Bitter Orange (Citrus Aurantium Amara)
Plant Family Rutaceae
Synonym: Seville orange
Citrus aurantium L. Subsp. amara L., Citrus aurantium L. Subsp. aurantium
The bitter orange is native to Southeast Asia and has been spread by humans to many parts of the world. In fact, the origin story of all oranges and citrus fruits brings us to the foothills of the Himalayas.
According to the findings of scientists who analysed the genomic data of more than 60 different varieties of citrus fruits, published in the scientific journal Nature, if you were craving a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice 8 million years ago the only place you could have got it was he foothills of the Himalayas.
Bitter Orange, also known as Seville Orange and Bigarade, is a sturdy, evergreen citrus species that is indigenous to India and is cultivated in Spain, Sicily, Morocco, the southern US and the Caribbean – diverse regions with similar climates. Citrus aurantium var. amara is a hybrid of Citrus maxima (pomelo) and Citrus reticulata (mandarin) and is the preferred fruit used for marmalades, regional culinary specialties, marinades, liqueurs and other beverage flavorings, solvents and for natural perfumery.
In manufacturing, bitter orange oil is used in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and soaps.
MĖTA Orange bitter essential oil originates from Sicilia.
Bitter Orange oil is produced by cold pressing the fresh peel and collecting everything that is expressed. This is then fresh clarified and filtered to become expressed oil of Bitter Orange. It is necessary up to 150-200 kg of Bitter Orange peel to obtain 1 kg of essential oil.
Nature of the Oil
Bitter Orange oil is a light yellow or pale green liquid with an extremely rich specific smell. As the name implies, Bitter Orange Essential Oil smells like a cross between the sweetness of sweet orange oil and the slight bitterness of grapefruit oil. It adds an interesting note to natural perfumer formulations.
Perfumery Note – Top. The aroma lasts up to 24 hours.
Natural perfumers appraise excellent uplifting qualities of the Bitter Orange oil. It’s blends beautifully with florals, showcasing their beauty like no other citrus does. For its distinctly different aroma, Bitter Orange seems to be preferred in many high-end perfumes.
|D-Limonene||89.7 – 99.0%|
|beta-Myrcene||1. 6 – 2.4%|
|gamma-Terpinene||5.0 – 11.4%|
|Neral||0.01 – 0.05%|
|alpha -Phellandrene||0.0 – 0.06%|
|Geranial||0.01 – 0.04%|
Sedative, antispasmodic, stimulates digestion, anti-coagulant, thinning.
The therapeutic properties of bitter orange include treatment of poor digestion, constipation, and clearing congestion of the liver when used in massage blends.
The cleansing, stimulating and toning action of bitter orange essential oil makes it ideal to add to other lymphatic stimulants for treating oedema cellulite or as part of a detoxification program. Varicose veins and facial thread veins respond well to this essential oil, especially when blended with cypress oil in facial treatments. Some aromatherapists have had success treating acne with this oil, perhaps due to its antiseptic properties.
The bitter orange flower and bitter orange oil are used for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders including ulcers in the intestine, constipation, diarrhea, blood in feces, drooping (prolapsed) anus or rectum, and intestinal gas. These parts of the bitter orange plant are also used for regulating fat levels in the blood, lowering blood sugar in people with diabetes, stimulating the heart and circulation, “blood purification,” disorders of liver and gallbladder, kidney and bladder diseases, and as a sedative for sleep disorders.
Anxiety, nervousness, asthenia, dizziness; digestive complaints, flatulence, stomach cramps, plethora, toxemia, circulatory weakness and venous stasis.
Alleviates Stress and Reduces Anxiety. On the emotional system bitter orange essential oil is extremely uplifting and energizing for the body, yet calming to the mind and emotions. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine as an aid to meditation, and can be extremely helpful in easing stress and anxiety. Diffusing bitter orange oil is said to help dispel tantrums and frustration for both adults and children alike!
Blends Well With
Essential oils of Bergamot, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Clove, Clary Sage, Coriander, Juniper, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lavender, Neroli, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary.
Our safety advice
Bitter Orange Essential Oil is phototoxic. Tisserand and Young recommend a dermal maximum of 1.25% to avoid risk of phototoxic reaction. Avoid using Bitter Orange Oil that has oxidized due to a greater risk of skin sensitization. Reading Tisserand and Young’s full profile is recommended.
Bitter Orange Essential Oil is phototoxic. Refer to the safety information mentioned below.
Along with Neroli (Orange Blossom) and Petitgrain Bigarade (Orange Leaf) essential oils and absolutes, Bitter Orange has one of the three important aromas derived from Citrus aurantium var. amara.
1. R. Tisserand, R. Young, E. M Williamson “Essential Oil Safety. A Guide for Health Care Professionals”, Churchill Livingstone ELSEVIER, 2014
2. R. Balz “The Healing Power of Essential Oils”, LOTUS LIGHT SHANGRI-LA, Twin Lakes, 1996
3. J. Lawless, The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Updated Edition), London: Harper Thorsons, 2014
4. B.M. Lawrence, Essential Oils 1981-1987 (Wheaton: Allured Publishing, 1989), 39-40.
5. P.Dugo, L. Mondello, E. Sebastiani, et al., Identification of Minor Oxygen Heterocyclic Compounds of Citrus Essential Oils by Liquid Chromatography-Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Ionisation Mass Spectrometry. (Journal of Liquid Chromatography & Related Technologies 22, 1999), 2991-3005.
6. B.M. Lawrence, Progress in Essential Oils, Number 2. (Perfumer & Flavorist 25, 2000), 46-49. SCCP, Opinion on Furocoumarins in Cosmetic Products. (Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, 13-Dec.-2005), SCCP/0942/05.