Have you ever wondered what gives your morning Earl Grey tea that special uplifting citrus aroma? Or your Turkish delight that sweet yet spicy citrus flavor? The secret is bergamot essential oil, one of the most unique and delicate citrus oils due to the exclusivity of where it is grown, the fact that it is a bitter fruit that produces sweet oil, and its ability to create both an uplifting and calming environment.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, bergamot oil is used to help with the flow of vital energy so the digestive system can work properly, and it’s also used to prevent the growth of bacteria, relieve muscle pain, and rejuvenate skin.1
Bergamot essential oil is one of the main ingredients for manufacturing perfumes because of its ability to balance the mix of aromas, enhancing the fragrance. It’s also used for healing benefits because of its antiseptic and antibacterial properties.2
The History of Bergamont
Bergamot essential oil is extracted from the rind or peel of the bergamot orange called Citrus bergamia, a small fruit between a lemon and grapefruit. Bergamot is the most delicate of the citrus plants, requiring special climate and soil in order to thrive. The fruit grows mainly in a Mediterranean climate and is named after the Italian city of Bergamo, the original place of bergamot oil trade. Bergamot oil is also produced in the Ivory Coast, Argentina, Turkey, Brazil, and Morocco.
About 100 fruits yield up to three ounces of the sweet-smelling oil, which is widely used in perfumery and food flavoring. Italians have used bergamot for years to reduce stress and rejuvenate the skin. In Greece, the unripe fruits are used as sweetmeats, eaten by the spoonful as a dessert or with coffee.3
Some of the active agents in bergamot oil are alpha-Pinene, limonene, alpha-Bergapten, beta-Bisabolene, nerol, Geraniol, Linalool, and alpha-Terpineol. Bergamot is rich in polyphenolic compounds and has the distinction of being the only citrus fruit to contain melitidin and brutieridin, proven to have an anti-cholesterol effect comparable to statins.4
Uses for Bergamot Essential Oil
Remedies Digestive Issues
Bergamot essential oil has a powerful effect on the digestive system by promoting the secretion of digestive enzymes, including bile, which helps improve digestion and the absorption of nutrients. A few drops of the essential oil mixed with coconut oil rubbed on the stomach brings these health benefits.8
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Try ingesting a few drops of bergamot oil diluted in water or tea to speed up digestion. The peristaltic movement of the gastrointestinal tract is accelerated, quickening the pace of food movement and reducing the amount of time food particles remain in the colon.
The longer food stays in the digestive tract, the higher the risk of developing colon cancer because of potentially toxic substances in the food waste that damage the intestinal wall.9
Bergamot oil is a great preventative measure to keep the gut clear and healthy, which in turn boosts the immune system.
Research has found that around 70 percent of the immune system exists in the gut, and gut bacteria help the immune system’s T cells develop—teaching them the difference between a foreign substance and the body’s own tissues,10 which is why digestive health is key for longevity.
Prevents Infection in Cuts and Scrapes
Bergamot oil is a disinfectant, making it effective for treating minor cuts and scrapes.12
For use as an antimicrobial, wash the wound with a mixture of 10 drops of bergamot oil in a quart of water, and then apply a dressing with one to two drops of oil on a gauze pad. The strong antibiotic effect of bergamot makes it protective against even serious infections like tetanus.
The phytochemicals in bergamot oil promote healing without scars by attracting tissue repair components to the site of injury, facilitating faster healing.13
The analgesic action of bergamot partly comes from its ability to promote secretions that reduce nerve sensitivity. This reduces the feeling of pain in the injured area as well as the stress and anxiety that magnify any kind of pain.
Apply bergamot essential oil topically to relieve pain, from acute headaches to chronic arthritic pain. For joint and muscle pain, mix equal amounts of bergamot oil and coconut oil, and rub onto painful areas.14 You can find bergamot in MONQ’s relieve blend that can help you alleviate aches and discomfort naturally.
Bergamot oil is excellent for tension headaches and migraines because of its ability to reduce anxiety. For this, apply a few drops on the forehead and behind the ears.
Alternatively, use the oil in a diffuser and allow it to relax your mind and body. For on the go pain relief, try MONQ’s Forest personal essential oil diffuser, a blend of bergamot mixed with black spruce, douglas fir, and sandalwood.
Promotes Hormonal Balance in Men and Women
Bergamot oil has a regulatory effect on the endocrine glands that produce various hormones, including insulin by the pancreatic cells and reproductive hormones by the ovaries.
