Favoured around the world for its fresh citrus scent and spicy undertone, bergamot is a staple of the cosmetics industry. But its long-standing reputation as a healing agent and holistic therapy favourite shows that bergamot has a great many purposes. Each more surprising than the last. In this post, we explore the diverse benefits of bergamot oil. As well as applications of this wonderful essential oil: an indispensable addition to any home.
The use of bergamot has been documented since the 16th century, when Italian folk medicine would preach its success in treating fever and worms. Although bergamot’s origins can be traced back to Asia, it is largely cultivated in its spiritual home of Italy. As well as neighbouring France and Turkey. Perhaps the biggest clue that bergamot and Italy go hand-in-hand is the tale that it takes its name from Bergamo, a historic city in Lombardy – though an Ancient Greek or two would tell you the etymology is closer to Turkish phrase ‘the lord’s pear’.
Countries as far and wide as Guinea, Morocco and the Ivory Coast produce bergamot essential oil, which is typically cold-pressed. This process takes the rind of nearly ripe fruit from the bergamot tree, a member of the Rutaceae family, and extracts the pale yellow-green liquid. Blossoming in winter with delicate white flowers and yellow fruit, the bergamot tree is not only an attractive choice for a garden, but a practical choice should you wish to cultivate your own oil. Just know, around 300 bergamot fruits are needed to create 85 grams of oil.
Bergamot’s scientific make-up includes a chemical composition of linalyl acetate, limonene and linalool, among several other esters. This blend of compounds offers many benefits, not least the tell-tale scent for which bergamot is known.
While we are fairly certain you will have come across a bergamot essence or two in your time (our website alone currently has 17 variations), have you ever heard of it being used in other ways? Among those recorded, you can count everything from aromatherapy, home fragrance and digestive tonics to food flavourings, sedatives and therapeutic massage. Here are some of the lesser-known applications…
When used in an oil, bergamot oil is thought to be a great support for respiratory conditions such as wheezing, blocked noses and chesty coughs, opening up the airways and clearing congestion. Applied to a warm cloth and breathed in, bergamot oil instantly eases a tight chest, while the aroma calms the senses.
You might not think it, but bergamot’s refreshing scent makes it an excellent alternative to mint-based mouthwashes. Simply mix one or two drops of oil in your mouthwash for a unique experience that does just the trick. It can even prevent cavities from forming or soothe pain from existing cavities when applied topically to the affected tooth, thanks to its antimicrobial properties.
When massaged into the stomach, bergamot is reported to ease a whole host of digestive issues, such as flatulence, loss of appetite and gastrointestinal pain. This is thanks to its promotion of digestive enzyme secretion, where consuming one to two drops will quicken the pace of movement through the stomach for greater bowel regularity – but ensure you check with a specialist, first, and when applying topically to the skin, you should mix 1 or 2 drops with a carrier oil.
Bergamot candles offer an aromatic experience quite unlike any other, uplifting the senses while relaxing the mind. That makes bergamot particularly beneficial for mental strife, alleviating symptoms of stress and anxiety to leave only a feel-good atmosphere. Beyond inspiring the right ambience, it’s scientifically shown to reduce fatigue, improve circulation and drive metabolism, combatting the symptoms that contribute to depression.
Whether you choose candle or diffuser, bergamot is known to liven up any room with its fresh aroma – but did you know it doubles as a cleaning agent? Ideal for upholstery, the blend of bergamot oil and warm water will revitalise your settees, curtains and carpets.
Other uses of bergamot oil include, but are not limited to, disinfectant and wound dressing; pain relief, deodorant, scalp care and blood sugar control.
There are many weird and wonderful facts about bergamot out there, and here are a few of our favourites to share with you.
Over 90% of the planet’s supply comes from this location in Italy, which is responsible for producing 125 metric tonnes per year.
According to aromatherapists, grief, irritability and anger are eased by bergamot because of the flavonoids in its oil. Dopamine and serotonin levels increase when the scent is burned or inhaled, allowing the mind to calm negativity and improve nerve function.
Bergamot oil may be delectable, but the fruit it is drawn from is sour when raw. To achieve optimum loveliness, the orange must pass through several processes before it is fit for human consumption. However, the oil is used to flavour the leaves of Earl Grey tea.
But yellow or olive-brown bergamot is how an older formula will look, as the oil ages and darkens in tone. Many citrus oils only have a shelf-life of around 6 months once opened – so be sure to store it in a cool space, such as the refrigerator
Owing to its versatility in scent, bergamot pairs well with virtually all classic perfumery notes. It is used to add brightness and freshness in a perfume. We recommend exploring any products that combine bergamot with sandalwood, rose, mandarin, neroli, lemon, black pepper or clary sage
Every year, over 3,000 tonnes of oil are professed to be bergamot, while the composition tells a different story. Upon closer inspection, it is estimated that only 100 tonnes of genuine bergamot essence are produced and sold
One of bergamot’s key chemical constituents is bergapten, which is a known phototoxic. If that word left you as baffled as we were, allow us: phototoxicity is a form of chemically-induced irritation brought on by light. The effect is similar to that of severe sunburn, so take care if applying bergamot, mixing it with a carrier oil prior to application as with all essential oils, and do not apply it to any area exposed to sunlight. This compound is also found in hogweed, which is known to cause extreme reactions.
Thanks for reading our blog on the benefits of bergamot oil. For a collection of bergamot themed candles, diffusers and home fragrances. Click Here.