Orange oil offers both bitter and sweet aromas in several products.
The orange tree, Citrus aurantium, produces orange essential oil expressed from the skin; Neroli distilled from orange blossoms; orange flower absolute extracted from solvents; Petitgrain, distilled from twigs and leaves; and blood orange, pressed from the rind of the red flesh variety. Orange flower absolute and blood orange are especially used for perfumery and their intense fragrant scents. They are very expensive. Orange essential oil is inexpensive and used in the aromatherapy pharmaceutical, and culinary industries.
The bitter orange tree was introduced from China to southern Europe in the early 1500’s. However, the most coveted bitter orange essential oil comes from Sicily. The tree was brought to Sicily by Arabs, who built irrigation systems to cultivate the trees in the rich, volcanic soil. The aroma of the essential oil is superior to sweet orange essential oil. In perfumery, bitter orange essential oil is preferred for its light floral aroma that floats as a top note in a blend. Sweet orange oil is enjoyed by children, and used extensively in aroma blends.
Orange essential oil is produced by extraction. The skin is pressed, also known as cold pressed, squeezing the oil glands of the skin to produce a watery mixture containing essential oil. This is separated. The oil rises and the water is poured out of the bottom of a separator, leaving the essential oil. Preferred oil is expressed form organically grown fruit. It is a great oil to use in aromatherapy, even as a beginner. A few drops in a blend add warmth and harmonizes aromas.
The effect of orange oil is uplifting and joyous. All of the essential oils produced from Citrus aurantium have antidepressant qualities. The scent of orange can reduce stress related illness, such as headaches and digestive complaints. It blends well with most essential oils in a blend.
Orange is also used to reduce rapid heartbeat.
In 1 ounce of carrier oil, add:
5 drops Roman chamomile
3 drops lavender absolute*
2 drops Orange
Cap tightly in a dark, glass bottle. Massage back of the neck, and forehead as needed with blend.
A note about absolutes: Absolutes are made from flowers too delicate for distillation. The plant material is washed in a solvent, usually hexane, until the solvent completely penetrates the plant mixture. The extraction pulls out essential oil, wax, chlorophyll, and resinous material. Next, the extracted material is placed in another container and gently heated to vaporize the solvent, leaving a concrete or resinous material. A concrete may be used in perfumery and aromatherapy. The aroma is subtly different from an absolute.
To make an absolute, the concrete is soaked in pure alcohol. This separates the absolute from the waxy concrete. The alcohol is gently heated, and the alcohol evaporates, leaving pure absolute. Absolutes are highly fragrant, and have much longer staying power in an aroma. Essential oils lift quickly. Their aromas do not hold nearly as long as a concrete or absolute. The most common absolutes are Jasmine and rose. Many other aromatic plants are also available as concretes and absolutes. Absolutes are completely soluble in pure alcohol. Concretes are not totally soluble in alcohol, and are used in making solid perfumes.