Bergamot essential oil - Benefits, uses & effects
Bergamot oil is extracted from the rinds of citrus fruit (Citrus bergamia) that grow on bergamot orange trees. If you’re a fan of Earl Grey tea, you’re already enjoying the distinctive taste of bergamot, which is used to flavor it.
The earliest roots of the bergamot tree can be traced to Southeast Asia. It’s currently grown in many parts of the world but achieved its prominence and name in the town of Bergamo in southern Italy.
It’s prized for its soothing scent, spicy taste, and wide range of uses.
What are the benefits of Bergamot essential oil?
Bergamot oil has traditionally been used for a variety of purposes, including:
Fights food poisoning
Reduces pain and inflammation
Like many essential oils, researchers have been working to evaluate the potential health benefits of Bergamot oil and its components.
How to use Bergamot essential oil?
Bergamot essential oil is highly touted for its soothing use as an aromatherapy treatment. Here are a few ways you can keep its scent close:
Mix bergamot essential oil with a carrier oil to use as a body lotion or for massage.
Add two to five drops of Bergamot essential oil to products such as body wash, shampoo, and facial scrubs.
Use it as an ingredient in aromatherapy. For example, bergamot essential oil can be added to scent homemade candles and air fresheners. You can also dab it in vaporizers to distribute its scent in a room or add it to potpourri.
Dab it on a bandana or handkerchief for a soothing scent on the go.
For acne and skin
Several compounds in bergamot oil have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This may make bergamot oil an effective spot treatment for acne in people who do not have sensitive skin. Its analgesic qualities may also make it effective against painful cysts and pimples.
To use bergamot oil as a spot treatment:
Apply bergamot oil mixed with a carrier oil directly to pimples, cysts, and blackheads.
Leave on overnight.
Do not use or leave this treatment on during the day or in sunlight.
You can also mix the diluted oil into water or your favorite cleanser to use as a facial rinse.
Bergamot oil enthusiasts (and people who love soft, lightly scented hair), swear by this essential oil’s ability to soften and tame curls. Anecdotal evidence indicates that bergamot oil may also be soothing to an irritated scalp.
To use, put a few drops in your usual shampoo. You can also mix one to two drops with a tablespoon of carrier oil and massage it into your scalp as an overnight treatment.
With other essential oils
Many other essential oils can provide similar benefits. Try experimenting with the ones you like, and mixing them with each other. Some to try include:
Lavender oil: Lavender is a classic scent for aromatherapy. It’s often used in skin, hair, and acne products and treatments.
Tea tree oil: Touted for its antibacterial properties, tea tree oil may fight acne and soothe skin inflammation.
Chamomile oil: Soothing as tea or on the skin, chamomile may also elevate mood.
Are there any side effects?
Bergamot essential oil can be irritating to the skin in some people, especially when it is not diluted with a carrier oil. Essential oils, including bergamot oil, can sometimes cause allergic dermatitis.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction or sensitivity to bergamot oil may include:
You’ll want to test any essential oil first before use. Rub a dime-sized area of your forearm with the oil diluted in a carrier oil. If you don’t see any allergic reaction within 24 hours, it should be safe to use.
Be aware that using essential oils in a diffuser can have a negative effect on children, pets, or pregnant women.
Bergapten, a compound found in bergamot oil, was shown to be phototoxic in a small 2001 study. This means it causes the skin to become irritated or damaged when exposed to sunlight.
In addition to the essential oil, products containing bergamot, such as perfume, may cause a skin reaction. If you are concerned about your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, look for a bergapten-free version of bergamot oil.
The bergapten in bergamot oil is harmful if swallowed. Even inhaling or using the essential oil topically can interfere with medication. Certain medications, such as ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic, also increase sensitivity to sunlight, increasing bergamot oil’s impact.
It’s important to check for bergamot oil’s interactions with other medications before using it. One way to do this is to speak with a pharmacist or your doctor about medications you’re taking and which might interfere with essential oils.
The bottom line!
Research points to bergamot essential oil’s ability to reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, and increase positive mood.
It can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some people. It can also cause photosensitivity, and should not be left on the skin that will be exposed to sunlight.
Bergamot oil has a lovely scent, and may already be an ingredient in your favorite perfume. It’s also available as an essential oil that you can add to your collection. It’s best used diluted with a carrier oil or water.
Always talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns before using Bergamot oil.
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