Bergamot

Citrus Aurantium Bergamia

Bergamot - Conscious Flow Knowledge Compendium

Classification

COMMON NAME Bergamot 
BOTANICAL NAME Citrus aurantium spp bergamia
PLANT PARTS USED Peel
EXTRACTION METHOD Cold Pressed
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN Italy

 

ELEMENT Air-Fire
BLEND NOTE Middle
ASTROLOGY Gemini (Mercury, Sun)
ENERGY EFFECT Expressive, Illuminating, Uplifting and Cleansing
CHAKRA Solar Plexis, Manipura –  Heart Anahata – Throat Vishudda
COLOUR Green-Yellow, Blue

Description

Bergamot oil is extracted from the rinds of citrus fruit (Citrus bergamia) that grow on bergamot orange trees. 

The bergamot tree origins can be traced to Southeast Asia, but is popularly  grown today in many parts of the world.  It is prized for its perfumery fragrance in Europe and is associated with the town of Bergamo and Calabria in southern Italy.

Bergamot is prized for its soothing scent, spicy taste, and wide range of uses, including culinary. It is used to flavour the distinctive Earl Grey tea. Bergamot’s distinctive, citrusy scent is used in both men’s and women’s personal care products. It can be found in perfumes, cologne, toiletries, and cosmetics.

As a healing plant it is often used for its soothing and calming properties.  As a middle note, it blends well with many other essential oils – integrating and spanning the ‘middle range’ of chakras in vibrational healing also.  Its planetary alignment to Mercury as well as the Sun is an association to its cleansing and expressive properties – i.e., communication and mental clarity without the sharpness of top note contemporaries.

These associations also make it a popular inclusion in soap, candles, potpourri and air fresheners.

Popular healing uses target skin and hair scalp conditions such as psoriasis.  The high antioxidant properties of the oil appear to improve the speed of wound healing.

Bergamot - Conscious Flow Knowledge Compendium

Constituents

Bergamot is traditionally extracted by cold-pressing. The rinds of 100 bergamot oranges yield about 3 ounces (85 g) of bergamot oil.

The traditional way of isolating volatile compounds as essentialoils from Citrus is mostly by cold pressing the Citruspeels. Citrus essential oil is present in oil sacs or oil glands located at different depths in the peel and the cuticles of the fruit. Peel and cuticle oils are removed by cold pressing and yields a watery emulsion.  This emulsion is then subjected to centrifugation to separate out the essential oil.
 
Distillation is also used in some countries as an economical way to recover Citrus essential oils from Citrus by-products. The processing of Citrus fruits to obtain juices produces a series of by-products, one of which is the peel, from which a variety of products, including essential oil, can be extracted.

In contemporary alternative methods, the oil is extracted mechanically with machines called peelers, which scrape the outside of the fruit under running water to get an emulsion channeled into centrifuges for separating the essence from the water. 

Another method of extraction is ultrasonic under the following steps: ” 1, bergamot is freeze-dried and smashed; 2, the bergamot is added into an extraction agent for ultrasonic extraction, and filtration and concentration are carried out; the operation is repeated 2-4 times. In the bergamot essential oil extraction method, according to the like-dissolves-like extraction principle, ultrasonic extraction is carried out with the organic solvent by utilizing the mutual dissolution nature of grease and the selected solvent, and essential oil can be obtained after reduced-pressure distillation is carried out on extraction liquor to remove the solvent” (Leitão et al., 2013).

Citrus fruit essences generally have relatively high yields of product and are not typically subjected to chemical extraction (a practice that some Aromatherapists and healing practitioners object to because it impacts the composition and vibration of the product).  If so, you may find lacing or high levels of ethos-alcohol.  

Percentages of chemical constituents and those found vary by crop yield, region of growth, seasonal climate and other factors. 

