Bergamot oil is an underrated familiar scent and flavor that actually offers a powerhouse of benefits. There is more to this essential oil that you may not already know. Let us discover more about the wonders of this oil. It may just be what you need for your health problems since it can provide a lot of benefits to your body.
What is Bergamot Oil
Bergamot essential oil is also known as Citrus Bergamia or Citrus Aurantium var. The plant is part of the Rutaceae family which is typically grown in South East Asia. They are also grown in parts of Europe, specifically in the coastal regions of Southern Italy like Reggio di Calabria and Sicily. In fact, it actually got its name from a popular location in Italy where it was originally sold, Bergamo, Lombardy.
Bergamot is a cross-breeding of a lemon tree and an orange tree. The oil is typically extracted from the peel of the fruit. Its aroma is a bit citrusy but sweet. The fruit also has a yellow color and a pear-like shape. The bergamot essential oil is extracted from either hand-pressed or cold-pressed bergamot rind. Ideally, a nearly ripe bergamot fruit is used in producing the essential oil. The oil is composed of different chemical compositions like Alpha Pinene, Alpha Bergapten, Alpha-Terpineol, Limonene, Linalool, Linalyl Acetate, Nerol, Neryl Acetate, Beta Bisabolene, Geraniol, Geraniol Acetate, and Myrcene.
How to Make Bergamot Oil
Bergamot essential oil can be extracted from the fruit in two main methods. These methods are the same methods used in obtaining oil from other citrus fruits like tangerine and lemon.
1. Cold-pressing or Expression
One of the traditional ways of obtaining oil from citrus fruits is called expression. This method is performed by manually applying pressure to the rind or fruit peelings by pressing them. This can be a challenging and tedious work since you would have to exert a lot of effort and wait for the oil to come out. Luckily, life has been a lot easier with technological developments. Today, a device called écuelle à piquer is used in extracting the oil. This device lessens the need for hard labor since it features a mechanical device that uses centrifugal force in extracting the oil.
In this process, you can either use steam or water. With the involvement of water, the distilled bergamot essential oil loses a bit of its aroma. Distilled bergamot oil is also regarded as oil with lesser quality.
21 Uses of Bergamot Oil
1. Antidepressant: Improves Blood Circulation
As mentioned above, bergamot contains Alpha Pinene and Limonene chemical compositions. These chemicals are known as great antidepressants. When they are used, they instantly make a person feel fresh, energized and happy. They are best for people who are suffering from extreme fatigue, sadness, lack of appetite, low sex drive, and disinterest in life. It basically improves blood circulation. Unlike several antidepressant drugs, bergamot oil is a natural remedy that has no bad side effects. Antidepressant medications may cause more harm than good since their side effects include weight gain, personality changes, and even suicidal thoughts. If you are suffering from depression, try using bergamot oil. You can apply two to three drops of bergamot essential oil in your hands. Rub it in your hands thoroughly then, cup your mouth and nose while breathing slowly. You may also rub it on your stomach and feet.
2. Stimulant: Digestion
Bergamot oil can also be a good hormone stimulant. Good hormone secretion can basically help your body in secreting insulin, bile, and digestive juices. This means that you will also have a better metabolic rate, normal intestinal muscle contraction, better digestion, and proper nutrient absorption. Good digestion also means faster sugar assimilation and decomposition which leads to lower blood sugar. As a result, blood pressure also lowers. Its good effects on hormones also make it ideal for different mental and neurological conditions. If you are suffering from indigestion, high blood pressure, and some neurological problems, just breathing in the bergamot oil can already stimulate your hormones. You may also use an oil burner or diffuser to be able to inhale it. Additionally, you can also apply 2-5 drops of the oil on your abdomen and temple.
