Known to build confidence and enhance your mood, bergamot oil is also used to kill bacteria, heal scars and minimize marks on the skin. Bergamot oil is also used to reduce pain from headaches and muscle tension as well as stimulate hormonal and digestive juices. Yes, no one-trick pony!
Where does bergamot oil come from? Bergamot is a plant that produces a type of citrus fruit and its scientific name is Citrus Bergamia. It’s defined as a hybrid between a sour orange and lemon, or a mutation of lemon.
The oil is taken from the peel of the fruit and used to make medicine. It’s derived through cold compression, which is different than the steam distillation of many other essential oils. The oil is commonly used in black tea, which is called Earl Grey.
Although its roots can be traced back to Southeast Asia, bergamot was more widely cultivated in the southern part of Italy. Bergamot essential oil was even named after the city of Bergamo in Lombardy, Italy, where it was originally sold. Bergamot oil is also produced in the Ivory Coast, Argentina, Turkey, Brazil and Morocco.
In traditional Chinese medicine, bergamot is used to help with the flow of vital energy so the digestive system can work properly. It’s also used to soothe indigestion and gas.
Bergamot essential oil is one of the main constituents for manufacturing perfumes due to its ability to balance the mix of aromas and harmonize all of the essences, enhancing the fragrance. It’s also used by the pharmaceutical industry, both to absorb the unpleasant smells of medicinal products and for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
Bergamot Oil Benefits the Whole Body
There are a number of a surprising health benefits from using bergamot essential oil as a natural remedy. Bergamot oil is antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. It’s uplifting, improves your digestion and keeps your system working properly.
Some of the most common benefits of bergamot essential oil include:
- 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
Bergamot Oil Uses
- Antidepressant — Depression can manifest with a variety of different symptoms, including fatigue, sad mood, low sex drive, lack of appetite, feelings of helplessness and disinterest in common activities. Antidepressant medications have serious side effects, including suicidal thoughts, weight gain and personality changes. The good news is there are all-natural remedies for depression that are effective and get to the root cause of the problem. This includes components of bergamot essential oil that are antidepressant and stimulating. They create a feeling of joy, freshness and energy by improving the circulation of your blood. Use bergamot oil by rubbing 2–3 drops into your hands and cupping your mouth and nose. Breathe in the oil slowly. Try rubbing the oil on your feet and stomach too.
- Stimulates hormonal secretions — Bergamot oil helps maintain proper metabolic rates by stimulating hormonal secretions, digestive juices, bile and insulin. This aids the digestive system and enables proper absorption of nutrients. These juices also assimilate the breakdown of sugar and can lower blood pressure. This benefits neurological and mental conditions as well. Just breathing in bergamot oil stimulates these juices — you can try using an oil diffuser or burner, or you can add 2–3 drops of oil to your temples or abdomen.
- Cures infections — Bergamot oil is used in skin soaps because it inhibits the growth of germs, fungi and virus. When you apply the oil to your skin or hair, you reduce the risk of infection and won’t notice the shine come through. Bergamot oil also cures infections of the intestines, kidneys, colon and urinary tract. To take advantage of this amazing benefit, drink Earl Grey tea or rub bergamot oil onto your throat, abdomen and feet. Using a oil vaporizer is also a great option — the scent of bergamot oil alone can have a tremendous impact.
- Relieves stress — Bergamot oil is a relaxant — it reduces nervous tension and feelings of stress and anxiety. This powerful oil can stimulate hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin, which create feelings of sedation and relaxation. Relieve stress and anxiety by using bergamot oil in a diffuser or oil burner. The smell of the oil leads to a feeling of ease and contentment. (1)
- Reduces pain — Because bergamot essential oil increases hormone secretions, it lessens the sensitively of nerves that create pain. For this reason, bergamot oil is a great way to reduce the symptoms of sprains, muscle aches and headaches. Instead of relying on pain killers that have nasty side effects, use this safe and natural oil to relieve pain and tension. Research shows that bergamot oil can be used in complementary medicine to minimize tension in the body. (2) To reduce pain, rub five drops of bergamot oil on sore muscles or where you feel tension.
- Heals skin — Bergamot essential oil is used to minimize the look of scars and other marks on the skin; it tones the skin by making the supply of melanin even. These scars can be the result of acne or skin infections or irritations. To rid the skin of irritations, put five drops of bergamot oil on a cotton ball or pad and rub it on the infected area. You can also add 10 drops of bergmot oil to your warm bath water — the benefits of a bergamot oil bath go way beyond your skin. It’s great for your mood, hormonal balance and built-up tension.
- Helps digestive system — Not only does bergamot oil stimulate the production of digestive juices, making the breakdown of foods in the digestive tract easier, it also stimulates muscle contractions in the intestines — quickening the digestive process by moving your waste through your intestines as your body absorbs nutrients. Some research even suggests that bergamot oil can be useful when fighting food poisoning because of its anti-bacterial properties. (3) Rub five drops of bergamot oil onto your stomach in order to ease digestive issues or regulate your appetite.
- Deodorant — Bergamot oil prevents the growth of germs that cause body odor. The refreshing and citrusy smell of bergamot oil is used as a natural deodorant and air freshener. The strong scent eliminates odors on the body or in a room. You can add two–three drops of bergamot oil to the deodorant you already use every day, or you can even add the oil directly to your armpits. Many companies include bergamot oil in their perfumes and colognes. Try making your own fragrance with bergamot oil by combining it with your favorite scents. Some great options include lemon, cedarwood and sandalwood oils.
