Coming from the leaves of the bitter orange tree, Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil has remarkable effects on the nervous system. A true anti-stress oil, it will promote relaxation and calming with its smell which, according to people, will evoke orange blossom. In cosmetics, it will be the ally of oily skin. Latin name: Citrus × aurantium ssp. amara (Link) Engl. Distilled part: leaves and small branches.

This article was updated on 16/05/2023

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Precautions for use

Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil does not present any particular risks, all ways of use are possible. It is only not recommended for babies under 3 months and pregnant women under 3 months. However, it contains a significant quantity of linalool which is an allergenic compound. People with allergic conditions must therefore be vigilant. It is contraindicated in cases of severe hypotension. Finally, people with asthma should seek medical advice before using it.

Authorized users

Adults and Teenagers Adults and Teenagers
Children under 6 years old Children under 6 years old
Pregnant & breastfeeding women Pregnant & breastfeeding women
Pregnant women less than 3 months Pregnant women less than 3 months
Babies under 3 months Babies under 3 months

Possible ways of use

Inhaled Inhaled
Dermal Dermal
Oral route Oral route
In broadcast In broadcast

Risks of use

Allergenic Allergenic
Non-irritating to the skin Non-irritating to the skin
Not Photosensitizing Not Photosensitizing
No Hormone-like No Hormone-like

Other precautions

Medical advice

People with asthma should seek medical advice before use.

Skin application
  • Use as a skin application in babies over 3 months and in sensitive people must be diluted.
  • Used pure over the long term, Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil is drying and promotes the appearance of sensitization, therefore an allergic risk. It is best to dilute it in vegetable oil as soon as possible
Contraindications

This essential oil is not recommended in cases of severe hypotension.

Allergenic components

Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil contains four allergenic biochemical components.

  • linalool (18 to 32%);
  • geraniol (≤ 4%);
  • limonene (≤ 2%);
  • citrals (geranial + neral) (≤ 0.5%).

Note: It is best to test the essential oil before using it (two drops in the crook of the elbow for at least 24 hours to check that there is no reaction). Also ensure that storage conditions are respected to avoid any risk of oxidation, which could cause the formation of secondary sensitizing compounds.

Properties of Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil

Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil is highly concentrated in linalyl acetate, linalool, alpha terpineol and geranyl acetate. These different molecules give it the following main properties:

  • antispasmodic ++++ (linalyl acetate):

    petit Grain Bigarade essential oil controls spasms of nervous, thoracic and gynecological origin. Linalyl acetate is also an antispasmodic of vascular smooth muscle by activation of nitric oxide.

  • calming, anxiolytic, sedative, nervous rebalancing ++++ (linalool, linalyl acetate):

    petit Grain Bigarade essential oil is best known for helping to manage stress while promoting sustained attention and concentration. Studies have notably confirmed its anxiolytic and sedative effects, and demonstrated a reduction in the level of cortisol, the stress hormone.

  • anti-infectious ++ (linalool, α-terpineol):

    petit Grain Bigarade essential oil is a mild anti-infective, acting more on respiratory tract conditions.

  • analgesic, local anesthetic ++ (linalool):

    petit Grain Bigarade essential oil calms pain of nervous origin, such as certain rheumatisms. It acts on muscarinic, opioid and dopamine receptors at the same time.

But also these secondary properties:

  • healing
  • anti-inflammatory
  • insecticide
  • repellent

In case of' Anxiety, anxiety, stress

Efficiency: ++++

Simple use

From 3 years old. 

  • In broadcast, pour the number of drops indicated on the diffuser instructions then diffuse in intervals of 5 to 10 minutes (without children being present).  
  • When inhaled, breathe directly above the bottle 2 to 3 times a day or place a few drops on the wick of an inhaler or a tissue, 2 to 3 times a day.
  • Dermal, dilute 1 drop of Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil in 20 drops of vegetable oil. Massage the different areas of the body: the solar plexus, the back, the trapezius, the legs, the feet (preferred area for children), the hands. For adults, it is possible to place 1 pure or diluted drop of Petit Grain Bigarade on the wrists and inhale deeply, up to 3 times a day.
  • In the bath, mix 5 to 10 drops of Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil in 1 teaspoon of bath base. Pour the mixture into the bath water (maximum 37°C). Stay in the bath for around twenty minutes. Do not rinse before drying off.

