Petitgrain Bigarade Essential Oil
Citrus aurantium var amara
Petitgrain Bigarade Essential Oil is also referred to as just Petitgrain Essential Oil and is also sometimes known as Bitter Orange Leaf Oil. Throughout AromaWeb, I tend to simply refer to it as just Petitgrain Essential Oil.
Petitgrain Bigarade Essential Oil is steam distilled from the leaves and sometimes the branches and twigs of the Bitter Orange tree. Although it is steam distilled from the same botanical species as Neroli Essential Oil and Bitter Orange Essential Oil, Petitgrain Bigarade Essential Oil possesses its own characteristically unique aroma. Petitgrain Oil is distilled from the leaves, twigs and branches of the tree whereas Neroli Essential Oil is distilled from the blossoms, and Bitter Orange Essential Oil is typically cold pressed from the rinds of the fruits.
Petitgrain Bigarade Essential Oil possesses an aroma that is sweet, yet tart with subtle floral, citrus and woody characteristics. It blends especially well with citrus, floral and wood oils. It's a joy to work with for aromatic blending.
The term Bigarade is used to indicate that the essential oil is derived from the tree species Citrus aurantium var. amara. Steffen Arctander writes that "'Le bigaradier' is the French term for the bitter orange tree, Citrus aurantium, subspecies amara." [Source: Steffen Arctander, Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin (Reprint Edition. Elizabeth, NJ: Pathfinder., 2017), 525.]
Typically when the common name of an essential oil is simply listed as Petitgrain Essential Oil, the oil is likely distilled from Citrus aurantium var amara. However, it is important to doublecheck.
Petitgrain essential oils are also distilled from the leaves and twigs of other citrus trees. Examples include Lemon Petitgrain Essential Oil, Mandarin Petitgrain Essential Oil, Kaffir Lime (Combava) Petitgrain Essential Oil, Bergamot Petitgrain Essential Oil and Clementine Petitgrain Essential Oil. Each definitely has its own lovely aroma and unique aromatic characteristics. The chemistry and other details also differ for each of these other petitgrain oils. I will be creating a profile to discuss the other petitgrain oils as soon as possible.
Emotionally, I find Petitgrain Bigarade Essential Oil to be uplifting, calming and balancing. I tend to include Petitgrain Bigarade Oil in my inhalers intended to help ease anxiety and high stress situations. Like Neroli and Lavender essential oils, Petitgrain Bigarade Oil contains the calming ester linalyl acetate and the calming/anti-bacterial monoterpenol linaolool.
Petitgrain Bigarade Oil is sometimes known as Poor Man's Neroli because it is much less expensive than Neroli Oil but it offers many of the same uses and benefits as neroli. Petitgrain Bigarade is an essential oil that doesn't often get the recognition it deserves because it too often lives in the shadow of Neroli. Petitgrain Bigarade is an absolutely wonderful oil to learn about and get to know for its own merits.
The aroma of Petitgrain Essential Oil is a wonderful addition to blends especially formulated for men (women love it too). Petitgrain is considered an aphrodisiac.
Petitgrain Bigarade Essential Oil Benefits and Uses
- Oily Skin
Source: Julia Lawless, The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Updated Edition) (London: Harper Thorsons, 2014), 163.
Common Method of Extraction
Plant Part Typically Used
Clear with a Yellow Tinge
Strength of Initial Aroma
Petitgrain Bigarade Essential Oil smells fresh, sweet, yet tart with subtle floral and woody characteristics.
- Linalyl acetate
- Geranyl acetate
See Essential Oil Safety for more complete list of typical constituents.
Source: B.M. Lawrence, Essential Oils 1988-1991 (Wheaton: Allured Publishing, 1995), 107-110. Source cited in Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 374.
Petitgrain Essential Oil Safety Information
Tisserand and Young do not indicate any special precautions when using Petitgrain Bigarade Oil. Reading Tisserand and Young's full profile is recommended. [Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 374-375.]
Unlike many other citrus oils, Petitgrain Bigarade Oil is not considered phototoxic.
General Safety Information
Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. For general dilution information, read AromaWeb's Guide to Diluting Essential Oils. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and be sure to first read the recommended dilution ratios for children. Consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children, the elderly, if you have medical issues or are taking medications. Before using this or any essential oil, carefully read AromaWeb's Essential Oil Safety Information page. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.
Important Information About the Profiles
The essential oil information provided on AromaWeb is intended for basic educational purposes only. The references to safety information, test results, constituents and percentages is generalized information. Essential oils can vary greatly in composition. The data is not necessary complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate. The essential oil photos are intended to represent the typical and approximate color of each essential oil. However, essential oil composition and color can vary based on harvesting, distillation, age of the essential oil and other factors. Profiles for several CO2 Extracts and absolutes are included within the directory, and are denoted as such.