The Health Properties of Orange Blossom
Orange blossom is perhaps best known as a scent used in perfumes and other fragrances. One of the most versatile blossoms, it is also used in making tea, the culinary arts, homeopathic traditions and is even used in a process of making special (and expensive) orange blossom honey. Its therapeutic use has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, but there is some evidence to suggest that it is effective on improving your health even today. While orange blossom has unique characteristics and scent, it does share properties with other citrus blossoms like lemon. Here at oneHOWTO we investigate the health properties of orange blossom to see if you can feel as good as you smell.
Orange blossom essential oil
There are different ways of using orange blossoms, but the two main ones are by extracting their essential oils or to make orange water. Similar to rose water, orange water is a delicious yet completely digestible flavoring used in many different dishes and products. It is made from distilling the petals with water. The result is a liquid product which looks clear just like water, but is infused with the rich citrus smell of the orange blossoms.
You can also find oil extract from the blossoms of bitter oranges. This oil is known as neroli oil and is very popular in the perfume industry. Another type of oil is orange oil, but this is not the same as neroli or orange blossom oil. Rather than being distillable, it is actually cold pressed thanks to centrifugation during the making of orange juice. This is great as it helps to make sure as little as possible of the raw material goes to waste.
Orange blossom for insomnia
In Florida, where the orange blossom is the state flower (Florida is well known for its abundance of orange groves), the blossoms often fall naturally to the ground. These blossoms dry in the sun and are gathered to make a tea infusion. Of course there are more industrial methods for producing it, but orange blossom tea is great for a variety of purposes. This is of course, beyond being a tasty citrus tea.
To infuse the tea, simply make it as you would almost any other type of herbal tea. Take a small amount of the dried orange blossom flowers, boil some water and infuse them for up to 3 minutes. The water will hydrate the dried flowers which in turn will release their delicious aroma.
The smell, flavor, warmth and constituent ingredients of the tea help to make for a relaxing drink. While medical evidence is scant, it has been known to relax people to point of sleeping. This is why many orange blossom tea boxes will have words like "relaxing" on them, as opposed to some caffeinated teas which work to keep you alert. These sedative effects might help you have a more restful sleep and are a good option for a late night beverage.
They are also thought to help with pains. It is thought by some to be an analgesic, so drinking it as a tea was used to help with menstrual related discomfort and period pains.
Orange blossom for anxiety
Sticking with orange blossoms being used for tea, another of its many benefits is its tranquilizing properties. While we know it can help us sleep, the same problems might be able to help with certain mental health issues.
If you have uncontrollable anxiety or fear that your stress levels indicate a chronic disorder, this tea isn't going to do much for you. If you want to relax and settle your mind a little after a stressful day, orange blossom tea might be just the product you need. It can help you to chill out and settle your nerves, some people finding it puts them in a trance like state. Some even find it hypnotic.
Some of this anxiety could be due to being physically unwell, often due to digestive issues. If you are suffering from some of these issues, an orange blossom tea can help settle your stomach. This in turn can help calm you down and relieve some minor anxiety issues. They can also help reduce nausea and vomiting which can be adding to your feelings of anxiety.
Orange blossom for feeling under the weather
Many colds and conditions with flu-like symptoms will leave you feeling under the weather. You aren't sick enough with the type of infection which needs antibiotics, but you are sluggish and feeling down, then an orange blossom tea can help pick you up. Adding honey to your tea can be of use, especially if you feel a sore throat coming on. This is due to the antibacterial properties of both orange blossoms and honey.
This leads us to one of the best use of orange blossoms, the production of orange blossom honey. Orange blossom honey is made by putting beehives in a grove of orange trees. The bees pollinate the orange blossoms, then come back with the orange blossom pollen to make honey. This honey has a distinctive orange citrus taste.
While the antibacterial and antiseptic properties are great when you're feeling ill, orange blossom honey is pretty expensive, so it's best used sparingly. It can be used as a cough suppressant, but so too can orange blossom tea with some regular honey in it.
Orange blossom for weight watching
While nothing will help you keep your weight down better than a balanced diet and regular exercise, orange blossom has antidiarrhoeal properties, thanks to the high natural levels of pectin. This can help balance cholesterol levels, provided that it's supplemented with a proper diet.
Orange blossom and dementia
There is some evidence to support that orange blossom essential oil can help with dementia. It is still in the early stages of research and we can't make bold claims, but a study of dementia patients found that it can help relieve some symptoms (rather than a cure for the disease). Orange essential oil as well as lavender, lemon and rosemary were used as part of an aromatherapy treatment. The patients showed some improvement in cognitive function. It is perhaps due to the link between memory and sense of smell.
Cosmetic benefits of orange blossom
Like other flower waters (rose water is a very common example), orange blossom water is a hydrosol. Hydrosols are used for a range of cosmetic purposes and can be found in skin creams, moisturizers, toners, face masks and, of course, fragrances. While orange blossom water does contain some allergens, it is otherwise natural and much better for your skin and beauty regimen than their synthetic counterparts.
While orange blossom essential oils might be used in aromatherapy or other treatments, it's important to note that pregnant women, children under six years of age and individuals with gastritis or neurological diseases such as Parkinson's, shouldn't take essential oils of any kind.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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