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Bergamot essential oil has an incredible amount of uses. Carrying a familiar citrus smell, bergamot can be used extensively to treat a wide range of conditions and even offers uses outside the medicinal world. While many essential oil have just one or two areas where they really shine, bergamot oil shines just about everywhere! From treating depression and acne, to making perfumes, bergamot essential oil is widely used by everyone from food manufacturers, to cosmetic developers, to aromatherapists, just to name a few. Let’s find out what bergamot is all about!
What Is Bergamot Essential Oil?
Bergamot essential oil is made from the peels of the almost ripe fruit of a bergamot plant, or Citrus bergamia. While the majority of essential oils are extracted through steam distillation, bergamot essential oil is made by cold pressing the peels under high pressure to squeeze out the oil. Believed to be a crossbreed between a sour orange and a lemon, bergamot has a distinct citrusy scent that is not too sweet and not too sour. This is one of the things that makes it such a desirable ingredient in so many different products, the most famous one probably being Earl Grey tea.
Like many exotic fruits, bergamot can be traced back to Southeast Asia, although it was more commonly cultivated in Southern Italy. In fact, bergamot essential oil is named after the city of Bergamo in Lombardy, Italy, which is where it was first traded and sold. In Italian folk medicine, bergamot was used to treat fevers, expel intestinal worms, and cure malaria. Today, it is also produced in such places as the Ivory Coast, Turkey, Morocco, Brazil, and Argentina. Now let’s dive into those uses.
How To Use Bergamot Essential Oil
Since bergamot essential oil has numerous active chemicals in it, it can be used in many ways. One of the most common ways is to add a few drops to a hot bath. Bergamot contains several compounds that help regulate hormone production, reduce cortisol levels, lower blood pressure, and boost dopamine and serotonin levels. All of this makes it very effective at lowering stress levels and combating depression. In addition to bathing with it, it can be diffused, as a vapor rub, or simply by placing a drop or two on your hands and cupping it around your mouth and nose while you breathe deeply. You may need to dilute it before rubbing it into your hands, and it’s best to do a skin test before using. When using in a bath, start with a very small amount of bergamot oil, maybe just 1 or 2 drops, to make sure that you’re not soaking your whole body in a mixture that your skin doesn’t take to. If you’re all clear the next day, add another drop or two.
Bergamot oil is also commonly used to treat digestive issues such as bloating and gas. You can try drinking some Earl Grey tea, or rub a few drops into your abdomen when you’re feeling unsettled. Just make sure to dilute it and test it before to make sure your skin doesn’t have a negative reaction. Since it is also an anti inflammatory, you can apply it in a similar manner to any sore muscles and pain spots. This, combined with the effect that the increased hormones have on lowering the nerve sensitivity, makes it a very effective muscle rub. Just stay safe and don’t overuse it, and of course, a physician should be consulted before using it as one of your regular treatments.
Balance Sugar, Cholesterol and Weight with Bergamot Essential Oil https://t.co/5FoG3MzEBH pic.twitter.com/67uVikb2ZK
— Before It's News (@beforeitsnews) February 12, 2017
Bergamot Essential Oil For Anti-Aging
The best antidote to aging is a healthy lifestyle, and anyone who wants to keep their skin looking youthful should not smoke, minimize time out in the sun, and eat a healthy diet rich in antioxidants – to name a few. When used in combination with a healthy lifestyle, bergamot essential oil can help slow the process of aging, and even reverse some signs of aging as well
The most externally noticeable symptom of aging is the appearance of the skin, such as a dull skin tone, wrinkles, and discoloration. Bergamot oil can help stimulate the production of more melanin, which is the compound that gives our skin its pigmentation. This means that bergamot oil can help fade sun spots, restore color to dull skin, and balance out the overall skin tone to give it a much healthier and youthful appearance.
When used regularly in baths, bergamot oil can help restore some glow and shine to the skin. It can also help tighten up the skin, which slows the process of wrinkles forming and can even relax wrinkles that are already there. To use bergamot oil to reduce the signs of aging, mix several drops of bergamot oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil such as coconut oil or jojoba oil and apply it regularly to the affected area. Bergamot oil also pairs very well with other anti aging oils as well, such as germanium essential oil and lavender essential oil.
Often with age comes arthritis and joint pain. Fortunately, bergamot oil works as an anti inflammatory, which helps to reduce the swelling and inflammation. Furthermore — and this is where bergamot oil stands out — it contains compounds which promote the secretion of hormones that decrease nerve sensitivity, which means that it helps reduce our body’s sensitivity to pain. To use on joint pain or other pain, mix equal parts bergamot oil and carrier oil, and apply it to the painful area.
Bergamot Essential Oil For Skin And Acne
Bergamot oil doesn’t just help with aging skin – it’s great for younger skin as well. Used as a toner after the shower or as part of a morning routine, bergamot oil’s astringent properties help firm the skin and tighten the pores, which makes it a great choice for people with dry skin. While some oils add to the oily skin problem, bergamot oil is known as a “dry oil” and is non-comedogenic, which means that it sinks directly into the skin and will not clog your pores or leave an oily trace behind. In fact, it can even help regulate your skin’s production of oil and keep your skin balanced.
