Many of us know fiber and vitamin C rich citrus fruits are good for our bodies. However, many are not aware of the details nor do most of us know that some fruits are more effective than others. One such fruit is the citrus bergamot with its list of amazing benefits and uses.
The citrus bergamot benefits include its healthy antioxidant benefits along with its amazingly pleasing scent and the ability to lower LDL cholesterol.
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The History Behind the Citrus Bergamot
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia Risso) is a citrus fruit in the Rutaceae family. Bergamot derives from the Italian word bergamotto. The fruit comes from a small tree that blossoms during the winter.
The first planting of an orchard for commercial growth was around 1750 in the Calabria area of Italy. Although there have been attempts to grow this tree in France or the Ivory Coast, their soil and climate are not adequate to produce the quality of tree that grows in Calabria.
Today, it’s referred to as the “Prince of Citrus” and the “Calabrian Green Gold.” It still grows primarily around the Ionian Sea (which is an elongated bay of the Mediterranean Sea) in the Calabria region of Southern Italy. Even today, over 90% of bergamot trees still grow in Calabria.
Its popular name, the Prince of Citrus, refers to the wonderful essence of bergamot that is both historically and today, widely used in the perfume industry due to its aromatic and refreshing citrus scent.
Citrus bergamot extract is an essential oil cold-pressed from the fruit peeling which is the ever-popular aromatic scent in the perfumes. You will also find this essential oil as a flavoring in whole citrus bergamot Earl Grey Tea. Most people will recognize the spicy, citrusy scent that gives this tea its distinctive aroma.
Moreover, it is also common to find this scent in aromatherapy to reduce symptoms of anxiety. It is not a stimulating scent, but it uplifts the spirit and reduces feelings of stress and depression.
Introduction to Citrus Bergamot Benefits
Bergamot has a cool, refreshing spicy scent with a natural floral undertone. But that’s not all. This supplement also has a myriad of health benefits that our bodies need. Primarily known for its wonderful scent and antioxidant benefits, there are other interesting benefits of this fruit that are worth your research to determine if this is a good supplement for you.
Citrus Bergamot Extract
The inherent ingredient in the bergamot that makes it an excellent source of antioxidants is the polyphenols. Interestingly, these are the same polyphenols that you find in green tea, red wines, and berries. With these polyphenols, this antioxidant supplement helps the body combat bone loss, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
Aromatherapy and Citrus Bergamot Extract
One reason many like to use bergamot in an aromatherapy setting is that it lowers cortisol levels and therefore reduces anxiety. Of course, another reason is the pleasant aroma!
However, when using any essential oil, remember to dilute them with carrier oils because all essential oils are concentrates. Also, remember that frequent contact with essential oils sometimes causes skin irritation so please take precautions. Some common carrier oils are coconut oil, avocado oil, almond oil, and jojoba oil.
Citrus Bergamot Juice
The many unique polyphenols that are in the citrus bergamot juice is also a source of excellent antioxidants. Additionally, the polyphenols that are in the juice gives it a strong medicinal quality.
Additionally, research indicates that the bergamot juice is highly effective against helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori) bacteria, which is the type found in stomach inflammation, ulcers, and in extreme cases, cancer.
For use in tablet form, the citrus bergamot juice goes through a process of extraction and concentration. With the juice in tablet form, it helps raise the protective HDL cholesterol and lowers the unhealthy triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Additionally, it helps keep blood sugar at healthy levels, while improving arterial and cardiovascular health.
Next, to help you learn more about this fruit and the studies associated with them, below you will find a list of citrus bergamot benefits and effectiveness.
List of Citrus-Bergamot Benefits and Effectiveness
Aside from its fresh, clean, aromatic scent, this fruit has a lengthy list of wonderful benefits that are worth noting when you go shopping for supplements. However, always ensure that you check with your medical professional before starting a new supplement regimen.
