Essential oils have been slowly gaining global recognition for the past two decades, and that due to their remarkable versatility. However, the use of these substances as health agents is not new. In fact, essential oils have been utilized in wellness practices for more than 5,000 years already. One of these botanicals that has been building its reputation for some time is the Bergamot essential oil.
What Is Bergamot Essential Oil?
Produced from the bergamot citrus fruit, bergamot essential oil is a common fragrance component. The first record of it being used as an ingredient in perfume is from 1714. It is properly known as Citrus Bergamia and is considered as a tropical plant. Due to its powerful aroma, it has been a popular ingredient in many perfumes and is commonly used as the vitally important top note.
How Is It Produced?
Bergamot essential oil is produced by extracting the oil of the bergamot fruit using mechanical equipment called “peelers”. These machines “scrape” or “grate” the skin of bergamot orange under running water. The emulsion is then directed into centrifuges to separate the essence from the water. This process is more efficient than the traditional technique called sfumatura, a slow-folding process that requires the manual extraction of essential oil from the peel of the fruit.
What Can It Do?
Bergamot oil is not only useful because of its aroma; it’s also recognized for its medicinal benefits. In fact, some believe that the medicinal value and emotional wellness that it offers is its greatest gift. Here are the top ten health benefits of this natural remedy.
Just like most essential oils, bergamot oil is rich in flavonoids, which help reduce tension, as well as feelings of anxiety and stress. It can stimulate serotonin and dopamine, both having the ability to create feelings of relaxation. It can also soothe the nerves and can even help treat and cure illnesses linked to stress such as depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure. An excellent way to use bergamot oil to get rid of stress is by using it in an oil burner or a diffuser. The aroma it will release can quickly bring ease and satisfaction.
Bergamot oil possesses antibacterial properties and is considered a natural antibiotic. It can inhibit the growth and spread of virus, fungi, and germs, which is why it is used as a main ingredient in many skin soap products. When applied to the skin and even to the hair, it can act as protection against infection. At the same time, when consumed, it can help treat urinary tract or intestinal infections.
One of the most wonderful benefits of bergamot oil is that it can help reduce pain. When rubbed on sore muscles or any part of the body that feels tension, it can relieve the pain by promoting hormone secretion that the sensitivity of the body to pain. It has even been found to treat symptoms of headaches, as well as sprains and other forms of muscle aches.
Keeps The Skin Clear
Thanks to its healing properties, bergamot essential oil can be used to fade scars and keep the skin clear. It can also promote even melanin production, which helps tone the skin. This is the reason it is widely used in skin care and cosmetic products.
Protects The Teeth
Bergamot oil doesn’t only have healing properties, but germ-fighting properties as well. This is what makes it an excellent protection against cavities in the teeth. When used as an ingredient in your mouthwash, it can help get rid of cavity-causing germs. And because of its strong aroma, it can get rid of bad breath at the same time. It can also be added to toothpaste or rubbed directly on the teeth.
Prevents Body Odor
The ability of bergamot oil to fight off germs also makes it a good deodorant. It helps prevent the growth and spread of germs that usually cause body odor. Aside from killing germs, it also acts as a freshener, giving your skin a nice smell. You can use bergamot oil as air freshener as well. The strong aroma it releases can effectively eliminate unwanted door in your room or even your car.
Helps Maintain Metabolic Rates
While bergamot oil won’t make you lose weight fast, it’s an excellent choice when you’re trying to maintain a healthy metabolic rate. It’s effective in promoting hormonal secretions, as well as insulin, bile, and digestive juices. This results to the proper absorption of nutrients from the food you eat. You can take advantage of this by adding a few drops of bergamot oil on a piece of cloth and breathing in the aroma slowly. Applying a few drops to your bath will also deliver similar results.
Strengthens The Digestive System
Bergamot oil’s ability to promote healthy digestion is another reason it’s a sought-after substance. As mentioned earlier, it is effective in stimulating digestive juices that are essential in the proper breakdown of food. It can also quicken the process of digesting food by stimulation intestinal muscle contractions. This property of bergamot is probably the reason that some suggest it can also be used to treat food poisoning.
Clears The Sinuses
One reason bergamot oil is so effective in promoting relaxation is that it acts a decongestant as well. When you’re fighting off a cold, bergamot oil can aid you by loosening mucus and phlegm, clearing up your nasal passages and relieving pressure on your sinuses. To clear your sinuses using bergamot oil, add some to an oil burner or vaporizer. You can also rub some on your chest and throat or even drink a cup of Earl Grey tea and get the same benefit.
Acts As an Antidepressant
Finally, bergamot oil can be used to reduce the symptoms of depression. It doesn’t necessarily cure depression, but it does help promote feelings of joy and energy by encouraging blood circulation. Most importantly, it doesn’t have the side effects of taking antidepressant drugs, which include personality changes, weight gain, and having suicidal thoughts. Perhaps this is the reason that those in the New Age circle highly value this essential oil, claiming that it can help people process and release fear, shame, and emotional pain.
Does It Have Side Effects?
Speaking of side effects, many people are wondering whether you can use bergamot essential oil without any fear of causing danger to your health. The truth is, bergamot essential oil does have several side effects. For instance, just like many other essential oils, it can cause skin irritation when not properly diluted. This includes skin redness, scabs, blisters, and even changes in the skin pigmentation. It can also lead to photosensitivity when applied to the skin, an effect caused by bergamottin, a component that absorbs ultraviolet light. In addition, bergamot oil can also lead to the depletion of potassium in the body when consumed. This is caused by the component bergapten.
Does This Mean Bergamot Oil Is Harmful?
Just because using bergamot essential oil has a number of side effects, it doesn’t mean it is dangerous to use. In reality, the health benefits of this essential oil outweigh all the side effects it may cause. Furthermore, experts agree that it is likely safe for most people. The key is to use it in moderation. Anything used in excess can absolutely cause health problems. Take the case of the man who consumed a gallon of Earl Grey tea every day of his life, for instance. Overtime, he began to experience muscle cramps and twitching, plus blurred vision and unusual sensations. The symptoms only stopped when he quit drinking the said concoction. It’s also important to note that bergamot oil may be possibly unsafe for children, as well as pregnant women. Moreover, using bergamot oil is not recommended if you have diabetes, as it can cause your blood sugar level to go too low.
Bergamot essential oil is generally okay to use when used responsibly and in moderation. If you believe there is a chance that you’ll experience the side effects mentioned above upon using bergamot oil, it would be best to talk to your doctor before considering this versatile botanical specimen.
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