Use in synergy

Reserved for ages 6+. Through the skin, apply 1 drop of the mixture to the solar plexus and 1 drop to the inside of each wrist. Repeat the operation 2 to 3 times a day as needed. For prolonged use or for sensitive skin, dilute in vegetable oil.

  • 90 drops of Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil
  • 30 drops of Complete Ylang Ylang essential oil
  • 30 drops of Lemongrass essential oil

More details and other users: essential oils against stress. 

Against the Oily skin

Efficiency: ++++

Simple use

For adults and adolescents. Dermal, mix 20 drops of Petit Grain Bigarade in 60 mL of vegetable oil (Grape Seed or Jojoba). Apply 1 to 3 drops of the mixture morning and evening to the face. Take a one-week break after 3 weeks of use.

Use in synergy

From 6 years old. Through the skin, apply 4 drops of the mixture to the parts of the body where your skin is the oiliest (face, chest, back). Repeat the operation every evening until visible improvement.

  • 1 drop of essential oil Petit grain bigarade
  • 1 drop of essential oil Geranium Rosat
  • 1 drop of essential oil Green Mandarin
  • 120 drops of vegetable oil Jojoba

More details or other users: essential oils against oily skin. 

In case of Palpitations

Efficiency: +++

Simple use

From 6 years old, on medical advice. In olfaction, place 1 drop of essential oil on the inside of the wrists, then take deep breaths, as soon as the need arises in situations caused by stress. It is also possible to place a few drops on a tissue, use an inhaler stick or breathe directly above the bottle.

Does not replace treatment for hypertension or heart rhythm disorders.

Petit Grain Bigarade or Complete Ylang Ylang?

Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil is useful for its calming and soothing properties but theylang Ylang essential oil will be even more specific to this problem in the case of stress-related disorders. Using the skin, apply 1 drop of Ylang Ylang essential oil to the inside of the wrists, then take deep breaths as needed (medical advice required for long-term use). Does not replace treatment for hypertension or heart rhythm disorders.

In case of' Aerophagia, bloating, flatulence

Efficiency: +++

Simple use

From 3 months. Through the skin, 1 drop of Petit Grain Bigarade in 9 drops of vegetable oil, to apply in a circular massage on the stomach, up to 3 times a day for 5 days.

Reserved for ages 6+. Orally, 1 drop of Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil on a neutral support, 3 times a day until improvement. Take a 1 week break after 3 weeks of use.

Petit Grain Bigarade or Cardamom?

Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil is effective but cardamom essential oil is more effective in cases of aerophagia, bloating or flatulence. For those over 6 years old, orally: 1 drop of Cardomom in a teaspoon of olive oil or honey 3 times a day.

Use in synergy

Reserved for ages 3+. Orally, on days when the symptoms of aerophagia are triggered, ingest 2 drops of this synergy, 3 times a day before a meal, in a small spoon of honey or olive oil. Do not use this synergy for a prolonged period without the advice of a therapist.

  • 30 drops of Lemon essential oil
  • 30 drops of Cardamom essential oil
  • 15 drops of Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil

For more details or other users: essential oils against aerophagia.

In case of Depressed

Efficiency: +++

Simple use

Reserved for ages 6+, in addition to medical care. 

  • Orally, 1 drop of Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil on a support to let melt in the mouth, 3 times a day, until improvement. Take a one-week break after three weeks of use.
  • Through the skin, 1 drop of essential oil in 4 drops of vegetable oil to apply on the inside of the wrists and on the thorax, morning and evening. Take a week's break after three weeks of use.

Use in synergy

Reserved for ages 6+. For skin application, in addition to medical treatment, place 1 drop of the mixture on the solar plexus and 1 drop on the inside of the wrists 2 to 3 times a day. For prolonged use or for sensitive skin, dilute in vegetable oil.

  • 45 drops of Shelled Marjoram essential oil
  • 15 drops of Fragrant Verbena essential oil
  • 75 drops of Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil

More details : essential oils against depression.

Petit Grain Bigarade or Neroli?

Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil will be effective in cases of depression, but if you have neroli essential oil, it will be even more effective. Dermal, from 6 years old: 1 drop of Neroli in 4 drops of vegetable oil to apply on the inside of the wrists and on the thorax, morning and evening. Take a one-week break after three weeks of use.

In case of Sleep problems, Insomnia

Efficiency: +++

Simple use

From 3 months. 

  • In broadcast, pour the number of drops indicated on the diffuser instructions then diffuse in intervals of 5 to 10 minutes (without children being present). 
  • Dermal, dilute the essential oil to 5% in a vegetable oil (15 drops of EO in 9.5 mL of HV). Apply 2-3 drops of the mixture by massaging the wrists, solar plexus, back or arch of the foot.

From 3 years old. It is possible to use it diffused or cutaneously as above. Inhalation is also possible; breathe the essential oil directly above the bottle, slowly and deeply, and renew if necessary. In addition, it is possible to place 1 drop of Petit Grain Bigarade on the pillow or on a tissue on the bedside table.

Petit Grain Bigarade or Roman Chamomile?

Petit Grain Bigarade can be effective against insomnia, but theroman Chamomile essential oil is more effective. It can be used from the age of 3 months in diffusion for example, 10 minutes before bedtime or cutaneously, 1 drop diluted in 9 drops of vegetable oil, in massage on the solar plexus and/or the soles.

Use in synergy

For adults and adolescents. Use the mixture by diffusion or inhalation. It is also possible to use it cutaneously, 1 drop on the inside of the wrists, or add 4 mL of vegetable oil for sensitive skin, applying to the wrists, solar plexus or soles of the feet.

  • 60 drops of Roman Chamomile essential oil
  • 30 drops of Bergamot essential oil
  • 30 drops of Petit Grain Bigarade or True Lavender essential oil depending on preference

More details or other users: essential oils for insomnia.

In case of' Hyperactivity (children)

Efficiency: +++

Simple use

From 3 years old. When inhaled, breathe the essential oil directly above the bottle, slowly and deeply, and repeat as many times as necessary

From 3 months:

  • In broadcast, pour the number of drops indicated on the diffuser instructions then diffuse in intervals of 5 to 10 minutes (in the absence of children). 
  • Dermal, dilute the essential oil to 5% in a vegetable oil (15 drops of EO in 9.5 mL of HV). Apply 2-3 drops of the mixture by massaging the chest, back or arch of the foot.

Use in synergy

From 3 months. Ptake the time to massage the different areas of the body: the back, the trapezius, the legs, the feet (preferred area for babies). Perform a massage from bottom to top. Favor this massage at the end of the day. : 

  • 10 drops of Shelled Marjoram essential oil
  • 10 drops of Fine Lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops of Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil
  • 30 mL Apricot Kernel Oil
  • 4 mL of Borage oil

More details or other users: essential oils in case of stress.

Petit Grain Bigarade or True Lavender?

The essential oil of Petit Grain Bigarade can be replaced by that of True or Fine Lavender for this indication, according to the child's preferences, respecting the same advice for use as above.

Other famous applications of Petit Grain Bigarade

Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil is used on many occasions, particularly linked to its anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, deodorizing or nervous rebalancing properties. For most of the following uses it will be effective, but without necessarily being the best essential oil. We therefore indicate to you the best replacement for Petit Grain Bigarade for the following different problems.

Arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatism

Petit Grain Bigarade effective but… It is better to use lemon Eucalyptus essential oil : via the skin, 1 drop of Lemon Eucalyptus in 4 drops of vegetable oil, 3 to 4 times a day on the painful area, until improvement.

Acne, Boil

Petit Grain Bigarade effective but… It is better to use thetea Tree essential oil : cutaneously, 1 pure drop on the pimple morning and evening after cleaning the face. In case of extensive acne, dilute in 5% Nigella vegetable oil for the face (1 drop of essential oil in 20 drops of HV) or 10% for the back and shoulders (1 drop of essential oil in 9 drops of HV). Take a week's break after 3 weeks of use

Sweat

Petit Grain Bigarade effective but…  It is better to use palmarosa essential oil : via the skin, 1 pure drop under each armpit, once a day after a shower. Take a 1 week break after 3 weeks of use.

How to recognize a good Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil?

