avoid using bitter orange oil. Always consult your Ayurvedic practitioner before choosing the right essential oils for your unique individual constitution.

Bitter Orange Essential Oil – Possible Skin Issues:

bitter-orange-new

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Bitter orange oil exhibits mild photosensitivity effects if the oil is oxidized, which might cause irritation and hyper-pigmentation of the skin and this happens when visible sunlight gets in touch with the skin for up to 12 hours of usage. The major cause being the response of the chemical components that are photoactive in nature attracts light and ends up in toxicity via molecular alterations.

The safe dermal use level of Bitter orange oil by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) is 1.25%, specifically to thwart phototoxicity in the products used for topical application and not for soaps, shampoos and other bath preparations. This No-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) is based on various studies with Bitter orange oil on mice and swine, where the No-observed-effects-level (NOEL) was proved as 6.25%.

Besides, Bitter orange oil is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). “There are no contraindications but that photosensitization may occur in fair-skinned individuals”, quotes The German Commission E monograph for Bitter orange peel.

The major chemical constituent responsible for the skin sensitization and mild irritation of Bitter orange oil is Limonene, which accounts to about 90% of this oil and certain other furanocoumarins.

According to European regulations, essential oils with furanocoumarins should be used in such a way that the overall level of bergapten does not surpass 15 ppm (parts per million) in ready-to-use cosmetic products meant for use on the skin surface that are exposed to sunlight (other than wash-away products) and 1 ppm in sunscreen and bronzing items.

Use Bitter orange oil only for external use and ingestion of this oil should be avoided strictly, as internal use of this oil has adverse effects according to various reports. Medical research studies state that the presence of stimulants like octopamine, amines synephrine (an alkaloid with almost the related chemical structure to ephedrine in Ephedra – Ma-Huang) and N-methyltyramine are responsible for the cardiovascular toxicity of Bitter orange and this is also reported to cause increase in blood pressure and vasoconstriction.

It is recommended to avoid the use of Bitter orange in patients with tachyarrhythmia, hypertension and narrow-angle glaucoma, mainly due its potent to cause additive effects. Overdose of synephrine in children overdose ended up in tachycardia, nausea, quick increase in blood pressure and irritation. Certain researches witness the effect of Bitter orange in restraining human cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A) in the test tube studies.

Just like Grapefruit, Bitter orange is said to hold back a vital enzyme in the small intestine, and this may possibly have an effect on the levels of blood, when taking certain medications like antiviral, anti-anxiety, antidepressant drugs, statins and calcium channel blockers and along with the intake of caffeine.

Care should be taken if Bitter orange oil is used in massage in the abdominal area, as essential oils penetrate quickly through the skin, reach the bloodstream and may cause adverse effects. It is not recommended to take Bitter orange products when using other prescribed medications, except under strict medical supervision.

Furocoumarins are also used in various remedies on par with the long-wave ultraviolet light therapy for the healing of mycosis fungoides, vitiligo and psoriasis.

Reference Links Substantiating Possible Skin Issues of Bitter Orange Oil:

  1. Bitter Orange by University of Michigan Health System
  2. Bitter Orange, Sour News by University of California, Berkeley Wellness
  3. Bitter Orange Peel and Synephrine by American Botanical Council
  4. Bitter Orange, American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook, Second Edition by Zoe Gardner, Michael McGuffin
  5. Bitter Orange by Drugs.com
  6. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals By Robert Tisserand, Rodney Young

Thought for the day:

The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit. -Moliere

Suggested Reading:

  1. Citrus Essential Oils: Flavor and Fragrance from Wiley
  2. Citrus Oils: Composition, Advanced Analytical Techniques, Contaminants, and Biological Activity (Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles) from CRC Press
  3. Aromatherapy Workbook: A Complete Guide to Understanding and Using Essential Oils by Shirley Price
  4. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing by Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller

Reference Link:

  1. Bitter orange by Wikipedia
  2. Citrus aurantium and synephrine alkaloids in the treatment of overweight and obesity by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, MD, USA published in PubMed
  3. Bitter Orange by Drugs.com
  4. The safety of Citrus aurantium (bitter orange) and its primary protoalkaloid p-synephrine by Creighton University Medical Center, NE, USA published in PubMed


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Peppermint Essential Oil

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Peppermint-bannerAs nature’s immaculate coolant, the world celebrates Peppermint as the most distinguished member of the mint family, Labiatae along with Spearmint, Pennyroyal, Corsican mint, Lemon mint, Watermint, Lavender, Field mint, Apple mint or Chocolate mint, Patchouli, Thyme and Silver mint. Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE), the Roman natural philosopher, scientist and naturalist rightly said “The smell of mint stirs up the mind and appetite to a greedy desire of food.”

