Sweet Orange Exploration

Sweet Orange Exploration

Common name: Sweet Orange
Botanical name: Citrus sinensis
(C. aurantium var. dulcis, C. aurantium var. sinensis)

Part of the Rutaceae family, Sweet Orange is derived from the peel of the sweet orange fruit. A byproduct of orange juice production, the peel is most often cold-expressed, but it can be steam-distilled as well. Big areas of production include Portugal, China, and the United States.

Looking at the biochemical class, Sweet Orange is a monoterpene because of its high limonene content. It’s very similar to Lemon. There’s up to 89% d-limonene* and a-pinene in Sweet Orange. It has a little bit of alcohol in the form of linalool, with a few other aldehydes (octanal, citronellal) and ketones.

The Sweet Orange fruit was used in traditional medicine. The essential oil was not, but we have found that Sweet Orange oil has some useful properties. These include: antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bactericidal, choleretic, fungicidal, nervous sedative, lymphatic stimulant, and tonic-digestive (stomachic, carminative).

In terms of skincare, it is useful with its antiseptic properties. Sweet Orange is said to aid chapped and fissured skin. It strengthens the epidermis and increases circulation. However, it can make any open wound burn. AVOID USE ON SENSITIVE OR DAMAGED SKIN.

Mentally, Sweet Orange energizes, yet harmonizes the physical and mental, gives courage, and counters worry. Tested at a low dose, it is non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitizing in most people. (Older oxidized oils or those with high d-limonene increase the potential for sensitization.)

Diffused in the air, it makes the perfect, inexpensive, bright, clean environmental blend by itself—shown to be especially relaxing for children. It can also be diffused with other oils. In public places, it refreshes and provides a nice atmosphere. If you’re concerned about complaints, simply diffuse it with a bowl of fruit to create the perception that it’s coming from that. Everyone loves Orange!

Sweet Orange is perfect for kids’ rooms as well. They seem to like it, and it has been shown to decrease anxiety in school-age kids. See how orange essence helps reduce anxiety in school-age children with diabetes.

We recommend that you DO NOT use Sweet Orange in the bath. It should be used in the air only. Note: Sweet Orange has properties similar to Bitter Orange, but Sweet Orange is milder and useful for children.

According to Tony’s book, oranges are the most extensively produced citrus crop in the United States and Brazil, with Brazil leading the way. Despite the high limonene content of Sweet Orange, the characteristic smell of Orange is probably due to its oxygenated fractions. For many years, this weighed heavily towards aldehyde C10 (n-decanal), but recent thinking suggests that aldehyde C8 (n-octanal) may be more influential.  

In perfumery, Orange oils are often used in citrus blends, air fresheners, and in cheaper perfumes. Though they are also found in oriental top notes, along with tropical and fruity blends.

Sweet Orange oil can also be produced by distilling the fresh peel, or by distilling the oils separated during the juice-pressing process. (These are sometimes separated by centrifugation or other physical means.)

From Tony’s book: “Orange essence oil is the oily layer separating from the aqueous juice layer when oranges are pressed for juice (Gaffney 1996).[1]”

Watch as Sylla compares her Orange samples, including Orange essence and Blood Orange. You can also see what happens when Orange oil oxidizes.

We hope you enjoyed this segment on Sweet Orange! Let us know what you like and dislike about Sweet Orange and how you’ve used it.

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Rose Exploration

Rose Exploration

Common name: Rose

Botanical name: Rosa damascena

Part of the Rosaceae family, there are many variations of Rosa damascena. The big areas of production are Bulgaria and Turkey, and other names for it include Summer Rose, Bulgarian Rose, Turkish Rose, and Otto of Rose. Rose Otto is the oil, and the absolute is a thicker, richer-smelling extract. When you hear the name Rose Otto, you’ll know it’s the essential oil.

Rosa centifolia is another species that produces a much lighter oil. It comes from a lot of different places, and Sylla’s sample in this video is from Russia.

In the Otto, stearoptenes are up to 22%. These constituents are the more solid parts of the oil, which can cause the Otto to solidify at about room temperature. There are also monoterpenols in the Otto, along with geraniol and citronellol—up to 45%. The percent of phenylethyl alcohol is not as high in the Otto as it is in the absolute. The phenylethyl alcohol, or PEA, is what produces that very rosy, floral scent. A lot of people prefer the absolute for this reason.

Drawing these samples up in the pipette, you can see that the Damask Rose has a beautiful color. It is clear, which is very similar to the Centifolia. The absolute is a little thicker, darker, and richer. Some of the colors will come through with the absolute because it’s solvent-extracted. You can blend the two together, so you get the best of both.

Rose is a universal oil for all skin types and is great for skin care. It can be an antidepressant, an aphrodisiac, and it has antibacterial properties, which are especially effective on the skin, and even the underarm bacteria.

Rose is wonderful for balancing hormones. It works very well as a nervous sedative and can be used for all ages. Unless somebody has an aversion to Rose, it’s a wonderful thing.

When a lot of people first smell the real Rose, they don’t like it because they’re used to synthetic Rose. They’re used to their grandmother’s perfume or some cheap facsimile that’s called Rose. So true Rose is really a beautiful scent that people have to get used to.

Rose can help with cardiovascular issues, stress, and palpitations because it is such a relaxing oil. It’s great for insomnia, migraines, headaches, nervous tension, stress-related disorders, melancholia, sadness, disappointment, sorrow, and heartache. In this video, you’ll learn how Sylla used it while she was grieving the passing of her mother. Many books say Rose is good for grief, but Sylla cautions against using any oil too much during these times, as scents can become deeply connected to emotional states.

