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Neroli Essential Oil

What Should You Know Abour It?

By

Updated May 13, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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.

How Does Neroli Essential Oil Work?

In aromatherapy, inhaling the aroma of neroli essential oil (or absorbing neroli essential 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. Aromatherapy proponents suggest that essential oils may affect a number of biological factors, including heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, and immune function.

Health Benefits of Neroli Essential Oil

Although research on the health effects of neroli essential oil is fairly limited, some preliminary studies suggest that it may offer certain benefits. Here's a look at some key findings from the available research on neroli essential oil:

1) Anxiety

A number of studies show that neroli essential oil may help lessen anxiety. In a 2013 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, for instance, researchers found that an aromatherapy treatment involving a blend of neroli, lavender, and chamomile essential oils helped alleviate anxiety and improve sleep quality in a group of coronary angioplasty patients in an intensive care unit. The study included 56 patients.

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 of prehypertension (a condition marked by abnormally elevated blood pressure) 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 an aromatherapy blend experienced a significant decrease in blood pressure, as well as in levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Uses for Neroli Essential Oil

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

  • anxiety
  • colds
  • headache
  • high blood pressure
  • indigestion
  • insomnia

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

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

How to Use Neroli Essential Oil

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.

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

Is Neroli Essential Oil Safe?

Neroli essential oil should not be taken internally without the supervision of a health professional. Internal use of neroli essential oil may have toxic effects.

Additionally, some individuals may experience irritation when applying neroli essential oil to the skin.

It's also important to note that self-treating a chronic condition (such as high blood pressure) with neroli essential oil and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Learn more about how to use neroli essential oil safely.

Alternatives to Neroli Essential Oil

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 have all been found to promote relaxation in scientific studies.

Where To Find Neroli Essential Oil

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.

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.

Holm L, Fitzmaurice L. "Emergency department waiting room stress: can music or aromatherapy improve anxiety scores?" Pediatr Emerg Care. 2008 Dec;24(12):836-8.

Hu PH, Peng YC, Lin YT, Chang CS, Ou MC. "Aromatherapy for reducing colonoscopy related procedural anxiety and physiological parameters: a randomized controlled study." Hepatogastroenterology. 2010 Sep-Oct;57(102-103):1082-6.

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.

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