Botanical characteristics
  • Latin Name: Citrus × aurantium ssp. amara (Link) Engl.
  • Botanical family: Rutaceae
  • Part used: leaves and small branches
  • Country of origin: Paraguay.
Physical characteristics
  • Density at 20°C: 0.882 to 0.892
  • Refractive index at 20°C: 1.454 to 1.463
  • Rotational power at 20°C: -5 to -1
  • Flash point: 75
Organoleptic characteristics
  • Appearance: liquid
  • Color: pale yellow to yellow brown
  • Smell: fresh, floral, green.
Biochemical characteristics
  • linalyl acetate: 40 to 60%
  • linalool: 15 to 30%
  • α-terpineol: 3 to 7%
  • geranyl acetate: 2 to 5%
  • geraniol: 2 to 4.5%
  • trans-β-ocimene: 0.5 to 3.5%
  • limonene: 0.7 to 3.5%
  • β-myrcene: 1.3 to 3%
  • neryl acetate: 1 to 3%
  • nerol: 0.5 to 2%
  • cis-β-ocimene: 0.7 to 1.5%
  • β-caryophyllene: 0.1 to 1.5%
  • sabinene: 0.1 to 0.5%
  • β-pinene: ≤ 0.5%

Petit Grain Bigarade, Neroli, Bitter Orange: what is their connection?

The sour orange or bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium var. amara) is a particularly interesting tree since it alone is capable of offering 3 different essential oils:

  • Petit grain bigarade: the essential oil is obtained from the leaves of the tree
  • Neroli: the essential oil is obtained through the distillation of flowers, the famous orange blossoms
  • Bitter Orange: the essence is obtained by cold expression of the zest of the fruit

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Bibliography

Publication: Teneva, D., Denkova-Kostova, R., Goranov, B., Hristova-Ivanova, Y., Slavchev, A., Denkova, Z., & Kostov, G. (2019). Chemical composition, antioxidant activity and antimicrobial activity of essential oil from Citrus aurantium L zest against some pathogenic microorganisms. Zeitschrift Für Naturforschung C, 0(0). doi:10.1515/znc-2018-0062

Publication: Shen, C.-Y., Jiang, J.-G., Zhu, W., & Ou-Yang, Q. (2017). Anti-inflammatory Effect of Essential Oil from Citrus aurantium L. var. amara Engl. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 65(39), 8586–8594. doi:10.1021/acs.jafc.7b02586

Publication: Igarashi, T. (2013). Physical and Psychological Effects of Aromatherapy Inhalation on Pregnant Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 19(10), 805–810. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2012.0103

Publication: Huang, L., & Capdevila, L. (2017). Aromatherapy Improves Work Performance Through Balancing the Autonomic Nervous System. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 23(3), 214–221. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2016.0061

Publication: Goes, TC, Antunes, FD, Alves, PB, & Teixeira-Silva, F. (2012). Effect of Sweet Orange Aroma on Experimental Anxiety in Humans. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 18(8), 798–804. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2011.0551

Work : Baudoux, D. (2013). Practical guide to Aromatherapy: diffusion. Edition JOM sa

Work : Franchomme, P., Jollois, R., & Pénoël, D. (1990). Aromatherapy exactly: encyclopedia of the therapeutic use of essential oils: foundations, demonstration, illustration and applications of a natural medical science. France: R. Jollo

Work : de la Charie, T. (2019). Treat yourself with essential oils. Why and how does it work? Editions du Rocher.

Work : Zahalka, J. (2017). Complete Aromatherapy Dictionary. Editions du Dauphin.

Website : Bitter orange tree - WikiPhyto. (nd). http://www.wikiphyto.org/wiki/Oranger_amer

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About these tips

This aromatherapy article was written by Théophane de la Charie, author of the book “Treat yourself with essential oils”, accompanied by a multidisciplinary team made up of pharmacists, biochemists and agronomists. 

La Compagnie des Sens and its teams do not encourage self-medication. The information and advice provided comes from a reference bibliographic database (books, scientific publications, etc.). They are given for information purposes, or to suggest avenues for reflection: they should in no case replace a diagnosis, consultation or medical follow-up, and cannot engage the liability of the Compagnie des Sens.