Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
Other Names: Aceite de Bergamota, Bergamot, Bergamot Orange, Bergamota, Bergamotier, Bergamoto, Bergamotte, Bergamotto Bigarade Orange, Citrus Bergamia, Citrus aurantium var. bergamia, Huile de Bergamote, Oleum Bergamotte.
HERBAL MISCELLANY: Despite the fact that the bergamot fruit is inedible, the oil has many culinary and house hold uses. It is the characteristic flavor of Earl Grey tea, and is used as a fragrance for pipe tobaccos.
Bergamot Essential Oil –
Common Method of Extraction: Cold Pressed or Steam Distilled (less frequently)
Plant Part Typically Used: Citrus Rind (Peel)
Oil Color: Green/Golden
Aromatic Description: Fresh, orange/lemon/citrusy, slightly floral.
Bergamot Oil Uses: Acne, abscesses, anxiety, boils, cold sores, cystitis, depression, halitosis, itching, loss of appetite, oily skin, psoriasis, stress.
Major Constituents: (+)-Limonene, Linalyl acetate, Linalool, Sabinene, Gamma-Terpinene, Bergapten
BLENDS WELL WITH: Chamomile, citrus oils, coriander, cypress, geranium, helichrysum, jasmine, juniper, lavender, lemon balm, neroli, nutmeg, rose, sandalwood, vetiver, violet, ylang ylang
Bergamot is a plant that produces a type of citrus fruit. Oil taken from the peel of the fruit is used to make medicine. Some people treat a skin condition called psoriasis by applying bergamot oil directly to the skin and then shining long-wave ultraviolet (UV) light on the affected area. Bergamot oil is also applied to the skin (used topically) for a tumor caused by a fungal infection (mycosis fungoides) and for pigment loss (vitiligo). It is also used as an insecticide to protect the body against lice and other parasites. Bergamot oil is sometimes inhaled (used as aromatherapy) to reduce anxiety during radiation treatment. In foods, bergamot oil is widely used as a citrus flavoring agent, especially in gelatins and puddings. In manufacturing, bergamot oil is used in perfumes, creams, lotions, soaps, and suntan oils.
Healing with Bergamot
- releases emotional pain
- works as a powerful antidepressant
- relieves joint and muscle pain
- aids digestive system
- soothes skin irritations
- works as a sedative
- cleanses oily skin
- kills germs and bacteria
- relieves stress
- reduces cough
Analgesic: Bergamot essential oil reduces the feeling of pain in the body. Actually, it stimulates secretion of certain hormones which lessen the sensitivity of nerves to pain. Therefore, it is very helpful in case of headaches, sprains, muscle aches or any other symptoms or ailments which require a heavy dosage of analgesic pills. This means that you can avoid the dangerous side effects of many over the counter pain medicines, which often have adverse side effects and can damage your liver and kidneys, as well as cause blood thinning and insomnia.
Antispasmodic: It relaxes nerves and muscles, thereby giving quick relief for cramps, convulsions, and painful muscle contractions. This can also be important for people with chronic coughing or respiratory conditions, as well as asthma, which is similar to a spasmodic reaction.
Antiseptic & Vulnerary: The same disinfectant and antibiotic properties of bergamot oil make it a good antiseptic agent. It not only promotes fast healing of wounds, cracks on the skin and heels, ulcers, eczema, and itching but also protects wounds from becoming septic and developing deadly tetanus. It not only treats and heals the effects of other infections but inhibits the formation of new ones.
Cicatrisant: This property of bergamot oil is the reason behind its extensive use in cosmetics and skin care products such as beauty soaps, creams, and lotions. Cicatrisant means a property or an agent which helps scars and other marks on the skin to disappear. It also makes the distribution of pigments and melanin uniform, resulting in the fading away of marks and an even, attractive skin tone. This essential oil is commonly used to eliminate the unsightly effects of acne, which can leave noticeable scars and marks on the affected areas for many years.
