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The blossoms are gathered, usually by hand, in late April to early May. The oil is produced by water distillation, as the blossom is too fragile to endure steam distillation.
By the end of the 17th century, Anne Marie Orsini, duchess of Bracciano and princess of Nerola, introduced the essence of bitter orange tree as a fashionable fragrance by using it to perfume her gloves and her bath. Since then, the name of Neroli has been used to describe this essence. Neroli has a refreshing and distinctive, spicy aroma with sweet and flowery notes. It is one of the most widely used floral oils in perfumery. It is a non-toxic, non-irritant, non-sensitizing, non-photo-toxic substance. More than 12% of all modern quality perfumes use Neroli as their principal ingredient. It blends well with any citrus oil, various floral absolutes, and most of the synthetic components available on the market. Neroli oil is a classic element in fragrance design and one of the most commonly used in the industry.
As an essential oil, used in aromatherapy and massage, Neroli is considered to have a soothing effect on the nervous system. Traditionally, neroli oil was used not only to relieve tension and anxiety, but also in increase circulation. A solution is made by adding three or four drops of the essential oil to one cup of either sweet almond oil or wheat germ oil. The oil is then fixed by adding grapefruit seed extract, but if the solution is to be used on children or pregnant women, only half the quantity of essential oil should be used.