Citrus bergamia, a hybrid of a lemon and sour orange, is the source of bergamot juice and essential oil. Extract from this fruit gives Earl Grey tea its famously distinctive flavor. Bergamot offers much more than a pleasant taste, though; it is packed with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-depressant compounds useful for the body and mind. Your mental and physical health will reap the benefits of this fruit extract.
Topical application or bergamot essential oil can help reduce the visibility of scars and soothe irritated skin. Its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties give it the ability to tone skin and promote wound healing. For wounds, place five drops of bergamot oil onto a cotton ball and apply it to the infected area. Add ten drops, mixed in a fatty carrier oil like coconut oil, to warm bath water to boost skin health and mood.
Bergamot has impressive analgesic properties that can help reduce tension. Scientists believe that linalool, a major component in bergamot, may inhibit the secretion of compounds that prompt pain through nerve impulses. For pain relief, combine five drops of bergamot oil with a teaspoon of carrier oil and massage it into areas that feel sore or tense.
Bergamot is one of the most popular essential oils for easing stress and anxiety. Researchers recognize its drug-free and inexpensive calm-inducing effects. Components in bergamot enhance blood circulation, which helps lower nervous tension and increases energy. In a pilot study published in Phytotherapy Research, healthy women who inhaled bergamot essential oil for 15 minutes had significantly lower cortisol levels and reported improved emotional well-being. To help elevate your mood, rub two drops in your palms, cup your mouth and nose, and inhale slowly. Another option is to rub three drops of oil on your stomach and the back of your feet and neck. Add five drops to a diffuser for lingering fragrance and tension relief.
Research indicates that bergamot’s components have strong antibacterial and antifungal properties. The Open Food Science Journal states that linalool is especially effective against gram-positive bacteria. Many other compounds in bergamot inhibit the growth of gram-negative bacteria, as well. The oil and its vapors act against common foodborne pathogens and microbes, including E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Candida. To combat infection, combine three drops with a carrier and rub them onto your throat, abdomen, and feet. Diffuse five drops to fight airborne microbes.
Bergamot essential oil supports the immune system by neutralizing harmful bacteria or viruses that cause fever. It can improve blood circulation and boost sweat production, promoting the release of toxins. Diffuse or apply a few drops with a carrier oil on the forehead, back of the neck, and chest to alleviate fever.
Bergamot oil can help stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes and soothe the gastrointestinal tract. Studies suggest its anti-inflammatory constituents may protect against and relieve nausea and chronic inflammatory diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome. To ease digestive upset, add three drops of essential oil to a teaspoon of carrier oil and rub it onto the abdomen.
Treats Cognitive Dysfunction
Researchers are exploring the potential roles that polyphenolic compounds can play in treating cognitive dysfunctions such as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. Bergamot is rich in flavonoids and flavonoid glycosides, which show promise as a supplementation strategy. In an Italian pilot study in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, participants exhibited a remarkable improvement in cognitive tests following eight weeks of oral supplementation with a bergamot extract.
Inhibits LDL Cholesterol Oxidation
Oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles form notorious “bad” cholesterol that eventually constricts blood flow and is linked to atherosclerosis, a serious risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. In numerous clinical studies, bergamot’s constituents, including rutin, naringin, and neoeriocitrin, demonstrate potent antioxidant activity that reduces the oxidation of LDL particles. Research suggests bergamot extract may induce statin-like effects in people with dyslipidemia. A six-month study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology reports that flavonoids in bergamot juice may lower serum levels of lipids. Other clinical trials report bergamot’s positive effect on LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol.
Phytochemicals in bergamot juice show great promise as chemopreventive agents. Animal studies shared in the European Journal of Nutrition and other publications indicate that bergamot compounds may suppress cancer cell formation and cause cell death. According to this research, supplementation with bergamot juice resulted in reduced tumors and inhibited the expression of inflammation-related genes.
Bergamot essential oil contains bergapten, an extremely phototoxic compound that will leave skin photosensitive. Avoid exposure to UV radiation — sunlight or tanning devices — after applying bergamot oil to limit complications. Dilute the bergamot with a carrier such as coconut or jojoba oil before applying it to the skin to reduce the risk of irritation. The FDA considers bergamot generally safe for consumption. However, it is known to interact with certain medications such as antidepressants, antibiotics, and phototherapy-enhancing drugs and may also cause blood glucose levels to drop. Check your blood sugar while consuming or using any extract of this fruit, and discontinue using bergamot at least two weeks prior to any surgery.