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Relaxing with Neroli and Petitgrain

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 10 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Neroli Petitgrain Essential Oil

Neroli Oil

Both Neroli and Petitgrain essential oils are extracted from the bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium). Neroli oil, the more expensive, is distilled from the freshly pickled flowers and usually imported from Tunisia. The trees bloom heavily in May and in optimum conditions, a large tree may produce up to 60 pounds of fresh flowers. However, timing is of the essence, as the flowers quickly lose their oil once plucked from the tree. Excessive handling will cause bruising and thus greatly diminish both the quality and quantity of this precious essential oil.

Neroili's Uses

Neroli has a refreshing bittersweet, orange aroma. Historically it has been worn at weddings as a symbol of purity. Traditional uses include healing thread vein scars and nourishing mature skin, helping to increase circulation, relieving anxiety, melancholy and nervous tension. It blends well with coriander, chamomile, lemon, geranium, ylang ylang, lavender, jasmine and clary sage.

Petitgrain Oil

Petitgrain is distilled from the fresh leaves and young branches of the tree. Originally petitgrain was distilled from the young, hard fruits of the tree, hence its name (meaning small grains or fruits). This process soon proved to be far too uneconomical, as it too quickly depleted the yield of bitter orange fruit. Nowadays it is the oil which is steam distilled from the leaves and branches, that is known as petitgrain. For this reason it is sometimes referred to as 'poor man's neroli'. Although oil is still occasionally distilled from the unripe fruit that has fallen from the tree, it is not generally available and is relatively poor in quality.

Petitgrain's Uses

Petitgrain has a sweet, woody, orange-floral scent. It was one of the original ingredients of eau-de-cologne, and is still an ingredient in many classic perfumes today. Traditionally it has been used for relieving respiratory infections, easing nervous tension and muscle spasms, relieving sore joint inflammation, balancing the central nervous system and to promote restful sleep. It blends well with clary sage, rosemary, lavender, jasmine, geranium, bergamot, neroli and clove bud.

Make Your Own Bath Blend

If you have spent a hard afternoon digging the garden or had a stressful day at the office, or you've been running around after the kids all day. If your muscles are aching where you didn't even know you had muscles, then what you need is a long hot soak in the tub, but with a difference. Neroli and petitgrain oils make a stress relieving therapeutic bath blend. For a relaxing, aromatic bath add 4-8 drops of essential oil to 10ml of carrier oil such as grape seed oil, wheat germ oil or almond oil, and add to the running water.

Make Your Own Sensual Massage Oil

If you don't have anyone to rub this on for you then spoil yourself and rub it on anyway. You'll still feel wonderful. Add 3-4 drops of neroli or petitgrain essential oils to one cup of sweet almond oil and 2 tablespoons of wheat germ oil. To fix the oil so it is longer lasting try adding grapefruit seed extract.

Halve the quantity of essential oil for children or pregnant women.

Both neroli and petitgrain are believed to have soothing and age reducing effects upon the skin though petitgrain should be applied to the skin with caution, as it may be irritating to sensitive skin. It may also cause photosensitivity and therefore should not be used before exposure to the sun.

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