Growing to a height of up to ten metres, it has spiny branches and leaves of four to ten centimetres. Its fruit – actually a berry – is called sweet orange to distinguish it from that of the bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium).
Mignon sang ”Do you know the country where the orange tree flowers?”. Talleyrand’s opinion of life under the Old Regime could be applied to orange, the fruit of happiness: he who ignores its flavour is ignorant of the gentle lifestyle. In Antiquity, the golden apples in the garden of the Hesperides were in fact oranges. Introduced to Europe by the Portuguese navigators returning from China – hence its Arabic and Greek names burtughal and portokali – sweet orange in German is a ”Chinese apple” (Apfelsine). The glorious fruit overshadows the tree’s bark, that can be used to make an excellent aperitif, and the leaves, that Mattioli claimed to promote sweating to ”eliminate all the nasty humours through the skin”. The fruit have been used to adorn countless chimneys, certifying the bride’s virginity.
Extracts from the book ’Aromatherapia – All about essential oils’, by Isabelle Pacchioni, watercolors by Patrick MORIN, Aroma Thera Editions . Extracts from the book ’41 essential oils essential for treating yourself differently’ and ’48 essential oils which every home needs to be healthy’ by Isabelle Delaleu and Isabelle Pacchioni, Publications of the Mandadori France group. Botanical illustrations by Agathe Haevermans.
The properties, benefits and method of use are given for information; they cannot in any case constitute or replace medical information that only health professionals can provide. For any use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes, please consult your GP or pharmacist.