In Lebanon Neroli hydrosol, or orange blossom water is used extensively in flavoring pastries, puddings, cookies, syrups and jams. A popular drink called ‘white coffee’ is made by adding Neroli Hydrosol to water. According to their folk medicine, it was sprayed on people’s faces if they felt ill. [tasteofbeirut.com]
In the South of France, orange blossoms are said to signify love, joy and courage which explains why they are used in bridal wreaths and bouquets. This tradition found its way to England in the early part of the 19th Century. Another interesting tradition is the one from Crete, where both the bride and groom were sprinkled with Orange Blossom Hydrosol.
(Citrus x aurantium)
Plant Description: Neroli comes from the fragrant blossoms of the bitter orange tree. This is an evergreen tree, which has dark-green, ovate leaves, white flowers with thick, fleshy petals and small dark fruit. The fruit of the bitter orange tree is smaller and darker than the fruit produced by the sweet orange tree.
History/Folklore: Anna Maria de la Tremoille, Princess of Neroli, was responsible for bringing orange blossoms to the attention of many at court. She loved the aroma and used it on everything that she could. Perhaps this explains this lovely aromatics name of Neroli. Madam de Pompadour continued influencing the use of this lovely aromatic both as a perfume ingredient and for scenting gloves.
Aroma and Taste: Suzanne Catty describes Neroli hydrosol as being ‘sublime, floral, fruity, refreshing, sexy, and luscious. One of the most complex-smelling hydrosols, and when it’s great it is every bit as nice as the oil. Wear it as a perfume. The flavor is sweet and again, both floral and fruity, with a hint of greenness.’
Stability and Shelf Life: Very Stable. Two years or more.
pH: 3.8 – 4.5
Neroli hydrosol has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, calming, cooling, digestive and sedative properties.
According to Jeanne Rose Neroli is both an aphrodisiac and uplifting. Excellent to add to baths for those with dry skin as it is very hydrating while still gentle enough for babies.
Suzanne Catty recommends using this hydrosol for anyone, young or old, who is having hysterics. She maintains that it is a wonderful choice when there is any kind of shock. Because it is so astringent, Neroli Hydrosol is an excellent choice for oily skin, while at the same time being excellent to use on delicate and sensitive skin. It makes an excellent skin toner when used on its own. Combine with rock rose to help clear acne and skin irritations.
Len and Shirley Price recommend using Neroli hydrosol for anyone suffering from SAD. It will help to support stressed or emotionally upset people. Use it in the bath to help children who have become over-excited.
According to Susanne Fischer-Rizzi, Neroli hydrosol is a great choice for anyone dealing with a sleep disorder that is because of restlessness and/or fear. It is also excellent for those mood swings that occur during PMS and menopause.
Another person to recommend using Neroli Hydrosol to calm agitated children and babies is Lydia Bosson. She goes on to say that it will calm animals, and can be helpful if you spray the animal before taking them to the vet. While she considers Neroli Hydrosol to be one of the best hydrosols for children who struggle with sleeping, she also suggests that it can be very helpful for those who want to stop smoking. She recommends using it to eliminate the use of any addictive substance including alcohol and anti-depressant drugs. Add 1 tablespoon of Neroli hydrosol to 1 litre of water and drink this throughout the day, for a period of 40 days.
As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I particularly like to use hydrosols energetically. Using them in misters and sprays I find they make a subtle but effective difference.
According to Dr. Berkowsky’s Spiritual PhytoEssencing, Neroli has some complex themes. These include, innocence, as well as sensuality. Submission and free will. He says: ‘In the Neroli individual we see a combination of innocence and earnestness.’ Based on this information there are times when using Neroli or Neroli Hydrosol could be just the energetic catalyst we might be looking for.
Reference Steffen Arctander, Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin, 1960 Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils ©1998-2018 Joseph Ben Hil-Meyer Research, Inc. Suzanne Catty, Hydrosols, The Next Aromatherapy, Healing Arts Press, 2001 Ernst Guenther, The Essential Oil, Vol V, 1948 reprinted 1972 Ann Harman, Harvest to Hydrosol, IAG Botanics LLC dba botanicals, 2015 Beverley Hawkins, Essential Oils and Carriers, Aromatherapy 101, Aromatherapy 201, Aromatherapy 301, 1999-2018 Bettina Malle & Helge Schmickl, The Essential Oil Maker’s Handbook, Spikehorn Press, 2012, 2015 Len and Shirley Price, Understanding Hydrolats Churchill Livingstone, 2004 Jeanne Rose, 374 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, Frog Ltd, 1999 Suzanne Fischer-Rizzi, Das Grosse Buch der Pflanzenwaesser, Atverlag, 2020 Lydia Bosson, Hydrosol Therapy, (translated from the French), Singing Dragon, 2019