If you don’t sleep well, it is pretty annoying to hear someone say how natural sleep is. Yet it is true: sleep is the most natural thing in the world. But it is also true that sleep can be elusive. It comes naturally when we feel our life is in balance and we are moving forwards in a good direction, but eludes us when we are worried. Sleep and peace are deeply connected.
Although sleep is a complex topic that can be approached from many angles, there are oils that can certainly help.
Among these (and maybe near the top of the list) is Petitgrain Mandarin. The heavy heady notes of this oil do have a citrus note, but it is somewhat disguised: ‘citrus, but behind heavy, rather dark wooden doors’. It contains an ester which is found almost nowhere else which has an extraordinarily sedative effect.
A few months ago I was speaking to the clinical aromatherapist at one of the hospices we supply. They order quite a lot of Petitgrain Mandarin and I asked her what they use it for. ‘Oh, it’s for our cancer patients’, she said. ‘It helps them sleep’. I should have guessed.
Botanical name: Citrus reticulata
Part used: Leaves
Production: Steam distillation
Note: Top / Middle
Blending: Lavender, geranium, angelica …
Compounds: Methyl anthranilate, gamma-Terpinene, Limonene, Paracymene, alpha-Pinene (esters, monoterpenes, monoterpenols)
Uses: Insomnia, cough & asthma, anxiety, irritability, PMS, muscle cramps, joint and ligament inflammation, stress and burnout
A ‘Petitgrain’ oil is always derived from the leaf of a citrus tree. When the term is used on its own, it nearly always refers to ‘Petitgrain Bigarade‘ which means that it has been steam distilled from the leaf of the Bitter Orange tree. This oil used to be distilled from the small, unripe fruit (hence ‘petit’ and ‘grain’) but then it was found that a similar oil could be obtained very much less expensively by steam distilling the leaves. So we now refer to a leaf oil from a citrus tree as a ‘petitgrain’. All petitgrains are relaxing and stress-relieving, but each has its own signature.
• Add 10 drops of Petitgrain Mandarin, 3 drops Spikenard, 7 drops High Altitude Lavender to 3 tablespoons of Macadamia oil.
• Massage the lower back and lower abdomen.
• Also gently rub the area above the upper lip with a drop of Petitgrain Mandarin
(Thanks to Lydia Bosson for this).
Other uses for Petitgrain Mandarin
Petitgrain Mandarin stimulates the pineal gland. It brings ‘light’. It may be useful for PMS, for coughs and asthma, for muscle cramps, joint and ligament pain, stress and burnout, … and for irritability. So if you were faintly irritated by my opening line about sleep being natural, then here’s the link!