Peppermint essential oil is extracted from the aromatic leaves of this plant and is known since ages as an excellent digestive aid with a bundle of other health benefits as well. The encyclopedia of Ayurveda talks about the notable use of Peppermint essential oil as a cooling carminative that enhances digestion and elimination by eradicating blockages and facilitating the flow of energy from within.

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Historical importance of Peppermint and its oil:

Peppermint dates back to 1000 BC when the dried leaves are said to be found in Pyramids. Indigenous to Europe, this herb was first used by the primeval Egyptians as a natural digestive support. Few mythological studies say that the word Peppermint has its origin from Greek myths in the outline of a love triangle involving Hades, his wife Persephone and the nymph Minthe (who was later turned into Peppermint).

Interestingly, Peppermint is a natural hybrid of Spearmint and Watermint. The ancient Romans loved growing Peppermint in their gardens and in the pathways of stepping stones for greeting their guests with its wonderful aroma and for its innumerable medicinal benefits.

It was also used as a form of currency for the kind of esteem and admiration it had in Egypt. Peppermint was used as a tooth polisher by the ancient monks.

The Biblical importance of Peppermint has added even more to its value. Jesus Christ says to the Pharisees,But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” It was also used as a culinary herb in the folklore cooking for seasoning meat and assisting in quicker digestion.

Listed as a natural remedy for treating all kinds of illnesses from venereal disease, cold, sores, headache and digestive problems, Peppermint emerged as a distinguished species in the London Pharmacopoeia in the 16th century.  It was also mentioned in the Icelandic Pharmacopoeias as a much valued herbal remedy in 1240 AD. Peppermint was used as a prized herb by the Native Americans and now the United States is the world’s largest producer of Peppermint essential oil contributing to more than 75% of the total production.

Chemical constituents Gas Chromatography Report of Peppermint essential oil:

According to the Gas chromatography report, Peppermint oil constitutes of 10 major chemical components that contribute to its distinctive fragrance, remedial properties and quality, among which, menthol has an upper hand with about 38.6 percent.

Just click on:

For learning more about the exclusive information of these key constituents of Peppermint oil.

The table below on the Gas Chromatography report talks about the principal chemical constituents and its role in granting the therapeutic properties and other attributes to Peppermint oil.

Pepper-mint-oilTherapeutic properties of Peppermint essential oil:

The therapeutic actions of Peppermint essential oil are carminative, decongestant, immune stimulant, anti-infectious, febrifuge, cardio tonic, nervine, hypertensive, antipruritic, antifungal, sedative, expectorant, antibacterial, mucolytic and anti-carcinogenic.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Peppermint essential oil:

Known as Pudina in Sanskrit, Peppermint is a popular culinary herb used for its minty, fresh and enriching aroma for enhancing taste and adding extra flavor to the lip-smacking dishes. Ayurvedic remedies wholly depend on Mother Nature trusting that every single thing on the earth is an incredible part of nature including human beings.

The strong principles of Ayurveda establish that every individual is made up of three vital energy elements known as doshas (vata-air, pitta-fire and kapha-water), which determine the personality, character, behavior and health conditions of a person. A person is said to be healthy when there is perfect balance between all the three doshas and dosha imbalances cause illness. Peppermint and its essential oil in Ayurveda is said to calm all the three doshas.

Peppermint according to Ayurveda has cooling and heating energy (virya), sweet and pungent taste (rasa), dry, penetrating and light quality (guna), benefits the nerve, blood and plasma tissues (dhatu), with a post-digestive effect (vipaka), Peppermint stimulates the circulatory, nervous, digestive and respiratory channels (srotas).

Let’s have a look at the major Ayurvedic health benefits of Peppermint essential oil:Pepermint-broucher1. Keeps away from harmful bacteria and fungi:

Peppermint is a powerful antibacterial oil mainly because of the presence of menthol that aids in fighting against harmful bacteria like salmonella, e.coli and staph.

A 2010 study on ‘Protective effects of bioactive phytochemicals from Mentha piperita with multiple health potentials’ proved that Peppermint oil has effective antimicrobial and antioxidant effect that fights against harmful microbes and supplemented for nutritional benefits and food preservation. Bacterial infections are responsible for wounds becoming septic and other skin problems like acne.

The Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran proved that the menthol component in Peppermint oil is defiant to fungus including candida. The State University of Brazil also established that Peppermint essential oil varieties have anti-candida effects. For all these reasons Peppermint oil acts as a natural remedy for treating fungal infections like athlete’s foot, ringworm, jock itch and other yeast infections.

Applying 2 drops of Peppermint essential oil blended with gentle carrier oils like coconut oil aids in treating bacterial and fungal infections. You can also add 2 drops of this oil in warm foot bath or in bathing water for fighting against such detrimental microbes.

2. Enlivens the mind:

The invigorating, refreshing, cooling and reassuring aroma of Peppermint essential oil boosts mental power.  Inhaling the aroma of this oil grants a complete stream of freshness to fight the challenges of a rising day.

Adding 2 to 3 drops of drops of Peppermint oil in your air freshener, diffuser or in your handkerchief can grant you immense energy and confidence throughout the day. This therapy employed in your study room can help improve your memory skills and concentration power.

3 to 4 drops of Peppermint oil blended with Sesame oil can act as an efficacious massage oil and as a bathing oil for enhancing your mental strength, treating stress, reducing fatigue and anxiety. It also helps in treating anger, mental strain, confusion, nervousness, palpitations, vertigo and depression.

3. Alleviates tension headache better than the other alternative therapies:

Peppermint essential oil is also an effectual natural remedy for treating tension headache. A clinical trial on ‘Effectiveness of Oleum menthae piperitae and paracetamol in therapy of headache of the tension type’ witnessed “Peppermint oil thus proves to be a well-tolerated and cost-effective alternative to usual therapies for alleviating tension-type headache.” This study also proved that there was not much significant difference in efficacy between acetaminophen and Peppermint oil and there are no reported adverse effects as well.

4. Clears all kinds of stagnation:

Peppermint essential oil is a proven stimulant and tonic especially to the brain, pancreas and heart. It is known for clearing away all kinds of stagnations including physical and mental. Peppermint oil clears stagnation in the blood, lymph, stomach and gallbladder. It also breaks emotional blockages.

The expectorant and decongestant properties of this oil help in open the blocked sinus passages and aid in clearing mucus deposits from the respiratory tract by adding 2 drops of this oil in steam inhalation.

The diaphoretic quality of Peppermint oil aids in reducing the body temperature in the early stages of fever by releasing the heat of the body through sweat. Applying two drops of Peppermint oil blended with coconut oil on your foot helps in quicker recovery from fever. This blend can also be rubbed on the chest, back and neck for treating congestion, cough and blocked nose.

5. Stimulates the digestive system:

The essential oil of Peppermint and the herb itself are known to the world as a promising digestive remedy. Numerous research studies have proved that Peppermint oil is effective in relaxing gastrointestinal smooth muscle, more or less due the antagonistic effect on calcium channels in the gut.

The American Family Physician Forum states that Peppermint oil is effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, non-ulcer dyspepsia, tension headache and lessening spasm at the time of gastrointestinal procedures.

Peppermint oil along with the combination of caraway oil has been proved in reducing the symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia like bloating, fullness and gastro-intestinal spasm. Gently rub 3 drops of Peppermint essential oil with Sesame oil on the stomach and abdomen to help relieve indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, constipation and pain.

6. Absolute care for hair and skin:

The skin-friendly attributes of Peppermint oil aids in treating eczema, lesions, acne, insect bites, rashes, allergies, irritation and itchiness. Gently massaging your skin with 2 drops of Peppermint oil blended with sweet almond oil helps in nourishing and hydrating dry, dull and lifeless skin. You can also add 2 to 3 drops of oil in your daily lotions and creams and apply it on the affected area.

Dandruff, dry itchy scalp and lice are the major problems associated with hair. Peppermint oil has stimulating and cooling effects. When added to sesame oil and massaged on the scalp helps improve blood circulation, enrich the scalp, conditions your hair and improves hair growth. Adding 3 to 4 drops of Peppermint oil to your shampoo or hair conditioner can add shine to your hair and make it look smooth and silky.

Other health benefits:

Few believe that adding 1 drop of Peppermint oil besides your pillow can bring dreams that reflect your future. Peppermint essential oil when used in massage, added to diffuser or diluted in bath can help relieve menstrual cramps, muscular pain, urinary infections, belching, nerve pain, uterine spasms and much more. The presence of menthol makes Peppermint, a much valued oil in making toothpastes, mouthwashes, cough syrups, ointments, shampoos and soaps, vaporizing rubs etc.

