Aromatherapy
Petitgrain

Citrus aurantium

Petitgrain is an essential oil obtained by steam distilling the leaves and small green branches of the bitter orange tree (botanical name Citrus aurantium). Steam distilling only the leaves of the tree, whose flowers produce neroli, yields more amount of the essential oil. The most excellent quality of petitgrain essential oil is generally obtained from France and the northern regions of Africa and it has an aroma that is more obstinate. This essential oil has a floral fragrance that is extensively used in making perfumes and is also present in colognes. The color of this essential oil varies from pale yellow to deep amber and has a water-like consistency. Similar to the bitter orange, petitgrain is also a member of the Rutaceae family. It is said that the best quality of petitgrain essential oil possesses the aroma of neroli. However, the petitgrain essential oil is no match to neroli - an outstanding essential oil. Petitgrain essential oil is very effective in balancing the skin.

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As aforementioned, petitgrain essential oil is obtained from the leaves of the bitter orange tree, but was earlier obtained from the green undeveloped oranges itself. In those days, the essential oil was extracted from the green fruits when they had grown to the size of cherries and this gives the essential oil its name 'petitgrain' denoting little grains. However, this process actually proved to be expensive since the production of the essential oil from the green unripe fruits reduced the yield of larger amounts of petitgrain essential oil from the ripened bitter orange fruits afterward in the season. In due course of time, people stopped extracting petitgrain essential oil from the unripe fruits and used the leaves and small green branches of the tree to obtain the oil that was eventually named 'petitgrain'. Presently, it is only on occasions that people extract this oil from the unripe bitter orange fruits that have dropped on the ground on its own. It needs to be mentioned that while petitgrain oil is not available easily, even what is available in the market is not always dependable as far as its quality is concerned.

It may be noted that you may undertake the production of petitgrain essential oil as well as neroli simultaneously. When this bitter orange tree is in full bloom and are trimmed, the flowers are separated from the small branches and the leaves. It is really unfortunate to note that neroli is mostly adulterated by adding petitgrain essential oil to it. In fact, when people produce the two oils at the same time, many are often tempted to increase the production of neroli, a valuable and much superior essential oil, by blending petitgrain essential oil, which can be obtained without much difficulty, with it. However, you can easily find out if neroli essential oil has been adulterated by mixing petitgrain essential oil. In this case, neroli will have a somewhat bitter and woody tinge that can be easily distinguished by people who are familiar with both the essential oils.

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Apart from petitgrain essential oil, neroli may also be adulterated by adding the essential oil obtained from the blossoms of the sweet orange tree. This oil is available in abundance and is occasionally known as neroli Portugal. Neroli essential oil that is contaminated by mixing the oil obtained from the flowers of the sweet orange tree will be much thinner and have a less potent aroma.

All these notwithstanding, people have always highly valued the fragrances of neroli essential oil, petitgrain essential oil and that obtained from the bitter orange fruits. English herbalist and author John Gerard mentions a primeval book authored by Theophrastus who has documented placing citrus fruits among clothes to add fragrance to the fabric and, thereby, keep them off moths. Interestingly enough, till date, this practice is followed by many people who place orange pomander (a mixture of aromatic substances contained in a sachet) studded with clove among clothes.

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Here is a simple way to prepare a pomander. Take any ordinary orange and perforate all over its surface using a toothpick. Next, put in cloves into the perforated points on the surface of the orange and leave it to dry naturally. When the pomander is dry, it has the aptitude to keep hold of its aroma for prolonged periods - often several years. Occasionally, you may enhance the fragrance of the pomander by adding one or two drops of the essential oils obtained from neroli, sweet orange and petitgrain to the surface of the pomander.

The essential oil obtained from petitgrain possesses the properties to enthuse potency as well as dedication. The fresh and woody fragrance of petitgrain essential oil is also alleviating and, at the same time, helpful in restoring confidence.

Using a combination of neroli essential oil and petitgrain essential oil generates a pleasant aromatic blend. While the individual scents of the two oils blend wonderfully, the blended aroma augments the health benefits offered by them. Individuals who are suffering from depression and absence of self-confidence will greatly benefit from the use of the aroma of these blended oils. The pleasant and reinforced blended aroma of neroli and petitgrain essential oils will aid them in increasing their concentration.