Digestive: As discussed above, bergamot essential oil activates and increases secretions of the digestive acids, enzymes, and bile and facilitates digestion. It also synchronizes and regulates the peristaltic motion of the intestines and in this way, it quickens the digestive process and reduces strain to the intestinal tract. In this way, bergamot essential oil can reduce constipation, make bowel movements regular, and prevent gastrointestinal complications like colorectal cancer and other uncomfortable or dangerous conditions.
Deodorant: This property of bergamot oil is popular among the younger generation who is always trying new deodorants, searching for something refreshing and natural. Bergamot essential oil is an excellent deodorant. Its refreshing aroma and disinfectant properties, which inhibit the growth of germs causing body-odor, make it an effective and attractive delivery system as a deodorant. Citrus smells are very powerful and can overcome or eliminate many other odors, which is why Bergamot oil is also used in room fresheners and sprays.
Febrifuge: A febrifuge is a substance or an agent that reduces fever and lowers body temperature. Bergamot is a good febrifuge for a number of reasons. First of all, as an antibiotic, it fights infections that arise from viruses, bacteria, and protozoa that cause fever, including influenza (virus), malaria (protozoa) and typhoid (typhus bacteria). Secondly, it stimulates the metabolic system and gland secretions, thereby providing a feeling of warmth and resulting in additional secretion (perspiration or sweat) from the Eccrine glands (sweat glands) and sebaceous (sebum) glands, thus reducing body temperature. This can also reduce the toxicity of the body through perspiration, and clean out the glands and pores of any foreign toxins that can result in a variety of skin conditions.
Relaxant & Sedative: The flavonoids present in Bergamot oil are very good relaxants as well. They soothe nerves and reduce nervous tension, anxiety, and stress, all of which can help cure or treat ailments associated with stress such as high blood pressure, insomnia, and depression. They can also stimulate the activity of certain hormones in the body, which induce feelings of relaxation and sedation, like dopamine and serotonin.
Vermifuge: It kills worms, and it is a subtle and fragrant choice for children who have contracted worms. It can also be applied on unhealthy, infected teeth or used as a mouthwash to kill oral germs and protect teeth from the development of cavities. Intestinal worms can result in malnourishment and other serious deficiencies including various forms of anemia, so eliminating these worms, particularly in growing children, is a very important application of bergamot essential oil.
Other Benefits: Bergamot essential oil is also a tonic, which means that it tones up the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, excretory, and nervous system, as well as skin and muscles. It is also anti-congestive and is used in vaporizers to relieve congestion and respiratory problems, particularly during coughs and colds. It works as an expectorant to loosen up phlegm and mucus in the respiratory tracts and helps the body to eliminate through natural avenues like sneezing and coughs, thereby reducing the total amount of material and eliminating some of the germs and toxins that caused the condition in the first place.
Medical Uses for Bergamot
- Anxiety during radiation treatment. Developing evidence suggests that inhaling bergamot oil as aromatherapy does help reduce anxiety in people receiving radiation treatment.
- Assists in alleviating symptoms and complications of bacterial infections – According to a study published in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of Applied Microbiology, bergamot oil can produce positive results against Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis bacteria that are resistant to the potent antibiotic vancomycin. These enterococcal species are a common source of a variety of infections, including urinary tract infections (UTI), bacteremia, endocarditis, and meningitis. Just add bergamot oil to your sitz bath or hip bath to help prevent the spread of bacterial infections from the urethra into the bladder.
- Acts as a substitute for statins – A newly published research in the Journal of Natural Products revealed that citrus bergamot has statin-like principles and carries the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaric acid (HMG) moiety. Today, 1 in 4 Americans over age 45 now takes cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, typically for the primary prevention of heart attacks and strokes. If you’ll ask me, not only is their benefit highly limited to those with a genetic condition, but these drugs come with an avalanche of potential side effects, too. Keep in mind: there are far better ways to prevent heart disease than taking statins or unnecessarily lowering your cholesterol, including eating right, exercising, and maintaining healthy vitamin D levels.
