Neroli essential oil is best known for its unique scent which is described as sweet honeyed, citrusy and spicy. This intoxicating scent is the feature fragrance in many top perfumes and colognes.
However, this is not the only reason why neroli essential oil is so prized. It provides many unique health benefits, which makes it a prized ingredient in many herbal medicines.
During ancient times it was used to relieve fever, banish nervousness and combat the plague. It has also been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years. Nowadays it is used to alleviate anxiety, relieve insomnia and alleviate digestive issues.
Read on to learn more about neroli essential oil and its benefits.
What is neroli essential oil?
Neroli essential oil is produced by steam distilling the flowers of the bitter orange tree (Citrus Aurantium). The flowers are gathered, usually by hand, in late April to early May.
It takes about a 1,000 pounds of these blooms to produce a pound of this oil. A large bitter orange tree can produce around 60 pounds of fresh flowers.
The bitter orange tree is native to tropical Asia and eastern Africa. Today it is grown throughout the Mediterranean region and in the states of Florida and California. Tunisia is the largest producer of Neroli essential oil followed by Morocco.
The bitter orange tree produces three essential oils. Bitter orange essential oil comes from the peel of the ripe fruit, petitgrain oil is pressed from the leaves and neroli oil is generated from the blooms.
The primary constituents of neroli essential oil are alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, alpha-terpinene, camphene, farnesol, geraniol, indole, Linalool, linalyl acetate, methyl anthranilate, nerolidol, and neryl acetate.
History of neroli essential oil
Neroli oil originated in the Far East and was introduced to the west by Arab traders.
During ancient times, the neroli essential oil was used to combat plague. In ancient Egypt, the priests and priestesses including Nefertiti used this neroli oil.
During the 12th century, Seville in Spain became a major cultivator of bitter orange.
In the mid-1500s, the Spanish explorers brought the bitter orange tree to St. Augustine, Florida.
By the end of the 17th century, Anne Marie Orsini the princess of Nerola, Italy introduced neroli oil as a fragrance of fashion by using it to perfume her gloves and bath. Since then the term neroli is used to describe this fragrance.
JM Farina, an Italian perfumer from Cologne, created a blend of neroli, lemon, petitgrain, lavender and rosemary oils inspired by the princess of Nerola. He named this oil Eau de Cologne.
Benefits of neroli essential oil
Elevated blood pressure can lead to many problems like stroke, thrombosis, and angina. Neroli essential oil can be useful in preventing and treating high blood pressure.
A 2012 study from Eulji University, Republic of Korea, studied the effects of essential oil inhalation on blood pressure and cortisol levels of 83 prehypertensive and hypertensive subjects.
The volunteer inhaled either a blend of neroli, lavender, ylang-ylang, and marjoram essential oils or an artificial fragrance for 24 hours.
The results showed that the group that was assigned the essential oil blend experienced a significant decrease in blood pressure and cortisol levels (1).
2. Antimicrobial properties
The high content on linalool, linalyl acetate, Geraniol, and camphene in neroli oil make it a natural antiseptic and antimicrobial agent.
During a 2012 study, neroli oil showed antimicrobial activity against six bacteria, two yeasts, and three fungi. It showed marked antibacterial activity against Pseudomonal aeruginosa. When compared with Nystatin, a common antibiotic, it also showed strong antifungal activity (2).
This means neroli oil can be used on cuts and wounds to improve healing and prevent infection. Neroli oil can also be used for treating acne breakouts and eczema.
3. Reduces stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety have a significant impact on health. Traditional medication prescribed for dealing with stress can be addictive. The sweet and citrusy scent of neroli oil has anxiety relieving properties.
Inhaling neroli oil helps the brain release serotonin and reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. When used in aromatherapy, it can also help treat insomnia.
Neroli oil is especially helpful in cases where hormones trigger stress and anxiety (3).
4. Helps relieve pain
Neroli oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation and ease the pain. If you have arthritis, neroli oil can be helpful for you.
