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Citrus aurantium ssp. Aurantium L.

Citrus aurantium ssp. Aurantium L.

[span class=alert]In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.[/span]

Family Name


Genus Name


Vernacular Name

Neroli, néroli bigarade, bitter orange flower oil, orange flower oil

Original Habitat

Citrus aurantium is presently found throughout Asia, the Middle East and cultivated in many parts of the world. The essential oil from this sub-species is primarily obtained from the Mediterranean region and Paraguay. The tree is evergreen with scented flowers, and bears fruit in early to late fall depending upon growing region.

Plant Part Used

Flower (Oils obtained from the leaf and buds are known as Neroli petit grain). The oil is steam distilled from the fresh flowers of the Citrus aurantium Ssp. Aurantium tree.


Neroli oil is found in some foods and beverages, but its primary use in industry is in the fragrance industry where it is found in floral and citrus blends.[1] In therapeutic aromatherapy, Neroli is used as a single oil and in more complex blends depending upon the therapeutic purpose.


The essential oil of C. aurantium Ssp. Aurantium is a clear to pale yellow in colour and oxidises readily when exposed to the air.[2] It is thin in consistency, has a sweet citrus aroma and top note but is unstable under normal conditions.

Chemical Constituents

Monoterpenes 35%: Alpha- and beta-pinene, limonene
Alcohols 40%: Linalol, alpha-terpineol, geraniol, nerol
Esters: Linalyl acetate, neryl acetate, geranyl acetate
Sesquiterpene alcohols: Trans-nerolidol, farnesols
Ketones: Jasmine [3][4][5]

Note: This oil is subject to rapid oxidation and the subsequent chemical changes depending upon storage conditions.

Medicinal Uses

Anti-infectious, antibacterial, antiviral ++
Phlebotonic +
Digestive stimulant +
Neuro-stimulant, nervous balancer, up lifter +++

Note: Many of the studies listing ‘Neroli oil’ as the agent being studied, do not identify whether the oil is extracted from the flower or from the flower and leaf (two chemically different end-products). Therefore those studies may not be used to support the traditional use.

Antimicrobial: Neroli oil demonstrated some antibacterial activity in an animal model in vitro.[6] In a human study of postpartum perineal healing, application of a sitz bath preparation with Neroli and other oils resulted in reduced bacterial count and improved healing.[7]

Sedative: A small animal study reviewed the sedative effects of Neroli and compared those effects to specific chemicals isolated from the oil.[8]

Traditional Use

Hepatic and pancreatic insufficiencies +++,
Bacterial and parasitic enterocolitis +++
Varicose veins, hemorrhoids +
Bronchitis, tuberculosis ++
Nervous fatigue and depression +++
High blood pressure +
Childbirth ++

Note: There is limited clinical or laboratory support for the use of Neroli oil as a single oil.  However, it has been studied in combination with other oils having similar properties.

Wound healing: One small human study supports the traditional use of Neroli and other oils in healing post partum perineal injury.[7]

Mood support: In a study of 90 young women, Neroli in combination with other oils was found to induce a positive outlook and reduce symptoms of stress.[9]

Contraindications and Precautions

None at recommended dosages and applications. There is a slight potential for phototoxicity, but much less than that of other C. aurantium species.[10]

Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women except as directed by a professional.



[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]


1.     Lis-Balchan M. Aromatherapy science: a guide for healthcare professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2006.

2.     Braverman JBS. Citrus products: chemical composition and chemical technology. MI: Interscience; 1949.

3.     Bayer M, Mosandl A. Improved gas chromatographic stereo differentiation of chiral main constituents from different essential oils using a mixture of chiral stationary phases. Flav Frag J. 19(6):515-517.

4.     Mosandl A, Juchelka D. Advances in the authenticity assessment of citrus oils. J Essential Oil Res. 9(1):5-12.

5.     Dugo G, Di Giacomo A. Citrus: the genus Citrus. CRC Press; 2002.

6.     Lis-Balchin M, Hart S, Deans SG, Eaglesham E. Comparison of the pharmacological and antimicrobial action of commercial plant essential oils. Journal of Herbs, Spices & Medicinal Plants. 1996 Dec;4(2):69-86.

7.     Hur MH, Han SH. Clinical trial of aromatherapy on postpartum mother's perineal healing. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2004 Feb;34(1):53-62.

8.     Jager W, Buchbauer B, Jirovetz L. Evidence of the sedative effect of neroli oil, citronellal and phenylethyl acetate on mice. J Ess Oil Res. 4(4):387.

9.     Campenni CE, Crawley EJ, Meier ME. Role of suggestion in odor-induced mood change. Psychol Rep. 2004 Jun;94(3 Pt 2):1127-1136.

10.  Schubert HJ. Skin diseases in workers at a perfume factory. Contact Dermatitis. 2006 Aug;55(2):81-83.

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