Petitgrain essential oil is distilled from the foliage of citrus trees like sweet orange, bitter orange, lemon and mandarin. Unlike many of the other citrus essential oils Petitgrain is not phototoxic and can be applied to the skin in therapeutic dilutions.


Petitgrain can be described as a very “fresh” smelling essential oil, it is sharp, green and slightly woody and you can pick up the citrus smell nicely in a diffuser. This is a lovely oil for a gender-neutral blend that is neither too floral or too citrusy. I have clients of both genders that appreciate Petitgrain and even have a couple of clients that love wearing this oil as a holistic perfume, either diluted on the skin or in an aromatherapy locket worn around the neck.

Therapeutic Uses

Petitgrain is used therapeutically for:

  • Relaxant
  • Antispasmodic
  • Nervous exhaustion and insomnia
  • Calming
  • Mental fatigue
  • Acne, oily skin

It blends well with Rose Geranium, Grapefruit, Sweet Marjoram and other citrus oils. Try it in a diffuser for some whole-family relaxation at the end of a busy day or in the bath with milk.


  • Ford R, Api A et al. Petitgrain bigarade oil. Food & Chemical Toxicology 1992
  • Kurt Schnaubelt, The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils, Healing Arts Press, 2011
  • Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, Element Books, 1995
  • Jeanne Rose, The Aromatherapy Book, North Atlantic Books, 1992