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Safely Use Your Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot Citrus bergamia is part of the Rutaceae family from Italy and the Ivory Coast. In the perfumery industry, Bergamot is often used and plays a big role in fragrance creation. Its citrus fragrance is unique and goes beautiful with floral oils such as Neroli, Rose and Ylang Ylang as well as herbals oils and other citrus oils.

Bergamot can be used to treat symptoms of digestive problems as well as emotional problems including depression, stress and hypertension, joint pain, muscle pain, skin disorders, infection, upper respiratory infections, digestive issues, and more.

With essential oils, there are four factors that play apart in safety and exposure: How your oil was applied, how strong of a dilution rate you use, how much you use and how often it is applied. Externally, if not diluted properly, and depending on the constituents (components) within the oil, it can either cause irritation, allergic reaction such as phototoxicity or a photo-allergy reaction. If used incorrectly internally, it can cause neurotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, carcinogenicity, or fetotoxicity.

In this article, I’ll give you some safe and effective information, so you can enjoy the benefits that Bergamot offers without being concerned about the safety aspect of it. First, a few tips about essential oils.

Evaporation Rates

Essential oils have an evaporation rates and are referred to as “notes”. Top notes such as Bergamot and other citrus evaporate rather quickly. Middle notes are the next to evaporate and the slowest oils to evaporate are your base notes. Because of the various evaporation notes of essential oils, over time you may detect a slight change in the aroma. Keeping your blend in a dark closed essential oil bottle will preserve your oil. Essential oils have shelf lives and to achieve complete shelf life, it will also help to keep them in a cold, dark place. The ideal temperature is 60-65%. A small refrigerator is often used for this purpose. You can refer to our Ultimate Guide to review the various notes as well as other pertinent information for each oil.

Distillation Process

Citrus fruit are expressed, or steam distilled from the peeling or rind of the fruit. Most citrus are phototoxic with the first reaction from fragrances with citrus oils being reported in 1916.

In 1970, the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) set safety guidelines and since then phototoxic reactions from fragrances is very rare now.

The best Bergamot to purchase is Bergapten-free which is distilled. They contain very little if any FC’s (furanocoumarin). To achieve this, the oil is reprocessed using a process called fractional distillation. This is the safest Bergamot to buy and should be listed as ‘Bergamot FCF’.

1. Alleviate Depression

Bergamot is remarkable in reducing psychological stress factors and one way it does this is by assisting in the reduction of blood pressure. Data in referenced source states that BEO “contributes to our understanding of the mode of action of this Phyto-complex on nerve tissue under normal and pathological experimental conditions and provide a rational basis for the practical use of BEO in complementary medicine. The linalyl acetate in Bergamot contributes to relaxing the smooth muscles and has a relaxing effect on the vascular system. For depression, Bergamot goes well with Lavender, Rose, Geranium and Patchouli. The following is one of my signature blends. When first creating the aroma, the emotional effect was so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes. This brings about peace and calmness, in a happy “worry free” place. (1)(2)

Worry Free Cream

  • One Ounce Unscented Cream

  • 10 drops Patchouli Pogostemom cablin

  • 5 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

  • 2 drops Vanilla Oleoresin

  • 2 drops Ylang Ylang Cananga odorata var. genuina

Blend all ingredients and apply as needed.

*It is advised to avoid use of Ylang Ylang on children under 2 years of age. The Patchouli is at too high of a percentage for those under 2 as well.*

2. Reduce Stress and Anxiety

In referenced study, results demonstrated that Bergamot essential oil inhaled together with water vapor exerts psychological and physiological effects in a relatively short time, including improvement in fatigue and negative emotions. This may be due to the component linalyl acetate and linalool which contributes to the calming effects of BEO. The linalyl can be around 25% or more depending on the batch your purchase and the linalool can be around 5% or more. And we must include the y-terpinene component which also has sedative properties. Sedative does not always mean “sleep”. In many cases with oils, sedative can also mean calm, relaxed, eased. With that said, it is the oils overall chemical makeup that contributes to the actions of the oils. (3)(4)

Try the following blend to reduce your stress and anxiety:

Anxiety Calm

  • One-ounce Unscented lotion or cream

  • 5 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

  • 5 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia

  • 5 drops Sweet Orange Citrus sinensis

  • 5 drop Ruh Khus Vetiveria zizanioides

  • 1 Drop Ylang Ylang Cananga odorata var. genuina

Blend and use as needed. This is a very soothing, calming lotion.

