As the seasons change and allergies and colds begin to flare up, there are certain steps we take to combat these issues and Bergamot is one of our fall favorites. Bergamot is a citrus fruit that is native to Southern Italy. It is commonly referred to as a mix between an orange and a lemon, or a mutation of the latter. The essential oil of this plant is harvested through steam distillation in the peel. It shares a similar scent-profile with oranges and lemons as well and has a top perfumery note that is very relaxing. Italians have used the essential oil from this fruit for many day-to-day and medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Many of these purposes include preparations that are magisterial, handcrafted, and homemade. Italians have been using Bergamot Essential Oil as antiseptics for infections and even to heal minor wounds for hundreds of years and it’s known for its abundance of uses that range from medicinal to cosmetic and even culinary! That is a lot of benefits to getting out of such a small plant! This goes to show you the power that exists in essential oils, especial Bergamot.
Bergamot Essential Oil is a very important oil used widely the perfume industry. In fact, “its pleasant refreshing scent, blends into almost any perfume composition so much so there are few perfumes crafted today which do not contain Bergamot Essential Oil in them (2).” Not only is the oil good for perfumes, but it is also used in colognes. Its essence serves as a part of the base for cologne water in addition to the perfumes. This is because it has the ability to fix and combine different fragrances into one structure. The scent of bergamot oils is suitable for both men and women due to this pleasant refreshing scent, and it can act as the perfect substitute for commercial perfumes that are filled with chemicals.
It is also used in various toothpaste, soaps, and deodorants. Bergamot Essential Oil is also an important component in the creation of some tanning creams (2). In addition to the advancements made in the perfume industry, many studies have been conducted to test the other benefits of this essential oil and its aroma.
The fresh, spicy aroma of the Bergamot Essential Oil also acts as a powerful antidepressant when used in a diffuser or nebulizer. A study conducted in a mental-health treatment center located in Utah of “fifty-seven eligible participants (50 women, age range: 23-70 years) were included for analysis which proved that “fifteen minutes of bergamot essential oil exposure improved participants' positive feelings compared with the control group (17% higher) (2).” Imagine what an hour or two can do for you in the morning! Therefore Bergamot is ideal as a stress-relieving, anxiety-reducing oil with your nebulizer or diffuser and it gently encourages sleep when used before bedtime. This is just one way to turn sleep into a pass time!
Another significant property of Bergamot is balancing the body’s metabolism, which, in turn, stimulates hormones and the digestive system. This leads to a myriad of benefits; for example, if the digestion and hormones such as insulin are in balance, glucose can be metabolized effectively and nutrition from food accessed more successfully. Furthermore, its re-energizing effects can improve blood circulation. This versatile oil also mixes well with many other oils and the wonderful fragrance promotes a feeling of tranquility, as “several clinical and experimental data indicate that aromatherapy can improve mood, alertness, and cognition (2).” And this oil can certainly do more than just that.
Bergamot Essential Oil is also used to reduce congestion from colds because, “it works as an expectorant to loosen up phlegm and mucus in the respiratory tracts and helps the body to eliminate it through natural avenues like sneezing and coughing, thereby eliminating some of the germs and toxins that caused the condition in the first place (1). The best way to do this would be to use in your nebulizer or diffuser so that the aromas can be absorbed into the skin and body through inhalation. Another method of use would be to rub a few drops of the oil onto the palms of your hands and inhale. Perfect for the cold season!
The external medicinal benefits of this essential oil are just as plentiful as the internal benefits that were previously mentioned. Bergamot Essential Oil is known to relieve muscle tension. This can be done by adding a few drops of the essential oil to a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil or coconut oil, or unscented moisturizing lotion and massaging it into tense or aching muscles. According to some studies, “it stimulates the 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/ailments which require a heavy dosage of analgesic pills (1). So, you can say goodbye to over the counter medicines that will keep you getting sicker due to their long lists of side effects which can include organ damage and even blood thinning!
Another study, led by the Department of Drug Sciences and Products for Health, University of Messina, Italy, suggested that “certain components of the essential oil of bergamot are antibiotic and disinfectant in nature (1).” In the study, the scientists took samples of certain bacteria and applied three types of bergamot oil to the bacteria. After measuring them both one and two days later, they concluded that the oil had significantly decreased the number of bacteria. (3) You can incorporate the antibacterial uses into your lifestyle by adding one or two drops to your deodorant to inhibit odors caused by bacteria. Another way to use the antibiotic properties of this essential oil is to treat fevers and parasitic diseases, such as diseases of the mouth and skin, respiratory infections and UTIs, gonococcal infections, leucorrhoea, vaginal pruritus, tonsillitis, and sore throats (1). “For its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, Bergamot Essential Oil has been used as an antimicrobial agent to facilitate wound healing and has been included in preparations used to treat upper-respiratory-tract disorders and hyperhidrosis. (1)” Instead of using the manmade chemicals in pills, you can integrate a natural healer into your routine.
The antifungal properties of the Bergamot Essential Oil are also worth mentioning; in practice, all you need to do is add a drop or two to a neutral carrier oil to massage onto areas affected by fungal infections. It was reported in a recent study that, “exposure of human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells to 0.02% and 0.03% Bergamot Essential Oil significantly reduced cell viability inducing both necrotic and apoptotic cell death cytotoxicity (2) .” This means that “ bergamot oil was active, in vitro, against several common species of dermatophytes, suggesting its potential use as antibacterial and antiseptic in gynecology and dermatology (2).” Dermatophytes are pathogenic funguses that grow on the skin and body. They are the cause of certain diseases, such as ringworm. Killing these kinds of germs is a big task but it is no problem for Bergamot Essential Oil.
The benefits of Bergamot do not stop there! Diffusion and topical application are just the tip of the iceberg. You can add this oil to some of your favorite meals and drinks for an extra kick!
As a popular ingredient in various commercially prepared foods such as Earl Grey teas and marmalade, Bergamot oil is perfectly safe when used by the drop. You can also use this essential oil to add a special kick to your favorite home recipes. When ingesting the essential oil with food or drinks, you will only need to add a few drops. We recommend that you start with one and add more to suit your own personal tastes. In general, when cooking with any essential oil, it’s important that you add the essential oil last after cooking because heat is one of the essential oils’ biggest enemy.
You can also use Bergamot Essential Oil as an insect repellent by adding a few drops to some water in a spray bottle to use around the home. Please also note that our Bergamot oil is safe to be applied to the skin before sun exposure as it’s Bergapten-free. Regular Bergamot (which contains Bergapten) is NOT safe to apply to skin before sun exposure because the Bergapten compound becomes poisonous when it’s exposed to light (1).
Overall, Bergamot Essential Oil is an effective healer on so many levels. Using this oil to treat depression, digestion, congestion, muscle tension, and bacteria has been clinically proven to be effective. Everything from diffusion to topical application and even ingestion of this oil has a major helping impact on the body and the rich nutrients in this essential oil make it a must-have for any household! It’s perfect for any season and will add the perfect touch to some of your favorite dishes and beverages! This gem from South Italy has changed the perfume industry and the lives of many people for hundreds of years and it still continues to do so today.