Benefits and Uses of Bergamot Essential Oil

What is Bergamot?

Bergamot is a plant that produces a type of citrus fruit and its scientific name is Citrus Bergamia. It’s defined as a hybrid between a sour orange and lemon, or a mutation of lemon, and it’s scent is both sweet and spicy. The oil is taken from the peel of the fruit and used to make medicine.  Interesting tidbit, Bergamot oil is used to make Earl Grey Tea, by combining Bergamot with black tea. 

Bergamot roots can be traced back to Southeast Asia; bergamot was more widely cultivated in the southern part of Italy. Bergamot essential oil was even named after the city of Bergamo in Lombardy, Italy, where it was originally sold. And in folk Italian medicine, bergamot was used for reducing fever, fighting parasitic diseases and relieving sore throat. Bergamot oil is also produced in the Ivory Coast, Argentina, Turkey, Brazil and Morocco. (2)

 

What are the benefits of bergamot essential oil?

There are a number of a surprising health benefits from using bergamot essential oil as a natural remedy. Bergamot oil has antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. It can be used to improve the health of your skin, while also aiding digestion, improving your mood and killing bacteria.  (1)

Depression Relief:

Some of the most common signs of depression include: fatigue, sad mood, low sex drive, lack of appetite, feelings of helplessness and disinterest in common activities. Each person experiences this mental health condition in a different way.  Natural remedies such as the use of bergamot essential oil, which has antidepressant and stimulating qualities, are effective and get to the root cause of the problem.  Bergamot is known for its ability to promote cheerfulness, feelings of freshness and increased energy by improving the circulation of your blood.

A study conducted in 2011 suggests that applying blended essential oils to participants helps in treating symptoms of depression and anxiety. For this study, the blended essential oils consisted of bergamot and lavender oils (test first for allergic reaction to lavender), and participants were analyzed based on their blood pressure, pulse rates, breathing rates and skin temperature. In addition, subjects had to rate their emotional condition in terms of relaxation, vigor, calmness, attentiveness, mood and alertness in order to assess behavioral changes.

Participants in the experimental group applied the essential oil blend topically to the skin of their abdomens. Compared with the placebo, blended essential oils caused significant decreases of pulse rate and blood pressure. At the emotional level, subjects in the blended essential oils group rated themselves as “more calm” and “more relaxed” than subjects in the control group. The investigation demonstrates the relaxing effect of a mixture of lavender and bergamot oils, and it provides evidence for its use in medicine for treating depression or anxiety in humans. (3)

And a 2017 pilot study found that when women in the waiting room of a mental health treatment center inhaled bergamot oil for 15 minutes, researchers found that bergamot exposure improved the positive feelings of participants in the experimental group. (4)

Blood Pressure Reduction:

Bergamot oil helps maintain proper metabolic rates by stimulating hormonal secretions, digestive juices, bile and insulin. This aids the digestive system and enables proper absorption of nutrients. These juices also assimilate the breakdown of sugar and can lower blood pressure.

A 2006 study involving 52 patients with hypertension indicates that bergamot oil, in combination with lavender and ylang ylang, can be used to reduce psychological stress responses, serum cortisol levels and blood pressure levels. The three essential oils were blended and inhaled daily for four weeks by patients with hypertension. Researchers found that the blood pressure, pulse, stress and anxiety levels, and cortisol levels were significantly different than those found in the placebo and control groups. (5)

Fights and Prevents Infections:

Bergamot oil is used in skin soaps because it helps to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi. According to a review published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, it has been reported that bergamot essential oil can inhibit the growth of Campylobacter jejuniEscherichia coliListeria monocytogenesBacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus.

In vitro studies also show that bergamot oil may play a potential role in the topical treatment of Candida infections. And, in addition to this, lab studies indicate that components of bergamot, most notably linalool, are effective against common food borne pathogens. (6)

Anxiety and Stress Relief:

Bergamot oil is a relaxant — it reduces nervous tension, and works as a stress reliever and natural remedy for anxiety. A study published in Complementary Medicine Research indicates that when healthy females are exposed to bergamot oil vapors, they displayed psychological and physiological effects.

