Petitgrain Oils (Archive April 2012)

Archive Newsletter 3 April 2012 
Greetings from autumnal New Zealand- it has been great having some extended sunshine after our dismal summer. The biggest excitement at aromatic adventures HQ has been the planting of my 14 precious Rosa damascena bushes, finally after a year being pot bound. These will be used exclusively for distillation for hydrosol. I have also just started planting a hedge of Osmanthus fragrans, also destined for the still in spring.
As promised this newsletter  is all about the wonderful world of petitgrain essential oils. Petitgrain literally means ‘small fruit’, and is generally used to describe the essential oil obtained from the leaves and twigs from the bitter orange tree. All petitgrain oils are obtained by steam distillation of the leaves and twiglets from varieties of citrus trees from the rutaceae family. Often they are produced after fruit harvesting has finished and the trees have routine pruning. There are several types of ‘Petitgrain’ oils available. Most are only rarely offered on specialist aromatherapy price lists. If you do get the opportunity though, they are worth the investment for adding some unusual oils to your collection to use for blending. There are no known documented safety concerns for any of the petitgrain oils and can be used in usual aromatherapy concentrations. There are no blending ‘rules’ with the petitgrain oils and all blend well with each other and other citrus oils as well as florals and woods. I haven’t had much success with using herb oils in the blends. It would be great to hear of any successes or experiments you have had with using these oils. Another unusual oil is a co- distilltion of petitgrain and neroli which makes for a delicious aroma. 
Don't forget the greatest Aromatic Event of 2012 is  Botanica2012 in Dublin- have you booked yet?? It will be a wonderful time to connect and learn and share with all sorts of people from around the world. Next newsletter i am presenting information on Rosalina and Nerolina Essential oils.

Oils of the Month- Petitgrains

Petitgrain oil       C. aurantium L. Subsp. amara Bigarade
Main oil countries Mainly Paraguay, also Italy, France, Northern India and Southern China, Haiti
Description & Aroma Pale yellow to amber. It has a fresh, woody, citrus aroma, with a light floral note. Considered a middle note for blending. Some say it can be quite sharp. It is a masculine aroma
Key constituents % Linalool 19-27 Neryl acetate 2-3 Alpha terpineol 4-8  
  Linalyl acetate 46-55 Geraniol 2-4 Myrcene 1-6  
Therapeutic uses Anti septic, tonic, nervine
History Widely used in perfumery- an original ingredient of ‘4711’ Eau de Cologne
Aromatherapy details A great balancing oil-also good for oily skin. Often used for stress and anxiety. It blends well with all other citrus oils as well as most florals, sandalwood and patchouli. A solvent extracted oil is called bigaradier concrete and absolute which are mainly used in perfumery or to adulterate neroli oil.
Recipes Masculine stress blend-petitgrain 3 drops, sandalwood 2 drops, sweet orange 2 drops
Feminine PMT blend- Clary sage 2 drops, Petitgrain 2 drops, rose 1 drop, geranium bourbon 1 drop
Oily hair treatment-8 drops petitgrain, 8 drops lemon, 8 drops lavender. Add to 50 ml hazelnut oil. Apply 5-10 ml of this to your hair and massage in-including the scalp. Leave for at least 30 minutes and wash out well with a mild shampoo.


Bergamot Petitgrain Petitgrain-Essence de brouts de tialle du Bergamottier C. bergamia
Main oil countries Italy
Aroma  Woody, light citrus fresh top note
Key constituents % Mainly citral 45% (neral and geranial combined); Other constituents identified are linalyl acetate, linalool, limonene, a-terpineol, geranyl and neral acetate                                           
Therapeutic uses Calming, Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic. It gives a lovely fresh note in perfumery blends


Kaffir Lime Combava-Petitgrain C. hystrix 
Main oil countries Combava is a rare fruit found in the rain forests of Madagascar. Native to South East Asia
Aroma  Lemon like, sharp, fresh aroma
Key constituents % Constituents include b-pinene, limonene, terpine-4-ol. The leaf oil has (-)S-citronellal The fruit peel oil also has sabinene.  
Therapeutic uses Believed to have an anti-oxidant action which would help to regenerate and stimulate the skin. It has been found to be effective against cockroaches and mosquitos.
History Kaffir lime leaves are widely used in Asian cooking, especially in coconut based dishes. The rind of the fruit is sometimes used in cooking as well. Little documented use of the essential oil. The juice is widely used medicinally as an expectorant, for gum disease and as a digestive.
The origins of the naming of plant are controversial as the word ‘kaffir’ has been used as a derogatory term for Black people and has its origins in the Arabic word ‘kafir’ which means ‘infidel’ or non muslim. Other languages have variations meaning terms such as barbarian or backward.


Orange Petitgrain Sweet orange C. sinensis
Main oil countries Italy
Aroma and key constituents Sharp, sweet , woody. over 100 constituents identified. They can vary 
 on the actual cultivar with sabinene being the most prominent at >38%. others include linalool (>6%); aldehydes (< 6%) and alcohols (12%)
Therapeutic uses Nil documented-analysis suggests antiseptic (linalool), gentle expectorant, soothing and balancing (terpenes), gentle anti- inflammatory (sesquiterpenes).
Aromatherapy details This oil is not generally available as it is considered to not have any commercial value. Despite this it has been widely analysed and different subspecies compared. When it is produced it appears to mainly be used as an adulterant for the more expensive Petitgrain brigadier. We think this is a shame as it would certainly be an interesting oil to add to a blending repertoire. Based on the constituents it would be antiseptic, toning and have a gentle anti inflammatory action


Lemon Petitgrain Petitgrain-Citronnier C. limon
Main oil countries Morocco, Italy and Tunisia 
Aroma Similar to Petitgrain but has a more woody, lemon aroma
Key constituents % Linalool 3.5 Citronellol 2 geranial 8-23 b pinene up to 18%
Isopulegol 2.5 Citronellal 85 neral up to 17% geraniol up to 6%
Aromatherapy details Anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, sedative- anxiety and stress and neuralgia. Mainly produced for perfumery
Anti-anxiety blend: Citronnier 1 drop, Mandarinier 4 drops, lavender 5 drops.
Neuralgia blend: Citronnier 3 drops, eucalyptus citriodora 3 drops, roman chamomile 1 drop- add to 50 ml of a gel based neutral cream and apply to the affected area.


Mandarin Petitgrain Petitgrain Mandarin- Mandarinier Citrus reticulata
Main oil countries Produced in very small amounts in Italy
Aroma and key constituents Sharp, woody, sweet, rich and deep, with a distinct musty undertone.
limonene 35%, mono terpene hydrocarbons up to 15%; sesquiterpene hydrocarbons up to 10%; linalool 21%; linalyl acetate 6%
Aromatherapy Uses Perfumery, insomnia, stress and anxiety


Posted: Tuesday 4 January 2022