Bergamot, Citrus bergamia, is similar to bitter orange. It is best known for the distinctive flavor given to Earl Grey tea. Most people enjoy the aroma more than the taste. You may have smelled bergamot in colognes and creams.
The origin of this tea is Asia. Today it is mainly grown in Reggio di Calabria, at the tip of the boot of Italy. The best essential oil is grown here, a hybrid of bitter orange and lemon trees. During flowering and harvest, November through February, the region smells like a little bit of heaven.
Bergamot essential oil is made from the inedible, green fruit. The oil is expressed from the glands in the skin. The peel is rasped, squeezed, and pressed. Contents are clarified and filtered to produce an emerald green essential oil. The fruit is yellow and pear shaped. Bergamot is unique in every way and enjoyed by most everyone.
When an aroma is uplifting and unusual, like Bergamot, it has a greater impact in the brain. It is a high or head note in aromatherapy and perfumery. Therefore it will register first in the brain. Studies in Europe confirm that Bergamot essential oil balances the activity of the hypothalamus. This allows it to help bipolar disease and reduce anxiety, depression, and fearfulness. Research by Paoli Rovesti through the University of Milan, was conducted at several psychiatric clinics with outstanding success. Bergamot either calmed or energized people, adapting to their body’s needs. Those plagued by chronic fatigue and stress, found the aroma to be strengthening, and rebuilding for their stamina. Depressed people experienced Bergamot in another way. It enhanced their self-confidence as well as reducing depression. The Bergamot essential oil was worn, diluted in carrier oil, or applied to an aroma lamp.
For depressed or nervous conditions, bergamot combines well with many essential oils. The citrus family of essential oils: grapefruit, lemon, lime tangerine, mandarin, bitter and sweet orange combine well. I find that clients with these psychological conditions often love the smell of citrus oils.
Other essential oils that combine with bergamot include lavender, angelica, clary sage, cedar, lemon balm mint, and to a lesser extent rose. Bergamot dilutes the high odor of content of essential oils, such as pine, rockrose, cypress, patchouli, cedar wood, vetiver, angelica root, and ginger. Combining essential oils creates a totally new molecular chain. First, the individual essential oil molecules entirely break down and new chains are created from the group of the essential oils combined. They create a new scent with new therapeutic properties. The possibilities are endless. Every aromatherapist becomes a chemist of scents.
In Italy, bergamot is used to combat infectious disease. Bergamot has been successfully treating staph, diphtheria, meningitis, and many other illnesses. Before World War 11, were not available. Doctors and clients used bergamot for skin, mouth, and respiratory infections. For respiratory problems, the steam of the oil was inhaled and infused in a room. What a delightful way to get well! The oil can also reduce fever. It was applied to the body as a compress. Bergamot has a history of treating malaria as a compress.
In a sitz bath, bergamot relieves cystitis. The oil can reduce abdominal cramps administered in a bath, or diluted in carrier oil, and applied to the abdomen.
Most interesting is that bergamot treats anorexia. It reduces appetite loss and relieves anxiety and depression. If abdominal problems are involved, bergamot can likely reduce those also. The scent is very light and uplifting, cooling to an overwrought nervous system. People dubbed, as type A will do well to make bergamot their companion. The aroma reduces cranky and frustrated, pent up feelings increasing digestive and skin problems.
For skin problems, Bergamot relieves psoriasis, eczema, acne, seborrhea on the scalp, and herpes 1 cold sores. I use it with several essential oils to treat scabies.
Bergamot must be purchased, bergaptene free. Otherwise it increases photosensitivity and may be harmful to the skin, when exposed to sunlight within 12 hours of application.
The essential oil derived from bergamot fruit actually decreases sensitivity to sunlight. Furocumarin, a possible allergic property is removed from the essential oil to assure safety. It is a component in many suntan lotions.
For dry, chapped skin, bergamot can be combined with Roman chamomile essential oil to alleviate symptoms.
In 1-ounce jojoba or carrier oil add:
4 drops Roman chamomile
1 drop of Bergamot
Allow curing 1 hour before applying to rough or chapped skin. Cap tightly in a dark, glass bottle.
Note: To apply Bergamot essential oil to the skin, dilute it to 1% or less in base oil.
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