Bergamot is featured in a lot of the essential oil blends I have tried, but I definitely had no idea what it smelled like on it’s own. It wasn’t at all what I expected, that’s for sure, which is a good thing because I really like the scent and I find it very uplifting and relaxing at the same time.
Bergamot is native to South East Asia, but has been introduced in many countries from Europe, to Morocco, to Tunsinia, to Algeria. The plant is a 4 foot tall shrub that has really lovely star-shaped flowers. It produces a fruit that’s kind of a lovechild between and orange and a grapefruit and the scent is all citrus. Bergamot is frequently used in both green and mainstream bath and personal care products as well as cleaning products. It is also a popular addition to Earl Grey Tea and jello-like products.
Because of it’s anti-fungal properties, it is commonly used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and vitaligo (a de-pigmentation of the skin) but there isn’t much research done that proves the oil effects the skin any more than the therapeutic touch and circulation stimulating massage of applying the oil. That being said, a friend of mine who suffers from psoriasis swears by this oil and mixes the oil in her body wash and her lotion. But please be careful because this oil makes your skin extremely photosensitive and thus very, very susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer. SPF it up, my friends. Especially if you are taking a medication that already makes your skin more photosensitive.
Citrus scents, as a general rule, have been known to be uplifting, provide mental clarity, and relaxation and bergamot is no exception. One study actually shows that it helps to limit calcium intake by the muscles which leads to decreased muscle tone and muscle relaxation as well as a lowered heart rate and lowered blood pressure. Another study proved it’s anti-inflammatory properties, sadly though it was tested on rats who were first injected with an irritating agent, then with bergamot and found it to be soothing and rapidly decreased the inflamed area. It is included in the night time blend from Rocky Mountain Soap Company and in many other aromatherapy blends. This is how I intend to use the oil, probably using it in a vaporizer or on my essential oil burner for its relaxing effects. But I might try it out next time a joint gets inflamed or sore and see how well it works.
You, J.H., et al, (2013) Bergamot essential oil differentially modulates intracellular Ca2+ levels in vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells: a new finding seen with fura-2. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, April 61(4); p324-8
Sakurada, T. et al, (2009)Intraplantar injection of bergamot essential oil into the mouse hindpaw: effects on capsaicin-induced nociceptive behaviors. Internal Neurobiology, 85; p 237-42