Botanical Name: Citrus bergamia
Part Used: Peels
Process: Cold Pressed
Plant Description: Native to tropical areas of Asia. It is said that Christopher Columbus found the tree growing in the Canary Islands and introduced it to Spain; from there it was introduced to northern Italy and later that countrys southern coastal area. It is grown commercially in Calabria (Italy), the source of most of the worlds production, and the Cte dIvoire; cultivated in southern France, southern Turkey, Morocco, and South America. Citrus bergamia is a small evergreen tree that grows to a height of 15 feet, producing small fragrant white blossoms in winter, and bearing fruit that resembles stubby pears about the size of oranges, being green in color turning to yellow as they ripen. The fruits are picked just before fully ripe for expression of the oil from the peels; they are non-edible and are grown only for this purpose. Young Bergamot trees are grafted onto the rootstocks of bitter orange trees, a citrus species much more resistant to root rot, in order to obtain healthy, sturdy plants. Genetic research indicates that Citrus bergamia is a probable hybrid of Citrus limetta (a sweet lemon native to southern Asia) and Citrus x aurantium (bitter orange).
Oil Description: Pale, greenish-yellow or olive-yellow mobile liquid with a delightfully fresh, fruity-sweet initial aroma, and a characteristic oily-herbaceous and somewhat balsamic undertone on the dryout. Although citrus oils are prone to turning sour, careful storage will prolong the shelf life in dark, tightly capped glass bottles stored in a dry, cool, dark place, with little or no air space above the surface of the oil (and preferably with an injection of nitrogen or other inert gas to replace the air).
Historical/Traditional Uses: Although today it is mechanically pressed, historically, oil of Citrus bergamia was expressed by hand, a method that produces the best quality Bergamot oil. As mentioned in En la Parfumerie Franoise (a 17th century perfume manual), the fruit of Citrus bergamia was named after the town of Bergamo in northern Italy, where the trees were first grown and the oil first commercially produced. Bergamot has been used for hundreds of years in Italian folk medicine for skin conditions, loss of appetite, depression, fevers (including malaria), and parasites. It is also well known for its use in flavoring Earl Grey tea and for being a classic ingredient in authentic Eau de Colognes.
Applications (Uses and Indications): In aromatherapy, Bergamot expressed oil is indicated for cystitis, colic, halitosis, sore throats, insomnia, agitation, depression, anorexia, infections, acne, and oily skin, and is used as an insect repellant. It has also been shown to be effective in the relief of pain associated with shingles. A 2009 article in the Journal of Natural Products cites certain flavonoid glycosides found in bergamot fruits that exhibit cholesterol-lowering properties. It is one of the best oils in aromatherapy for instilling composure and reducing compulsive behavior cycles. In perfumery, Bergamot expressed oil is considered a top note that blends well with angelica, cedarwood, chamomile, clary sage, coriander, cypress, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, helichrysum, jasmine, juniper, labdanum, lavender, lemon and most other citrus oils, lemongrass, marjoram, melissa, neroli, orange blossom absolute, palmarosa, patchouli, petitgrain, pine, rose, violet leaf, yarrow, and ylang ylang.
Contraindications (Safety and Precautions): Bergamot FCF (furanocourmarin-free) expressed oil is non toxic and non-irritating; the component that causes photosensitization has been removed, but irritation and/or sensitization is possible for those with very sensitive skin. The caution for Bergamot that is not FCF is entirely different – it should never be applied to those with sensitive skin, or to those with non-sensitive skin that will be exposed to sunlight or ultraviolet light within 72 hours unless it is diluted to below 2 percent.
Standard Safety Precautions: Always dilute essential oils before using. Keep essential oils out of the eyes and mucous membranes; in case of contact, DO NOT use water, instead place a drop or two of vegetable oil on a tissue to gently wipe out of eye or off area of contact. In severe cases, seek professional help immediately. Keep out of the reach of children. In case of ingestion, call 911 immediately.
The FDA has not evaluated the statements on this website. No claims are made as to any medicinal value of this or any products from Ancient Ways Botanicals. The information presented here is for educational purposes of traditional uses and is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. For external use only. You are responsible for understanding the safe application of these products.