Many women who drink Earl Grey tea regularly have a marked reduction in hormonal problems associated with menstruation and menopause. It also helps diabetics control their blood sugar levels.15
Bergamot relieves stress and anxiety due to the flavonoids in the oil which stimulate the production of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. This improves nerve function and creates a mild sedative effect, helping relax the body and mind.16
Additionally, you experience difficulty concentrating on tasks or sleeplessness because of anxiety, a few drops of bergamot oil could change your world.
Diffuse in your home or office to achieve clarity of mind and heightened concentration. Alternatively, try MONQ’s Ocean essential oil diffuser, a blend of bergamot with eucalyptus, lime, and tangerine to reduce mental fatigue, stress, and tense muscles.
Boosts Skin and Hair Health
Bergamot oil is considered a cicatrizant, which can reduce the appearance of scars and other blemishes on the skin. It is particularly useful in removing acne marks due to its antimicrobial action. The oil also acts on skin pigmentation, lightening dark spots by promoting even distribution of melamine.17
Use bergamot oil mixed with water as a face wash for oily skin. The grease-cutting action of the oil will remove excess oil from the face, leaving it smooth and soft.
The antibiotic and antifungal properties in bergamot essential oil make it excellent for hair care by reducing itching and scalp infections. It is particularly useful for controlling dandruff complicated by secondary infections.
Add two to three drops of the oil to your regular shampoo to take advantage of its antimicrobial action. A final rinse with five to six drops each of bergamot oil and coconut oil mixed in two quarts of water will leave your hair smooth and shiny.18
If you’re sleep deprived due to nasal congestion, bergamot essential oil to provide relief. Steam inhalation of a few drops of bergamot oil in a vaporizer can relieve respiratory difficulties from seasonal colds and coughs. This helps loosen the phlegm, making it easier to cough up.19
To relieve congestion, take a few drops of the oil in the palm of your hand and hold it over the nose whenever you have difficulty breathing. Additionally, adults can drink Earl Grey tea or an herbal tea with a few drops of bergamot oil in it. If you have severe chest congestion, mix five drops each of bergamot oil and eucalyptus oil in a diffuser. This combination gives best results, especially at night.20
Bergamot essential oil has been shown to reduce fever by increasing sweat production. This is achieved by stimulating blood circulation and the production of hormones. When sweat evaporates on the skin, body temperature comes down. This sweating also allows for the release of toxins.21
Fever is not a disease in itself; it is a symptom of an underlying infection. The antimicrobial action of bergamot oil may help fight the infection causing the fever, be it viral infections or bacterial infections.22
Apply a few drops of bergamot oil on the chest, forehead, and back of the neck. Alternatively, rub some oil on the palms of your hand and cup it over your nose and mouth. Draw in deep breaths to inhale the vapors.
How To Use Bergamot Essential Oil
- Transform regular black tea into Earl Grey by adding a couple drops of Bergamot.
- Use bergamot essential oil for dental care to prevent bad breath. Mix one or two drops of bergamot oil with your toothpaste or mix a few drops in a cup of warm water and gargle.
- Mix two to three drops of bergamot and lavender oils with water in a spritz bottle for a fresh, citrusy deodorant spray.
- Diffuse this essential oil at work, or at home when stress levels are high.
- Apply to the skin while showering and inhale deeply to experience its calming aroma while enjoying its skin purifying benefits.
- Blend with coconut oil for a calming and relaxing massage.
- Add one to two drops to a facial cleanser.
- Refresh carpets and furniture upholstery by spritzing with a mixture of five to six drops of bergamot oil in water. Wipe off with a dry cloth.
- Use bergamot in MONQ’s Sleepy personal essential oil diffuser, a blend of bergamot, chamomile, kava, and lavender before bed for a good night’s sleep.
Safety and Precautions
As in the case of any essential oil, use bergamot essential oil with caution and in small quantities.
Phytotoxicity is a major concern with this oil because the active agent alpha-Bergapten can become damaging upon exposure to light. Avoid sun exposure for 12 hours after application of bergamot essential oil on the skin.24
If you are pregnant, nursing, or have a chronic health condition, consult your physician.
Bergamot essential oil’s light citrus aroma is wonderful to help you get going in the morning, boost your energy throughout the day, or refresh your kitchen before dinner.
The tart yet sweet, uplifting yet relaxing scent, makes it a popular oil in perfumes, cosmetics, and lotions. It has the power to transform your shampoos, soaps, and cleansers into a luxurious, delightful experience.
In addition to its compelling scent, bergamot oil has a range of healing properties. This little drop of magic could provide you with all of its benefits as part of your daily routine.