This is a tree; the bitter orange tree. It yields no less than three different essential oils; from the fruit (bitter orange), the flowers (neroli) and the leaves (petit grain bigaradier). How’s that for abundance?
The tree originated in southern China and northeast India and was later introduced to Italy. It is widely cultivated for its oil in France, Paraguay, Africa, Italy and Tahiti. The name amara comes from the Latin “acrumen”, in French amère, which means bitter. This evergreen tree grows to a height of 10 meters, the leaves are dark green and glossy. Old leaves fall after new ones have grown. The trunk is smooth and greyish as are the branches. It carries fragrant white flowers and fruits that are smaller than sweet orange. It is the hardiest of all citrus trees.
Bitter orange (pomerans and bigerade are other names for it) is the essential oil pressed from the rinds of the fruits. In perfumery it is sometimes called “Seville orange”. The scent is reminiscent of sweet orange but sharper and deeper. It is fresh, dry with a slight floral undertone.
- Skin: It helps balance the sebum-production, making it useful for oily skin. Its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities can be used for acne. Use in massage against stretchmarks.
- Circulation: Can help with water-retention.
- Digestion: tonic and aiding cramps, indigestion, flatulence.
- Emotional: Studies have showed that bitter orange oil can “quiet” the brain which makes it useful against insomnia when there is too much “chatter” in the head. It is helpful against anxiety or feeling low.
- All citrus oils have a shelf life of about 6 months. They oxidize very easily and then turn cloudy. Do not use on skin since they become skin irritants as they age.
Petit grain bigaradier: The name comes from the French “petit grain”, meaning small grains as the oil originally was distilled from the small, green unripe fruits of the tree. Now the oils come mainly from distilling the leaves (and sometimes green, fresh twigs). It is an ingredient in the classic “Eau de Cologne” and sometimes called “poor man’s neroli”. The scent is floral and fresh with a citrusy woody undertone, slightly herbaceous.
- Skin: Balancing and calming, it is helpful with both oily and dry skin. Helps with acne.
- Digestion: Works as a tonic when liver is sluggish and can help with nausea. It is useful for digestive cramps and spasms that have an emotional origin.
- Emotional: Calming, balancing and uplifting. Use for anxiety, depression, shock. It is a good oil to have around when you feel stressed.
NEROLI comes from the flowers which are handpicked. The yield of essential oil is 30 times less from the flowers than the fruits or leaves. The oil is very costly, but as always with the more costly oils, little goes a long way. I have found that with these oils, less is more, the scent as well as the effects are actually magnified in lower dosages. The name is believed to come from an Italian princess, Anna Maria de la Tremoille, Countess of Neroli who used the scent as her personal signature perfume. The scent is rich, deeply floral and sweet with fresh overtones.
- Skin: Improves skin elasticity by helping cell regeneration, use for dry, sensitive skin.
- Emotional: Depression, grief, hysteria, anxiety and shock. It is believed to have an aphrodisiac effect by releasing nervous tension.
- Physical: Neroli can help with a wide variety of physical problems that originate from emotional disturbances. I recently used this oil for a grieving widow. It kept her balanced and calm all through the funeral arrangements and later eased her grieving process.
PERSONAL: I use the Bitter orange oil for people who chatter uncontrollably, often from stress. It helps calm and freshen the mind, allowing a free flow of positive thought-patterns and diminishes the tight feeling around the head, creating a feeling of space. Petit grain is a terrific balancing oil and easily incorporated into blends. It can highlight any aspect of a blend, be it woody, fresh or floral. It calms physical tension and relaxes the spirit. The uplifting, fresh aroma brings a sense of lightness and ease. Neroli is one of the best oils for grief as it is uplifting and gives a feeling of hope, like a ray of light in the darkness. When desperation threatens, Neroli will take you through it by inspiring calm serenity.
Posted in Aromatherapy, Essential oil profiles, Flowers & Herbs, Product information, Profiles
Tagged anxiety, aphrodisiac, bigaradier, bitter orange, countess of neroli, depression, france, italy, neroli, petit grain, pomerans, seville orange, uplifting
Seniors are a growing but invisible group in society. More often than not do they come to the point of moving into a home where they can be properly looked after. This is an intensely stressful event. Some people choose to move into a home of their choice at the time of their choice, but they are few. Most seniors slide into a solitary life in their own homes until they can’t manage it anymore and then are moved to a senior home. At this point they often become confused, scared, depressed and angry.
From these negative feelings arise many problems; circulatory, emotional, sleep-disorders, appetite and digestion. Sometimes seniors deteriorate very quickly in a home; the older we get, the more loath we become to leave our familiar – and therefor safe – surroundings and when this safety is taken away the world falls apart. When there is also mental confusion, a move at this time in life can become a huge trauma.
