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Oil of Bergamot

What is a bergamot?  It is a small, pear-shaped citrus fruit.  It has a very strong smell which is considered to be subtle and uplifting.  The bergamot tree is found in Sourtheast Asia but is also grown in Italy.  In fact, the bergamot tree is a symbol of the province of Calabria, which is in the lonian costal area of Italy.  Bergamot is also grown in Brazil and Georgia, but the oil of Bergamot that comes from Italy is considered to be the best.

Bergamot trees stay relatively small, about 14 feet high, and bloom in the spring.  It takes about one hundred 100 bergamot oranges to produce three ounces of bergamot essential oil.

Bergamot oil comes from the peel of fresh fruit.  Bergamot fruit is light greenish-yellow and has a variation of an orange-fruit scent.  It is slightly spicy.  Producers get the oil by cold expression.  Cold expression is a process whereby the oil is forced from the fruit under high mechanical pressure.  It avoids heating the fruit and is thought to produce a good quality oil. 

The peel of the fresh, nearly ripe fruit is the source of bergamot oil. The oil is obtained by cold expression. Further purification by vacuum distillation or solvent extraction produces bergamot oil.

Bergamot oil is well known for its presence in Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas.  It is also used to flavor halva which is a Middle Eastern sesame paste treat.

Oil of Bergamot Benefits

Aromatherapy: Bergamot essential oil is very popular in aromatherapy treatments and is known as a treatment for malaria.  It may also be useful in therapy for psoriasis , vitiligo (a chronic skin disorder that causes loss of pigment), and depression caused by fatigue.  It is used to bring about mental clarity.

Perfume: Oil of Bergamot is also popular in perfumes because it combines well with many other scents.  Some reports state that about one third of all men�s perfumes and nearly one half of all women�s perfumes contain bergamot essential oil. 

Medical: Bergamot essential oil has an anti-microbial effect and may provide support for slow digestion and hypertension.

Skin: Bergamot oil may prevent premature aging of skin and help with oily skin conditions or acne

Oil of Bergamot Cautions

Like many essential oils, Bergamot is said to be phototoxic � meaning that you should not use it and then go out into the sunlight as you more easily may get a sunburn.  Do not apply it to skin areas which will receive significant sunlight in the next 72 hours.

Bergamot essential oil � which may affect potassium channel currents � has on occasion been known to cause twitching and muscle cramps when consumed in large quantities. There is a story of a man who had muscle cramps and blurred vision after about a gallon a day of Earl Grey tea � which is flavored with bergamot essential oil.  He returned to normal after switching to black tea.

Interesting Notes

Bergamot essential oil blends well with Lavender, Chamomile, Lemon, Orange, and Ylang-Ylang essential oils.

Consider using Oil of Bergamot in a diffuser.  Apply it to your forehead and temples for stress relief and improving your mood.