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A blend of the two essential oils - neroli and petitgrain, can be prepared by mixing 20 drops of each of these oils with eight ounces of distilled water. Store the blended solution in a bottle having a spray atomizer add-on. Whenever you experience sadness or depression shake the bottle well and mist the face lightly. Inhaling the pleasant aroma will enliven your mood soon.

In addition, one can also disseminate the mixture of neroli and petitgrain essential oils with the help of an aromatherapy lamp. Alternately, you may add three drops of the blended oil to any suitable carrier oil and massage it gently for relaxation and comfort.

Petitgrain essential oil possesses a warm, refreshing and orange aroma that somewhat glistens with vividness. The perfumery industry highly values petitgrain essential oil, which frequently forms an active ingredient in several perfumes. In fact, nearly all cologne water encloses some amount of petitgrain essential oil.

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As mentioned before, petitgrain essential oil possesses an exquisite aroma that is unsullied as well as invigorating. In aromatherapy, the most excellent quality petitgrain essential oil is extracted from the fresh bitter orange tree leaves, as it offers superior benefits. In fact, petitgrain essential oil obtained from the leaves of bitter orange tree also has a longer shelf life compared to the oils extracted from other citrus trees.

Petitgrain is potent oil that helps in boosting up the mind as well as soothes the emotions. In fact, petitgrain essential oil is known to calm down people who are nervous by nature and hot-blooded temperament. This essential oil is also highly beneficial in alleviating fast heart rates, panic or anxiety. In addition, inhaling the aroma of petitgrain essential oil also helps to comfort or soothe the mind and pacify the distressing sentiments.

Petitgrain essential oil also possesses the aptitude to cheer up as well as alleviate problems related to the heart. This oil also possesses sedative and tranquilizing properties. It sedates the mind and emotions and, hence, is often used to encourage quiet sleep. Petitgrain is a phythoestrogen (any of different plant amalgams that possess oestrogenic properties) and, hence, endorses hormonal balance in men as well as women. In addition, it synchronizes well with clary sage.

Petitgrain essential oil obtained by steam distilling the leaves of bitter orange trees encourages clarity of thoughts and helps the mind to respond with gentle notions regarding any situation in life that you may experience. By relaxing the mind, petitgrain essential oil facilitates the mind to develop memory. In addition, this essential oil may also prove to be helpful for addicts in recuperating from their obsession for substance abuse. Precisely speaking, petitgrain essential oil helps in detoxifying the body and also overcoming various types of addictions.

Petitgrain essential oil is also effective in diminishing the insensitive qualities of an apprehensive ego. It also helps to surrender inner defences and pride enabling an individual to engage in real communication with other people.

This essential oil extracted from bitter orange tree leaves is also a wonderful remedy for skin problems, including acne and facial edema. It also helps to provide relief from flatulence, feeling of bloating or poor digestion caused due to emotional trauma or troubled sentiments. Often you may also mull over replacing an amount of the lesser expensive petitgrain essential oil in a mixture with neroli essential oil that is also obtained by steam distilling the flowers of the bitter orange tree, but is a much superior quality oil.

In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian herbal medical system, the sour fragrance of petitgrain essential oil is often used to control as well as soothe the imbalances of Vata or Vayu (air-ether). The symptoms of Vata discrepancy include flatulence, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), hyperactivity, insomnia or sleeplessness, nervousness, worry and fretfulness or tension.

It may be noted here that petitgrain essential oil forms a typical element of the eau-de-cologne (a specific perfume that originated from Cologne in Germany) and has been widely used by the perfumery industry ever since the 18th century. This relatively inexpensive essential oil that is available in abundance is often used to substitute the more costly orange blossom oil. Moreover, it is also used to adulterate the more expensive and superior quality neroli, which is also obtained by steam distilling the blossoms of the bitter orange trees. Apart from its use in the perfumery industry and aromatherapy, petitgrain essential oil is also used in the manufacture of cosmetics, fragrant soaps and detergents.

Besides, petitgrain essential oil is also used to add essence to foods and beverages. While this essential oil is widely used in confectionery, it is also used as a flavouring agent in alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic beverages.

Blends well with

General uses

Precaution

It is advisable that while you are looking to buy this essential oil, always buy freshly distilled oil. Petitgrain essential oil is basically a photosensitizer and hence, people using this oil ought to avoid sunlight for approximately three to four hours after applying it topically on their skin.

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