BERGAPTEN 0.0015%
LINALOOL 12%
CARVACROL  
LIMONENE 47%
LINALYL ACETATE 20%
GAMMA-TERPINENE 7.5%
BETA-PINENE 7%

Uses

Blood, Cholesterol and Inflammation

Bergamot has been used in medical treatments for hyperlipidemia, high levels cholesterol and other fats found in the blood to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL, ‘bad’) cholesterol levels.  Its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties have been found useful in treatments for rheumatic joint pain and inflammation. Bergamot has also been used in treatments that are designed to repair liver and kidney damage.

Maintains Skin Health

Several compounds in bergamot oil have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of an effective spot treatment for acne. Its analgesic qualities may also make it effective against painful cysts and pimples.  Apply bergamot oil mixed with a carrier oil directly to pimples, cysts, and blackheads.  Leave on overnight.

You may also add a few drops of oil into water or your favourite cleanser to use as a facial rinse or toner spray.  Beware of using this if you are going out in sunlight.

Alleviates Stress and Anxiety

Bergamot is analgesic, anti-spasmodic, calmative, sedative but also has anti-depressant and stimulant qualities.  This combination has been useful in treatments to promote wellbeing – reducing stress and anxiety while providing mood uplifting relief.  It has not proven specific remedy towards mental alertness, anxiety from impacted metabolic issues such as radiation therapy,  or hypo-thyroid treatments. As a mood uplifter and regenerative stimulant, it is often included in treatments for depression and malaise.  

Wound Healing

Bergamot essential oil is reported to have anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiseptic properties that make it a viable choice in wound healing treatments.

Pharmacology

Blood, Cholesterol and Inflammation Conditions

Do not take Bergamot essential oil internally to treat cholesterol and other conditions.  If you suffer from these conditions, there are extracts available as supplements (that should be advised by your professional practitioner).  The most direct way of impacting your internal system in aromatherapy is through bathing–but this will not provide a medical remedy-only support other treatments.  Add a few drops of the oil to your bath (including Magnesium salts is useful) and soak at least 20 minutes.  Add grated bergamot peel to salads and fruit dishes to stimulate olfactory system.  Add grated bergamot to green tea to produce an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant cholesterol reducing tea.  There are some natural ready-made green teas available with bergamot included.  A long-term benefit (i.e., 30-180 days) may result from these practices if supporting other remedial treatment.

Skin Conditions

The anti-viral properties of Bergamot make it popular for treating  cold sores, shingles and chicken pox. It is also indicated for oily skin and is a great antiseptic and healing oil for acne. Bergamot also has deodorant properties perfect in homemade deodorant formulations.

Apply to skin in a carrier oil or water – dabbing onto the skin with cotton wool as a topical application.  For deodorising effects, you may consider adding to a composition with distilled water and witch hazel instead of alcohol based carriers.  For cold sores and shingles, also drink bergamot infused green or Kawa Kawa and green tea mixes – sipping throughout the day.

Stress and Mental Wellbeing

Bergamot is a primary oil for the nervous system, uplifting and calming during times of anxiety or low mood. It can lighten and refresh when feeling angry, frustrated or low in confidence and helps to clear out negative, heavy states.  Use in carrier oil for massage, aromatherapy diffusers, room sprays and bathing.

Infection and Wounds

Add a few drops to small bowl of water and soak cotton wool, then cleanse skin, taking care not to apply fibres into broken skin.  Apply with a carrier oil onto minor cuts, infected sores, and other minor injuries to speed up the healing process.  

Contraindications and Safety

Photo-sensitivity Inducing

Bergamot is known to increase photo-sensitivity in all people.  Do not take remedies or preparations that contain Bergamot when going outside or in the sun.  May also cause increased sunburn and other skin irritant conditions when exposure to the sun occurs.  Some people experience skin irritation and allergic reactions.

Do not take essential oils internally.

