Citrus aromas are popular in aromatherapy because of their uplifting, light feel. They also have therapeutic properties which help with several digestive issues – and can help to combat cough and cold symptoms. However, if you are looking to blend a scent more reminiscent of fruit, rather than just citrus, you have various other essential oils and absolutes to choose from, too
The Difference Between a Fruity Aroma and a Citrus Aroma
Most people are familiar with citrus aromas – oranges and lemons are probably the most familiar citrus aromas. With regard to essential oils, there are also grapefruit, mandarin, tangerine, lime, petitgrain, neroli, yuzu and bergamot. You even have the choice between sweet orange essential oil and bitter orange essential oil – and another growing trend in aromatherapy practice, blood orange.
However, if you are looking for an essential oil with a more fruity aroma, it is harder to find. “Fruity” aromas are reminiscent of plants such as blackcurrant, pineapple, apple, and apricot. Most of these plants do not give up a natural essential oil – although you will find many synthetic, fruity aromas. Therefore, you will have to search for a plant which gives a similar aroma – or use an absolute, depending upon your goal.
Fruity absolutes do not necessarily bear the same name as their citrus counterparts; for example, an orange is an orange, but an apricot is not necessarily an apricot in the world of natural scents ( note, apricot does give up a carrier oil which is used for aromatherapy purposes). This might sound confusing, so consider the following example:
Osmanthus fragrans, known as sweet osmanthus or sweet olive, is an evergreen shrub native to Asia – specifically the Himalayas, southern Japan, Taiwan, and Southern China. It has fragrant flowers of varying colors – white, orange, yellow. It also produces a fruit which is purple-black in color. It is used as a tea in traditional Chinese Medicine.
Osmanthus does not give up an essential oil but it is possible to extract an absolute from the flowers – which has a fruity aroma, vaguely reminiscent of apricot. The absolute is used for perfumery purposes, although it doesn’t have any therapeutic properties for aromatherapy practice.
Another example of a fruity absolute is blackcurrant. Blackcurrant, Ribes nigrum, is a plant that most people are familiar with because of its black berries which are used in many culinary dishes and beverages. The blackcurrant is native to central and northern Europe, in addition to northern Asia.
In addition to its fruit, the blackcurrant bears flower buds from which it is possible to solvent extract an absolute, known as blackcurrant bud – with a strong blackcurrant aroma! Again, the absolute is primarily used for perfumery purposes, not in aromatherapy practice.
Fruity Essential Oils
However, there are some essential oils which are used both in aromatherapy and perfumery practice – and may have a fruity aroma. One such example is davana (Artemis pallens). Davana (Dhavanam; Davanam) is an aromatic herb found in India. It has fragrant leaves and flowers. An essential oil is extracted from the leaves and flower tops by steam distillation.
Davana is used in aromatherapy for its anti-viral, anti-infectious, and anti-depressant properties. Although davana essential oil is described as herbaceous in aroma, I personally find it has a strong, fruity aroma – and it is indeed used in perfumery to create unique perfumes that require such an aroma.
Natural Fruity Aromas
Many products contain fruity aromas – but a lot of them may be synthetic in nature. Although it is harder to find natural fruity aromas for aromatherapy and perfumery purposes, it is possible if you do your homework – and get creative in your thinking! There are new essential oils and absolutes appearing on the market each day, as extraction methods become more sophisticated (such as CO2 extracted essential oils) and technology advances. Just make sure that the essential oil or absolute is suitable for your purpose – and it is what it claims to be.
Study Aromatherapy with Sedona Aromatherapie
If you would like to learn more about essential oils and scents, consider one of the home study aromatherapy course in the Sedona Aromatherapie Home Study Program. To learn more, visit the courses home page!
Lawless, Julia, 1995, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, UK: Thorsons
Eden Botanicals website, accessed April 7, 2014
Wikipedia.com, accessed April 7, 2014
Author is a certified aromatherapist