Essential Oil of Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
Bergamot essential oil is a cold pressed oil and comes from the rind peel of the fruit of a citrus tree that bears a fruit that resembles a cross between an orange and a grapefruit (according to some sources.) Ours is from an area in Italy called Calabria and from what I've read Calabria is the only place in the world where the climate is just right for bergamot oranges to grow naturally. I only can repeat what I've read, but I haven't seen any contradictions concerning this. I looked it up because I was curious and found pictures of groves of bergamot orange trees that grow along the Calabrian coastline. Some say they are a cross between an orange and grapefruit, others say they are a natural cross between lime and a sour orange. I rather think this Calabrian that we offer seems more like a cross between an orange and lime. It is by far superior in it's sweet, tart, freshness, with a hint of floral.
Bergamot essential oil is not to be confused with the herb bergamot or bee balm (Monarda didyma). And just for the record, while searching for an appropriate picture for our blog on this oil, 99% of the pictures represented were the Monarda or bee balm flower. The aroma of the oil from this fruit is light and fruity, yet has a warm spicey floral note. In fact, it is said that the bergamot fruit was developed for its scent and has now been used in perfumery since the 18th century. I have received some samples that had a sharp, unpleasant note to them, but ours is warm and one of my favorites. Our latest supply is one of the best I've sampled yet. It reminds me of one of my favorite perfumes, an inexpensive one that I used to buy as a teenager called Muguet des Bois, or Lily of the Valley. Bergamot is NOT Lily of the Valley, but has the same qualities of lightness with a floral note. I particularly like the way Kristen Leigh Bell in her book, "Holistic Aromatherapy for Pets" describes bergamot. She says, "Bergamot is a citrus oil that combines the toning, strengthening and balancing effects of the monoterpene alcohols with the soothing, relaxing and uplifting qualities of the monoterpene hydrocarbons." You can see more about the monoterpenes in the detailed version of our description. Berganot essential oil has many benefits and wonderful properties, which is why we are so fond of it, but it also carries with it a significant caution – please see Benefits/Usage tab and for a detailed description of the benefits of this oil, see our Essential Oil Database or our blog article.
Bergamot essential oil (Citrus bergamia)
100% pure, undiluted or unadulterated, essential oil of Citrus bergamia - cold-pressed from the organic peel. See safety/cautions for use
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) essential oil
Bergamot is by far one of my favorite essential oils. If I feel anxious or pushed to meet a deadline, but need to focus - I reach for bergamot and/or geranium, but I particularly like the bergamot if I'm feeling "hot" either mentally or physically. It has so many amazing qualities that you can find detailed in our expanding essential oil database.
In particular the chemical constituents in this oil attribute to it's calming and sedative properties. Predominately you will find the monoterpene (d-limonene), monoterpenol (linalol) and the ester (linalyl acetate). The percentages of each of these constituents will differ from batch to batch due to the many variables involved in growing and distilling the plants. These three, however, should be the predominant features in any Bergamot essential oil. Linalool (you'll see it spelled linalol also) provides the antibacterial as well as the sedating, relaxing properties to this oil. Linalyl acetate is also known to provide very relaxing properties, which is also one of the constituents seen in Lavender essential oil and why high altitude lavender has the most relaxing properties. The monoterpene, d-limonene, according to Kurt Schnaubelt in his book, Advanced Aromatherapy, has anti-viral properties. Other sources recommend Bergamot for issues related to the herpes virus. The d-limonene also contributes significant anti-inflammatory properties to this oil. Buyer beware - according to Kurt Schnaubelt, this is one oil that is often adulterated in the marketplace, which is why we so carefully source ours.
According to Salvatore Battaglia in his classic book, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, he recommends Citrus bergamia as a "valuable antiseptic for the urinary tract and infections and inflammation such as cystitis." And further he states, "Combined with tea tree it is used as a treatment for cold sores, chicken pox and shingles." I personally can vouch strongly for these particular uses for bergamot. Personal testimony - after a 3-day trip to Washington State and then a 3-day trip returning back to Nebraska. I acquired (for possibly the 2nd time in my entire life, a UTI (urinary tract infection) that was quite uncomfortable - huge understatement here! I tried our organic bergamot along with tamanu oil applied to the appropriate area and I can tell you it worked then and it worked again a month or two later.
