Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) is part of the Rutaceae family from Italy and the Ivory Coast. Bergamot is often used in the perfumery industry, and plays a big role in fragrance creation. Its citrus fragrance is unique and goes beautifully with floral oils such as neroli, rose, and ylang ylang, as well as herbals oils and other citrus oils.
As we will see, bergamot can be used to treat symptoms of digestive problems as well as emotional problems (including depression), stress, hypertension, joint pain, muscle pain, infection, skin disorders, upper respiratory infections, and more.
Before we begin, though, there are a few things to consider when considering bergamot oil as a potential ingredient in your blendings.
With essential oils, there are four factors that play a part in safety and exposure: How your oil was applied, how strong of a dilution rate you use, how much you use, and how often it is applied.
Externally, if not diluted properly and also depending on the constituents (components) within the oil, it can cause irritation, an allergic reaction such as phototoxicity, or a photo-allergy reaction. If used incorrectly internally, it can cause neurotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, carcinogenicity, or fetotoxicity.
Essential oils have evaporation rates, the categorizations of which are referred to as “notes.” Top notes such as bergamot and other citrus evaporate rather quickly. Middle notes are the next to evaporate, and the slowest oils to evaporate are the base notes.
Because of the various evaporation notes of essential oils, over time you may detect a slight change in the aroma. Keeping your blend in a dark, closed bottle will preserve your oil.
Essential oils have shelf lives. To achieve complete shelf life it will help to keep them in a cold, dark place at an ideal temperature of 60-65 degrees. A small refrigerator is often used for this purpose. You can refer to our Ultimate Guide to review the various notes as well as other pertinent information for each oil.
Citrus oil is expressed (steam distilled) from the peeling or rind of the fruit. Most citrus is phototoxic; the first reaction from fragrances with citrus oils was reported in 1916.
In 1970, the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) set safety guidelines and since then phototoxic reactions from fragrances is very rare now.
Bergapten-free bergamot is the best type to purchase. This contains very little if any FC’s (furanocoumarin). To achieve this, the oil is reprocessed using a technique called fractional distillation. This is the safest bergamot to buy and should be listed as ‘Bergamot FCF.’
Can These Conditions be Treated with Bergamot?
In the rest of this article we’ll give you lots of information so you can effectively enjoy the benefits that bergamot offers, without being concerned about the safety aspect of it. Let’s see all the wonderful ways this remarkable fruit can be used!
1. Alleviate Depression
Bergamot is incredible at reducing psychological stress factors. One way it does this is by assisting in the reduction of blood pressure. The referenced source states that BEO “data yielded so far contribute to our understanding of the mode of action of this phytocomplex on nerve tissue under normal and pathological experimental conditions and provide a rational basis for the practical use of BEO in complementary medicine.”(1)
The linalyl acetate in bergamot contributes to relaxing the smooth muscles and has a relaxing effect on the vascular system. (2) For depression, bergamot goes well with lavender, rose, geranium, and patchouli. The following is one of my signature blends. When first creating the aroma the emotional effect was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. This brings about peace and calmness in a happy “worry free” place.
Blend all ingredients and apply as needed.
*It is advised to avoid the use of ylang ylang on children under 2 years of age*
2. Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Study results have demonstrated that bergamot essential oil inhaled together with water vapor exerts psychological and physiological effects in a relative