In these turbulent and uncertain times, Bergamot is an essential oil I am drawn to using over and over.  Faced with our new reality it seems to be the oil that helps many of us cope right now.  Bergamot can be a Light in the Dark for many.  In a previous blog, I called Bergamot – Sunshine in a Bottle and on reading it again, I still feel the same way.

(Citrus bergamia) 

Family:  Rutaceae

Plant Description: An ornamental tree that can grow up to 15 feet high.  It has fragrant, white, star-shaped flowers, and smooth, glossy, ovate, dark green leaves (similar to the leaves of the lemon tree).  As it ripens, Bergamot’s small, edible, pear-shaped citrus fruit changes colour from green to yellow.  The tree requires full sun exposure and a rich, well-drained soil to flourish.

History/Folklore:  The flavouring and perfume industry use Bergamot extensively.  Earl Grey tea owes its distinctive flavour to bergamot leaves.  It reached a height of popularity during the time of Napoleon when it was mixed with neroli and rosemary as eau de Cologne.

Extraction:  Cold expression is used to extract the greenish, yellow essential oil from the fruit peel.

Aroma:  Fresh. Sweet. It has a citrus, floral note.
Odour intensity:  Low
Perfume Note:  Top
Blends well with:  Other citrus, herb, floral and wood oils.
Perfume Key Qualities:  Reviving, refreshing, calming, soothing, uplifting, sedative, regulating, balancing, anti-depressant.

Chemistry:  Esters (40%); Monoterpenes (33%) ;  Alcohol (18%);  Lactone (5%)

Cautions: Expressed bergamot is phototoxic when applied to skin exposed to sunlight and UV rays.  For topical applications use Bergamot FCF as this is not phototoxic.


Traditionally used on a physical level for:

Skin Care:  Acne, cold sores, eczema, insect bites, wounds.
Respiratory System: Colds, sore throats, tonsillitis.
Digestive System: Flatulence, loss of appetite.
Genitourinary System: Cystitis.
Other: Insect repellent.

Traditionally used on a psychological level for
Anxiety, depression, insomnia and stress-related conditions.

On a subtle level, Bergamot opens the Heart Chakra and allows love to radiate.  It is uplifting and eases grief.  Bergamot can help release relationship stress both with others and yourself.

In Dr. Bruce Berkowsky’s Spiritual PhytoEssencing, themes of Light and Dark are central to Bergamot.  The Bergamot individual can fluctuate between periods of darkness and light.  Bergamot can help anyone who is going through a dark period to ‘see in the dark’.

In Valerie Ann Worwood’s AromaGenera, the bergamot personality is young, fresh, caring and considerate.  Use Bergamot to counteract depression, anxiety, helplessness, apathy, bitterness, burn-out, despondency, emptiness, exhaustion, grief, hopelessness, sadness, loneliness, stress, tension and emotional imbalances.

Steffen Arctander, Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin, 1960
Salvatore Battaglia, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy
Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils ©1998-2018 Joseph Ben Hil-Meyer Research, Inc.
Tony Burfield, Natural Aromatic Materials – Odours & Origins, 2000
Ernst Guenther, The Essential Oil, Vol V, 1948 reprinted 1972
Beverley Hawkins, Essential Oils and Carriers, Aromatherapy 101, Aromatherapy 201, Aromatherapy 301, 1999-2018
Peter Holmes, Aromatica, Vol 1 and 2. Singing Dragon 2016 & 2019
Alec Lawless: Artisan Perfumery or Being Led by the Nose, 2009,
Julia Lawless, The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Sourcebook, 2017
Jennifer Peace Rhind, Fragrance and Wellbeing, Plant Aromatics and Their Influence on the Psyche, 2014
Tisserand and Young, 2nd Edition Essential Oil Safety, 2014
Valeria Ann Worwood, The Fragrant Heavens, 1999
Valerie Ann Worwood, The Fragrant Pharmacy, London, Bantam Books, 1991
Valerie Ann Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition, New World Library, Novato, California, 1991, 2016