*For under two years of age, cut your blend in half and leave out the Ylang Ylang.*

3. Emotional Health

Bergamot essential oil is one of the best oils for supporting us emotionally. This is due to the constituent linalyl acetate. Because it reduces anxiety, eases depression, alleviates stress and is an antispasmodic, it is emotionally supportive. Bergamot is mood lifting and emotionally balancing. (5) Try the following blend:

Emotional Blend

  • 1 Ounce carrier oil or unscented lotion of choice

  • 10 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

  • 5 drops Neroli Citrus aurantium var. amara

  • 5 Frankincense Boswellia carterii

  • 2 drops Ruh Khus Vetiveria zizanioides

*The Neroli has been kept low, making it safe for all ages from 3 months up.*

4. Assist Digestion

Bergamot is one of the best antispasmodic essential oils for digestive cramps and can assist with digestion in general. It’s known to ease painful digestive issues, dyspepsia, increase appetite and assist in easing symptoms of colitis. Try the following to ease tummy discomfort. Using Olive Oil with your blend adds extra protection to the tender belly skin. Olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties, wound healing properties, has a higher percentage of anti-oxidants, even higher than vitamin E as well as contains protein, minerals and vitamins. (6)

Belly Bliss

  • 10 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

  • 5 drops Peppermint Mentha x piperita

  • 10 drops Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile

  • 5 drops Hemp Cannibis sativa

  • 2-ounce first pressed Olive Oil or unscented lotion

Blend: Apply counterclockwise on belly every 3 hours until relief.

*For children under five years of age, replace Peppermint with Spearmint, a safer alternative for the little ones*

5. Eliminate Intestinal Worms

Bergamot is a vermifuge and thus can eliminate intestinal worms. However, Dr. Jean Valnet suggest the essence of Bergamot, a safe and effective alternative to using Bergamot essential oil internally; unless you are under the care of a Clinical Aromatherapist trained in internal use. For internal use, you could also consider Bergamot Hydrosol. These are gentle and may be used internally without the concerns that accompany the internal use of essential oils. I recommend looking for Organic Hydrosols to ensure purity. (7)

6. Relieve or Reduce Muscle Aches and Pains

Bergamot is antispasmodic, calming and relaxing to the smooth muscles of the body, easing achy muscles and joints.

Evidenced in referenced study supports the redox basis of several types of pain and identified a new property of natural antioxidants derived from Citrus bergamia and its reduction of pain conditions. ‘Thus, the use of natural antioxidants may represent a promising and innovative therapeutic approach to counteract the side effects of prolonged use of other drugs as opioids or to inhibit inflammatory pain.’ (8) (9) (10).

Allanblackia floribunda oil or Arnica Arnica montana both have excellent inflammatory and pain relief properties and would be great carriers to choose from for the following pain relief blend.

Pain Away

  • One-ounce carrier oil

  • 5 drops Hemlock Tsuga canadensis

  • 5 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

  • 5 drops Balsam Fir Abies balsamea

  • 5 drops Engleman Spruce Picea engelmanii

  • 5 drops Siberian Fir Abies sibirica

Blend and apply as needed. Every 3-4 hours is best to reduce the inflammation and relieve pain.

7. Treat Skin Irritations

Bergamot is remarkable for many skin issues including, boils, acne, eczema and psoriasis, boils, wounds, varicose veins and much more. Bergamot has a cooling effect on the skin and works well for itching, wound healing, topical pain and discomfort. Bergamot demonstrated that it inhibited protein molecules related to inflammation, immune responses, and tissue-remodeling processes, suggesting they have anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties. (11)

Psoriasis and Dry Skin

  • 1-ounce Rose Hip Rosa canina L. carrier oil

  • 4 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

  • 5 drops Patchouli Pogostemom cablin

  • 5 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum Italicum

  • 5 drops Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia

  • 5 drops Carrot Seed Daucus carota

Blend and apply 4 times a day, including after bathing and before bed.

The following blend softens dry irritated skin, leaving it smooth and beautiful. I recommend using a skin healing, complimentary carrier such as Almond Prunus amygdalus var. dulcis oil, Babassu Orbygnia oil or Jojoba Simmondsia chinensis oil (wax).

*Reduce Tea Tree by half for those under two years of age.*

Skin So Soft

  • One-ounce carrier oil

  • 5 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

  • 5 drops Sweet Orange Citrus senisis

  • 5 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia

  • 3 drops Rose Absolute Rosa x damascena

For children younger than 2 years of age, reduce or leave out the Rose absolute which should be no more than 0.25% or 2 drops per ounce.

8. Reduce or Eliminate Scars

Bergamot is considered a wound healer and antiseptic. Paired with oils known for their cicatrisant properties, Bergamot is a great addition to skin healing blends, including elimination of scars. It’s important to remember to use Bergamot FCF for all skin products. The following blend ahs been quite successful in healing deep scarring. When applying oils for healing wounds, use after the wound has closed and scabbed over. For scarring, Calendula Calendula officinalis oil is a skin regenerator, anti-microbial, antiseptic, great for wound healing (cicatrisant), varicose veins, skin infections, cuts, chapped skin and lips and works nicely in the following blend for healing wounds and scars.