3. Antibiotic & Disinfectant: Cures Infection
Bergamot essential oil also has certain chemical components that are natural antibiotics and disinfectants. They have the ability to stop the growth of germs, viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Because of their natural components, they are effective in curing an infection in the skin, scalp, intestines, colon, urinary tract and kidney. They can regularly be used in collaboration with soaps. In fact, there are a lot of soap variations in the market which include bergamot oil as the main ingredient. A study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology in April 2009 found out that bergamot oil exhibited great results against Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis bacteria which are the usual cause of common bodily infections like urinary tract infection, meningitis, endocarditis, and bacteremia. What is more impressive about this research is that bergamot oil is able to fight not just an ordinary bacteria; it fights bacteria that are resistant from vancomycin antibiotics. If you want to naturally cure UTI, you can add a few drops of bergamot oil in your sitz bath or hip bath. In another study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, researchers from Italy discovered it’s amazing antifungal chemical properties as it effectively cured infections brought by candida fungus strains.
4. Analgesic: Reduce Pain
Another amazing benefit that Bergamot essential oil can give is its pain reduction effects. Earlier, we mentioned how it can stimulate hormones, well; they can also stimulate the release of hormones that can effectively lessen nerve sensitivity which results in lesser painful sensations. It can be effective in reducing common body pain like sprains, headaches, and muscle cramps. They are a better natural remedy that can be a good alternative for analgesic medicines. Analgesic pills commonly sold over-the-counter can also do more harm to your body than good. They typically bring adverse side effects to your liver and kidneys; Not only that, but they can also make your blood thinner and give you difficulty in sleeping. In order to use it as a pain reliever, you can rub 5 drops of the oil on the painful area.
5. Relaxant & Sedative: Stress Reliever
Bergamot oil also contains flavonoids that are effective in body relaxation and sedation. It initiates the release of happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin. It can effectively soothe the nerves which results in reduced nerve tensions, stress, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. All the usual symptoms of stress like difficulty in sleeping or insomnia, high blood pressure, and depression can be fought with bergamot oil. Some experts even use the oil to help patients experiencing anxiety and stress prior to surgery. They use it in aromatherapy preparation sessions for the patients. Generally, it makes people feel at ease, contented, confident and empowered as it omits negative feelings of inferiority, failure, inadequacy, and worthlessness.
6. Digestive: Better Digestion
Since bergamot oil aid in hormone secretion, it can also help in secreting digestive acids, enzymes, and bile which results in better digestion. It is also capable of normalizing intestinal muscle movements. In a normal metabolic process, intestines follow a peristaltic motion in order to digest food better and move bile effectively. When there is a normal movement in the intestine, there is faster digestion. Strains in the intestines are reduced or entirely removed. These amazing effects lessen the chances of having constipation. It can also lead to the avoidance of gastrointestinal complications like colorectal cancer, colon cancer, and more. The use of bergamot oil can correct irregular bowel movements.
7. Toner: Reduce Oil and Acne
If you want to achieve smoother skin in the face, you can also use the bergamot oil. Patricia Davis, a clinical aromatherapist, said in her book titled Aromatherapy: An A-Z that bergamot oils contain potent antiseptic properties that can effectively reduce the bacteria on your face. If bacteria on the face are lessened, there will also be lesser acne breakouts. In addition to that, you will also enjoy the scent of the oil when you apply it to your skin. Here is a good restorative toner recipe that you can follow at home.
Restorative Skin Toner
- 3 tbsp. of aloe vera
- 3 tea bags of chamomile
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 tsp. of witch hazel
- bergamot oil
To create your own natural skin toner, start by boiling water. In the interim, you can prepare your aloe vera gel. You can use the gel from a fresh leave or use aloe vera juice. Once you have the amount you need, you can mix it with witch hazel and bergamot oil. If you used aloe gel from fresh leaves, you would need to blend the mixture in a blender or food processor but if you are using aloe juice, you can skip this step. It would not be too long for the water to boil. Once it does, add the tea bags to the water and let it cool. Wait for the tea mixture to settle at room temperature and combine all the ingredients. Place it in a sealed jar and store it in the refrigerator. The witch hazel is a natural preservative so a batch of skin toner can last for up to 2 weeks.
