8 Petitgrain Essential Oil Benefits & Uses (Plus 6 Recipes, FAQ & Tips)


If you like fresh, happy scents, petitgrain essential oil is one you should be using in your aromatherapy blends. There are multiple health and wellness benefits to petitgrain essential oil too. Read on to learn more about this versatile oil, which is related to both neroli and bitter orange essential oils.

Origins and History of Petitgrain Essential Oil

Petitgrain essential oil comes from the Citrus aurantium tree, more commonly known as the bitter orange tree. While petitgrain essential oil is made via steam distillation from the twigs and leaves of the tree, neroli essential oil is made from the blossoms of the same species, and bitter orange essential oil is made from the fruit rinds. It is believed that the name “petitgrain” comes from the French for “little grains” or “little seeds,” referring to the cherry-sized oranges the tree produces.

The bitter orange tree was originally native to the Far East. Through trade, the tree made its way to Burma (now Myanmar), India, and China, and later to North Africa, Syria, and the Arabian peninsula. Travels of the Moors and the Crusaders then brought the bitter orange tree to Europe, first to Seville, Spain, hence the name “Seville oranges” for the small, piquant fruit of the species. Bitter orange trees were also one of the first trees brought from Europe to the New World, thanks to the explorations of Christopher Columbus.

Petitgrain essential oil is made in many countries, most prominently in France, Italy, Spain, Haiti, and Paraguay. It has been used in the perfume industry since the 18th Century to make both male and female scents. Petitgrain has a slightly woodier aroma than other essential oils from the same tree, with fruit and floral notes underneath. Petitgrain essential oil is also a common ingredient in cosmetics, confections, and beverages. Since it can be taken internally as well as used in topical and inhaled products, petitgrain essential oil is particularly versatile and is used for both scent and healthcare DIY concoctions.

8 Uses for Petitgrain Essential Oil

Wound Healing

Petitgrain essential oil has inherent antiseptic properties that help keep germs at bay while wounds heal. It also helps cuts and scrapes heal faster. Use petitgrain essential oil topically under bandages for its protective and curative benefits.

Stress Relief and Improved Sleep

One of the most popular uses for petitgrain essential oil is as a nerve tonic. It can calm stress-related anxiety, quell jitters, and uplift the mood, as well as improve the quality of your sleep. Try using petitgrain essential oil in your bed linen spray or in aromatherapy preparations that you can inhale when you feel nervousness coming on (great for using right before those big exams or major work presentations).

Personal Deodorant

Early users of petitgrain loved it for its deodorizing properties, which smell equally nice on men and women. You can add petitgrain essential oil to homemade deodorants and lotions, and for centuries it has been a go-to ingredient in bath oils and salts. Don’t limit your use of petitgrain essential oil to your body; you can spray it in drawers and closets for freshness or use it in natural cleaning solutions around the home.

Improved Focus and Mental Clarity

While petitgrain essential oil is calming and can help you eliminate anxiety, it won’t make you groggy or sedated. In fact, petitgrain essential oil can improve your focus and help you think more clearly. Some users even claim better memory when using petitgrain essential oil. If you enjoy meditation, this essential oil is perfect for working on your root and heart chakras.

Scalp and Hair Health and Appearance

A drop or two of petitgrain essential oil is all you need to help rid your scalp of too much oil and make your hair look shiny and feel smoother and softer. You can use petitgrain essential oil in your commercial shampoo, add it to a DIY recipe, or include it in a post-shampoo rinse.

Combating Acne Breakouts and Excess Oiliness

The same elements in petitgrain essential oil that help it fight excess oiliness on your scalp can also be harnessed to keep your face free of shine. Add a drop or two of petitgrain essential oil to a damp cotton swab or to your toner to control oil and fight acne breakouts with its antimicrobial properties.

Overcoming Addictions

Many users of petitgrain essential oil have found it helpful in fighting addictions like cigarette smoking and substance abuse. If you have a serious smoking, alcohol, or drug habit you want to kick, talk to a healthcare professional, and consider adding aromatherapy with petitgrain essential oil to your daily routine, especially when you feel the urge to indulge in something you know you should avoid

Reducing Bloating and Facial Edema

Petitgrain essential oil is great for helping the body rid itself of excess fluid. You can use it in oil or lotion rubbed on your abdomen for bloating and also in facial treatments to get rid of unwanted puffiness and swelling.