Disclaimer: Never use essential oils internally or apply directly on skin as essential oils are highly concentrated liquids. Always remember using essential oils blended with carrier oils or diluted in bath or in diffusers. Speak with your Ayurvedic Practitioner before using essential oils for your specific body type and your unique state of health.

The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) of Peppermint oil is readily available for your enhanced safety and better usage.

Gas Chromatography Report of Peppermint essential oil.

Thought for the day:

The world is like a little marsh filled with mint and white hawthorn.
-Mary MacLane

Suggested Reading:

  1. HEALING POWERS OF PEPPERMINT OIL (The Aromatherapy Professional: Healing with Essential Oils) by KG Stiles
  2. How to Use Peppermint Essential Oil (Aromatherapy) by Miriam Kinai
  3. Digestive Wellness: Strengthen the Immune System and Prevent Disease Through Healthy Digestion, Fourth Edition by Elizabeth Lipski
  4. Integrative Gastroenterology (Weil Integrative Medicine Library) by Gerard Mullin

Reference Links:

  1. Peppermint History by Indepthinfo on Peppermint
  2. Peppermint Oil by American Family Physician
  3. Protective effects of bioactive phytochemicals from Mentha piperita with multiple health potentials by Shahed University, Tehran published in PubMed
  4. Effectiveness of Oleum menthae piperitae and paracetamol in therapy of headache of the tension type, published in PubMed

Petitgrain Essential Oil

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Born with the celebrated siblings Neroli and Bitter Orange, Petitgrain is known to the world as emotionally harmonizing oil. The essential oil of Petitgrain is extracted from the leaves and twigs, where Neroli oil is extracted from the flowers and Bitter Orange oil is extracted from the rind of the fruits of the Bitter Orange tree. Trusted for attaining clarity of mind and mental wellness, Petitgrain essential oil has been used in Ayurveda as an excellent massage oil for treating inflamed tissues, muscular spasms and lymphatic damage.

Light Miller and Bryan Miller’s book on ‘Ayurveda and Aromatherapy’ quotes that Petitgrain essential oil has enhanced strength and freshness than the oil extracted from the fruit as it is distilled from the leaves and stems of the plant with an enhanced aura.

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Historical uses of Petitgrain essential oil: The French name Petitgrain means ‘little grains’ or ‘little seeds’. It acquired this name because Petitgrain essential oil was initially extracted from unripe oranges that were just in the size of cherries. It is said that this oil is extracted from the leaves and twigs of a variety of Citrus species namely Citrus sinensis, Citrus aurantium, Citrus bigardia or Petitgrain bigarade and Citrus reticulata. Bitter orange tree is indigenous to tropical regions of Asia and eastern parts of Africa. Since the primordial times, this oil has been an important ingredient of the classic ‘Eau-de-Cologne’ and many other perfumes and cosmetics.

Numerous Complementary and Alternative Medical systems have recorded the traditional use of this oil for treating problems associated with digestion, nervous exhaustion and skin disorders. English herbalist Gerard suggests bitter juices of Citrus fruits for treating venomous bites, stings and worms. Theophrastus, the antique book talks about the use of oranges for scenting fabrics and warding off moths.

Therapeutic properties and chemical components: The chemical components of Petitgrain oil include linalool, geraniol, myrcene, neryl acetate, nerol, limonene, α-terpineol, trans-ocimene, geranyl acetate and linalyl acetate. The remedial properties of Petitgrain essential oil are antiseptic, deodorant, antibacterial, anti-spasmodic, nervine, relaxant, immune-stimulant, anti-infectious, clarifying, sedative, tonic and anti-depressant.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Petitgrain essential oil: Ayurveda is a systematic practice dealing with holistic healing as its base along with prevention of diseases, healthy aging and longevity. Ailment according to Ayurveda is a sharp signal that the human body is not in harmonization with nature. A systematic Ayurvedic treatment starts with a thorough examination where you should wear your heart on your sleeve and help yourselves know the most important things that contribute to your health and illness.