I have done some work in retirement homes using essential oils and the results are amazing! By using carefully blended oils in proper dosages a lot can be done. Together with massage they work wonders on stressed individuals. Massage can be as simple as stroking somebody’s hand, bringing peace to the person. There is no need for massage-training, all that is needed is care. Scents in diffusers also help with emotional balance and a stress-free environment. Anxiety, fear, stress, confusion, depression, anger….all schoolbook examples on areas where essential oils are helpful.
- Emotional disorders: Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), Orange (Citrus sinensis), Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), Frankincense (Boswellia carterii), Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora), Petit grain (Citrus aurantium), Bergamott (Citrus bergamia), Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata). When severe: Neroli (Citrus aurantium ssp. amara var pumilla), Rose (Rosa damascena), Melissa (Melissa officinalis). Massage, diffusion.
- Sleeping disorders: Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), Bitter orange (Citrus aurantium), Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata). Massage, diffusion.
- Stimulating appetite: Lemon (Citrus limon), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Diffusion 20 min. before mealtimes.
- Mental stimulation: Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), Lemon (Citrus limon), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Seniors are frail in many ways, not least physically. Always contact a professional aromatherapist before using essential oils.
Posted in Aromatherapy, Lifestyle, Massage, Stress
Tagged anxiety, appetite, bergamott, fear, frailty, geranium, lavender, lemon, Massage, melissa, mental stimulation, neroli, orange, peppermint, retirement home, rosemary, seniors, sleep, Stress, ylang-ylang
This is the (shortened) story of how I gave birth to my last child at home. It was a beautiful September day and I had worked during the day, giving aromatherapy treatments. In the afternoon my body told me “stop and go home”, so I did. I pottered around the house, cooked dinner for my family and did homework with the children. At 8pm the water broke and I put the 3 children to bed while a storm starting brewing outside. At 10pm my contractions were accelerating quickly, as was the storm – by now trying to take the roof of the house and flatten the forest around us. The electricity was gone so we lit a fire in the living-room and got water from the well (no water without electricity). We called the midwife who said she’d come at once. Considering that she had about 60 km to go in the very bad storm, I prepared myself for giving birth alone with my hubby. The children were sleeping soundly, so I did not have to concentrate on them.
I had a blend to use for massage during the contractions to help relax me; Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata) and Mandarine (Citrus reticulata). Hubby massaged my lower back during the contractions, and in between we danced. Dancing is a brilliant way of helping baby down the passage and it keeps mum moving and happy. The more you move your hips, the easier the baby comes.
At 11.30pm the midwife and her assistant came, dodging falling trees all along the way – midwives must be amongst the bravest people on earth! By now we had moved into birth-state in the living-room; candles, a fire and Neroli (Citrus aurantium ssp amara var. pumilla) in the diffuser. The ladies hugged me and moved into the kitchen to leave us alone until it was time for Baby to come. Right before midnight they came back into the room, just in time to sit by while Baby exited. (Apparently they could hear that it was time by the sounds I made) That’s all they did, they sat in the other end of the room while we had our baby. Not once did they touch Baby, they guided hubby through the clearing of passages and cutting of cord. Then they made us tea, changed the linen in our bed and sang a welcome song for Baby. Since the baby came at precisely midnight, we decided on the next day for her birthday. Finally, with Baby in my arms, I slept until it was time to get the other kids up for school.
Magic, pure magic.
Posted in Aromatherapy, Babies & Children
Tagged baby, birth, children, dancing, essential oils, home-birth, lavender, magic, mandarine, midwife, neroli, Pregnancy, ylang-ylang
We all get them; mood-swings. They usually kick in when we least of all expect it, and isn’t it strange that they only go in one direction…down? Or maybe we do have positive mood-swings, sudden bursts of inexplicable joy and happiness – of course we do, but they aren’t a problem, they are pure bliss. But the other ones; irritation, sadness, anger, impatience….the nasty lot, when they kick in it can get really bad, not only for ourselves but also for those around us. This way of using oils is a for temporary measures – mood-swings – if the situation doesn’t change and the mood doesn’t “swing back”, you should see a certified aromatherapist for more profound help.
Here is a short list of oils to help you through those bad times:
- PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) and other hormonal issues (women): Geranium (pelargonium graveolens), Clary Sage (salvia sclarea).
- Anger and frustration: Ylang-Ylang (cananga odorata complet), Petit grain (citrus aurantium), Patchouli (pogostemon cablin)
- Sad and gloomy: Bergamott (citrus bergamia), Orange (citrus sinensis), Mandarine (citrus reticulata).
- Sluggish and slow: Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis), Lemongrass (cymbopogon citratus), Peppermint (mentha piperita), May Chang (litsea cubeba).
