Montenegro - Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Fragrant Mandarin Oil – Concentrated Energy of the Sun

In its country of origin, China, the mandarin is considered to be a traditional symbol of good fortune for the new year. There was a time when only the emperor’s highest dignitaries, the mandarins, were allowed to eat them, and that is probably how they got their name.

Today mandarins grow in virtually all the subtropical zones of the earth as well as in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

They are popular mainly as a source of vitamin C, but they also have far more profound benefits. For Weleda the fragrant oil contained in the countless oil glands of the mandarin’s peel is an important component for enhancing the fragrance and the effects of many of its products.

Bergamota Montenegrina – a Rarity

Mandarin trees are evergreens and can grow up to six metres tall. Covered in lance-shaped leaves, they bear white blossoms in the spring that ripen into fruits after pollination. Depending on the variety, the fruits are harvested either when they are still green or when they are bright orange through the summer and into the autumn months. The Brazilian variety Bergamota Montenegrina is particularly aromatic and a genuine rarity among mandarins.

Although Brazil is one of the biggest producers worldwide, Bergamota Montenegrina, which was the result of a spontaneous mutation, is truly singular. Exceptionally aromatic, it matures later than the other varieties – not before August – and the concentration of precious substances is significantly higher than in ordinary mandarins.

This mandarin variety is grown using organic and, wherever possible, biodynamic methods through a partnership with farmers in the southernmost corner of Brazil, in the area around the town of Montenegro in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. A cooperative was formed in 1989 by more than 60 farmer families, all of which are either licensed for organic farming or have the Demeter organisation’s certification for biodynamic farming. Each year in the late summer, they painstakingly gather the fruits by hand. Where a natural forest once grew, splendid mandarin gardens now flourish. The shiny leaves and thick carpet of bright green clover and grass covering the ground are proof that neither pesticides nor herbicides, which would nip all growth in the bud, are used here. The trees are allowed to grow freely and close attention is paid to all their needs. The mandarin fruits love alternations between cold and warmth or wetness and dryness and suffer in constant heat or excessive humidity. To protect them from the sun and rain, many tall trees have been planted around them which at the same time contribute to the biodiversity of the ecosystem. These optimal conditions produce wonderful, healthy, brilliant orange fruits, which, once the laborious harvesting phase is over, are quickly and carefully processed. The cold-pressed oil is bottled immediately in order to preserve its precious, volatile contents. It takes around 60 kilograms of fruit peel to produce one litre of oil.



Obwohl Brasilien heute zu den größten Produzenten weltweit zählt, ist die Bergamota Montenegrina, die aus einer spontanen Mutation entstand, eine ausgesprochene Rarität. Sie duftet besonders aromatisch und reift im August, später als die übrigen Sorten. Die Konzentration der kostbaren Inhaltsstoffe ist deutlich höher als bei herkömmlichen Mandarinen. 
In einer Anbaupartnerschaft im äußersten Süden Brasiliens rund um die Stadt Montenegro im Bundesstaat Rio Grande do Sul werden diese Kulturen biologisch, und wo immer möglich, biodynamisch angebaut. Mehr als 60 Farmerfamilien, die alle biologisch bzw. DEMETER-zertifiziert sind, haben sich 1989 zu einer Kooperative zusammengeschlossen und ernten jedes Jahr im Spätsommer die Früchte in mühevoller Handarbeit. Wo einst Naturwald wucherte, gedeihen heute prächtige Mandarinengärten. Glänzendes Laub und ein dichter Teppich von hellgrünem Klee und Gras auf dem Boden unter ihnen zeugen davon, dass weder Pestizide noch Herbizide verwendet werden, die alles Leben im Keim ersticken würden. Die Bäume dürfen ihrem natürlichen Wuchs folgen und ihre Bedürfnisse werden genau wahrgenommen. So lieben die Früchte den Wechsel von kalt und warm, feucht und trocken und leiden unter beständiger Hitze oder einem Übermaß an Feuchtigkeit. Also hat man ihnen als Sonnen- und Regenschirme viele hohe Bäume gepflanzt, die außerdem zur Biodiversität und Artenvielfalt beitragen. Und so können die prächtigen, orange leuchtenden Früchte gesund heranwachsen, um nach der aufwendigen Ernte ebenso rasch wie schonend verarbeitet werden zu können. Das kalt gepresste Öl wird sofort abgefüllt, um die wertvollen, flüchtigen Inhaltsstoffe zu bewahren. Für einen Liter Öl werden rund 60 Kilogramm Fruchtschalen benötigt.

Extracting the Mandarins’ Precious Secret

The fruits are brought to the cooperative immediately after they are harvested. Once they arrive at the factory in its idyllic setting between a forest and a river, they are carefully unloaded from the truck and slowly, almost one by one, placed on a conveyor belt that brings them into the building. After being gently washed and sorted by hand, the fruits go into the automatic press where both the juice and the precious essential oil are extracted from the glands of the peel. The mandarin juice flows into an adjoining room for pasteurisation, while the oil goes into several different centrifuges that separate it from water, peel residues and natural wax. At the end of this process, the bright orange mandarin oil drips into a steel vat and is tested for purity in the factory’s own laboratory on an hourly basis, before being transferred into large containers. The quality is extremely high, similar to the quality standards of olive oil: virgin, or in other words untreated, because it has been cold pressed (without the use of heat or chemicals). A truckload of 13 tonnes of fruit can produce around 15 kilograms of essential oil, and the factory can process approximately four truckloads per day.

Mandarin as a Mood-Lifting Gift from the Sun

As with every plant, with the mandarin, too, the question is: What is the secret behind the positive effects of its components? Is it the plant as a whole or just part of it? How can these gifts from nature be used to benefit people?

In the case of the mandarin, its intense fragrance is already an indication of its powers. It seems to capture the sun’s energy and thus produce a mood-lifting effect. Humans, as beings of light, benefit holistically from the sun’s energy. This is particularly noticeable in the winter and the darker times of the year when energy levels drop and people yearn for the return of sunlight. At such times, mandarin oil can be a source of joy and delight. And precisely these properties are incorporated into the high-quality products of Weleda’s natural and organic cosmetics range.




Fragrance (Parfum) is the collective name for raw materials that are used to perfume cosmetic products. For such products, Weleda only ever uses a mixtures of natural essential oils. Synthetic fragrances are not utilised.