All communications provided in this knowledge library and compendium are for information guidance purposes only and you should never assume is the same as receiving medical advice or complementary practitioner consultation.  My Conscious Flow cannot take responsibility for personal choices and decisions.  We always recommend that you receive professional, qualified advice when seeking life wellness and personal development.  This approach is also the protocol of traditional and complementary healing systems that treat ‘the whole person’.  If you are unsure about any entry or have deeper questions please contact us with your query.

Beware of taking with other Medications

Bergamot is one of the essential oils that may greatly impact or be impacted by the taking of other supplements and medicines.  Always consult your professional practitioner and/or doctor for guidance.

Elderly people and young children normally receive half the dosage in carrier oils when assessed by a professional.

Research

Bagetta, G., Morrone, L. A., Rombolà, L., Amantea, D., Russo, R., Berliocchi, L., . . . Corasaniti, M. T. (2010). Neuropharmacology of the essential oil of bergamot. Fitoterapia, 81(6), 453-461.

Da Pozzo, E., De Leo, M., Faraone, I., Milella, L., Cavallini, C., Piragine, E., . . . Braca, A. (2018). Antioxidant and antisenescence effects of bergamot juice. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2018.

Karaca, M., Özbek, H., Him, A., Tütüncü, M., Akkan, H. A., & Kaplanoğlu, V. (2007). Investigation of anti-inflammatory activity of bergamot oil. European Journal of General Medicine, 4(4), 176-179.

Kejlová, K., Jírová, D., Bendová, H., Kandárová, H., Weidenhoffer, Z., Kolářová, H., & Liebsch, M. (2007). Phototoxicity of bergamot oil assessed by in vitro techniques in combination with human patch tests. Toxicology in vitro, 21(7), 1298-1303.

Mandalari, G., Bennett, R., Bisignano, G., Trombetta, D., Saija, A., Faulds, C., . . . Narbad, A. (2007). Antimicrobial activity of flavonoids extracted from bergamot (Citrus bergamia Risso) peel, a byproduct of the essential oil industry. Journal of applied microbiology, 103(6), 2056-2064.

Marino, A., Paterniti, I., Cordaro, M., Morabito, R., Campolo, M., Navarra, M., . . . Cuzzocrea, S. (2015). Role of natural antioxidants and potential use of bergamot in treating rheumatoid arthritis. PharmaNutrition, 3(2), 53-59.

Moufida, S. d., & Marzouk, B. (2003). Biochemical characterization of blood orange, sweet orange, lemon, bergamot and bitter orange. Phytochemistry, 62(8), 1283-1289.

Sawamura, M., Onishi, Y., Ikemoto, J., Tu, N. T. M., & Phi, N. T. L. (2006). Characteristic odour components of bergamot (Citrus bergamia Risso) essential oil. Flavour and fragrance journal, 21(4), 609-615.

Verzera, A., Lamonica, G., Mondello, L., Trozzi, A., & Dugo, G. (1996). The composition of bergamot oil. Perfumer and Flavorist, 21, 19-42.

 

About Author

Vivienne Tobassa is a complementary medicine healer, therapist, learning development and transformation coach.  In the 1990s her extensive health science and alternative healing modalities included a Diploma of Aromatherapy studied at Nature Care College in Australia and accredited by the International Federation of Aromatherapists.  Since this time Vivienne has been deeply involved in spirituality and healing, medical, academic and professional research, psychology, neuroscience, traditional healing systems, cognitive science, development and is also a cultural Anthropologist.

This compendium is provided for insight, information and quick reference only.  When working with clients, I will always conduct more deeper research and assessment based on specific conditions and my intuitive bias of experience in similar circumstances.  This is often true with other professional health and wellness practitioners.

Please seek the advice of qualified and experienced practitioners when considering aromatherapy and plant or alternative healing systems for health and psycho-social wellbeing.  Botanicals and their application are more complex than this compendium can advise.  The ethos of natural and many traditional systems is about treating the whole person rather than taking oils or remedies for a specific condition.  Every person reacts differently, and at different points in their life.  Blends of oils and their methods of application are more important than the implied generic reactions to specific chemical constituents found.

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