All about Petitgrain

Introduced to doTERRA in 2016, Petitgrain oil has been the driving factor in our company’s positive impact in Paraguay. Once a dying industry, the production of Petitgrain is coming back thanks to the Co-Impact Sourcing® relationship doTERRA began there. This special connection is continuing to bring back resources and establish more knowledge among the small-scale farmers that produce Petitgrain from the leaves and twigs of bitter orange trees.

Bitter orange trees have grown wild in the Atlantic Forest area since the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when Spanish Jesuits brought them over. Sadly, the Atlantic Forest has lost and continues to lose most of its ecosystem because of deforestation. This means that the bitter orange trees are a helpful and environmentally friendly resource to maintain the tropical forest, and still give the impoverished communities there greater economic opportunities.

Distilling for Quality

The steam distillation process is unique in Paraguay. Small-scale farmers collect twigs and leaves from the Citrus aurantium trees, which effectively prunes the branches, but leaves the trees intact for new growth. Once all the plant matter is collected, it is immediately taken to a nearby distillery. The still itself is made of wood and has to be sealed with the rich red dirt that is abundant in the area. When wet it is clay-like in consistency, and perfect for sealing the still correctly to get the most oil from the leaves and twigs.

A fire is then lit under a tub or barrel of water to the side. Once the water boils, the resulting steam then passes through the leaves and twigs, and collects the volatile aromatic compounds of Petitgrain essential oil in a collection tube. As the steam cools and condenses back into water, the essential oil is then easily separated from the water. From there it will go to be tested, bottled, and shipped to people all over the world.

The Chemistry

More chemically similar to floral and herb essential oils like Lavender or Clary Sage, Petitgrain’s historical use is in the perfume industry. It has the capability of enhancing the other scents it is combined with, which has made it a favorite in both masculine and feminine scents. To find out the many uses for Petitgrain, see our uses and benefits page.

Unlike other oils derived from citrus origin, Petitgrain is not photosensitive and will not react with the sun after you put it on your skin. However, it is still classified as a sensitive oil, and should be diluted for sensitive groups before using.

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