At Foodcraft we believe that food is our medicine and herbs are our powerful healing partners for physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts used for a variety of purposes, including aromatherapy, skin care, and natural remedies.
We like to share the benefits of essential oils by focusing on specific oils in each blog.
Earl Gray tea has become a favorite among many, thanks to bergamot, which is its main flavoring agent. Bergamot essential oil helps clear and purify, uplift and calm the mood at the same time, and its numerous health benefits set it apart from other citrus oils.
Citrus bergamia, also known as bergamot orange, belongs to the Rutaceae family. The fruit of this tree is where bergamot essential oil is extracted. The plant is native to the Calabria region of Italy and is believed to be a hybrid of lemon and bitter orange. According to research, it may have originally come from Greece and the Canary Islands, where it was imported by Christopher Columbus. The name bergamot is derived from the Italian word bergamoto meaning “Pear of the Lord”.
To avoid confusion, it is important to note that bergamot orange is very different from wild bergamot or bergamot mint, which is an herb.
Bergamot orange trees are evergreen trees that can grow up to 12 meters in height. The aromatic fruits of these plants are yellow to green and look like lime. Bergamot essential oil is derived from the peel of the fruit. It gives off a floral, spicy, citrus scent that is highly aromatic. The cells inside the bergamot orange produce the oil.
Bergamot essential oil is a clear yellow-green liquid obtained by cold pressing the rind of the fruit. In the past, oil extraction was done by hand where the rind of the fruit was pressed until its oils were extracted. In these modern times, the oil is extracted and separated from the water and fruit pulp with the help of mechanical devices.
The main chemical constituents of bergamot essential oil are limonene, linyl acetate, linalool, pinene, bergaptin, terpineol, nerol, neryl acetate, β-bisaboline, geraniel, geraniel acetate and myrcene. These components are contributors to the oil’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, analgesic, antifungal and anti-septic properties.
The fresh citrus aroma of the oil has made it famous in folk medicine and as an Ayurvedic remedy for various health problems and ailments. Bergamot essential oil is commonly used in aromatherapy to promote positive mood and reduce stress. But the oil also has mood-enhancing powers.
Traditional uses of bergamot oil
Italians traditionally used bergamot oil for its health-related benefits. It was used to disinfect the skin and treat minor wounds. It was also used to reduce fever.
The Germans used bergamot oil in their tobacco because of its fruity flavor. Bergamot orange trees are also grown next to crops because of their scent that repels insects and pests.
Bergamot oil has been used in food preparations as a citrus flavoring. The famous Earl Gray tea is basically black tea dosed with a bit of bergamot oil which gives it its distinct aroma and signature taste.
Uses of bergamot essential oil
Bergamot oil is one of the most important fragrance ingredients due to its freshness and pleasant smell. This is why the oil is included in soaps, lotions and colognes.
For blemish free skin
The anti-bacterial properties of bergamot make it an excellent oil for fighting acne, warts and boils. It is easier to heal skin infection and reduces unwanted lines and other signs of skin aging. This is because bergamot essential oil can balance the skin’s oil production, which evens out skin tone and reduces the appearance of blemishes. Bergamot can also be used with lavender essential oil for skin care.
Relieves pain and tension
When mixed with a carrier oil and applied topically, bergamot essential oil helps reduce muscle aches and pains. It can also treat headaches when massaged on the forehead or temples.
Contains linalool and carvacrol, compounds found in bergamot oil Anti-inflammatoryAnalgesic, and anticonvulsant properties that help reduce pain such as muscle spasms, arthritis, and joint pain.
Fights infections and food poisoning
The antibacterial and antifungal properties of the oil work not only with skin infections, but also with mouth and digestive tract infections.
The oil works against certain strains of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus so it can be safely used to prevent minor skin infections. Bergamot essential oil e. coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Bacillus cereus.
According to research, linalool is an effective anti-bacterial ingredient that can destroy various bacteria that cause food poisoning.
Reduces stress and improves sleep
Bergamot essential oil mixed with warm water and inhaled relieves anxiety and fatigue. It signals the brain to release dopamine and serotonin, hormones related to mood, memory, sleep, libido and appetite. It helps reduce stress hormones that work against anxiety-related symptoms and stress disorders.
Insomnia is a symptom of stress that can be treated with bergamot oil. Several massage therapies use bergamot oil to help reduce cortisol levels, a stress hormone, thus providing quality and peaceful sleep. It can be mixed with chamomile essential oil or lavender oil for a more calming effect.
Lowers cholesterol levels
According to research, both compounds in bergamot orange are effective in reducing brutieridine and melitidine Cholesterol Level Some animal studies have shown that polyphenols in bergamot oil have anti-inflammatory properties that help the liver recover from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Body odor is neutral
Bergamot oil works against bacteria that cause body odor. In addition to this, the citrus scent masks body odor. It can be room sprayed and incorporated into pot-pourri preparations to neutralize odors.
Bergamot essential oil loosens mucus and phlegm, making it easier to flush out germs from the respiratory tract that cause colds and congestion.
Increases hair growth
The oil improves blood circulation to the hair follicles and helps in collagen formation. Diluted oil massage on the scalp can stimulate hair growthPrevent hair loss, and add shine.
Safety tips and warnings
Although helpful in treating some skin conditions, exposure of bergamot oil to UV rays or sunlight produces certain compounds that cause pigmentation. Bergamot oil was used as a sun tanning product but was eventually banned due to photosensitivity reactions and skin burns. Even things used as fragrances can cause skin reactions once exposed to sunlight. If the skin is sensitive it is recommended to buy only the bergaptan-free version of bergamot oil.
There are also reports of allergic reactions after using the oil including redness, blisters, burning sensation and pain. It is best to dilute the oil in a carrier oil and do a skin test to see if it is safe to use.
Consumption of bergamot oil is not recommended, especially without a doctor’s advice. It can interact with drugs like antibiotics.
For pregnant women, children and pets, the use of bergamot oil in diffusers is not recommended as it can have negative effects.
Credits: Innerfire Co