Like many essential oils, bergamot oil can be used very effectively to treat acne. Since it’s a dry oil and sinks directly into the skin, it’s able to fight the bacteria from the inside and heal the acne from below the surface without sitting on the skin and further clogging the pores. When used regularly in a face wash, bergamot oil may help prevent future outbreaks by tightening up the pores and regulating the sebum (oil) levels in the facial skin.
The special property that makes bergamot oil such a good choice for acne is it’s ability to fade scars and marks left behind by acne, again by balancing the melanin levels and stimulating the increased production of melanin in the areas where it’s needed, to help your face regain an even and beautiful complexion. I would recommend starting with a teaspoon of a light carrier oil such as jojoba or peach kernel oil, mixing in 5 drops of bergamot oil, and then adding several drops of other oils that you have found that work well for your skin type and acne, to create a personalized acne fighter just for you.
DIY Bergamot Essential Oil Explained
Making your own bergamot oil is easy. While you may have a hard time producing it the same way it’s commercially produced with heavy expellers, you can still use a different method called infusing which will give you an oil with similar properties, although a little weaker than the commercially produced ones. If you live in an area where bergamots are readily available then you’re in luck. If not, you may need to shop around until you find one, or order a box of them online. But before you get them, let’s break down the process.
You Will Need:
- 4-5 organic bergamots (if not organic, scrub peel well before using).
- 1 cup carrier oil (such as grapeseed or olive oil).
- 1 grater, peeler, or sharp knife.
- 1 strainer (or piece of cloth).
- 1 funnel.
- 1 large sauce pan.
- 1 heat safe glass bowl.
- 1 airtight glass bottle for storing.
What To Do:
- Grate the bergamot peels into the bowl and try to collect only the colored part without the inner white fibers. If using a knife, try to achieve a similar result by only cutting off the colored part, and cut the resulting shavings of peel into smaller pieces.
- Fill your saucepan with water, leaving room for your glass bowl on top, and bring to a low boil.
- Turn down the heat to lowest setting.
- Place the glass bowl with the peels on top of the boiling water.
- Add the carrier oil.
- Let simmer for 2-3 hours, making sure the carrier oil doesn’t boil.
- Let the oil cool to a safe temperature, place the cloth strainer over your funnel, and pour the oil through the cloth and funnel into your glass bottle.
- Squeeze out the cloth to get those last drops of oil.
- Store in a cool dark place, and keep for up to 6 months.
And there you go! If you don’t feel like going through the boiling process, you can even go straight to placing the peels with the carrier oil directly into the airtight glass jar, and let it sit for a week on a windowsill or porch that gets a lot sun. Shake it once a day, and at the end of the week, strain it through a cloth to remove the peels and store it in your airtight jar for up to 6 months. The first way is quicker, and the second way involves less work and less dishes to wash – so choose whichever way you prefer.
It’s important to note that oils made at home are not of the same quality as the ones commercially produced, and should never be ingested. They are not produced in fully sterile environments, and since they are less pure, they are more prone to foreign bacteria growth, which is perfectly safe for skin, but not for consumption.
Are There Side Effects To Using Bergamot Essential Oil?
Bergamot is an extremely useful and beneficial oil, but should be used with caution, research, and self-awareness. While most people report that it does wonderful things for their skin, in small amounts of people it has been known to cause skin sensitivities in the form of blisters, scabs, redness, and changes in skin pigmentation. As with any essential oil, it is best to test a small amount of the oil on a small patch of your skin, such as the inside of your wrist, and wait 24 – 48 hours to see how your skin reacts. Never apply it undiluted to your skin, always dilute it with a carrier oil first. Remember, you can always lower or adjust dilution level as you see how your body reacts to it, better to err on the safe side when starting out.
Like all citrus oils, bergamot oil drastically increases photosensitivity, which means that your skin will be much more sensitive to sunlight and UV rays after applying. Sun exposure to skin with bergamot oil can cause extreme sunburns and/or UV damage, so wait 24-72 hours after applying to expose that area to the sun. The exact amount of time will depend on your own experience and skin type. However, since it’s a good idea anyways to change up your essential oils once in a while, it may be a good idea to simply switch to a different oil for the summer time, so you can go out and enjoy the sun, worry free.
Persons taking medications, especially medications that increase photosensitivity, should not use this oil without consulting with their physician. Essential oils should never be used on pregnant or nursing women, as well as on small children, due to their extra sensitive skin and lack of research. Diabetics should consult with a doctor before using bergamot oil, since it can cause sharp changes in blood sugar levels which needs to be closely monitored.
Bergamot oil is an amazing oil to choose regardless of whether you’re a natural remedy enthusiast or someone simply looking to live healthier. Although it does need a little more caution than some other essential oils, with proper and respectful use it can do wonders for all aspects of your body and health. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys making their own mixtures and serums, you will find bergamot oil to add some incredible aroma and potency to whatever you’re cooking up. The key is to experiment, be patient, be in tune with your body, and be adventurous with your own little arsenal of personal potions.