When it comes to essential oils, one of the best for boosting your mood, treating skin issues and sharpening mental health is bergamot. With its citrusy, floral fragrance, bergamot essential oil is created by cold-pressing the rind of the bergamot fruit. It can be used in food and drink and can even make a massage relaxing. To learn more about all the benefits of bergamot, keep reading.
Where does bergamot essential oil come from?
Bergamot essential oil is extracted from the bergamot orange (citrus bergamia). This tropical citrus fruit is native to the Mediterranean but cultivated in similar climates across the globe. The bergamot orange is the size of a baseball, but its skin is green to slightly yellow.
What are the benefits of bergamot essential oil?
Although limited, research suggests bergamot essential oil may offer a number of health benefits.
A review of studies found that bergamot essential oil was effective in relieving both nociceptive and neuropathic pain. This is pain as a result of an outside injury, as well as pain that is caused by damage to the nervous system.
Restored skin health
Bergamot essential oil is a key component in boosting skin health. As an antimicrobial and antibacterial treatment, bergamot essential oil has been used to successfully treat many skin diseases, including acne, impetigo, ringworm and cellulitis.
Other inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis have also been eased with the regular application of bergamot essential oil.
Relief from symptoms of dementia
For people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, bergamot essential oil may relieve agitation, the most common and often most troubling symptom. This relief comes without the sedating effect common in other medications for dementia.
Improved mental health
Finally, there is some evidence that bergamot essential oil plays a key role in stress relief. When used as aromatherapy for anxiety, bergamot essential oil reduces diastolic and systolic blood pressure — key markers of stress.
Does bergamot essential oil have side effects?
Bergamot essential oil can cause possible side effects, especially for people who have a sensitivity to citrus, like grapefruit.
Bergamot contains the highest concentration of bergapten, a chemical compound produced by the citrus family Rutaceae, of any essential oil. When undiluted bergapten is used directly on skin, it can cause contact dermatitis — a rash that can range from mild redness to blisters.
Another potential topical side effect is photodermatitis. Bergapten increases sensitivity to sunlight, so using bergamot essential oil and then heading outside can result in a painful red and blistered rash.
When taken orally, bergamot essential oil may lower blood sugar. There are other potential drug interactions, including interactions with antibiotics and antidepressants. If you are taking medications, speak with your doctor before taking bergamot essential oil internally.
As always, when making changes to your health routines and adding essential oils, talk to your doctor about any potential risks or side effects.
How to use bergamot essential oil
Bergamot essential oil can be used in three ways: internally, topically and as aromatherapy.
How to take bergamot essential oil internally
Bergamot essential oil is what gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive citrus and floral notes. Loose tea enables you to make your cup of tea weaker or stronger than a traditional tea bag.
A few drops of bergamot essential oil mixed into water is a refreshing way to begin your day. Looking to wind down? Be a creative mixologist! Combine lemonade with bergamot essential oil and a splash of vodka for a relaxing cocktail.
If you’re a baker or a cook, a few drops of bergamot essential oil brings a refreshing, tart punch to baked goods, salad dressings, sauces, marinades and soups.
How to use bergamot essential oil topically
To prevent side effects, always mix your bergamot essential oil with a neutral carrier oil. Do a patch test by placing one drop of the mixture on the inside of your elbow, rubbing it in carefully and waiting to see if there is any reaction. If no reaction occurs, you can safely use bergamot essential oil topically.
In the shower, use a bergamot body wash or bar soap for overall skin health. For portable skin-based aromatherapy on the go, try a bergamot oil roller ball. Apply on your pulse points — wrists, neck and inside the elbow — for relief.
For a relaxing massage, dilute three drops of bergamot essential oil (almond oil is nice for massage), or look for a high-quality massage oil.
Aromatherapy with bergamot essential oil
The easiest way to have some aromatherapy time with bergamot essential oil? By candlelight. Set the mood and relax with a bergamot candle.
Reed diffusers are an option when candles are not. Essential oil is placed in a vessel, and thin reeds stand with their ends in that oil. The reeds soak up the oil and gradually release the scent in the air. This provides long-lasting aromatherapy, good in small spaces.
Nebulizing and ultrasonic diffusers are another aromatherapy option, as are incense and room sprays.
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