8. Cicatrisant: Scar Reduction
Cicatrisant is another amazing chemical property that is present in bergamot oil. Citrasicant is a great agent that promotes the disappearance of different marks and scars on the skin which; scars that were probably caused by skin infections and skin irritations. This is the main reason why bergamot oil is added to different types of cosmetic and skincare products like lotions, soaps, creams, and more.
It primarily makes an even and uniform distribution of melanin and pigment in the skin. As it helps your skin heal the scars better, it also makes the skin look brighter and more attractive. In relation to acne issues above, bergamot oil can also rejuvenate your acne scars. It is also a good fix for the faded and unbalanced complexion.
You can apply 5 drops of the oil on the area you want to be treated or you can also add 10 drops of it in a warm water bath.
9. Deodorant: Scent Freshener
If you want a natural but refreshing alternative to your usual deodorant, bergamot oil is one thing you can also consider. Because of its aromatic scent and disinfecting properties, it becomes an ideal deodorant for the young generation. When bergamot oil is applied, it stops the growth of germs in the skin which typically causes body odor. Not only are they used in underarm deodorant products, but they are also added in air fresheners, sprays, and mosquito repellants. You can apply 2-3 drops of bergamot alone or apply it with your deodorant. You can also create your own deodorant recipe by mixing equal parts of coconut oil and shea, arrowroot powder, baking soda and a few drops of bergamot oil. Other people even add their favorite scents with bergamot. Some options are lemon, clove, lavender, lemongrass, sandalwood, and cedarwood.
10. Febrifuge: Fever Cure
Bergamot oil also contains a substance called febrifuge. This agent is known for its ability to lower body temperature and reduce fever. Since bergamot also has antibiotic and disinfectant properties, it also makes the healing process from a fever faster and more effective. It can fight against the usual bacteria, protozoa, and viruses that cause fever. It’s hormone stimulating ability also allows the body to recover fast from a fever. It can stimulate metabolic processes and gland secretions. The enhanced secretion of eccrine glands and sebaceous glands helps greatly in lowering bodily temperature.
11. Vermifuge: Worms and Cavity Fighter
If your child has contracted worms and developing cavities, bergamot oil is a great natural option. It is subtle and fragrant but it can definitely help your body in fighting intestinal worms and teeth problems. Since bergamot oil can destroy germs and viruses, they can also effectively kill intestinal worms. Ensure that your kid does not suffer in different deficiencies because of parasite issues. You can apply 2-3 drops of bergamot oil on your kid’s tummy and massage it to kill the parasites. Another common issue a child can have is a tooth cavity. If you want to protect your child from cavity development, you can use bergamot oil as a mouth wash. You may also directly rub it to your child’s teeth or add it to the toothpaste.
12. Antispasmodic: Relieve Nerves and Muscles
The oil’s antispasmodic properties can effectively relieve issues related to nerves and muscles like muscle cramps, painful muscle contractions, and convulsion. In addition to that, it can also help relax people who are suffering from respiratory conditions like asthma and chronic coughing.
13. Antiseptic: Fight Viruses
You would be amazed at how bergamot oil can help you in different situations. Its antiseptic properties can fight viruses. Back in the days, Italians even used bergamot oil to treat malaria patients. It can also cure cold sores. Cold sores are caused by a virus. Bergamot oil may not be able to kill the virus completely but it can greatly help in weakening the virus. In a book titled “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils” by Jule Lawless, she stated that bergamot oils can be applied directly to the cold sore in the form of a lotion.
14. Fight Tetanus
It can be used to fight tetanus. Tetanus is an extremely dangerous ailment in the nerves. It is usually caused by the bacterium called Clostridium Tetani which is found in the soil and dust. When they enter the body, they continue to produce more toxins that enter the bloodstream. Avoid developing tetanus by applying up to 5 drops of the oil in the wounded area.
15. Vulnerary: Fast Healing
It can be used to treat boils and speed up the healing of wounds, crack skin, ulcer, eczema, mouth ulcers, herpes, shingles, chickenpox, and itching. Boils are caused by bacteria. You can treat boils at home by adding a few drops of bergamot oil on a hot compress.
