Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium var. amara [fol])
Three oils in one? but that is too much! All references to Kinder Surprise Egg adverts aside, I am looking at the range of Petitgrain oils this season – these being essential oils derived from the leaves & twigs of various citrus trees. Traditionally, ‘Petitgrain’ is that of the Bitter Orange, Citrus aurantium var. amara (fol). Other Petitgrain oils are available, & recently I added Lemon (Citrus limonum) & Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) to my collection – with Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) next on my list. These can all be combined to beautiful effect with their fruit oils.
Origins & Historical Uses
Citrus aurantium is an unusual & highly-prized plant for aromatherapists in that we can obtain essential oils from all parts of the plant – for this reason it is often called ‘The Aromatherapy Tree’. From it we obtain the essential oils Bitter Orange, expressed from the skin of the fruit; Neroli, steam-distilled from the flower blossoms & Petitgrain from the leaves & twigs.
The Essential Oil
This cooling & refreshing oil is derived from the young, green twigs & highly aromatic leaves of the tree. They contain a significant amount of essential oil, which is extracted by steam-distillation. The result is a mobile liquid, clear, pale straw yellow to light amber in colour, and with a fresh, green woody-floral scent reminiscent of its leafy origins. It was once extracted from the green unripe fruits, when they were still the size of cherries, hence the name ‘petit grain’ in French or ‘little grains.’
Petitgrain is a completely safe essential oil for external use
Blending should always be carried out with regards to safety cautions for each oil, to an appropriate percentage & preferably by a qualified aromatherapist – please feel free to contact me for any advice.
‘The Whole Orange Tree’
My favourite blend for Petitgrain is to make a holistic & beautifully-scented blend of Neroli, Petitgrain & Orange (although I tend to use that of the Sweet Orange fruit for its sweeter aroma (Citrus aurantium var. sinensis) which is very popular with clients.
Circling Thoughts/Mental Overactivity
Roman Chamomile, Lavender & Petitgrain
Palmarosa & Petitgrain
Peppermint & Petitgrain
Petitgrain & Roman Chamomile & Petitgrain
Frankincense, Rosemary & Petitgrain
Petitgrain also blends well with other citrus oils such as Bergamot, Lavender & others in the Labiatae family, Palmarosa, Geranium & woody oils such as Rosewood & Sandalwood.
- Antispasmodic – abdominal, respiratory/coughs & muscular cramps – promotes relaxation of tissue, nerves, blood vessels & muscles
- Nervine/Nerve tonic
- Overthinking & Circling Thoughts: I love to use this essential oil to help those who find it hard to mentally switch off, especially if this leads to insomnia
- ‘Liver Emotions’: mentally refereshing & uplifting for those suffering anger, frustration & irritability
- Indigestion & Heartburn: especially if stress or pregnancy–related rather than due to overindulgence
- Skin Care: astringent, antibacterial, antispectic balancing & toning – so excellent for oily, teenage & problem skin
- Nervous Exhaustion: Petitgrain is an excellent nervine or nerve tonic which can soothe nerves, panic, rapid heartbeat & anger
An oil to soothe a troubled mind & body, helping to calm overactive thinking & worry from as little as £2.50 for 10mls
Neal’s Yard Remedies (organic), £5.20 for 10mls
G Baldwin & Co, £4.99 for 10mls
Penny Price Aromatherapy, £5.14 for 10mls
Essencia Oils, £2.50 for 10mls
Kobashi Aromatherapy (organic), £3.87 for 10mls