What Is Neroli Oil and What Is It Used For?

Dr. Group
by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
Published on

A bottle of neroli oil. Neroli oil is prized for its aroma and is one of the most commonly used essential oils.

Neroli oil is a pale-yellow essential oil derived from the blossoms of the bitter orange tree (citrus aurantium). Extracted via steam distillation, neroli oil has a sweet, distinctive citrus scent and is widely used in perfumery and aromatherapy. According to legend, neroli oil is named for Anna-Marie de Nerola, an Italian aristocrat who popularized the oil in 17th century Europe.

Related Essential Oils

Orange trees produce a wide variety of essential oils. The bitter orange tree also yields petitgrain essential oil. While neroli oil is extracted from the flowers, petitgrain oil is derived from the leaves and young twigs. Petitgrain is chemically distinct from neroli and possesses a woodier aroma. Bergamot orange (citrus bergamia) is a closely related cultivar. The peel of the bergamot orange fruit is used to produce bergamot essential oil, which is used to flavor Earl Grey tea, Turkish delight, and marmalade. Orange oil extracted from the peel of the sweet orange fruit (Citrus sinensis) is used in an assortment of beauty products, cleaners, and flavorings.

Uses of Neroli Oil

Neroli Oil In Beauty Products

Neroli essential oil is prized for its aroma and is one of the most commonly used essential oils in perfumery. Although many people think of “cologne” as a generic term that may refer to any cosmetic fragrance, Eau de Cologne is actually the name of a specific fragrance formula and neroli (along with bergamot, lavender, lemon, and rosemary) is an ingredient.

When used properly, neroli oil is nontoxic, won’t irritate, and is safe for sensitive skin. It moisturizes dry skin and may reduce the appearance of scarring and stretch marks. Neroli oil can be blended with other essential oils and used to relieve occasional itchiness and irritation that comes with psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.[1]

Therapeutic Applications

The benefits of neroli oil extend well beyond its pleasant fragrance and ability to support skin health. It has a strong action against harmful organisms.[2] It offers benefits as a digestive aid and can help relieve bloating, gas, and diarrhea.[1] Neroli oil can even promote normal sleep.[3]

Due to its relaxing properties, neroli oil is frequently used in aromatherapy. Although viewed with skepticism by some, aromatherapy has real, scientifically proven benefits, especially for stress management. Inhaling an essential oil blend that includes neroli has been found to significantly reduce blood pressure, lower stress levels, and improve mood.[4, 5] Because of its mild sedative effects, neroli is a relaxing massage oil.[3]

Neroli oil can positively affect women’s health. One study found that aromatherapy with neroli oil is a safe, simple, natural, and effective way to reduce labor anxiety.[5] Another study tested the effects of neroli oil on menopausal women and found that inhalation reduced stress and blood pressure, improved pulse rate, and increased sexual desire.[6] As an added bonus, the study concluded that neroli oil may also support the endocrine system.

Chemical Composition of Neroli Oil

Neroli oil has a unique chemical composition. The oil is composed of over thirty distinct compounds including nerolidol, alpha-terpineol, alpha-terpinyl acetate, and farnesol.[7] Limonene, which is the most abundant compound in neroli oil, is used as a remedy for heartburn and acid reflux. Limonene, alpha-terpineol, and farnesol have also been evaluated for possible anticarcinogenic effects.[8, 9, 10]

Neroli Oil Blends

Many essential oils must be diluted with other oils before they are safe to use on human skin. Neroli oil should be diluted but not because it’s unsafe—because it’s expensive!

Pure neroli oil can cost $100 per ounce! Beware of retailers who charge significantly less—it is likely a fake or a blend. There’s nothing wrong with an essential oil blend… as long as it’s not being passed off as 100% pure neroli oil. Exercise caution and read ingredient labels and reviews before purchasing any neroli oil product.

Why is neroli oil so expensive? Because neroli oil is costly to produce. It takes one ton of bitter orange blossoms to make one quart of oil. Fortunately, a little neroli oil goes a long way and it blends well with other essential oils. Oils frequently blended with neroli include benzoin oil, geranium oil, lavender oil, jasmine oil, and rosemary oil. Neroli also blends well with other citrus oils.

Because of its many benefits for beauty and body, and because it complements other essential oils, Global Healing Center includes neroli oil in several of our products. AquaSpirit® is a refreshing body and face mist that combines neroli oil, oxygen, and other natural aromatherapeutic ingredients to promote radiant, beautiful skin. French for “perfect face”, Parfait Visage® is our top-of-the-line, organic skin care product. It combines neroli oil with natural antioxidants, moisturizers, and botanicals to encourage fresh, healthy-looking skin.

Have you tried neroli oil? What do you use it for? Tell us in the comments!

References (10)
  1. Wilson, Roberta. The Essential Guide to Essential Oils: The Secret to Vibrant Health and Beauty. New York: Avery Group, 2016. Print.
  2. Ammar, A. Haj, J. Bouajila, A. Lebrihi, F. Mathieu, M. Romdhane, and F. Zagrouba. "Chemical Composition and in Vitro Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activities of Citrus Aurantium L. Flowers Essential Oil (Neroli Oil)." Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences 15.21 (2012): 1034-040. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.
  3. Suryawanshi,Jyotsna Saonere A. “An Overview of Citrus Aurantium Used in Treatment of Various Diseases.” African Journal of Plant Science, vol. 5, no. 7, July 2011, pp. 390–395. Accessed 23 Nov. 2016.
  4. Kim, In-Hee et al. “Essential Oil Inhalation on Blood Pressure and Salivary Cortisol Levels in Prehypertensive and Hypertensive Subjects.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM 2012 (2012): 984203.PMC. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.
  5. Namazi, Masoumeh et al. “Aromatherapy With Citrus Aurantium Oil and Anxiety During the First Stage of Labor.” Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal16.6 (2014): e18371.PMC. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.
  6. Choi, Seo Yeon et al. "Effects of Inhalation of Essential Oil of Citrus aurantium L. var. amara on Menopausal Symptoms, Stress, and Estrogen in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial"Citrus AurantiumL. Var. amara on Menopausal Symptoms, Stress, and Estrogen in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM 2014 (2014): 796518. PMCpan. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.
  7. Ammar, A. Haj, et al. “Chemical Composition and in Vitro Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activities of Citrus Aurantium L. Flowers Essential Oil (Neroli Oil).” Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences vol. 15, no. 21, 1 Dec. 2012, pp. 1034–1040.
  8. Jidong, Sun. “D-Limonene: Safety and Clinical Applications.” Alternative Medicine Review, vol. 12, no. 3, 2007, pp. 259–264.
  9. Hassan. Saadia Bashir, et al. “Alpha Terpineol: A Potential Anticancer Agent Which Acts Through Suppressing NF-κB Signalling.” Anticancer Research, vol. 30, no. 6, June 2010, pp. 1911–1919. Accessed 23 Nov. 2016.
  10. Burke, Yvette D., et al. “Inhibition of Pancreatic Cancer Growth by the Dietary Isoprenoids Farnesol and Ge aniol.” Lipids, vol. 32, no. 2, Feb. 1997, pp. 151–156.

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