(Citrus aurantium subsp. amara)

Family: Rutaceae

Description: Petitgrain is the bitter orange, an evergreen tree with dark-green leaves and fragrant white flowers. The essential oil is steam-distilled from the leaves and twigs.

Countries of origin: France, Italy, Paraguay, Algeria, Haiti

Characteristics: Petitgrain shares many of the qualities of neroli and has fresh, floral, citrousy top notes and light woody, herbaceous undertones. It blends well with most florals and citruses, and also with rosemary, clary sage, black pepper, benzoin, patchouli, palmarosa and clove.
Main therapeutic properties: Antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, deodorant, digestive, nervine, stomachic, sedative.


Petitgrain is a traditional ingredient of eau de cologne. Its refreshing aroma is often used in skin-care products and it clears blemishes and helps to reduce over-active sebum production. Petitgrain is recommended for nervous tension and anxiety, and is similar to (but less effective than neroli. In an evening bath it helps to prevent insomnia, especially if you are lonely. Overall, petitgrain has a relaxing, balancing, refreshing quality.
Psychologically, petitgrain is revitalizing, balancing, nourishing and clears away troubled emotions. It is good in meditation to get in touch with the rational and intellectual mind. Petitgrain’s soft, gentle aroma is also useful in convalescence, especially when a stronger fragrance would be overwhelming.