Health and Wellness Recipes for Petitgrain Essential Oil

DIY Diffuser Blends Using Petitgrain Essential Oil

Mood Lifter

  • 3 drops petitgrain EO
  • 3 drops tangerine EO
  • 2 drops bergamot
  • 2 drops lime EO
  • 2 drops ylang ylang EO

Citrus Refresher

  • 2 drops petitgrain EO
  • 2 drops bergamot EO
  • 2 drops wild orange EO

Summer Sunset

  • 2 drops petitgrain EO
  • 3 drops lavender EO
  • 2 drops sweet orange EO
  • 1 drop peppermint EO

Fight Seasonal Blues

  • 4 drops petitgrain EO
  • 2 drops juniper berry EO
  • 2 drops orange EO

Autumn Harvest:

  • 1 drop petitgrain EO
  • 2 drops clove EO
  • 2 drops lavender EO

Improved Concentration:

  • 3 drops petitgrain EO
  • 1 drop clove EO
  • 1 drop ginger EO
  • 3 drops rosemary EO
  • 1 drop juniper berry EO
  • 1 drop basil EO

Dog Flea Deterrent


  • 7 drops petitgrain EO
  • 3 drops eucalyptus EO
  • 10 ml cider vinegar


  1. Mix all three ingredients above in a glass bottle.
  2. Apply a few drops to your dog’s neck area once or twice a week (or every other day if your pet already has a problem with fleas). Keep away from your dog’s eyes and nose.
  3. Tip: you can also spray a bit of this flea deterrent on a bandana for your dog to wear around its neck.

Lip Balm


  • 11 drops petitgrain EO
  • 5 drops ginger EO
  • 8 g (about ¼ ounce) sweet almond oil
  • 5 g (about ⅕ ounce) coconut oil
  • 3 g (about 1/10 ounce) cocoa butter
  • 4 g (about ⅙ ounce) beeswax
  • 5 drops buriti oil (optional–from the buriti fruit)
  • pinch of gold mica (optional–for shine)


  1. Measure the sweet almond oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, and beeswax in a Pyrex cup, and melt them together in a double boiler (about 5-10 minutes).
  2. Remove the mixture from heat, and stir in the remaining ingredients using a silicone spatula.
  3. Pour the final mixture into lip balm tubes or tubs and allow to cool before capping.
  4. Apply to lips as often as needed to soothe dryness and to hold moisture on the skin to prevent chapping.

Cologne for Him


  • 2 drops petitgrain EO
  • 15 drops lime EO
  • 10 drops patchouli EO
  • 5 drops laurel leaf EO
  • 3 drops  black pepper EO
  • 5 drops vetiver EO
  • 2.5 ounces denatured alcohol or perfumer’s alcohol
  • 1 ounce distilled water


  1. In a 4-ounce glass spray bottle, combine the water and the alcohol.
  2. Add the essential oils and shake well. (Tip: a few glass stones in the bottom of the bottle will help the cologne stay mixed.)
  3. Shake prior to each use to re-blend the oils, which will naturally rise to the surface.

Fresh Dishwasher Detergent


  • 25 drops citrus essential oil mixture (5 each of petitgrain, tangerine, orange, lemon, and grapefruit EOs)
  • ½ cup Borax
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • ⅛ cup citric acid


  1. Mix all the ingredients above.
  2. Store in an airtight container in a dry location.
  3. Use 2 tablespoons per dishwashing load

Gluten-Free Aromatherapy Play Clay


  • 12 drops petitgrain EO
  • 12 drops lavender EO
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 cup water


  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. In a large saucepan, dissolve the salt into the water under low heat.
  3. Add the oil and the dry ingredients to the saucepan.
  4. Mix for about 5 minutes, or until the elements begin to form a ball.
  5. Remove from heat and add the essential oils, mixing well to blend.
  6. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.
  7. Use when kids need a calming creative activity, such as before bed or on rainy days.

Tips for Using Petitgrain Essential Oil

Petitgrain essential oil mixes easily with many other oils for pleasant scent combinations:

  • orange
  • neroli
  • bergamot
  • lime
  • lemon
  • grapefruit
  • lavender
  • frankincense
  • cinnamon
  • palmarosa
  • clary sage
  • ylang ylang
  • geranium
  • jasmine
  • juniper berry
  • cedar
  • rosemary
  • sandalwood

There are different variations on petitgrain essential oil available on the market today:

  • lemon (Citrus limon)
  • bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
  • mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
  • sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)

If you want true petitgrain essential oil, make sure it comes from the Citrus aurantium tree. Sometimes this type of petitgrain is know is bigarade.

There are no known common sensitivities with petitgrain essential oil, but if you have experienced reactions to other essential oils, consider doing a skin patch test first before using petitgrain essential oil on a widescale basis or taking it internally.

There are no warnings about using petitgrain essential oil during pregnancy or lactation.

If you are putting together an essential oil kit on a budget and need a replacement for neroli essential oil in blends, try petitgrain essential oil. Since it comes from the same tree, it is often a good substitute for its pricier cousin.


Hopefully this post has been informative for you. If you have any questions, comments or recommendations of your own please let us know in the comment section below.

Welcome to EOSanctuary

Hi. Glad to see you here. My name is Loren Elara and I run Essential Oil Sanctuary. I’d love to connect with you and share ideas. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please make yourself heard.

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