The Benefits of Neroli Essential Oil

orange blossom (neroli) flowers
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Neroli essential oil is a type of essential oil long used in aromatherapy. Sourced from the flowers of the bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium), neroli essential oil is said to offer a variety of benefits for mental and physical health.

With a sweet and spicy aroma, neroli essential oil is also sometimes used as an ingredient in perfume, cologne, cream, lotion, massage oil, and candles.

Health Uses

In aromatherapy, neroli essential oil is typically used for the following health problems:

  • Anxiety
  • Colds
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Indigestion
  • Insomnia

Neroli essential oil is said to reduce inflammation, alleviate stress, stimulate circulation, and enhance mood.

When used in skin-care and hair products, neroli essential oil is thought to treat oily skin, reduce signs of aging, and diminish the appearance of scars and stretch marks.

How Does It Work?

Inhaling the aroma of neroli essential oil (or absorbing the oil through the skin) is thought to transmit messages to a brain region involved in controlling emotions. Known as the limbic system, this brain region also influences the nervous system.

Proponents suggest that essential oils may affect a number of biological factors, including heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, and immune function.

Benefits

Although research on the health effects of neroli essential oil is limited, some preliminary studies suggest that the oil may offer certain benefits.

Here's a look at some key findings from the available research:

1) Anxiety

Studies suggest that neroli essential oil may help ease anxiety. In a 2014 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, for instance, researchers examined the effect of neroli oil aromatherapy on menopausal symptoms, stress, and estrogen in postmenopausal women.

After inhaling neroli essential oil (0.1 percent and 0.5 percent) for five minutes twice daily for five days, participants had an improved quality of life related to menopausal symptoms, increased sexual desire, and reduced blood pressure.

In a 2013 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, an aromatherapy blend containing neroli essential oil was found to reduce anxiety and alleviate sleep problems in a group of coronary angioplasty patients in an intensive care unit.

2) High Blood Pressure

Neroli essential oil may aid in blood pressure control, according to a small study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2012.

For the study, 83 people with high blood pressure or prehypertension inhaled the aroma of either a placebo fragrance or an aromatherapy blend containing neroli, lavender, ylang-ylang, and marjoram essential oils for 24 hours. Results revealed that those assigned to the aromatherapy blend experienced a significant decrease in blood pressure, as well as in levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

How to Use 

When combined with a carrier oil (such as jojoba, sweet almond, or avocado), neroli essential oil can be applied directly to the skin or added to baths in small amounts.

Neroli essential oil can also be inhaled after sprinkling a drop or two of the oil onto a cloth or tissue, or by using an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporizer.

The oil is often combined with other essential oils, such as basil, tangerine, and lime. 

Possible Side Effects

Although aromatherapy is generally considered safe when used correctly, there is a lack of research on neroli oil.

Essential oils can be toxic if you ingest them. Additionally, some individuals may experience irritation when applying neroli essential oil to the skin. With any essential oil, there is the risk of contact sensitivity. A skin patch test is recommended prior to using any new essential oil.

The oil should never be applied in your eyes, on mucous membranes, or to the skin at full-strength. The oil is absorbed through skin, so you shouldn't use more than very small, recommended amounts to avoid toxicity. Always keep essential oils out of the reach of children. 

You can learn more about how to use neroli essential oil here, but it's important to note that self-treating a chronic condition (such as high blood pressure) and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using it, make sure to consult your physician first.

Alternatives t

Neroli hydrosol, also known as neroli water or orange blossom water, is a fragrant water made from the steam distillation of neroli flowers. Said to soothe and hydrate skin, the hydrosol form is sometimes used as an ingredient in facial toners, aftershave, facial mists, and other skin and hair products.

A number of essential oils may possess health effects similar to the purported benefits of neroli essential oil. For example, lavender essential oil, bergamot essential oil, and rose essential oil may also posses calming properties.

Where to Find It

Here are some tips on purchasing essential oils.

Widely available for purchase online, neroli essential oil is sold in many natural-foods stores and in stores specializing in self-care products.

The Bottom Line

In aromatherapy, neroli oil is prized for its calming and relaxing scent. There are many ways to use it, from getting an aromatherapy massage to using it in a diffuser. But if you have a condition, don't rely on neroli oil to treat it (and it's always a good idea to talk with your health care provider before trying any new treatment). 

Sources:

Cho MY, Min ES, Hur MH, Lee MS. Effects of aromatherapy on the anxiety, vital signs, and sleep quality of percutaneous coronary intervention patients in intensive care units. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:381381.

Choi SY, Kang P, Lee HS, Seol GH. 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. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:796518. doi: 10.1155/2014/796518. Epub 2014 Jun 12.

Kim IH, Kim C, Seong K, Hur MH, Lim HM, Lee MS. Essential oil inhalation on blood pressure and salivary cortisol levels in prehypertensive and hypertensive subjects. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:984203.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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