According to a study published in the Journal of Natural Medicine, neroli oil possesses biologically active constituents that have a significant activity of acute and chronic inflammation. It also helps to reduce central and peripheral sensitivity to pain (4).
5. Improves skin health
Neroli essential oil can revive the skin at the cellular level, which makes it useful for the treatment of wrinkles, scars, and stretch marks. Its natural cicatrizant properties increase cell stimulation and heal wounds and injuries faster and better.
Thanks to its excellent antimicrobial abilities, it can reduce acne breakouts and other skin irritations. Neroli oil also has a low comedogenic rating, so it does not clog pores on the skin.
6. Reduces symptoms of menopause
Many of the changes linked with menopause are the result of low levels of estrogen and may include stress, mood swings, hot flashes and irregular periods. According to a study published in 2014, inhalation of neroli essential oil reduces menopause symptoms.
During this study, 63 healthy postmenopausal women inhaled .1 percent .5 percent or almond oil for five minutes daily for five days.
The findings of the study showed that neroli oil relieves menopausal symptoms, increases sexual desire, and reduces blood pressure in postmenopausal women (5).
7. Reduces seizures
A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. Neroli essential oil has been used as an antiseizure and anticonvulsant agent in traditional medicine for years.
In 2014 the antiseizure and anticonvulsant ability was tested in an animal-based study. The researchers found that neroli oil contains biologically active components like linalool, linalyl acetate, nerolidol, E E-farnesol, alpha-terpineol and limonene, which might be responsible for the anticonvulsant activity (6).
8. Reduces anxiety during labor
Anxiety is common during labor. Aromatherapy with neroli oil can stimulate the olfactory system and alleviate stress.
During one study, gauzes soaked with neroli oil were attached to the collars of women in the first stage of labor. The results showed that the levels of anxiety at dilations 3-4 cm and 6-8 cm were lower in these women.
This confirmed that neroli oil is an inexpensive and noninvasive intervention to reduce anxiety during labor (7).
9. Improves digestion
Neroli essential oil has carminative properties. It can alleviate digestive issues like intestinal spasms, dyspepsia, colitis, and diarrhea. It provides relief from gas and bloating and also improves appetite.
10. Keeps hair and scalp healthy
The natural antiseptic and antimicrobial properties of neroli oil help in treating hair and scalp infections like lice and mites.
It kills off any bacteria that irritate the scalp and removes excess dead skin and oil. Its antioxidant properties encourage healthy cell growth, which helps boost and revitalize dull looking hair.
How to buy and use neroli essential oil
You can purchase neroli essential oil at health food stores. To ensure that you get the right oil, always buy it from a reputable store. Look for undiluted, organic, and therapeutic-grade oil. You can also use skin care products and fragrances with neroli oil in it.
- Mix this oil with distilled water and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray in in your room or your clothing.
- Pour a small amount into your bath water and enjoy a relaxing bath.
- Soak a cotton ball with neroli oil and place it near your pillow and enjoy a restful sleep.
- Mix neroli oil with any carrier oil and massage with it.
- To treat acne, apply it directly on the affected area and leave it on overnight.
- Mix a few drops of neroli oil in your shampoo or conditioner.
Side effects and precautions
Neroli oil is generally considered safe and non-toxic, but one must exercise caution while using it.
- Do not ingest neroli oil unless you are working with a qualified practitioner.
- Always dilute this essential oil with a carrier oil before applying it on your skin.
- If you are using this oil for the first time, apply it one a patch of skin to ensure that you do not have an allergic reaction to it.
- There is not enough evidence to prove that it is safe to use for pregnant and breastfeeding women and small children. So these people should avoid using neroli oil.
- Like all citrus oils, you must avoid sun exposure after using this oil.
- Avoid using this oil if you are using a tanning booth.
Neroli essential oil is derived from the bitter orange tree. This oil offers a wide range of health benefits thanks to its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antispasmodic properties.
It lowers high blood pressure, reduces stress, relieves pain, improves skin, reduces seizures, and improves digestion.
Buy pure, organic, therapeutic-grade oil from a reputable shop. Always dilute neroli oil with a carrier oil before applying it on your skin.