Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Arnica - Arthritis?? and other research

Just came across a study that compares the topical use of an Arnica gel to the internal use of Ibuprofen in treating osteoarthritis.

According to the published study,  which focused on patients with osteoarthritis in the hand, the applied arnica gel was as effective as oral Ibuprofen in decreasing pain and increasing mobility.

I have never tried diluting our Arnica CO2 in Aloe Vera gel.  However I can speak personally for the effectiveness of our Arnica Infused Oil (in a base of Fractionated Coconut Oil) for pain relief.

Germany's Commission E has approved arnica for external use in treating injury and effects of accidents, inflammation of the mouth and throat area, and insect bites. It is DEFINITELY unsafe for internal use.

Arnica montana blossoms

Christi just came across this fascinating review while seeking something else.   A review of the literature researching 59 commercially available essential oils and their components against common skin infections, both bacterial and fungal.  A researchers dream, or a rabbit hole to disappear into since there are 88 references one can follow up! (Some apply to more than one oil, I want to start with #31!)

Roses!  For pain relief?  It would appear so.  This study indicates that inhaled Rose Oil was effective at reducing pain for burn patients after having their dressings changed. 
Rose harvest heading for the still.
Lemon Oil?  For nausea and vomiting?  Who knew?  Read the study here.

Neroli (and I wonder, perhaps Petitgrain) for menopausal issues.

All these research studies were posted on our Facebook Page. Worth following for up to the minute news.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Les Petit Grains

Petitgrain?  confusing.  that's what it is.

First of all, the name.  "Petitgrain" is French for "Little grain"  but it is distilled from the leaf.  Why not "Petitfeuilles"  "little leaves:?

A bitter orange tree
The reason for the name, we are told, is that sometimes tiny, immature fruits go into the still, along with the delicate twigs and leaves.  Perhaps the immature fruits were as tiny as grains of rice, or other grains.  I don't know. I have not observed this. But here we are. "Little grains" from an oil distilled from the leaves of the bitter orange tree, that yields our precious and rare Neroli, and Orange Blossom Absolute, and Bitter Orange essential oil. Citrus aurantium.  Bitter orange.  Straightforward, right?

Nope. It gets confusing.

Years ago we brought Petitgrain oil from Italy, sometimes from France.  Occasionally I could detect a hint of a citrus note, sometimes (rarely,) it was a lovely, clear leafy green. But for the last few years it had a muddy note. It lacked the clarity that I was looking for.  And I couldn't find one that I loved. So we offered it, reluctantly; I seldom blended with it, except for my beloved Reunité.  I forgot about it.

Then all of a sudden, all the Petitgrain on the market seemed to be from Paraguay.  Hmmm.  Was it any better?  No, if anything I liked it less. We continued to offer it.  Most sources labeled the Paraguay oil "Petitgrain bigarade" just like the European one. We did too.   But I started to see some sources labeling this same oil "Petitgrain Paraguay" and I wondered why.  It appeared to be from the same botanical, after all.

And then two things happened.  First, I started reading.  And discovered that while European Petitgrain bigarade is distilled from the leaves (and possibly twigs and immature fruit) of the BITTER Orange tree, Citrus aurantium L. ssp. amara engl., the tree that yields the Paraguay oil was the BITTERSWEET orange,  Citrus aurantium var bigaradia.   So the true Petitgrain bigarade does not come from the bittersweet var bigaradia.  Are we having fun yet?

Description from The Citrus Industry Vol. 1 (1967):

" The bittersweet orange group, which contains at least two varieties, may be regarded as a subgroup of the common bitter orange, from which it differs mainly in lower acidity and better flavor.  Formerly thought to be a hybrid of the sweet and sour oranges, the weight of evidence suggests that the bittersweet orange originated as a mutation from the latter.  It appears to be identical with the fruit described by Risso and Poiteau (1818-22, p. 101) as the sweet-fruited bitter orange of the Mediterranean basin.  It seems likely that the Spanish took this orange to both Florida and South America, for it was early found in the former and occurs extensively in Paraguay where it comprises an important source of oil of petit grain. 

From:  http://citruspages.free.fr

The leaves and twigs of the bittersweet orange are used to make petitgrain (Paraguay) oil by steam distillation. The peel of the immature fruit is used to obtain bigarade oil by cold expression. These oils are not as highly esteemed as Neroli petitgrain or Neroli bigarade from the common sour orange, but they are largely used in perfumery and in aromatherapy. The most important producer of these is still Paraguay. For more information see citrus oils.

Ah.  That explains why I didn't like it.   And indicates a difference in nomenclature!  Hence our recent clearance sale of our "mislabeled" Petitgrain paraguay.  It was labeled Petitgrain bigarade. It truly was Petitgrain Paraguay. 

Now, about why you should care, other than the fact that the European Neroli Bigarade or Neroli Petitgrain (or Petitgrain bigarade which is what every supplier I have ever seen has labeled it) is "more highly esteemed."   (ie, it smells better.)  but why use it?

Oh.. what I forgot to say, above. this new Italian Petitgrain (which, apparently, we could/should be calling either Neroli Petitgrain, or Neroli bigarade, but it's already labeled and we are not changing those labels!) what I forgot to say it that it is not muddy!  It is a beautiful soft green aroma, with hints of citrus and perhaps hints of floral.  I *like* it!. 

(Read the earlier section of this article here.)