6 Benefits of Bergamot Essential Oil and Other Uses

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Using bergamot essential oil via aromatherapy or topically can help improve your mood, hair health, and skin.

Ready to add bergamot essential oil to your closet? (We promise we’re not trying to recruit you into any other pyramid scheme.)

Bergamot oil is extracted from the fruit peels of bergamot orange trees (aka citrus bergami). Anyone who likes to sip Earl Gray tea has already enjoyed bergamot oil in a similar form.

But it’s also a sweet, savory favorite in the essential oil world with a range of health benefits thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and pain-relieving properties.

Before you turn on your diffuser, let’s break down the benefits of using bergamot essential oil.

While research suggests there are health benefits, the FDA does not monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. It’s important to talk to your doctor before you start using essential oils and make sure you research the quality of a brand’s products. Always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.

1. Can improve mental health

Inhale bergamot, exhale blues? Maybe.

In a small 2017 study, participants who inhaled bergamot essential oil in the waiting room of a psychiatric center reported increased positive feelings. However, the researchers cautioned that the tiny sample size and limitations of the study do not prove these results.

In another small 2015 study involving 41 women in Japan, researchers concluded that inhaling bergamot reduced feelings of anxiety and fatigue.

A 2013 review confirmed this finding, with scientists concluding that bergamot and other essential oils may be able to relieve depression, anxiety, and mood disorders by signaling the brain to release the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine.

A 2019 review also concluded that bergamot inhalation may reduce stress compared to rest alone — but not compared to placebo aromatherapy.

So we need more research to know if bergamot can safely banish your bad mood.

2. Could fight food poisoning

Do you feel like throwing up after the snack? You might want to inhale some bergamot.

Linalool is a compound found in bergamot that may help destroy certain types of bacteria that cause foodborne illness. (Fun fact: It’s also used to add a floral scent to many of your favorite beauty and skincare products.)

In a 2016 study, researchers found that bergamot had “mild to potent effects” in stopping the growth of various bacterial specimens that cause a common type of foodborne illness.

A 2006 study, meanwhile, found that bergamot may be most effective at destroying certain strains of bacteria, including Staph, Listeria, and E. coli.

We may need more research before you can start sniffing bergamot to stop your sushi stomach, but it might be worth a try.

3. Lowers cholesterol levels

Bergamot could also be a boon for your heart health.

A 2016 review of several studies found that the flavonoids in bergamot may help lower lipid levels in the body, although researchers don’t know exactly why.

A 2018 animal study confirmed this finding. Researchers found that bergamot may have anti-inflammatory effects on the liver (however, this was only true in rats suffering from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease). We need more human studies to know for sure.

4. Reduces pain and inflammation

Linalool and carvacrol — compounds found in bergamot oil — seem to help reduce pain and inflammation. In a 2017 review of multiple studies, researchers found that both compounds had anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and pain-relieving effects when inhaled and applied directly to the skin.

Similarly, a 2019 review confirmed that bergamot appears to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and aid in wound healing.

Researchers have warned that essential oils could have potentially toxic effects that we don’t know about yet, so before you start inhaling them 24/7, stay tuned.

5. Hair Health

Maybe they were born with it – maybe it’s bergamot.

According to a 2019 review, bergamot essential oil promoted hair growth in animal studies. While your hair is definitely different than a rat’s, it might be worth a try.

The oil’s anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties can also help soothe an itchy or irritated scalp. (Just don’t apply without carrier oil—more on that later.)

Those who use it as a regular part of their hair care routine swear it softens hair and tames frizz and curls. Plus, it will make your hair smell like you’ve rolled in a field of citrus wildflowers. 🌼

6. Skin Health

According to a 2019 review, bergamot essential oil increases skin collagen levels and decreases psoriatic plaques in animals. Just note that we don’t have enough research on people to know for sure what the deal is.

Still, it might be worth adding some bergamot to your skincare routine. Since many compounds in bergamot oil also have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it could work as a spot treatment for acne or cysts, especially since it’s also believed to aid in wound healing.

If you have psoriasis, sensitive skin, or any other skin condition, turn to your skin first.

aromatherapy

Ready to breathe in bergamot? Try using it for aromatherapy in the following ways:

  • Diffuse. Fill your essential oil diffuser with purified water and add a few drops of bergamot essential oil. Always use a diffuser in a well-ventilated area away from pets.
  • massage oil. Mix in about 15-20 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil (like avocado, almond, or jojoba). Use as a soothing and sweetly scented body oil, ideal for massage.
  • skin care. Add 2-5 drops of essential oil to your body wash, shampoo or facial scrub for a refreshing pick-me-up.
  • DIY candles or air fresheners. Don’t have an essential oil diffuser? You can also add it to add some sweet floral flavor to homemade candles or air fresheners.
  • Dress. Pat some on a headscarf, shawl, or eye pillow (not the side that rests on your eyes) to relax a little while on the go or at rest.

pro tip: If you want to mix a beautiful combination, bergamot goes especially sweet with lavender, tea tree oil or chamomile.

For the skin

New quote, who is this? Whether you have a new spot or just want to keep your skin smooth and firm, bergamot can help. Here’s what to do:

  • carrier oil blend. Mix bergamot with a carrier oil (like almond, jojoba, or grapeseed oil) and apply directly to acne, cysts, or blackheads. Leave it on overnight and cross your fingers – it might work.
  • water or skin care mixture. Mix a few drops with water or your favorite cleanser to soothe redness or inflammation.

Since bergamot can increase skin sensitivity, you should avoid using the oil on your skin during the day. Like other citrus oils, it can make skin very sensitive to the sun.

For the hair

Bergamot could provide commercial-caliber hair straightening. Here’s how you can try:

  • Shampoo. Add a few drops to your usual shampoo or conditioner. (Or both!)
  • hair oil. Many people swear by oiling their hair, so why not try bergamot, which promotes hair growth? Mix 1-2 drops with 1 tablespoon of hair-healthy carrier oil like coconut oil, argan oil, or avocado and use as a night treatment.
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