Plant Origin: Italy
Method: Cold pressed from rind
Cultivation: Unsprayed (organically grown but not certified)
Chemical Family: Ester
Aroma: Fresh, citrusy, slightly floral
Linaly acetate 29.7%
Properties and Usage
Bergamot has been used for hundreds of years for oily skin conditions and is responsible for the distinctive flavor of Earl Grey Tea. It is calming and uplifting, is supportive to hormones and antibacterial. Bergamot is noted to ease agitation, anxiety, insomnia, intestinal parasites and viral infections such as herpes and cold sores. According to Patricia Davis, Bergamot is “one of the most valuable oils (along with Chamomile, Sandalwood and Tea Tree) in treating cystitis and urethritis. Bergamot oil, used in the very early stages, can often prevent the infection from spreading upwards in this way. It should be added to the bath, and used as a local wash (diluted 1% or even 0.5%). As a local wash, it is also valuable for the relief of vaginal itching and mild discharges (though important to ensure that the cause of any discharge is investigated).” Lawless notes that Bergamot is soothing for the digestion system and can ease tension and anxiety, thus it also has a soothing affect to respiratory system and help settle wheezing and coughing. Shirley and Len Price note that Bergamot produces a "mouth-watering aroma" when inhaled before meals, thus possibly improving appetite.
Bergamot has been found to inhibit the herpes simplex I virus, which causes cold sores. It is particularly effective in combination with Tea Tree and Lavender for the treatment of cold sores, chicken pox and shingles. (Davis)
Bergamot has been used for cystitis and urinary tract infections. Aromatherapists suggest to add no more than 3 drops to a bath and for using as a local wash. (Davis, Battaglia, Tisserand)
For eczema and psoriasis, Fischer-Rizzi suggests blending Bergamot with Rock Rose (Cistus) and Helichrysum [Blend].
Analgesic - stimulates secretion of certain hormones which lessen sensitivity of nerves to pain.
Anti-bacterial - typhus
Anti-infectious - wounds, colon, intestines, urinary tract and kidneys, influenza
Anti-parasitic - worms, safe for children
Anti-septic - intestinal, gas, colic, gargles for mouth and throat
Anti-spasmodic - colic, indigestion, relaxes nerves, muscle spasms, cramps, convulsions
Anti-viral - herpes simplex I (causes cold sores), herpes zoster (shingles, chicken pox)
Calming - insomnia, as a sedative for agitation, stress, depression, high blood pressure
Disinfectant - inhibit the growth of germs, virus and fungi, prohibit infections
Digestion - loss of appetite, anorexia nervosa, appetite regulating, compulsive eaters
Febrifuge - reduces fever and lowers body temperature
Insecticidal - repellent
Nervous System - depression, anxiousness
Oral Care - tooth infection, mouthwash
Respiratory System -
Tonic - digestive system, central nervous system, cystitis
Skin - acne, burns, cold sores, eczema, herpes, psoriasis, deodorant
Application Suggestions (See Essential Oil Usage for more information and a dilution chart):
Topical: Dilute with a carrier oil and use as desired. Caution: Avoid applying to skin that will be exposed to direct sunlight or UV light within 12-24 hours as serious burning can occur. It can be used safely with no phototoxic response on skin exposed to UV light when used at no more than 0.4% (about 1-2 drops per oz or 30 mL of carrier oil).
Inhalation: Directly inhale; diffuse
Internal: Bergamot is suitable for internal use within safe parameters if such use is deemed appropriate. We feel that internal use is rarely *needed* and should only be used with respect for how concentrated the oils are. HEO does not advocate internal use of essential oils without appropriate knowledge and understanding of how to administer, for what purpose, how much, which essential oils, safety concerns and so on. In our experience, essential oils are generally more effective used topically with proper dilution or inhaled. Kurt Schnaubelt Ph.D. notes that "French aromatherapy literature contains many references to using oils orally." He goes on to note that "generally 1 drop is always enough when ingesting essential oils." A potential toxicity hazard could occur when untrained people use essential oils orally and ingest too much. Keep in mind that while medical doctors or health care practitioners may prescribe essential oils for internal use, they are trained and experienced in the safe application of essential oils. It is not a matter of using "French aromatherapy" or "British" methods, it's a matter of experience and appropriate application. Click here for information about internal usage.
Be Aware of Misinformation
Natural Health/Weight Loss Benefits of Bergamot Essential Oil
This "study" claims that Bergamot essential oil contains extremely large amounts of polyphenols," but there are -0- polyphenols found in essential oils. This reported "benefit" has no relevance to the essential oil of Bergamot. While Bergamot essential oil has a number of beneficial properties, it is not one and the same as the fresh fruit.
1. When I added Bergamot to our Respiratory Relief and Lung Healing blends after reading about it helping asthmatics, my 2 year old finally stopped wheezing and coughing. I used it in a diffuser with Respiratory Relief and Lung Healing. It was our last shot before resorting to the albuterol. We just added two drops. It has been a staple ever since. - Mary
Hopewell Essential Oil blends with Bergamot
Dr. Hull’s Sleep
The International Fragrance Research Association says that the amount of Bergamot used in topical preparations should be limited to a maximum of 0.4%, except in bath preparations such as soaps and other bath products which are washed off the skin. (Tisserand/Balacs)
If you have read online that Bergmot should not be used on children, please read this article by Robert Tisserand explaining the fallacy of this notion.
Avoid contact with the eyes and other sensitive areas. Essential oils are both lipophilic and hydrophobic. Lipophilic means they are attracted to fat— like the membranes of your eyes and skin. They are also hydrophobic, meaning they do not like water. Flushing with water will only send the essential oil back to the eye's membranes. Applying a carrier oil will create another fat for the essential oil to be attracted to other than the membranes of the eyes or skin. Tisserand suggests: "With essential oils, fatty oil has been suggested as an appropriate first aid treatment, though the advantage of saline [eyewash] is that the eyes can be continually flushed, and this is less easy with fatty oil." We’ve not known this to cause permanent injury or long-term discomfort, but if you feel concerned, please call your health care provider.
Davis, P., Aromatherapy An A-Z, C.W. Daniel Company Ltd, 2000, p. 55-57
Lawless, J. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, 1992, page 57-58.
Rose, J, 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, Frog Ltd, 1999
Shirley and Len Price, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, Third Edition, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2008
Tisserand, Robert, Balacs T., Essential Oil Safety, 1st Edition 1993.