During the 17th century, Princess Anne Marie Orsini of Nerola (an Italian town close to Rome), perfumed her gloves with an extraordinary scent, so fresh and unforgettable that the people of Nerola started calling it “Neroli”. This is the essential oil that I most adore, extracted from the small white flowers of the bitter orange picked in the months of April and May. These flowers (also called orange blossom) are picked by hand in the early hours of the day, as soon as they blossom. The Latin name for this oil is citrus aurantium, and it is so precious that it takes an extremely large amount of flowers, that need to be distilled, to produce small amounts of oil, hence its extremely high price. Just imagine that for each litre of oil, it takes about 1,000 kilos of petals. For this reason, 2ml of quality oil could easily cost £30.
Health Benefits of Neroli Essential Oil
Today, the beautiful neroli fragrance is used in many perfumes, but it’s the essential oil that has the following health benefits:
- It has relaxing properties that could help with insomnia, anxiety and stress.
- It is thought to calm digestive problems such as intestinal spasm and diarrhea.
- Neroli could help to re-balance acneic skin, aid regeneration of scarred skin, and improve the elasticity in mature skin.
For the reasons above, as well as for its distinctive fragrance, neroli can be found in a variety of upscale skincare products such as body creams and facial oils. If you are looking to purchase skincare products containing real neroli oil, you need to make sure that “neroli flower oil” is listed in the ingredients, as many companies use the synthetic fragrance, which gives no health benefits at all.
The bitter orange trees grow in Mediterranean countries. They produce tasty oranges as well as absolutely beautiful blossom flowers with an intense and gorgeous scent. These are happy trees that give my mood the right boost; the neroli oil produced around this time of year gives me the sensation that I am stepping out into beautiful springtime, no matter what time of year it is.
Princess Anne Marie Orsini would scent her bath with neroli: how divine!
Note: Use this oil in small amounts and with care. Avoid using while pregnant. Always dilute it in carrier oils at the suggested concentration, and never use directly on the skin.