xtracted from the rind of bergamot orange fruit, bergamot essential oil is cold pressed essential oil used commonly in perfumes and for flavoring. Approximately 85 grams of the essential oil can be extracted from the peels of 100 bergamot oranges. Bergamot essential oil is used in aromatherapy, cosmetics and for flavoring beverages and food items. It has a volatile and a non-volatile fraction. The volatile fraction which constitutes 95% of the oil has a variety of organic compounds including esters, alcohols, aldehydes, and terpenes, whereas the non-volatile fraction has oxygenated heterocyclic constituents like furanocoumarins and coumarins. [1]

The oil has a citrus smell, tastes sweet and fruity and possesses spicy and warm floral quality. It offers many health benefits like refreshes your mind; works on depression and anxiety; serves as a nerve relaxant; inhibits bacterial and viral infections in mouth; can ease varicose vein, muscle cramps, and pain in lower back; can repel insects and can serve as a first aid agent for minor cuts and wounds.[2]

Health Benefits of Bergamot Oil

The following are the various health benefits Bergamot Oil:

1. Eases Depression, Stress, and Anxiety

Bergamot essential oil has anxiolytic and sedative properties. It is said to work on depression. In a study, the effect of bergamot essential oil on rats with chronic stress was analyzed. Post inhalation of the oil for two weeks there was a substantial lowering of depression-related behavior in the rats. [3]

A pilot study looked into the effect of inhaling bergamot essential oil on the mental wellbeing of patients in a mental health center. Fifty-seven men and women in the age group of 18 to 70 years were exposed to the essential oil in the waiting room for fifteen minutes. The positive feelings of the participants improved suggesting that aromatherapy with this essential oil can be used as supplemental therapy for depression and mental health. [4]

Another study evaluated the impact of blended lavender and bergamot essential oils on anxiety or depression. The breathing rates, blood pressure, pulse rates, and the skin temperature of the participants were analyzed to see the effect of transdermal absorption of the blended oils on emotional responses and autonomic parameters. The subjects, i.e. 40 volunteers, were also asked to grade their emotional condition i.e. whether they felt relaxed, attentive, calm, alert, moody etc. The blended essential oil was applied to their abdomen and it was able to bring about a reduction in diastolic and systolic blood pressure and pulse rate. They also felt more calm and relaxed than the control group. So, it was concluded that the synergetic mix could be beneficial against anxiety and depression. [5]

A study revealed that when 41 healthy ladies were exposed to the vapors of the oil both psychological and physiological effects were observed. There were three experimental setups rest and vapor, water vapor alone and bergamot essential oil and rest. After 15 minutes of exposure, saliva samples were taken and the participants completed their profiles related to their mood, anxiety and fatigue status. The bergamot group had lower cortisol levels in their saliva and reported more positive emotions and less fatigue as compared to the other two groups. So, it was concluded that bergamot inhaled along with water vapor can have a positive impact on psychological and physiological stress. [6]

For relieving stress and anxiety, you need to add five to eight drops of bergamot essential oil to your bath. Few drops can be added to a vaporizer and kept overnight near your bed. You can even massage it topically by combining it with a carrier oil like olive or jojoba oil. [7] Rub two or three drops on the back of your neck, stomach, and feet. You can even rub a few drops in your hands and inhale the fragrance slowly to ease depression and mood issues. [8]

2. Good for Our Skin

Topical application boosts our skin health as bergamot essential oil possesses anti-inflammatory, bactericidal and antiseptic properties. It soothes your skin by mitigating irritation; tones it; and can be even used for removing epidermal marks and scars. In folk medicine of Italy, it has been used for promoting healing of wounds and as an ingredient of homemade disinfectant of skin. Take five drops of the essential oil in a cotton pad and apply on your infected skin to speed up healing. In your warm bath water add ten drops of the oil and enjoy its skin and mood uplifting benefits. [9]

3. Helps in Digestion

By virtue of its soothing properties bergamot, essential oil helps in digestion of food. It also activates digestive juices and may help ease food poisoning by virtue of its bactericidal properties. For appetite regulation and promoting digestion you just need to massage five drops of the oil on your stomach. [10]

4. Promotes Oral Health

By virtue of its germicidal properties, bergamot essential oil gives anti-cavity protection to our teeth. When used as a mouthwash it can benefit our germ infected teeth. Rubbing 2 to 3 drops of the oil on your teeth or adding it to your toothpaste may help heal decaying teeth and reverse dental cavities. [11]

5. May Work Against Fever

By activating secretion of hormones and mitigating stress, bergamot essential oil is said to lower the temperature of our body. Research has found that bergamot oil can lower levels of cortisol which otherwise increases our body heat and sweat. To ease fever caused by infections, high cortisol levels or stress, just massage a few drops on the bottom of your feet, temples, and back of your neck. You can even diffuse five drops of the oil at your home. [12]

6. Can Be Beneficial Against Various Infections

A study had revealed that bergamot essential oil can work against bacterial infections caused by Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus farcium which are resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin. These cause varied infection including bacteremia, urinary tract infection, meningitis and endocarditis. You can add the oil to your sitz bath and inhibit the bacteria’s spread from the urethra to the urinary bladder. It also is effective against viral infections like chicken pox and shingles caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Just blend it with a carrier oil and apply topically to the infected area. As far as fungal infections are concerned a study revealed that bergamot essential oil, when blended with the carrier oil and applied topically, can improve skin conditions caused by candida fungus strains. [13]

