Five benefits of using Bergamot Essential Oil
The roots of the bergamot tree can be traced back to Southeast Asia, however it is currently grown in many parts of the world.
Earlier Bergamot was prominent and named in the town of Bergamo in southern Italy.
Bergamot essential oil is extracted from the rinds of citrus fruit (Citrus bergamia) which grow on bergamot orange trees. It is renowned for having a soothing scent, spicy taste, and wide range of uses.
Bergamot is used to flavour Earl Grey tea, now can you identify with the taste? You have probably already been enjoyed it in this tea.
How to use bergamot essential oil
Bergamot essential oil has a distinctive citrusy scent and is used in:
- Personal products
- Perfumes and cologne
- Food and drink
- Medicinal value
Bergamot essential oil should not be used full strength on your skin, it must be diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut oil. It can be mixed with water vapour and diffused for aromatherapy.
Bergamot essential oil as aromatherapy
Bergamot essential oil is soothing when used as an aromatherapy treatment. Here are some ways to use it for aromatherapy:
- Mix Bergamot essential oil with a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba oil to use as a body lotion, apply to pulse points, roll onto bottom of your feet or for massage.
- Add 2 to 5 drops of Bergamot essential oil to your body wash, shampoo and facial scrubs.
- Scent home-made candles with Bergamot essential oil.
- Add 3 to 5 drops of Bergamot essential oil to a vaporiser to distribute the scent throughout your room.
- Drop a few drops of Bergamot essential oil onto a bandana or tissue/handkerchief for a scent to go.
A small study done in 2015 on women in Japan identified that inhaling bergamot oil diffused with water vapor reduced feelings of fatigue and anxiety. (1)
Also a study in 2013 published in the journal Current Drug Targets reported that aromatherapy with bergamot (along with other essential oils) helped relieve depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. The mechanism behind this being that the brain was signaled to release the chemicals dopamine (creating pleasure and reward) and serotonin (a mood stabiliser). (2)
Reducing pain and inflammationA review in a 2017 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences analyzed the effects of several essential oil compounds on pain response and other conditions in humans and animals. (3)
It found that both the compounds linalool and carvacrol had analgesic, anticonvulsant, and anti-inflammatory properties when used in a range of methods that included applying it on the skin. Bergamot essential oil also contains the compounds Linalool and carvacrol. The review identified caution re: toxicological effects of essential oils in humans requiring further study.
A 2016 review in Phytomedicine of human and animal studies found that flavonoids that are in Bergamot essential oil can help reduce lipid levels. The mechanism behind this was not clear and further research would be beneficial. (4)
An animal study in 2018 supported this finding. This study also found that Bergamot essential oil had an anti-inflammatory effect due to it containing polyphenols in the livers of rats recovering from fatty liver disease. (5)
Bergamot essential oil as acne treatment
Bergamot essential oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it an effective treatment for acne (use only after attending a patch test and use with caution if you have sensitive skin: see note below). Bergamot also has analgesic properties that may make it effective against painful cysts and pimples.
How to use Bergamot essential oil in this way:
- Apply Bergamot essential diluted with a carrier oil directly to pimples, cysts and blackheads.
- Leave overnight.
- Do not leave on during the day as it causes photosensitivity – stay out of direct sunlight (see note below).
- Mix a few drops into water or your facial cleanser to use as a facial rinse.
Bergamot essential oil for hair
Bergamot essential oil is renowned for taming curls. People who use Bergamot essential oil in hair products also report it sooths an itchy scalp.
How to use bergamot essential oil this way:
- Drop a few drops of Bergamot essential oil into your daily shampoo/conditioner and use as directed.
- Add a few drops to water in a spray bottle and spray hair to tame curls and frizz.
- Drop a few drops of Bergamot essential oil in your usual shampoo. Try one to two drops with a tablespoon of carrier oil, massage into scalp as an overnight treatment.
Complementary essential oils with bergamot essential oil:
Add a few drops of Lavender essential oil to the same products with Bergamot essential oil for treatment of hair, skin, acne, and treatments.
Add a drop of Tea Tree essential oil to skin products to fight acne and reduce skin inflammation.
Cautions and considerations when using Bergamot essential oil
Essential oils, including Bergamot essential oil, may cause skin reactions such as allergic dermatitis. Bergamot essential oil should be diluted in a carrier oil if being applied to the skin. Suitable carrier oils could be coconut oil or jojoba oil.
You can do a patch test on your skin by dabbing a small amount of Bergamot essential oil diluted in a carrier oil on your forearm and if no reaction within 24 hours it should be safe to use. Always use with caution on skin in sensitive areas such as your face and avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes such as mouth and inner nose.
Be aware that using essential oils in a diffuser can have a negative effect on children, pets, or pregnant women.
Bergapten, a compound found in bergamot oil, was shown to be phototoxic. This means you should stay away from direct sun exposure when using this oil.
Caution should be applied when using essential oils if you are taking regular medication, check for interactions with your pharmacist or doctor.