- Reduces fever — Bergamot essential oil fights infections caused by harmful bacteria. It also reduces body temperature by alleviating stress and stimulating hormone secretions. The feeling of warmth that happens when your hormone levels are elevated leads to sweat, and this helps in reducing a fever.
- Cavity protection — Bergamot oil helps infected teeth. It removes germs from your teeth when used as a mouthwash, and it protects your teeth from developing cavities. This is because of its germ-fighting properties, which make it extremely useful when fighting cavities. Rub 2–3 drops of bergamot oil on your teeth, or add it to your toothpaste.
- Kills intestinal worms — Because bergamot essential oil kills germs, it’s used to treat intestinal worms. Intestinal worms result in malnourishment and can cause anemia, which develops when you don’t have enough robust, healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body. Eliminating these worms, especially in young children, is a major benefit of using bergamot oil. Rub 2–3 drops of bergamot oil into your hands, and rub it on your abdomen to kill infectious worms.
- Protection from tetanus — Tetanus is a dangerous nerve ailment caused by the toxin of a common bacterium called Clostridium tetani. Bacterial spores are found in soil and house dust. If the spores enter a wound that penetrates the skin and extends deeper than oxygen can reach, they grow and produce a toxin that enters the bloodstream. Bergamot essential oil has disinfectant and antiseptic properties and the power to kill bacterium that lead to infections. Bergamot oil can keep wounds from becoming dangerously infected and therefore protects you from developing tetanus. Using a cotton ball, add five drops of bergamot oil and gently rub it onto the infected area.
- Relieves congestion — Bergamot oil is an anticongestive, which means it relieves congestion and respiratory problems. This oil can be useful when battling a cold or cough. It loosens phlegm and mucus in the respiratory tract and helps the body to eliminate this undesired buildup by sneezing and coughing. This helps the body eliminate the germs and toxins that develop in your body when sick. Use a vaporizer or oil burner, or rub five drops of bergamot oil into your hands and cup your mouth and nose. You can also try rubbing the oil on your throat and chest. In addition, you can consume bergamot oil by adding it to tea or drinking Earl Grey tea that already includes the oil.
Research, Unique Compounds and Studies
An interesting study notes that citrus extracts, particularly bergamot essential oil, exhibit anti-cancer properties, but the poor water solubility, low stability and limited bioavailability prevent the use of bergamot oil in cancer therapy.
To overcome such drawbacks, researchers formulated bergamot oil liposomes, or artificially prepared doses, that improve the water solubility of the natural chemical compounds and increase their anti-cancer activity in vitro against human cancer cells. The results need to be investigated further, but the use of bergamot oil on cancer patients is an exciting prospect and proves that essential oils are powerful natural remedies. (4)
Another interesting study conducted in 2011 hypothesizes that applying blended essential oil to participants helps in treating depression or anxiety. The blended essential oil consisted of lavender and bergamot oils, and participants were analyzed based on their blood pressure, pulse rates, breathing rates and skin temperature. In addition, subjects had to rate their emotional condition in terms of relaxation, vigor, calmness, attentiveness, mood and alertness in order to assess behavioral changes.
Compared with the placebo, blended essential oil caused significant decreases of pulse rate and blood pressure. At the emotional level, subjects in the blended essential oil group rated themselves as “more calm” and “more relaxed” than subjects in the control group. The investigation demonstrates the relaxing effect of a mixture of lavender and bergamot oils, and it provides evidence for its use in medicine for treating depression or anxiety in humans. (5)
Homemade Men’s Cologne
- 5 drops cedarwood essential oil
- 3 drops bergamot essential oil
- 2 drops sandalwood essential oil
- 1/2 pint (300 milliliters) 70 percent alcohol or vodka
- Glass roll on tube or glass cologne spray bottle
- Mix all ingredients together and store in a bottle
Adding bergamot essential oil to my Homemade Conditioner recipe is a great way to hydrate your hair, especially if it’s naturally oily. The result is soft, luscious and healthy hair. Bergamot oil removes germs from your hair and scalp, and leaves you feeling calm and serene.
You can also add bergamot oil to your shampoo, toothpaste, face wash, body wash and body lotion. Two–to–five drops of oil benefits your skin, teeth and hair.
Remember that bergamot oil is an ingredient in Earl Grey tea. If you want to take advantage of the amazing benefits of this powerful oil, drink tea with bergamot oil daily. It can impact your digestion, hormonal secretions, mood and appearance.
Bergamot Oil Side Effects
Bergamot essential oil is safe for most people when added to food or applied topically in small amounts. Although the oil has been used extensively for many years, there are only been a few reports of phototoxic reactions to bergamot aromatherapy oil. (6)
It may 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.
Because bergamot oil might increase your sensitivity to sunlight, applying it topically along with medication that increases 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, especially if you use these types of medications.
There have been serious side effects in children who have taken large amounts of bergamot oil, and it shouldn’t be used by women who are pregnant or breast feeding.
Bergamot oil may lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. This could affect blood sugar control and cause blood sugar levels to go too low. If you use bergamot oil and have diabetes, make sure to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. If you are scheduled to have surgery, stop using bergamot oil at least two weeks beforehand — it may interfere with blood sugar control during the procedure.