When Sylla was working the United Aromatherapy Effort and started to get sick, she used a hot toddy recipe recommended to her by a friend: hot water, a drop of Rose, Neroli, Eucalyptus, and Tea Tree. She added some honey, had two cups of it, and because of the steam and the uplifting properties of Rose and Neroli, she “felt like a million bucks.”

In terms of the safety of the oil, when tested at a low-dose, Rose is nontoxic, non-irritating, and non-sensitizing. However, if you use any oil undiluted, you always run the risk of sensitization.

In Natural Aromatic Materials: Odours and Origins, Tony Burfield talks about Provence Rose, or the centifolia, which is one of the samples Sylla shows us in the video. This is also called Rose de Mai because there are some fields in Grasse that still produce this in May.

About this oil, Tony writes that it’s a powerful, toppy, fresh, sweet but honeyed Rose odor and yet it’s spicy. “It’s less full and fruity than the Turkish…and the dry-down reveals a delicate yet moderately strong-rounded, petaly Rose character.”

It is often quoted that 4,000 pounds of Rose flowers produce one pound of Rose Otto. That means one pound (16 ounces) of Rose Otto is 4,000 pounds of roses! That’s 250 roses for every 30ml bottle. That’s a lot of Rose.

It’s important to remember that the phenethyl alcohol or PEA content of Rose is highly water-soluble and therefore, it is lost to the distillation water. This is why Rose water smells so rosy. By contrast, of course, the absolutes contain a much higher percent of PEA. Because of this, absolutes are considered a better character of the Rose blossom. The odor of the Moroccan absolute is full Rose character, somewhat with green PEA or phenylethyl alcohol, honeyed and sweet with slight woodiness.

Rose Otto Bulgarian is a white to pale green, like you saw, or yellow semi-solid liquid with a powerful, heady, rounded, fruit Rose odor with an almost alcoholic liquor character. The dry-down is disappointing, revealing a slightly smoky, woody, Tea Rose character. If we look at the Turkish, it is a little bit different. The odor terms of the Turkish show a strong, fruity top note with a spicy, deep Rose character. It is less floral and less rosaceous than the Bulgarian. The dry-down is a powerful, fresh, leafy Rose with some spiciness.

There is also Rose wax, which is very waxy, muddy brown, and almost greenish. It has a nice odor, is very petal-like, and this is part of the Rose extraction that is used a lot in cosmetics. You can also dab this on as perfume.

Watch Sylla smell and compare different Roses alongside the constituents in our chemistry kits. To get your own chemistry kit, follow this link.

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Petitgrain Exploration

Petitgrain Exploration

Common name: Petitgrain

Botanical name: Citrus aurantium var. amara (Citrus bigaradia)

Part of the Rutaceae family, Petitgrain comes from the leaves of the bitter orange tree. Big areas of production for Petitgrain include Italy and Portugal. The essential oil is steam-distilled, and sometimes the leaf and flower water is also produced, which is Petitgrain sur Fleurs. We recently distilled some Petitgrain in our Advanced Practitioner Training in May.

Looking at the biochemical class and the specific biochemicals, it’s hard to put this one in a class of its own because it has esters, alcohols, and monoterpenes. It is very relaxing ilke Neroli. We could call it an ester. Monoterpenes make up about 10% of this oil. There are some sesquiterpenes, and alcohols are 40%. A big one is linalool, as in a lot of other oils. Linalyl-acetate is up to 55%, which is what gives it that nice, floral scent, as well as its similarities to Neroli. Petitgrain also has methyl anthranilate and citral, which gives it a kind of lemony, orangey flavor.

The oil of Petitgrain has not had a lot of medicinal uses, although the tree itself is used in a lot of folk medicine. You can use the orange peel and make marmalade and different concoctions, but as far as an herb for medicinal use, this has no traditional use. However, we have found with this oil, as with others that were used in the past, it has some wonderful properties.

Petitgrain is antispasmodic, antiseptic, anti-infectious, and anti-inflammatory. It is a good antibacterial for staph and it helps with tissue regeneration. It’s a good sedative, tonic, and nervine. Just like with Neroli, Petitgrain is really good for skincare. It can be helpful in easing breathing, and it relaxes muscle spasms of nervous origin. For cardiovascular issues, like Neroli, Petitgrain can ease palpitations. Petitgrain is also great for insomnia, balancing the central nervous system, mental stress, fatigue, and anger.

Tested at a low dose, it is non-toxic, non-irritant, non-sensitizing, and non-phototoxic. There is a cross-sensitization reported with existing allergic reactions to Balsam. If you have an existing allergic reaction to Balsam, you want to avoid this on your skin.  

In Tony’s book, he talks about Petitgrain from South Africa, but it’s also heavily produced in Italy, France, Spain, and North Africa. Using the blossoms, leaves, and small twigs, a small amount of water is used for a direct or a dry steam. Petitgrain is steam-distilled, as opposed to Neroli, which is hydro-distilled and uses a large amount of water. The yield is 0.1 to 0.3%, which is not a lot. However, when the leaves are freshly gathered from younger trees, there is a higher yield. Hydro-distilled Petitgrain has a lower linalool content, typically 5% as opposed to 25% from the steam-distilled oil.

Petitgrain is used in soap and household fragrances, and terpeneless-Petitgrain is used in the perfume industry. Without terpenes, Petitgrain is less irritant and has a nicer odor, plus perfumers want an oil that has high-solubility in alcohol.

Watch as Sylla compares her Petitgrain samples. The word Petitgrain actually refers to the leaf, and we can get Petitgrain from other citrus trees as well. Watch this video to see Sylla comparing Bergamot Petitgrain and Lemon Petitgrain.

We hope you enjoyed this segment on Petitgrain! It is a very refreshing oil—perfect for summer. Let us know what you like and dislike about Petitgrain and how you’ve used it.



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