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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Neroli, Sweet Intoxication

Anyone who knows me knows my obsession with Neroli oil. I simply can’t get enough, and even keep a small vial with me wherever I go. This gorgeously fragrant oil is distilled from the blossoms of the bitter orange tree and offers a myriad of calming benefits.

More than just a “pretty scent”, Neroli is one of the most expensive oils to produce, with at least 1000 pounds of the steam-distilled blossoms producing just one pound of oil. The end result is a sweet, honey-like floral aroma that can have fresh citrus, spice or green notes depending from where it originates.  One of my personal favorites is organically grown in Morocco. I find it intoxicatingly delicious, and you can grab a little for yourself from the folks at Eden Botanicals.

What I love about Neroli—besides the scent—is how it affects the both the emotions and skin. It calms and sedates the mind as well as uplifts, which make it a fantastic ally in times of stress, grief or depression. I like to call it my BFF of essential oils. And its slightly hypnotic affect makes it a valuable asset for any insomniac (myself included). The highly calming attributes of Neroli also work on the skin and is revered for its regenerative properties for both mature and acneic skin conditions. What’s not to love?

This heady aroma gets its name from Princess Anne Marie Orsini of Nerola, Italy, who in the late 17th century was so enamored with the fragrance she soaked in bathwater infused with the blossoms and used the oil to scent her gloves. She made smelling like orange blossoms quite fashionable in her day and hence, the name ‘Neroli’ was born.

I would be completely remiss if I didn’t mention Neroli’s equally gorgeous sister, Orange Blossom absolute. Yes, still extracted from the flowers of the bitter orange tree, yet with a much deeper, richer aroma than her more delicate sibling. The oil is solvent extracted instead of steam distilled, and yields a viscous, intensely aromatic oil. The beautiful, highly concentrated aroma makes it an extremely popular and sought after scent for use in fine and natural perfumery. In fact, in addition to Neroli I also carry a little vial of it with me when I’m out and about. Just a dab has been known to attract some positive attention. A nice side-effect, indeed.

One caveat when using any essential oil or absolute: be sure and dilute them in either carrier oil or alcohol before applying to the skin. Although they smell pretty, they’re not to be used frivolously. These highly concentrated, plant-derived substances have a small molecular size that easily make their way into your bloodstream. Use them with respect and they’ll make your world a more beautifully fragrant place to be.

To learn more on the subject check out these websites:

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