Towards the end of the 17th Century, Anne Marie Orsini, Duchess of Bracciano and Princess of Nerola, Italy, introduced the essence of the bitter orange tree to fashionable society by using it to perfume her gloves and bath. Since then Neroli has been the name given to the essential oil produced by steam distillation of the flowers of the Bitter Orange.

At one time in Madrid it was used in an altogether less elevated part of society. – It was worn by prostitutes as a way of enabling men to recognise them for what they were!

Perhaps given the above it is not surprising that Neroli has long been describes as one of the aphrodisiac oils but to see it simply as such would be an oversimplification. It is particularly good at treating nervous depression which quells sexual desire.

It is also goo for promoting emotional harmony and to me is the most important oil for dealing with deep emotional trauma.

On the physical side it is an oil that can aid eczema, particularly when it is a form that is exacerbated by stress. It similarly can help with irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive tract problems.

One of my favourite oils it is unfortunately not cheap, the yield from the flowers being only 0.1%.

It is also loved by bees and in places where orchards of citrus are grown produces a fine honey.