Bergamot oil is made from the fruit peel of bergamot fruit, which hails from southern Italy and the tropics of Asia. It’s sometimes referred to as “sweet lemon” because it looks like a lemon on the inside, but from the outside could be mistaken for an orange. This highly concentrated oil gives Earl Grey tea its “kick” and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to help ease digestive ailments such as indigestion and gas.
It’s a terrific overall health tonic to have on hand, whether you take a break with some Earl Grey tea, slather some bergamot oil/lotion onto inflamed, troubled skin, or mix a blend of bergamot oil into an aromatherapy diffuser to help heal body and mind.
The Polyphenol Power of Bergamot
Bergamot oil is packed with polyphenol antioxidants with a wide range of capabilities. They act as:
- Natural antidepressants and stimulants
- Hormone activators to ease digestion and facilitate nutrient absorption
- Bacterial fighters that help to suppress germ, virus, and fungi growth
- Remedies for intestinal worm, respiratory infections, and bladder infections
You can apply bergamot oil to chapped lips and cold sores, and even use it as an insect repellent. Add a few drops to a warm bath and soak for 10 to 20 minutes to help calm irritated skin. (Bergamot can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so if applying the oil to your skin be sure to use a high SPF sunscreen to avoid irritation and burning.)
Recent studies have shown that bergamot juice is a particularly effective weapon against LDL cholesterol, the bad type of cholesterol that leads to heart disease. Brutieridin and meltidin are two antioxidants in bergamot that help inhibit cholesterol production in the liver. And, unlike statins, these compounds won’t deplete CoQ10 levels in your body. These polyphenols also help suppress the production of enzymes that initially triggered increased cholesterol production. Likewise, bergamot extract has been shown to increase production of beneficial HDL cholesterol, which helps remove LDL cholesterol from your body. The polyphenols in bergamot also help calm inflammation, decrease fatty deposits in the liver, and block the formation of plaque in your arteries.
In addition to its heart healthy benefits, bergamot has proven effective at lowering blood sugar levels, making it the perfect health aid for diabetes, pre-diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. It lowers blood glucose by kickstarting the proteins that break down fatty acids and glucose in the body.
Breathe in the Bergamot
Distilling bergamot oil in an aromatherapy diffuser and breathing in the citrus scent helps to calm the mind of anxiety, grief, or helplessness. The vaporizing mist can help clear up colds, flus, and congestion.