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Essential Oil: Yuzu

Essential Oil: Yuzu

Yuzu essential oil

Citrus junosis, Citrus Junos Sieb. ex Tanaka

Citrus Ichangensis. It is also called Kan-Sou orange tree.

The Plant

Yuzu or Citrus junos is a cold-hardy, evergreen tree in the family Rutaceae that yields a small, yellow-golden citrus fruit resembling a small orange or tangerine but with a bumpy rind. Some claim it to be a hybrid of mandarin orange and the ichang papeda. Yuzu is believed to have originated in the upper reaches of the Yangtze river in China and it arrived in Japan during the Sui Dynasty or Tang Dynasty over 1,000 years ago. It grows wild in its countries of origin, Tibet and central China and is cultivated widely in Japan and Korea. More recently, the plant has been cultivated in Australia, Italy and France, to name a few. Yuzu fruit is extensively used as a flavour in beverages and more recently the oil has found use as a fragrance component in perfumes and personal care products.

The essential oil

Like many citrus oils, yuzu is extracted from the fruit rind by both steam distillation and cold expression. Most commercial grade yuzu oil nowadays is distilled from the whole leftover fruit after juice extraction. The cold expression oil is a mobile, yellowish to orange oil with an exquisite, sweet citrus odour. While most citrus peels are rather high-yielding, it takes roughly 300 kilos of grated yuzu peel to make just two kilos of yuzu essential oil.

Yuzu oil is rarely adulterated. However, there are different qualities of the oil, and it is important to get freshly produced and carefully stored oil. Considering genuine cold-pressed yuzu oil is expensive, cold-pressed yuzu oil is sometimes adulterated with the addition of lower quality steam-distilled yuzu and other citrus oils. Yuzu has a high limonene content, as with all citrus peel oils, so it is recommended to store this oil in the refrigerator and in a dark, airtight glass container to avoid oxidation. It can deteriorate easily upon exposure to moisture, air and daylight.

Yuzu oil tends to be expensive due to two main factors: supply and demand, and agricultural controls. Japan grows most of the global crop and much of this is used domestically and/or processed for juice. Much of the Korean crop is likewise processed to make preserves, which are popular for making yuja tea.

Contraindications: Yuzu oil is non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitising. Old and oxidised yuzu oil should be avoided.

The aroma

Yuzu oil has a strong, multi-faceted bright aroma that is faintly floral with a zesty, green citrus and pith backnote that becomes more balsamic and sweet in the drydown. It is amazingly robust and provides a unique and enduring citrus top note that lasts longer than other citrus peel oils and is more complex. Yuzu gives the impression of a whole fruit bowl of citrus fruits. The scent is sometimes described as somewhere between grapefruit, mandarin and orange, with subtle overtones of bergamot and lime and a very pleasant floral note. Indeed yuzu renders any perfume into something sparkling and lively with wonderfully sweet, tart and bitter elements that are subtle yet impactful.

Two constituents have recently been identified as key to this citrus peel’s distinctive odour profile that contribute significantly to its notable aromatic aspects. "In particular, yuzunone and yuzuol increase the balsamic, sweet, and floral characteristics that distinguish the yuzu aroma from other citrus fruits."

Blends Well With: Amyris, basil, cedarwood Virginian, clary sage, coriander cypress, elemi, frankincense, ginger, jasmine absolute, lavender, lemon, neroli, patchouli, petitgrain, sandalwood, orange and vetivert.

Therapeutic properties:

Yuzu oil possesses antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties and enhances cognitive function. It is antidepressant, antiseptic, blood cleansing, disinfectant, diuretic with hepato-protective and stimulating properties.

Cultural use

In a Japanese tradition that dates back to the early 18th century, the whole fruits, usually wrapped in cheesecloth, are floated in a hot ceremonial bath to bring out their scent on the night of the winter solstice, an experience that is both invigorating for the skin and elevating for the spirit.

Yuzu is rarely eaten as a fruit and is a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine, where the aromatic zest as well as the juice are used much in the same way that lemons are used in other cuisines. In cooking, yuzu is generally used as a souring agent via its juice and zest as opposed to eaten on its own. A sour, tart and very fragrant citrus, Zuzu’s zest is used mainly to accent cooked vegetables, hot pots, custards and fish, while sometimes added to miso and vinegar or some Japanese teas to help them infuse.

Yuzu brightens skin

Yuzu essential oil can help to brighten and tone the skin. It is particularly good for devitalised skin and for helping to combat signs of ageing. Its powerful antibacterial properties can also be beneficial for oily/problem skin, acne and skin infections.

