By Katrina Scampini, Certified Aromatherapist
Bergamot — the beautiful citrus essential oil with a silly name — belongs in everyone’s essential oil collection. Period. It’s incredibly versatile, instantly uplifting, and massively popular around the world.
So what is this amazing oil and how exactly can it help you and your family? Or, even more importantly, what even is a bergamot? Don’t worry— you’re going to be a bergamot pro soon enough!
The bergamot orange is a citrus fruit that originated in tropical parts of Asia, but it now primarily grown in southern Italy, Sicily, and the Ivory Coast . It is known to be incredibly bitter when eaten raw, but its juice, zest, and essential oil have been enjoyed for hundreds of years. Bergamot fruits are small and grow on the Bitter Orange tree, which sports delicate and fragrant white star-shaped flowers. The oil is cold expressed from the Bergamot’s green peel just before the fruit ripens and produces an aroma that is an unforgettable combination of citrus and floral notes.
The origin of its name is still up for debate, but many believe it to be named after the Italian city of Bergamo in Lombardy, where the essential oil is said to have been first produced . In Italian folk medicine, Bergamot oil was an important part of a physician’s toolkit from the 16th century onward as an antiseptic and fever-reducer. Later in Napoleonic times, Bergamot became treasured for its aroma and was popularly used in perfumes and colognes.
1. Ease your worries and lighten your spirit!
When Bergamot began its career in the fragrance industry, it never looked back. With such a beautiful floral, fruity aroma, who can blame it? If you prefer essential oils based entirely on their aroma, Bergamot is sure to please. Sniff it straight out of the bottle or blend it with pretty much any other essential oil you have to lighten and brighten your mood. It is gently relaxing yet very uplifting and is a perfect choice when you’re feeling emotional tension, irritability, or frustration. Its soothing properties help to regulate the nervous system, which leads to the release of pent-up negative feelings and unproductive or addictive behaviors . The result is a more calm, collected, and positive outlook on life.
When using Bergamot to help with feelings of worry, anxiety, depression, or anger, try adding it to your diffuser or personal inhaler. Combine it with other emotionally supportive oils, like Grapefruit Pink, Neroli, or Lavender for even more benefits. Bergamot is very agreeable with many other oils, so try it with your own favorites for an added punch of happiness.
2. Enjoy a healthy, glowing complexion!
Bergamot makes a great addition to your skincare routine. Simply adding it to your face cleansers or lotions can promote healthy skin, which is something we all want. It supports skin struggling with acne, blemishes, irritations, and dryness . Bergamot helps to unclog pores and balance oily skin in a natural, gentle way. To use on your face, make sure to dilute it to 1%. Use 2 teaspoons of your favorite skin-loving carrier oil and add no more than 3 drops before gently applying it to your face and neck. To use on other areas of your body, we recommend a 2-5% dilution.
But now that we’ve got you all excited about Bergamot’s skin beautifying properties, it’s important to make something very clear: Plant Therapy only sells bergapten-free Bergamot. This version is not phototoxic, but we cannot guarantee if Bergamot coming from any other company is the same. Bergapten, a naturally occurring chemical component of many Bergamot oils, is highly phototoxic and should be used cautiously on the skin. Learn more about phototoxicity here.
3. Stomach discomfort? Bergamot can help.
When your digestive system is on track, you probably don’t give it too much attention. But when your digestion is off? That’s a whole different story! You’re either staying close to the bathroom or begging your intestines to take a chill pill so that you can go about your day comfortably. Thankfully, one of Bergamot’s most prominent benefits is how beneficial it is to an upset stomach. It helps improve the process of digestion, which can act irregularly as a result of over-eating, indigestion, and nervous tension. This citrus can also help stimulate your appetite if nerves or feelings of apprehension have taken it away!
When using Bergamot for stomach upset, dilute it to 2% with a carrier oil or lotion and massage onto your stomach in a clockwise direction. If you’re finding that the 2% dilution isn’t helping much, you can increase the dilution safely up to 5%. So for one tablespoon of a carrier, add from 6-15 drops of Bergamot and massage the discomfort away!
4. Give your household cleaning a boost.
One of the most favorite ways to use any citrus essential oil is to clean with it. Bergamot is no exception! Try adding the amazing aroma of this oil to your household cleaners. It will not only give you an uplifting emotional boost but will also provide some serious cleaning power. It may not be one of the most popular essential oils to clean with (Lavender and Lemon really take the spotlight here), but it definitely shouldn’t be forgotten. If cleaning with essential oils is a whole new realm for you, check out this blog. Bergamot may not be on its list, but you can apply it in the same way as the others. The refreshing properties of Bergamot make it great to help freshen up the air and protect your home against seasonal illnesses.
Bergamot has a shelf life of 2-3 years and is pregnancy and nursing safe. Check out Bergamot’s product sheet to learn more:
For more ideas and information about Bergamot, become a member of our Safe Essential Oil Recipes group on Facebook. It’s a fun and welcoming environment for newbies and EO professionals alike!
Worwood, V. (2016). The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition (Novato, CA: New World Library. Pg. 571
Mojay, G. (2005). Aromatherapy for healing the spirit: A guide to restoring emotional and mental balance through essential oils. London: Gaia. Pgs. 52-53.