The Bergamot tree grows to approximately fifteen feet tall. It has lush green leaves and a star-shaped white flower with a lovely sweet fragrance. The Bergamot tree takes its name from the town of Bergamo in Italy. It is cultivated today in the Ivory Coast and Reggio di Calabria in Southern Italy.
The essential oil Bergamot comes from the small orange/lemon-like pear-shaped inedible fruit that is produced. Compressing the rind of the nearly ripe fruit is how the oil is derived. The oil gives off a fresh citrus aroma with a hint of both sweetness and spice. The fragrance seems to be equally acceptable to men and women alike. Bergamot is one of the most valuable oils to all aromatherapists.
We all like certain scents. One whiff of this one and you will know why it is highly preferred above others. Bergamot lifts your spirits but is relatively relaxing. The distinctive aroma of bergamot is most commonly known for its use in Earl Grey Tea and real Eau de Cologne. It is not to be confused with the herb bergamot.
Bergamot essential oil when combined with a carrier oil (such as jojoba, sweet almond or avocado) can be applied directly to the skin or added to baths.
I personally like to mix several drops of bergamot oil to coconut oil and gently massage into the areas affected by eczema and/or psoriasis. This method works well for those who suffer with dry, flaky winter skin. Bergamot can also be inhaled directly from the bottle or by sprinkling a few drops of the oil onto a tissue or cloth. Some people prefer to apply a single drop of bergamot oil to the palm of the hand, rub their hands together and cup the hands over the nose and mouth, inhaling deeply for one minute. Bergamot can be added to a pot of boiling water and the steam can be inhaled, which is excellent for respiratory problems.
The properties of bergamot essential oil:
The cosmetic industry is fond of bergamot. The oil is used in perfumes, body lotions, suntan lotions, facial masks, creams, soaps and shampoos. Not only does it have a pleasant fragrance but because of its antiseptic qualities it helps to heal dry, chapped and infected skin.
Physical Ailments helped by Bergamot:
- Bad Breath
- Body Odors
- Sore Throat
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Bladder Infections
- Vaginal Itching, discharge or fungus
- Loss of appetite
- Intestinal parasites
- Muscle aches
- Skin Infections
Bergamot will not kill the herpes simplex virus but will speed recovery from an outbreak of:
- Cold Sores
- Chicken Pox
Bergamot is useful to relieve pain, itch and swelling from insect bites and stings. Bergamot is a lice and parasite preventative and an effective insect repellent.
Studies and Research on Bergamot
In a study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Italian researchers have discovered the essential oil of Bergamot has antifungal properties when used as a topical remedy for infections brought on by Candida fungus strains.
In 2009 it was printed in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine that researchers conducted a study for fifteen minutes on 114 healthy college students who either listened to soft music, inhaled bergamot essential oil vapor, listened to soft music while inhaling bergamot essential oil vapor, or did nothing to alleviate stress. Results revealed that both music and bergamot helped increase activity in the parasympathetic nervous system (the branch of the central nervous system involved in promoting relaxation).
According to a study in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of Applied Microbiology, bergamot oil produced positive results against Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis bacteria that are resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin. The enterococcal species are a common source of infections such as urinary tract infections, bacteremia, endocarditis and meningitis.
I read that one in four Americans over the age of forty-five takes cholesterol lowering drugs called statins. Statins are prescribed for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.
In the Journal of Natural Products, research stated that citrus bergamot has statin-like properties and carries the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaric acid (HMG) moiety.
I have found bergamot oil to be most effective when I am working with clients who are suffering from issues that have manifested in their solar plexus region. When I am performing a chakra balance focused on restoration of the solar plexus, I find Bergamot has a way of encouraging the release of negative emotions such as frustration and anger. These emotions, if left untreated, can lead to feeling anxiety and/or depression. Bergamot clears the blockage, relieves the stress and allows the positive energy to flow. Bergamot has the ability to rejuvenate our soul and promote our thoughts toward hopefulness. It heightens our senses and our overall outlook.
Bergamot is a photo-sensitive oil. You should not apply it to areas that will be directly exposed to sunlight without the use of a sunscreen because severe burning can result. The photosensitizing effect lasts for several days.