Sometimes I learn about what an oil can do, know it is useful, so we import it. Sometimes I fall in love, and then research what it can do.
Years ago I sampled a distilled Bitter Orange oil. Aromatically it was just that, bitter. Perhaps they had gotten some of the white pith in the oil, I don’t know, but it was bitter, and unpleasant. Plus, cold pressed Bitter Orange oil is a severe photosensitizer, so it is unsafe for topical use. Why should we offer this? So we never have.
A few months ago I met an Egyptian author and researcher who had just started importing some of the oils his company distills. I sampled, and I fell in love! This organically grown, steam distilled Bitter Orange oil, Citrus aurantium var. amara, is the fruit of the same tree that gives us my beloved Neroli and Petitgrain Bigarade oils. Who knew that I would love this citrus rind oil just as much? Unlike our other, cold pressed orange oils, which are cheery and vivid and very “in your face,”— this Bitter Orange Oil is subtle, and almost floral. I swear I can sense the orange blossoms that preceded it… it smells more like a gentle floral than a citrus oil; very subtle, very complex. I was in love. Today at the very end of November, it arrived in house. I was worried. What if the import didn’t match my memory? What if I didn’t love it? I asked Jim for a scent strip and knew we were in luck…Jim was smiling when he brought the scent strip up for me to sample; so I knew we had something special!
Subtle, aromatically seeming to blend both citrus and floral notes, this oil could make a single note perfume alone, although I think it would be very fleeting.
Physically, there is research indicating that the oil of the Bitter Orange rind is shown to be an effective antibacterial against gram positive bacteria, including staph, but not against gram negative bacteria. It is, however found to be a powerful topical anti-fungal. I have seen research showing it is effective against candida and athlete’s foot, among other fungal infections.
However emotional use is where this lovely Bitter Orange Oil really shines. I have found a long list of research studies showing its effectiveness as an anxiolytic, an anti-anxiety agent. There are published research studies showing its effectiveness for many types/situations inducing anxiety, among them presurgical, during labor, and even during withdrawals from crack addiction.
If you suffer from anxiety, and are already using Neroli and Petitgrain Bigarade oils to help deal with it, the oil of their fruit, the Bitter Orange, would be a valuable addition to your aromatic arsenal. Jim and I have discussed replacing the Sweet Orange currently in our Reunite Synergy with this lovely oil.
SAFETY: Unlike its cold-pressed counterpart, the distilled Bitter Orange oil is NOT a photosensitizer, but is sun safe. Note: Always dilute in a carrier oil at appropriate dilutions for use on skin.
SHELF LIFE: Approximately 1 to 2 years after you open the bottle. Storing in the dark, refrigerated, and decanting half full bottles into smaller, full bottles will extend shelf life.
This reminds me of Cointreau. It’s not too expensive. Very fresh!