26. Perfume: Sweet and Citrus Scent
It’s sweet, citrusy, and the fruity smell is a popular ingredient in perfumes and other products. It also has a spicy aroma that is unique and amazing. If you are familiar with perfume brands, you may remember the original 4711 Eau de Cologne created by Johann Maria Farina. The specific cologne used bergamot oil as its main ingredient. Perfume manufacturers also play with different combinations of scent. They combine it with other essential oils like cedarwood, citronella, clary sage, cypress, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, ho leaf, neroli, jasmine, lavender, lemon, mandarin, nutmeg, orange, palmarosa, rosemary, rosewood, sandalwood, tangerine, vetiver, and ylang-ylang.
17. Fruity Flavoring
You read it right! Bergamot oil is also used as a flavoring in different parts of the world. In Sweden, they add bergamot flavor to snus. Snus is a type of tobacco that is smokeless and sugar-free. In Italy, they add it to enhance the flavor of marmalade. In Turkey, they add it to flavor different confectionaries. Most popularly, bergamot oil is used to flavor Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas. These teas are also used in making Earl Grey Doughnuts and Earl Grey Ice Cream.
18. Statin Substitute
In a research published in the Journal of Natural Products, they found out that bergamot brings statin-like effects to the body. Statins are drugs that are typically used to reduce cholesterol levels in the body. They are commonly taken by people who are 46 years old and above. These statins are also known to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
If you want to normalize your cholesterol level in a natural way, you can also use bergamot oil. This way, you can also avoid the bad side-effects of statins. Also, make sure that you do natural ways of lowering cholesterol; You can try healthy eating, exercising, and balancing vitamin D levels by walking outside in the morning.
19. Hair Sheen
Like most essential oils, bergamot oil can also add shine to your hair. Whether your hair naturally has dreary locks or locks that are messed up by the weather, the bergamot oils will definitely come to the rescue. To achieve the best look for your hair, you can combine Bergamot oil with Jojoba oil. Then, you can apply it to either wet or dry hair. If you do not plan to leave your hair flowing down your shoulder and want to simply put it in an updo, the bergamot oil can also make it look smooth and dignified.
20. Weight Loss
Bergamot is one of the few essential oils (lavender and peppermint) that can stimulate the endocrine system. The endocrine system helps the body be more calm and relaxed. When you are always relaxed and calm, you can avoid emotional stresses that typically result in overeating and gaining weight. As we all know, when we are emotionally eating, we would always opt for unhealthy food instead of healthy ones. In addition to that, bergamot oil promotes better metabolism which eventually results in weight loss. Bergamot oil also reduces blood sugar. In research done at the University of Catanzaro in Italy, they found out that more than 200 patients reduced blood sugar levels and bad cholesterol after a month of consumption. Of course, you should not completely rely on Bergamot oil when trying to lose weight. You should also change your lifestyle.
21. Relieves Congestion
Bergamot oil also has anti congestive agents that can help persons suffering from cold, cough, congestion and several respiratory problems. The oil can basically help loosen up the phlegm and mucus build up in the lungs. It also relieves our body’s natural reaction to sneezing and coughing. You can apply bergamot oil in your chest and throat for a soothing effect. You can also use an oil burner or vaporizer to inhale the oil. If you do not have these, you can also put 5 drops of bergamot oil in your hands, cup your mouth, and breathe slowly as you inhale it. If you have a clogged nose, you can try drinking Earl Grey tea instead.
Reminders about Bergamot Oil
Since bergamot oil contains bergapten, you should never apply to your skin when you know you are going to be exposed to sunlight because bergapten can be poisonous when exposed. This is also the primary reason why all bergamot oil is stored in dark bottles and dark places.
To sum it up, We can consider the bergamot oil as a tonic. It can literally tone up everything: respiratory system, circulatory system, digestive system, excretory system, nervous system, muscular system, and the integumentary system. There are limited proofs on other benefits it can provide our body but there are ongoing researches that seek more answers is the use of bergamot oil can actually avoid the formation of gall stones and protect one’s body from bronchitis, colic, diphtheria, and halitosis.