And according to one of my favorite authors and his classic book, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, Gabriel Mojay tells us that bergamot's "principle therapeutic value rests with its regulating effect on the nervous system. Here, its deeply calming yet gently toning action contributes both to its antispasmodic nature and to its ability to relieve nervous depression and anxiety." Now - I have to be perfectly honest and upfront here, I have a lot of this nervous depression and anxiety and at times it makes it impossible for me to focus on the task at hand. I have definitely found that bergamot - and often blended with some other calming, but not sedating essentials oil - to be especially helpful. Gabriel suggests that this tension and irritability (oh, not me!) can eventually lead to depression if not allowed to be released, and often results in unexpressed anger. Bergamot seems to encourage the release of these "stuffed" feelings that can and will lead "not only to depression but to insomnia, anxiety, and sudden mood swings." As Gabriel says, "Bergamot oil helps us to relax and 'let go'. I certainly need that.
Highly phototoxic if not used according to guidelines. Bergamot is one of those oils that the IFRA recommends to not exceed 0.4% in "stay-on" products, which would include a massage oil or a body cream. Bergamot is a particularly nice perfume as a stand-alone oil and, therefore, should be diluted prior to use. This percentage would equate to approximately one drop of the oil to one ounce of a carrier oil. When used in a diffuser, 2 to 4 drops would suffice. The safety issues are more related to the skin and direct UV light. We previously carried a bergapten-free oil which is rectified to remove the phototoxic qualities, but the last sample we received just didn't hit the mark that we strive for. I recently received the sample of the oil we have now which is not bergapten-free and does carry the issues of phototoxicity, but it smells truly wonderful.
Bergamot has a high likelihood of becoming oxidized if not kept in a cool, dark location. We keep our supply refrigerated and would suggest, if possible, that you do so also.
A few of our favorite uses for this oil:
Can be added to a face mask for acne due to its antiseptic and astringent properties or add to your regular bottle of shampoo and conditioner if you have oily hair. The literature also recommends this essential oil for eczema. I'm having my daughter test this new shipment to see how her eczema responds to it.
Body powder (deodorizing and refreshing)
2 parts tapioca starch (or cornstarch, organic preferred)
1/2 part orrisroot (fragrance fixative, easily found at health food stores)
1 part baking soda
1 part zinc oxide (deodorizing due to antibacterial properties)
Bergamot essential oil - using the dilution of 0.4%, which would be approximately 1 drop per 1 ounce of powder.
Lovely and uplifting, refreshing powder. Can be placed in a shaker bottle (we will be carrying these) or just a glass jar with a tight lid.
Perfume: (Put in a 2 oz sprayer bottle if using vodka, a roller ball if using a carrier oil)
1 tsp vodka or 1 tsp carrier oil (such as almond oil or olive oil)
8 drops of lavender essential oil
2 drops of rose absolute or rose otto
4 drops of bergamot essential oil
8 drops of vanilla essential oil
1 drop of ylang-ylang essential oil
For more detailed information, please take a look at our essential oil database on this oil.
Safety/Cautions: Bergamot contains furocoumarins, notably bergapten, which causes skin sensitization and skin pigmentation when exposed to direct UV light for up to 12 hours. It can and has caused severe burns when used on sensitive skin that is subsequently exposed to sunlight or sunbed rays. The maximum concentration for most oils in concentration with a carrier is somewhere around 5%, but the IFRA recommends Bergamot to not exceed 0.4% in products that will not be washed off. We follow those guidelines in our products that contain Bergamot.
Avoid in cases of liver problems. Not for use when pregnant or nursing. Possible skin irritant – dilute well.
As with all citrus oils, bergamot is prone to oxidation because of its high content of d-limonene and linalool. We store all of our citrus oils, including bergamot, in a refrigerator and suggest that you do this also. Please keep this oil in the amber bottle with the dropper cap that we supply.
IMPORTANT: All of our products are for external use only.
We also suggest you have a good working knowledge of the use of essential oils or consult with an aromatherapy professional prior to use. In addition, Essential Oils must be properly diluted before use in order to avoid any damages to property or adverse physical effects (including injury or bodily harm). Please read our Disclaimer before using our products.
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