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If you have ever sipped Earl Grey Tea, you would have noticed a clean almost smoky/citrus flavor. That would be the unique taste of bergamot. This delightful oil, used in beverages as well as toiletries was named after the Italian city of Bergamot, where the oil was first sold. It was used in Italian folk remedies for many years and continues to be known for its rich therapeutic qualities. The essential oil is squeezed from the peel of the Citrus bergamia fruit, which resembles a miniature orange, and like the orange has a fresh fruity taste, but with the spicy/smoky undertones.

Bergamot is a refreshing, uplifting oil that is used for skin care, digestive complaints, urinary tract problems, and emotional challenges. In skin care, this essential oil can be added to facial lotions and preparations to combat acne, eczema and oily skin. Used in a compress bergamot extracts infections and draws out boils as it detoxifies and tones the skin. Although normally not applied directly to the skin because it can cause irritation, the one exception is putting a drop of the neat oil on cold sores and insect bites. Use of bergamot should be avoided when going out into the direct sun as it can cause photosensitivity.

For urinary tract infections, bergamot aids with cystitis and other bladder problems. Especially good when put in a sitz bath, this oil can prevent the spread of infection from the urethra to the bladder and can also break the cycle of emotional distress from the ailment, which perpetuates the illness. Cystitis can cause depression, tension and anxiety— bergamot with its uplifting and relaxing qualities can counter act the upset and emotional imbalance whilst correcting the physical problem. It helps disinfect the entire genito-urinary system, and can alleviate the discomfort of vaginal discharge and thrush.

The digestive system seems to be regulated with bergamot tea. A drop of essential oil can be added to a black tea to relieve flatulence and bloating. Bergamot has been seemingly able to help with anorexia nervosa because it balances the appetite control center of the brain, regulating the need to eat. So even though bergamot doesn’t necessarily increase appetite, it appears to allow the body to know when it is okay to eat and then helps digest the food. There is a depression/anxiety around eating with anorexia, which on psychological levels seems to be relaxed with bergamot’s uplifting and balancing qualities.

In massage, bergamot is one of the more relaxing and balancing oils. It relieves nervous tension, anxiety, depression, and emotional instability. It can also be used in a bath or in an aroma lamp to dispel tension. Mixed with the more spiritual oils like frankincense or sandalwood, bergamot can add an uplifting quality to meditation whilst relaxing the nervous system. Bergamot is a delightful addition to your aromatherapy collection.