An interesting piece of information about Neroli is tit is one of the aromatics found in the UK’s Coronation anointing oil. Originally created in 1626 for Charles I’s it has been used ever since.
According to Vivian A. Rich in Cursing the Basil and other Folklore of the Garden, this anointing oil includes orange flowers, roses, cinnamon, jasmine, sesame, musk, civet and ambergris. Over the years the formula was reproduced and the batch would usually be enough to serve for several coronations. When it came time to crown Queen Elizabeth II, it was discovered that the vial, that had been stored in the Deanery of Westminster Abbey, had been shattered during the bombing of London during World War II.
As the company who had been responsible for making the formula had gone out of business it meant that the formula was lost. The hunt was on. Luckily government officials were able to track down an elderly employee of the firm who had kept a few ounces of the oil as a souvenir. Thanks to modern day technology, they were able to analyse the sample and recreate Charles I’s original formula and Elizabeth II was anointed with the traditional coronation oil.
I was once asked to create an anointing oil for a Red Hat’s Chapter who were appointing a new Queen. Neroli, rose, cinnamon and jasmine were certainly a starting point for me. There wasn’t much I could do about the musk, civet or ambergris, but I did dilute the blend in sesame seed oil. Not quite the same, but at least a nod to the original and the new Red Hats Chapter Queen felt very special!
(Citrus x aurantium)
Plant Description: An evergreen tree that grows up to 33 ft high. It has dark green glossy, oval leaves and very fragrant white flowers. The fruit is the bitter orange which is smaller and darker than those of sweet orange.
History/Folklore: The tradition of using orange blossoms in bridal wreaths or bouquets originated in the South of France. Can the fact that Neroli is excellent in times of stress and anxiety be an indication as to why this tradition started? Neroli is thought to have been named after the seventeenth century Italian Princess of Neroli, Anna Maria de La Tremoille. She loved its aroma and used it on everything she could from gloves to stationery. In the 19th Century, particularly under the patronage of Madame de Pompadour, the perfume industry as well as the scented glove manufacture flourished.
Extraction: The essential oil is steam distilled from the freshly picked flowers.
Aroma: Sweet, refreshing, floral.
Odour intensity: Medium.
Perfume Note: Base.
Blends well with: Most oils especially jasmine, lavender, rose, lemon and other citrus oils.
Perfume Key Qualities: Aphrodisiac, hypnotic, sedative, soothing, tonic, restorative, uplifting and antidepressant.
Chemistry: Alcohols (40%), Monoterpenes (35%), Esters (14%)
Cautions: Generally safe to use.
On a physical level, Neroli’s relaxing properties make it an effective choice for palpitations and poor circulation. It is also effective for digestive problems. Many skin conditions, like scars, stretch marks, thread veins, mature and sensitive skin and wrinkles respond well to it.
On a psychological level, Neroli’s calming, relaxing, euphoric and uplifting properties make it a great choice for anxiety, fear, unrest, depression, despair, irritability, anger and nervous tension.
On a subtle level, Neroli can help one to develop the inner trust which will allows self-acceptance and produces feelings of security and protection. It helps to ease grief and bring joy back.
In Dr. Bruce Berkowsky’s Spiritual PhytoEssencing, he says: “The inner dimension of Neroli is a very complex blend of innocence, spiritual and romantic devotion, sensuality, submission and free will. The external dimension of Neroli highly emotional states, anxiety, emotional repression/pain, grief, lack of self-confidence. In the Neroli individual we see a combination of innocence and earnestness.”
In Valerie Ann Worwood’s AromaGenera, she says: “Neroli, also known as Orange Blossom, is one of the most spiritual personalities. Whatever their age, there is an in-built wisdom that extends far beyond that of worldly knowledge. Neroli is a personality that seems to have found a way to be ageless, forever young in a Spring-like way. Use to counteract anxiety, stress, tension, shock, emotional crisis, sadness, longing, panic, grief, Inner Child, abuse as a child, abuse as an adult, depression, hopelessness and fear.”
I do have an article on Neroli in the Article Archives and it is mentioned in a number of the blends I have shared over the years. Neroli is one of my absolute favorite aromatics.
Reference Steffen Arctander, Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin, 1960 Salvatore Battaglia, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils ©1998-2018 Joseph Ben Hil-Meyer Research, Inc. Tony Burfield, Natural Aromatic Materials – Odours & Origins, 2000 Ernst Guenther, The Essential Oil, Vol V, 1948 reprinted 1972 Beverley Hawkins, Essential Oils and Carriers, Aromatherapy 101, Aromatherapy 201, Aromatherapy 301, 1999-2018 Peter Holmes, Aromatica, Vol 1 and 2. Singing Dragon 2016 & 2019 Alec Lawless: Artisan Perfumery or Being Led by the Nose, 2009, Julia Lawless, The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Sourcebook, 2017 Jennifer Peace Rhind, Fragrance and Wellbeing, Plant Aromatics and Their Influence on the Psyche, 2014 Tisserand and Young, 2nd Edition Essential Oil Safety, 2014 Valeria Ann Worwood, The Fragrant Heavens, 1999 Valerie Ann Worwood, The Fragrant Pharmacy, London, Bantam Books, 1991 Valerie Ann Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition, New World Library, Novato, California, 1991, 2016