7. May Be Effective Against Dyslipidemia

Statins are popularly used to reduce serum cholesterol levels. High level of serum cholesterol especially low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is associated with cardiovascular problems. Though statins have positive effects on plasma lipids and lipoproteins, some patients fail to reach the desired LDL-C levels and stand at risk of cardiovascular issues. Moreover, statin intake at high doses is associated with several side effects. So, a study analyzed the effects of a bergamot extract on dyslipidemia. The study included 80 subjects with moderate hypercholesterolemia. They received the extract daily at a fixed dose for six months following which a significant reduction in plasma level of lipids and improvement in lipoprotein profile were seen. Presence of flavonoid glycosides in bergamot extract endows it with lipid-lowering properties. So, it was concluded that the bergamot extract can be a safe substitute for statins especially for those who are intolerant towards it. [14]

8. Has Anti-inflammatory Potentials

In traditional medicine, bergamot essential oil has been used for its anti-inflammatory properties. Various animal studies and in-vitro research have proven its anti-inflammatory activity. Its components bergapten and citropten can inhibit expression of interleukin 8 and may be recommended for curbing inflammation of lungs in cystic fibrosis patients. Anti-inflammatory properties of bergamot peel extract were also seen on human endothelial cells that were exposed to TNF or tumor necrosis factor alpha. So, bergamot peel extract can be used as a nutraceutical. [15]

9. Works Against Pain

The essential oil is used in aromatherapy to ease cancer-related pain. [16] In neuropathic and nociceptive pain, bergamot essential oil alters the implicated pathological and normal synaptic plasticity. Research revealed that the sensory perception of pain was regulated by the oil in different models of neuropathic, inflammatory and nociceptive pain regulating endogenous systems. In mice that were given an intraplantar injection of formalin or capsaicin, local application of bergamot essential oil diminished nociceptive behavior. [17]

Studies have revealed that the compound linalool present in bergamot essential oil possesses anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anticonvulsant properties. Linalool is said to inhibit substance P’s release, the chemical that is associated with various nerve impulses and pain transmission. It also has the potential to obstruct effects on receptors of pain. [18]

How to Use Bergamot Essential Oil?

Bergamot oil is known to help when used for the following purposes:

1. For Aromatherapy

  • Combine it with a carrier oil like mineral oil or coconut oil and massage it or apply as a body lotion.
  • You can add it to your potpourri, vaporizer and to your room freshener or homemade perfumed candles.
  • Add a few drops to your shampoo, facial scrub or body wash.
  • Take a few drops in your handkerchief or bandana and smell it from time to time.

2. For Hair

  • It is said to soften and manage curly hair. It also soothes your irritated scalp.
  • Combine few drops with tea tree oil, lavender oil or chamomile oil and massage it on your scalp and leave it overnight.
  • You can even add a few drops to your shampoo.

3. For Skin and Acne

  • For washing your face, you can mix it with your regular cleanser or dilute it in water and use.
  • Combine with a carrier oil and apply directly on blackheads, pimples, and cysts and let it stay overnight. Avoid this therapy during the day. Its pain relief properties work on pimples and cysts that are painful.
  • For eczemas and psoriasis, mix the essential oil with immortelle and rockrose oils and apply. [19]

4. Digestive Issues

  • You can take it orally by combining with honey or sugar to manage appetite loss.
  • A massage using a combination of grapefruit juice and bergamot essential oil in equal quantities is believed to be beneficial for anorexia. [20]
  • A combination of the oil with fennel, anise or coriander when taken orally helps ease cramps in the stomach as well as flatulence.

5. Infection of the Urinary Bladder

You can use bergamot essential oil in a propolis infusion. It can be complemented with drinking herbal teas, a diet free from salt and sitz bath. [21]

Do It Yourself Bergamot Essential Oil Based Mood Booster

A tablespoon of olive oil or sunflower oil
Six drops of bergamot essential oil
Four drops of lavender essential oil
Half a cup of sea salt, Epsom salt or Himalayan salt

In a bowl mix all the ingredients.
Add it to a warm bath and let the salt dissolve.
Soak yourself in the bath for half an hour. [22]

Do It Yourself Bergamot Bath Oil for Stress Management

Three drops of bergamot essential oil
An ounce of olive oil or sunflower oil
Five drops of chamomile essential oil

Add all the ingredients to your warm bath.
Alternatively, you can combine these and deeply inhale to ease emotional stress.

Do It Yourself Bergamot Essential Oil Based Deodorant

A tablespoon each of witch hazel extract and apple cider vinegar
Three drops each of bergamot essential oil and patchouli essential oil
Fifteen drops of grapefruit seed extract

Mix all these together and store it in a bottle with sprayer. [23]

Precautions Associated With Bergamot Essential Oil

  • Children: It should not be taken in large amounts orally by children as it can cause convulsion and death.
  • Skin sensitivity: Post application abstains from going out in the sun as your sensitivity to ultraviolet rays increases making you susceptible to skin cancer.
  • Pregnancy and lactation: Pregnant or breastfeeding women need to avoid topical application of bergamot oil.
  • Diabetics: Those with diabetes if using bergamot oil need to monitor their blood sugar level as it tends to lower it. This may negatively affect their sugar levels.
  • Surgery: Two weeks prior to a surgery you need to stop using the oil as it affects the normal blood sugar levels.
  • Drug interaction: As bergamot oil enhances epidermal sensitivity to sunlight you should not use it topically with photosensitizing drugs. This may cause rashes, blisters or sunburn on the exposed skin. Some of these drugs are norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin, gatifloxacin, lomefloxacin, tetracycline, amitriptyline etc. [24]

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