Yuzu is known for its effective natural anti-aging properties because it stimulates collagen production and helps inhibit the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). In doing so, Yuzu can firm the skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles by improving elasticity. It is well suited for skincare and cosmetic preparations, calming baths and massage blends and is refreshing and enlivening in diffusers and natural perfumery creations. Incorporating hair formulas with yuzu into your daily shower routine can help boost strength as well as shine and support the growth of new tresses.

Yuzu essential oil has not undergone much phototoxicity testing, however potentially phototoxic coumarins are not present in sufficient quantity to pose a risk, a characteristic shared by only a few other citrus peel oils. Robert Tisserand strongly concludes that yuzu oil is very likely not phototoxic due to its insignificant content of bergapten.

Yuzu relaxes body and mind

The fruit is a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, which are important nutrients for our body's well-being. Yuzu oil is also full of antioxidants such as vitamin C, flavonoids and carotenoids, which can help reduce inflammation and neutralize damage caused by free radicals. Use yuzu in a comforting bath to protect against colds and flu, boost immunity and help reduce infections.

Studies show that yuzu can help suppress inflammation in the body. Fresh, citrusy smelling yuzu’s relaxes the body and mind, eases aches and soothes sore muscles. In fact, nomilin, a substance found in yuzu oil promotes better circulation. Researchers have found that yuzu prevents cognitive decline and helps ameliorate the cognitive dysfunction in b-amyloid-induced dementia.

Aromatic stress relief

Yuzu oil has an uplifting and reviving effect, which makes it valuable for treating stress, depression and nervous exhaustion. It is recommended for people who are feeling disheartened and lethargic, particularly in winter. Yuzu oil has the ability to smooth the flow of stagnant Qi, which is associated with the wood element. This helps to alleviate irritability, stress and tension.

Citrus oils with a very high percentage of limonene have a stimulatory effect on the sympathetic nervous system, which contributes to mental alertness. On the other hand, citrus fruit oils with less limonene content oil such as yuzu have suppressed sympathetic nervous system activity, leading to lower levels of anxiety and a more positive mood. Research also suggests the Ƴ-terpinene content in yuzu promotes dopamine release, which results in stress reduction.

Inhalation of yuzu oil alleviates negative emotional stress. A study in Japan investigated the effects inhaling yuzu oil to alleviate premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It was concluded that smelling yuzu oil helps alleviate premenstrual emotional symptoms, which was evidenced by an improvement of parasympathetic nervous system activity. Yuzu worked particularly well with lavender oil. For relief of stress, anxiety and nervous tension, consider blending yuzu essential oil with Atlas cedarwood, bergamot, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, neroli, sweet orange or sandalwood. To alleviate fatigue and feelings of apathy, consider blending yuzu oil with black pepper, coriander seed, ginger, lemon, lemon myrtle, lime, orange or rosemary.

Detoxify with yuzu

According to the principles of Ayurveda, yuzu oil strengthens Vata and Pitta and help to reduce Kapha and with the principles of the five elements, yuzu oil helps to reduce excess damp associated with the earth element. Damp conditions are often associated with chronic indigestion, abdominal bloating, lethargy and heaviness of the body and water retention. Yuzu oil is cooling, cleansing and decongesting and is thus beneficial for both an overheated liver and sluggish lymphatic system.

Symptoms associated with an overheated liver include: abdominal distension, constipation, nausea and a feeling of general irritability. The d-limonene content of yuzu indicates yuzu oil has hepato-protective properties similar to lemon oil, which is the ability to prevent and reverse liver and pancreas damage. Yuzu oil acts as a lymphatic stimulant similar to that of grapefruit, lemon or orange oils and is recommended for the treatment of cellulite, obesity and water retention. To create a detoxification blend, consider blending yuzu oil with essential oils such as juniper berry, fennel, lemon, orange or rosemary.

The yuzu personality

The yuzu personality is energetic, enthusiastic and confident; yuzu people are warm, happy and bursting with energy loving life and people. The ‘get up and go’ scent offers people all these motivating attributes without being overbearing. It helps us adapt to change and trying new things in a relaxed way. Yuzu reminds us that we can be inspirational and rise to leadership because of our sharp mind, optimism and innate charm.

Yuzu, just like Uranus energy, encourages originality, innovation, problem solving and non-conformity, improving our analytical ability and resourcefulness. It prompts us to seek growth, excitement and work on improving our relationships.

Energising and enlivening, yuzu oil awakens the human spirit from its slumber as it reconnects the mind, body and soul. Consider using yuzu oil for anyone feeling drained or depressed. The vibrant fruity aroma of yuzu lifts the spirits and radiates optimism, helping us focus our thoughts on the positive aspects of our life.

Yuzu 'Spirit Lifter' Blend: Yuzu, jasmine, tangerine, lime, clary sage and amyris

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