After an Ayurvedic consultation you will know the significant things of your health regime like the energy elements (doshas) contributing to your individual constitution (resembles your personality, attributes and nature), root cause of your illness, self-realization, detailed plan of a healthy diet that would suit you the best, Ayurvedic medications including essential oils, herbs, meditation, physical exercises, yogasanas and an organized Ayurvedic routine for an emotionally and physically fit living. Perfect balance of all the three doshas is a determining factor of your complete well-being. Dosha imbalances can be treated with the suitable Ayurvedic remedies. The Ayurvedic health benefits of Petitgrain essential oil are:

1. Health benefits as a massage oil or bath oil: Abhyanga or Ayurvedic massage is the ultimate therapy for relaxing the mind and comforting the body with the use of Ayurvedic essential oils. Skin is the best channel that aids the blood passage to absorb the therapeutic properties present in such essential oils and pass it on to the entire body and the psyche. A classic Ayurvedic massage is known to augment blood circulation, calm the mind, promote mental energy and enlighten the soul.

For a perfect massage blend, add 2 drops of Petitgrain oil with warm carrier oil like Almond oil to alleviate stress, control anger, lessen fear, treat nervous exhaustion, relax muscular spasms, calm stressed muscles, reduce menstrual pain and reduce rapid heartbeat. As a nervous stimulant and nerve tonic, this remedial oil aids in treating nervous afflictions, wear and tear of nerves due to prolonged stress and fortifies them. Adding 3 to 4 drops of  Petitgrain essential oil in warm bathing water helps you vent out stress, tension, fear, anxiety, anger, pain, irritability and other negative feelings.

2. Benefits to the system when added to vaporizers or diffusers: Fragrance, scent, aroma, smell or odor, whatever form it may be has a strong impact on your sensory receptors and limbic system followed by the entire behavioral and emotional set-up. Adding 2 drops of Petitgrain essential oil to your air freshener, diffuser, vaporizer or burner will help you in attaining greater heights as it boosts the intellectual power, helps restore emotions, instills self- acceptance and self-love, promotes clarity of mind and augments the concentration power especially during prayers and meditation which empower the mind.

Petitgrain is an exemplary essential oil for those who are on the road to recovery after a trauma or an illness, either mental or physical. The stimulant, tonic and anti-depressant properties of this oil assists in quicker recovery by relaxing the mind, conquering addictions, clearing off mental depression and insecurity due to the memories of the painful moments, strengthening the nervous system and promoting peaceful sleep as many people during the process of recovery suffer from insomnia and other sleeping problems.

3. Nourishes your skin as a trusted topical application: Petitgrain essential oil is lighter and refreshing than Neroli or Bitter Orange oil, making it more suitable for skin problems when 3 to 4 drops of this oil are added to skin care creams and lotions. The natural antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-infectious properties of Petitgrain oil assists in fighting bacteria and other microbes that worsen wounds, cause septic, and give birth to acne and other skin infections.

Petitgrain oil plays a vital role in skin care as it helps clear skin blemishes, acne and oily skin. When used after a bath it keeps your skin moisturized all through the day. Cuts, wounds, burns, lesions and skin ulcers are also treated with this oil.

Other health benefits: Petitgrain essential oil is also regarded as an effective aphrodisiac. A study on ‘Antioxidant and anticancer activities of Citrus reticulate (Petitgrain Mandarin) and Pelargonium graveolens (Geranium) essential oils’ proved that  there are about twenty-five components present in Citrus reticulate (Petitgrain mandarin) oil and this oil possessed antioxidant and anticancer activities. It is also used in the perfume industry for making fragrances for both men and women.

Disclaimer: Pure essential oils are highly concentrated liquids so never take them internally or use them directly on the skin. Always ensure that you dilute essential oils before any topical or aromatherapy uses. Consult your Ayurvedic practitioner about the suitability of any essential oil for your specific body type and health condition.

Thought for the day:

Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.
-Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Suggested Reading:

  1. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing by Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller
  2. The Essential Guide to Natural Skin Care: Choosing Botanicals, Oils & Extracts for Simple & Healthy Beauty by Hélène Berton
  3. Daily Aromatherapy: Transforming the Seasons of Your Life with Essential Oils by Joni Keim, Ruah Bull

Reference Links:

  1. Petitgrain Essential Oil by Yoga Wiz.com
  2. How to use Neroli and Petitgrain by Yahoo Voices!
  3. Antioxidant and anticancer activities of Citrus reticulate (Petitgrain Mandarin) and Pelargonium graveolens (Geranium) essential oils published in Research Journal of Agriculture and Biological Sciences
  4. Bitter Orange by National Center For Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)