Bergamot is a citrus essential oil that is refreshing, sweet, tangy and slightly spicy. It's the characteristic aroma of Earl Gray tea.
Latin binomial: Citrus aurantium var. bergamia
Main chemical components: d-limonene (monoterpene), linalool (monoterpenol), and linalyl acetate (ester)
Core therapeutic qualities: nervine, sedative, anxiolytic, antidepressant, antispasmodic, deodorizing
When + How Should I Use Bergamot?
Mental + Emotional Health
When you're stressed, feeling depressed, anxious thoughts are causing you to spiral, anxiety and stress is manifesting in your body, or you just need to CHILL OUT - that's when you reach for bergamot.
Inhalation is the best way to use bergamot for your mental and emotional health. Try it as part of a blend in an inhaler, in an aromatherapy roll-on, or simply open up the bottle and inhale deeply.
Deep breathing is a great way to regulate the nervous system when under stress. Lying or sitting in a comfortable position, try inhaling deeply through the nose for a count of four, holding a second, then exhaling through the nose or mouth for a count of eight. Repeat several times, until you notice your physical symptoms (shallow breaths, elevated heart rate, muscle tension, etc) return to baseline.
Bergamot is an excellent addition to blends for general relaxation or at bedtime. Combine with floral essential oils like ylang ylang or geranium or tree oils like spruce or fir.
Diffusion is a great way to unwind and relax with essential oils. Experiment with different blends of two or three oils by holding the open bottles together a couple inches under your nose and wafting them back and forth. This practice will help you avoid wasting your precious oils by finding a blend that harmonizes well before pouring them out.
Aromatic baths is another way to enjoy bergamot's relaxing and sedative properties. Mix about 6-8 drops total essential oil into 1 TBS unscented liquid soap. Wait to add the oils and soap until you're in the bath and the tub is filled; this helps lower the risk of skin irritation. Add oils and swirl them through the water. Epsom salt is a great addition to enhance relaxation and ease tension.
Phototoxicity: cold-pressed bergamot vs. steam distilled
Some essential oils, when worn topically at certain strengths, can be phototoxic to the skin; this means a toxic reaction occurs on the site of application when exposed to enough sunlight. When shopping for bergamot essential oil, be aware that there are two types available - one is phototoxic, one is not.
If you want to incorporate bergamot into a roll-on, body oil, lotion, or some other skincare preparation, look for bergapten-free or FCF bergamot essential oil. This rectified bergamot oil has had the Bergaptene content -Furocoumarin - removed, making it safe to apply and wear out in the sunshine. Cold-pressed bergamot is not a good choice for topical application unless you plan to stay out of the sun for 24 hours or the dilution rate is less than or equal to two drops per ounce of carrier oil or base. I'll tell you now: you won't be able to smell two drops of bergamot in a whole ounce of carrier oil! Cold-pressed bergamot is still wonderfully valuable and useful, and is an excellent choice for inhalation or diffusion.
Try these DIYs with Bergamot essential oil!
Bergamot is delightful and uplifting. Try these ideas and enjoy its powerful therapeutic benefits!
Fresh & Clean Synergy
A synergy is a blend of essential oils that can be added to the diffuser or DIY preparations. Mix and store this refreshing, happy blend in a clean, recycled 5ml or 10ml essential oil bottle. Simply pop the plastic orifice reducer off the top (a butterknife works great), fill with oils listed below, gently replace orifice reducer on top of the bottle neck, and screw the cap back on tightly to snap it into place.
In bottle, mix: 25 drops Bergamot, 15 drops Rosemary, 10 drops Black Spruce or Hinoki. Replace orifice reducer and cap and gently shake for at least 10 seconds to blend well.
Moisturizing Foaming Hand Soap
In a small, glass container combine 2 TBS unscented castile soap and 1 TBS carrier oil (try fractionated coconut, sweet almond, jojoba, or olive oil). Mix 12 drops Fresh & Clean Synergy into the soap and oil mixture. Stir in 2 TBS aloe vera gel or gelly, and pour contents into a foaming soap dispenser.
Fill dispenser to the top with distilled water, cap, and shake well to mix. Prime the pump a few times, and you will have velvety, beautifully scented foaming hand soap to enjoy.
Destress Diffuser Blend
To the diffuser reservoir, add 6 drops bergamot, 2 drops lavender, and 2 drops ylang ylang. Fill with water according to diffuser directions, and enjoy the relaxing, tension-melting aroma.
What's your favorite way to use Bergamot essential oil? Tell us in the comments!