The volunteers were exposed to three experimental setups: rest alone, rest and water vapor, and rest and bergamot essential oil vapor for 15 minutes. Saliva samples were collected immediately after each setup and the volunteers completed profiles on their current mood, anxiety levels and fatigue levels.

Researchers found that the salivary cortisol levels were significantly lower in the bergamot group than in the rest alone group, and the bergamot group had improved negative emotions and fatigue scores. It was concluded that inhaling bergamot essential oil vapors exerts psychological and physiological effects in a relatively short period of time. No wonder bergamot is one of the top essential oils for anxiety. (7)

Pain Relief:

Bergamot oil is a great way to reduce the symptoms of sprains, muscle aches and headaches. Instead of relying on pain killers that have nasty side effects, use this safe and natural oil to reduce pain and tension.

Research shows that bergamot oil has analgesic effects and can be used in complementary medicine to minimize tension in the body. (89) And a review of pharmacological studies published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences found that linalool — a component found in bergamot, lavender and rosewood oils — possesses several pharmacological activities, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anticonvulsant effects. Researchers believe that this may be linalool’s ability to block effects on pain receptors and inhibit the release of substance P, a compound that’s involved in the transmission of pain and other nerve impulses. (10)

Healthy Skin:

Bergamot oil has soothing, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, so it works well to boost the health of your skin when applied topically. Bergamot essential oil can be used to get rid of scars and marks on the skin, tone the skin and soothe skin irritations. In Italian folk medicine, it was used to facilitate wound healing and was added to homemade skin disinfectants. (1112)

Digestion:

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, bergamot peels and the whole fruits were used to treat indigestion. (13) Bergamot oil is known to stimulate digestive juices and it has soothing properties that can help to aid digestion. Some research even suggests that bergamot oil can be useful when fighting food poisoning because of its anti-bacterial properties. (14, 15)

Deodorant:

Bergamot oil prevents the growth of germs that cause body odor. The refreshing and citrusy smell of bergamot oil is used as a natural deodorant and air freshener. The strong scent eliminates odors on the body or in a room. (16)

Fever Reduction:

Bergamot essential oil fights infections caused by harmful bacteria. It also reduces body temperature by alleviating stress and stimulating hormone secretions. The feeling of warmth that happens when your cortisol levels are elevated leads to sweat and increased body heat, and research shows that bergamot helps to reduce cortisol levels, thereby helping to reduce fever in some cases. (17)

Oral Health:

Bergamot oil helps infected teeth by removing germs from your mouth when used as a mouthwash. It also protects your teeth from developing cavities because of its germ-fighting properties. Bergamot may even help to prevent tooth decay, which is caused by bacteria that live in your mouth and produce acids that destroy tooth enamel. By preventing the growth of bacteria, bergamot is an effective tool for reversing cavities and healing tooth decay. (18)

Respiratory:

Bergamot oil has antimicrobial properties, so it can help to prevent the spread of foreign pathogens that lead to respiratory conditions. For this reason, bergamot essential oil can be useful when battling a common cold and it works as a natural home remedy for cough. (19)

Cholesterol:

Recent research suggests that bergamot oil may help to lower cholesterol naturally. A six-month prospective study involving 80 participants sought to measure the beneficial effects of bergamot extract on cholesterol levels. Researchers found that when a bergamot-derived extract was given to participants for six months, it was able to reduce total cholesterol levels, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels, and increase HDL cholesterol. (20)

Although this is the first publically known study investigating the effects of bergamot supplementation on patients with high cholesterol, researchers believe that this benefit may come from the high amounts of flavonoids present in bergamot extract.

Quick recap of the health benefits of Bergamot Essential Oil:

  • Helps Relieve Depression

·      Helps Lower Blood Sugar Levels

·      Prevents Infections

·      Reduces Pain

·      Aid in Digestion

·      Skin Care

·      Eliminates Bad Odors

·      Reduces Fevers

·      Kills Germs

·      Relieves Spasms

·      Speeds Up Healing

·      Many Other Benefits 

 

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4345801/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4345801/
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21922934
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5434918/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17211115/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4345801/
  7. https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/380989
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20093169
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4345801/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5751100/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4345801/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24458921
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4690266/
  14. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17105553
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5178834/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4345801/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25824404
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18045389
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4345801/
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4702027/