- Cold and lonely: Cinnamon (cinnamomum zeylanicum), Marjoram (origanum majorana).
- Insecurity: Rosewood (aniba rosaeodora), Lavender (lavandula augustifolia/officinalis), Roman Chamomile (chamaemelum nobile)
- Anxiety, nervousness: Frankincense (boswellia carterii), Neroli (citrus aurantium var amara), Vetiver (vetiveria zizanoides)
There are so many useful oils for each description, the list goes on and on. These are a few of the most common oils that are also quite versatile, therefor making them a good buy for your home aromatherapy kit. Try the oils to find the one that fits you the best.
The best way to use essential oils for mood is by inhalation: Place 1-2 drops on a handkerchief and inhale deeply as needed. You can carry it with you during the day. When home, bathing is a wonderful way of relieving emotional imbalances. Make sure you rest after the bath.
Note: Cinnamon has a high content of phenols which makes it irritating to the skin. It should always be used in dilution (except in inhalation)
Posted in Aromatherapy, Lifestyle, Scents, Stress, Wellness
Tagged anger, anxiety, Aromatherapy, cinnamon, clary sage, essential oils, frankincense, geranium, inhalation, lavender, lemongrass, Lifestyle, lonely, marjoram, may chang, mood-swings, neroli, patchouli, peppermint, petit grain, PMS, roman chamomile, rosemary, rosewood, sadness, Scents, Stress, vetiver, Wellness, ylang-ylang
The use of aromatherapy, especially in combination with massage, can be extremely helpful for individuals (all ages) suffering from any kind of handicap. As I said before, touch transgresses everything as do the essential oils. They reach into the very deepest part of a person to balance and sooth. I want to tell you about Jane, one of my clients some years ago. She was, at the time, aged 24 and suffered from hypotonic cerebral palsy (CP). She was living at home except for some holidays and her parents were wonderful and loving people, doing all they could to make her comfortable. Jane was in a wheelchair, unable to move at all which had, over the years, made her skeletal structure crooked and brittle so she had been through surgery a few times to be able to stay in the wheelchair. She had no communication-possibilities at all since she had no control over her face or body. Her respiratory system was very weak resulting in repeated bouts of pneumonia when she would have to spend time at the hospital. Her digestive system was also weak, and sometimes she wouldn’t take nutrition so then she would go to the hospital for feeding. She was also given medicine to help with the cramping.
When I saw her the first time she was strapped in her wheelchair, hands tightly clasped against her chest. She kept moving her head from side to side, gnawing her teeth. I sat with her and her mother for some time, chatting and bringing out the oils. I made a selection of oils for Jane to smell. I could see by the way she moved her head what oils were interesting to her, they made the motion of her head slow down. In this way she chose:
Orange (citrus sinensis) 14 dr, Lemongrass (cymbopogon citratus) 8 dr and Lavender (lavendula augustifolia) 10 dr. Blended in 100 ml blended vegetable oil + 50ml macerated oil of Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
Together with her mother, we massaged her hands and arms, one hand each. Soon she started relaxing her fists, allowing her hands to lie open in her lap. Once the hand-massage was finished, the hand massaged by her mother stayed relaxed and open longer. I then massaged her legs, showing the mother how to enhance circulation. By this time Jane was meeting my eyes and her head was stiller. I just had this flash that she was suffering from headaches (constant gnawing of her teeth) so I asked her. Tears started rolling down her cheeks and I made an oil-blend for her face and neck which I massaged her with; feeling the tension leave her head as I massaged her scalp.
In a blend of 25 ml veg.oil blend + 5 ml of infused Teebalm (monarda fistulosa) + 3 dr of Neroli (citrus aurantium ssp amara var. pumilla).
I showed her mother and father the massage and made oils for them to use: Massage of legs, feet and stomach every morning, massage of face, head and hands 3-5 times during the day. A month later I visited again and Jane, was visibly happy to see me again. She basically stayed with the oil-blends above with small changes in the essential oils to help with circulation and relaxation. When I left Sweden I referred her to another very good aromatherapist in the area. Jane is still doing fine on the oils, her life (and that of her parents) a little bit easier. Over time her respiratory and digestive problems have lessened with a lot less traumatic days in the hospital.
Her movements are involuntary, which makes the observations very interesting, proving that massage (and) essential oils have an impact on the central nervous system.
For info on Cerebral Palsy (CP): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebral_palsy
Posted in Aromatherapy, Scents
Tagged Aromatherapy, calendula, cerebral palsy, cramps, essential oils, handicap, headaches, lavender, lemongrass, Massage, monarda, neroli, nervous system, orange, Scents, vegetable oil