- Psoriasis, when used along with UV light. Early research suggests that applying bergamot oil to the skin along with UV light is not more effective than UV light alone for reducing plaque psoriasis.
- Treating a tumor under the skin due to a fungal infection (mycosis fungoides), when used along with ultra-violet (UV) light.
- Speeds up the healing process for cold sores, mouth ulcers, and herpes – Bergamot oil has a similar antibacterial effect on shingles and chickenpox, which are also caused by the varicella zoster virus from herpes. Apply bergamot essential oil topically on affected area until condition improves.
- Helps prevent and improve skin conditions from fungal infections – In a study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Italian researchers have proven bergamot essential oil’s amazing antifungal properties when used as a topical remedy for infections brought by candida fungus strains.
- Helps reduce anxiety and stress – Experts say that when used in aromatherapy preparations, bergamot oil can help lessen stress and anxiety levels of patients prior to surgery. It also helps relieve depression. Learn how aromatherapy can resolve your anxiety issues.
- Protecting the body against lice and other worms or parasites.
- Loss of the color pigment on the skin (vitiligo).
POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used on the skin (topically), because it can make the skin sensitive to the sun and more vulnerable to skin cancer. People who work with bergamot can develop skin problems including blisters, scabs, pigment spots, rashes, sensitivity to the sun, and cancerous changes.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
- Children: Bergamot oil is POSSIBLY UNSAFE in children when taken by mouth in large amounts. There have been serious side effects, including convulsion and death, in children who have taken large amounts of bergamot oil.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Do not use bergamot oil on your skin if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE.
- Diabetes: Bergamot might lower blood sugar levels. This could affect blood sugar control in people with diabetes and cause blood sugar levels to go to low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.
- Surgery: Bergamot might lower blood sugar. There is some concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during surgery. Stop using bergamot at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
- Medications that increase sensitivity to sunlight (Photosensitizing drugs) interacts with BERGAMOT. Some medications can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Topical use of bergamot oil might also increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Using bergamot oil topically along with medication that increase sensitivity to sunlight could increase the chances of sunburn, blistering or rashes on areas of skin exposed to sunlight. Be sure to wear sunblock and protective clothing when spending time in the sun. Some drugs that cause photosensitivity include amitriptyline (Elavil), Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), norfloxacin (Noroxin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), ofloxacin (Floxin), levofloxacin (Levaquin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), gatifloxacin (Tequin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Septra), tetracycline, methoxsalen (8-methoxypsoralen, 8-MOP, Oxsoralen), and Trioxsalen (Trisoralen).
- Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 56-67.
- B.M. Lawrence, Essential Oils 1981-1987 (Wheaton: Allured Publishing, 1989), 39-40.
- B.M. Lawrence, Essential Oils 1988-1991 (Wheaton: Allured Publishing, 1993), 7, 175.
- Verzera, A. Trozzi, I. Stagno D’Alcontres, et al., The Composition of the Volatile Fraction of Calabrian Bergamot Essential Oil. (Riv. Ital. EEPOS 25, 1998), 17-38.
- P. Dugo, L. Mondello, A.R. Proteggente, et al., Oxygen Heterocyclic Compounds of Bergamot Essential Oils. (Rivista Italiana EPPOS 27, 1999), 31-41.
- SCCP, Opinion on Furocoumarins in Cosmetic Products. (Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, 13-Dec.-2005), SCCP/0942/05.
- Sources cited in Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 211.
- Aromatherapy: Essential Oils for Vibrant Health and Beauty, 2002
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- The Citrus Notes of Fragrance, 2012
- Natural Products July 2009, 72(7):1352–1354
- The Indigenous Healing Tradition in Calabria, 2004
- Applied Microbiology April 2009, 106(4):1343-9
- Antimicrobial Chemotherapy June 2008, 61(6):1312-4
- Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine December 2013, 2013:927419
- National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy
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