Arterial and Cardiovascular Health (Heart Health)
In addition to the benefits of lowering LDL cholesterol, the use of citrus bergamot supplements also protects body tissues and arteries against free radical damage. Also, studies show the essential oil of the bergamot contains the polyphenols brutieridin and melitidin which are active antioxidants that offer excellent protection against free radical damage.
Bacterial Infections • Helps with Symptom Relief
In the Journal of Applied Microbiology, April 2009, a study of cells shows that with the use of bergamot oil, positive effects include fighting against bacterial infections that are resistant to other antibiotics.
Cholesterol (LDL) Lowering with Citrus Bergamot
Amazingly, bergamot lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Moreover, it does this with literally none of the side effects that many people experience with statins.
Brutieridin and melitidin are the polyphenols from the bergamot fruit that are not in any other citrus fruit. Interestingly, these are the all-natural active LDL lowering components of this fruit with none of the side effects of current statin drugs that are available only by prescription.
Cold Sores, Mouth Ulcers, and Herpes Relief
Another benefit of the oxidant rich bergamot is in its ability to speed healing of bacterial infections that result in cold sores, mouth ulcers, and herpes. The inherent qualities of the bergamot include incredible antibiotic properties when makes it effective in the treatment of many infections, including those listed here.
To take advantage of this unique benefit, simply apply a small amount of diluted citrus bergamot essential oil on the infected areas until they heal completely.
Chronic Pain Treatment with Bergamot Essential Oil
In the treatment of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) and the association with chronic pain, one study suggests that the use of bergamot essential oil extracts is shown to reduce, but not completely stop the BPSD pain from occurring.
Additionally, one study also suggests that bergamot helps to minimize cancer pain though more research must be done.
In complementary medicine, aromatherapy with bergamot essential oil is found to be effective against neuropathic pain.
Metabolic Syndrome Treatment Effectiveness
Metabolic syndrome is a group of unhealthy conditions that lead to the risk of poor heart health and the resulting complications. These symptoms include, but are not limited to the following:
- Excess body fat around the waist
- Increases in blood pressure or high blood pressure
- Abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels
Any one of these symptoms is unhealthy, but the combination leads to a higher risk of heart diseases. However, this study shows that the use of pectin and flavonoid enrichments in combination with bergamot juice effectively reduces the symptoms of metabolic syndrome.
Skin Infections (Dermatophytes) • Protective Qualities
This type of infection is a type of fungus that is most prevalent in the nails, skin, or hair of humans. (However, it also has the capability to develop on any area of the body.) Interestingly, one study shows bergamot oil to be active against this type of infection. In fact, it suggests bergamot oil is effective for topical treatment of skin infections.
Statin Effectiveness Without Statin Side Effects
The statin drugs Lipitor and Zocor lower cholesterol by blocking HMG-CoA reductase (Q10) which is the enzyme responsible for generating energy in our cells. Because of this, these popular statin drugs have bad side effects. That’s because, in the process of lowering cholesterol, they also reduce Q10 levels and thereby severely reduce antioxidant levels in our bodies.
Serious side effects of using these prescription drugs cause cognitive confusion, soreness from exercise, heart failure, muscle weakness, type 2 diabetes, and even death.
Conversely, the use of citrus bergamot exhibits none of these adverse side effects. Therefore, as a natural alternative to statin drugs, citrus bergamot shows promise. However, do not substitute your statin drugs without first talking to your medical professional.
Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Reduction
Interestingly, one study with pre-operative patients, the results show that when bergamot is used in aromatherapy, it helps relieve stress and the resulting anxiety and depression. In addition, the bergamot tablet form supplement results show help in relieving depression.
Weight Loss When Pectin and Flavonoid Enriched • Positive Results
Bergamot Polyphenol Extract Complex (BPE-C), from juice derivatives and enriched with flavonoids and pectins, shows in a study to have positive results for not only weight-loss but also for insulin sensitivity and a reduction in atherosclerosis risk.
Citrus Bergamot Side Effects
Bergamot tablets are safe with few harmful side effects when taken within the RDI guidelines. However, there is one precaution to note for the use of bergamot essential extract.
Precautions for Skin Photosensitivity (UV Sunlight)
For purposes of skin sensitivity, do not use this essential extract undiluted! Also, take precautions with exposure to UV light (sunlight) as it can sometimes have an adverse burning or splotching effect on the skin.
Furanocoumarin Free (FCF) Distilled Bergamot Essential Oil
The furanocoumarin free form removes bergapten which causes photosensitivity. However, you must still follow the manufacturer’s dilution guidelines to ensure safe use to avoid harm to your skin when exposed to sunlight.
Citrus Bergamot Dosages
Human studies with an oral dose from 150 mg to 1,000 mg per day taken from 30 to 180 days show positive effects on body weight and cholesterol.
In studies with rats, the dose was 500 to 1000 mg per day over a 30-day treatment period. This treatment shows positive results for glucose control.
Bergamot Essential Oil
Animal models suggest that 10 to 20 mg/kg for 20 weeks shows increases in bone volume, skin collagen, and hair growth. It also shows decreases in skin rashes.
The Juice of the Bergamot
The juice of the bergamot in dosages of 20 mg/kg shows promise for the reduction of inflammation.
Healthy Ways to Use Citrus Bergamot Essential Oil
Kindly note that essential oil blends below are not for ingesting. Also, when you see the term, “carrier oil”, this refers to any number of oils commonly in use to dilute our favorite essential oils. We do this to alter their absorption rates for use in a number of therapeutic applications.
Some great carrier oils to consider keeping on hand are as follows:
- Almond oil
- Argon oil
- Arnica oil
- Avocado oil
- Broccoli seed oil
- Coconut oil
- Evening primrose oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Grapefruit seed extract
- Jojoba oil
- Magnesium oil
- Neem oil
- Olive oil
- Rosehip oil
- Sea buckthorn oil
Just a word of precaution when using these carrier oils – be sure to do a small skin patch test before you massage rub in over a larger area of your body. In addition, be sure to store carrier oils in dark glass jars with secure tops. Then, store them either in the refrigerator or a dark, cool space. Also, be aware that carrier oils go rancid over time. When that happens, simply throw them away and start with a fresh bottle.
Diffuser or Inhaler
- Bergamot Essential Oil
- Patchouli Essential Oil
- Grapefruit Pink Essential Oil
Put a few drops each of the essential oils listed above into your diffuser and get ready for an amazingly relaxing aroma! For this recipe, be sure to use equal parts of the individual oils for the best blend.
- Bergamot Essential Oil
- Your Favorite Plant Therapy Carrier Oil
Add two drops of bergamot with 2 teaspoons of the carrier oil. This blends nicely to topically treat muscles that are sore and tight with a wonderful massage.
Tip: Dilute to 2% – 5% for massaging the body but, only 1% for delicate areas around your face and neck.
Tip o’ the Hat to PlantTherapy
Bath or Shower
For a wonderful spa-like experience, sprinkle 8 – 10 drops of bergamot essential oil into your bath or hot shower and let the scent carry you away!
Citrus Bergamot Benefits Review
Citrus bergamot is a fruit that is beneficial for the treatment of high LDL cholesterol. This is due to its inherent statin-like qualities. However, it’s also without the side effects of prescription statins.
This fruit’s amazing antioxidant benefits derive from the polyphenols in the citrus bergamot. Studies show them to be effective for bacterial infections, heart health, cold sores, and skin infections.
Precautions include skin photosensitivity however, with the use of an FCF distilled bergamot essential oil, this condition greatly reduces.
You may purchase this supplement in the form of tablets, essential oils, and juice online or at your local health store.
Among the many citrus bergamot benefits, you are sure to find at least one application if not several that meet the needs of your lifestyle. Moreover, continue to do your excellent research and consult with your medical professional before starting any supplement routine.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.