Skin Wound Healer

  • ½-ounce Calendula Calendula officinalis (Co2 extract, infused) Oil

  • 4 drops Frankincense Boswellia carterii

  • 5 drops Helichrysum

  • 2 drops Myrrh Commiphora myrrha

  • 4 drops Manuka Leptospermum scoparium ct east cape

*Myrrh is contraindicated for pregnancy and breastfeeding, due to its β-elemene and furanodiene content, which may be fetotoxic*

9. Treat Fungal Infections

Bergamot essential oil has been tested in vitro and shown to be active against Dermatophytes. It showed that the compounds that were effective against dermatophytes to be superior to the anticandidal effect that was observed. Data indicated that bergamot oil can be used as an efficacious antifungal agent against dermatophytes as well as yeast pathogens. The results showed substantial support to popular or anecdotal beliefs in the effectiveness of treating skin and mucosal infections as well as candida with bergamot oil.

Briefly, every essential oil is made up of chemical families. Within the chemical families, you will find the constituents (components) that contribute to the therapeutic properties of each oil. There are several components within Bergamot that contribute to the antifungal properties that work together and include a-pinene, b-phellandrene, terpinolene, linalol and geranyl acetate.

How can we use this to be effective? Try the following blend. Each oil in the following blend offers properties that not only have antifungal and candida properties but also support the immune system (Balsam Copaiba) and enhance skin penetration (Cedarwood), making your product even more effective. (12)

Black Seed, Tamanu and Neem oil have anti-fungal properties and gives you some options to choose from for the following blend.

Fungal Infections

  • ½-ounce Carrier of choice

  • 5 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

  • 5 drops Basil Ocimum basilicum ct Linalool

  • 5 drops Cedarwood Juniperus virginiana

  • 5 drops Copaiba Oil Copaifera officinalis

*Basil can cause skin irritation and allergy reaction and must be kept at a low percentage to avoid reaction. For children under two years of age, leave out Basil.*

10. Penetration Enhancer

Bergamot, like many oils, are highly lipophilic and penetrate the tissues of the body quite easy. Many components of oils do not penetrate the skin well. To increase this penetration, oils with components capable of this action are formulated by into blends. This beautiful therapeutic action is a quality found in many oils. All Citrus oils contain d-limonene, one of the constituents responsible for this penetrating action.

11. Lower Cholesterol

Rosuvastatin is used to lower to the overall cholesterol levels to avoid cardiometabolic risk. In a controlled group, 77 patients with elevated serum LDL-C and triglycerides were tested. With the addition of bergamot-derived polyphenolic fraction with the Rosuvastatin, it significantly enhanced rosuvastatin-induced effect on serum lipemic profile compared to rosuvastatin alone. Although this is quite effective, to accomplish this, it’s advised to seek out a Clinical Aromatherapist trained in pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of essential oils. This knowledge allows them to determine dosage, proper delivery vehicle to protect the tender mucous membranes inside our bodies (essential oils can be very destructive to mucous membranes undiluted) as well as duration of dosage. It’s advised to also speak with your physician if you are on medication and plan to use essential oils internally. Many are irritants, and many interfere with the actions of some medications. (13) (14)

12. Clear Congestion

Like most citrus oils, due to the components d-limonene and linalool within Bergamot, it is excellent for fighting off bacterial infections including colds, flu, and other bacterial infections. Try diffusing the following blend to keep your home healthy and bacteria free.

Bergamot Stay Healthy Diffuser Blend

  • 6 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

  • 4 drops Lemon Citrus limon

  • 3 drops Yuzu Citrus junos

*When diffusing or using essential oils, protect your Fur babies and remove them from the room. For more on Animal Safety, visit Kelly Holland Azzaro at Animal Aromatherapy (Safe Use) on Facebook.*

13. Starve a Fever

Bergamot essential oil is a Febrifuge, meaning it can assist in bringing fevers down by cooling of the body. There are many oils that are considered febrifuge oils. Some gentle safer choices include Spearmint Mentha spicata, Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile, German Chamomile Matricaria recutita, Frankincense Boswellia carterii, Juniper Juniperus osteosperma, Palmarosa Cymbopogon martini var. motia, Patchouli Pogostemom cablin and Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia. Follow all previous noted safety advice.

I find that Spearmint essential oil combined with Bergamot is ideal in helping to reduce younger children's fever. Keeping spearmint under 0.25% for those between 3-24 months or 1% for those between 2-6 years old, you can add 2-3 drops of Spearmint and 5 drops of Bergamot into a carrier oil or lotion and apply to childs chest, neck and upper back area.

14. Sleep Deep

Bergamot is one of the best oils for a good night’s sleep. Because of the linalyl acetate and linalool content, it’s calming effect works perfect for sleep and is often found in sleep blends for children as well as adults. Try the following blend.

Deep Sleep Tonight

  • One-ounce unscented lotion

  • 5 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

  • 5 drops Spikenard Nardostachys jatamansi

  • 5 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia

  • 10 drops Vetiver Chrysopogon zizanioides or Ruh Khus Vetiveria zizanioides

Blend. Before bed, apply to neck and chest area and enjoy a good night’s rest. Safe for all ages.

*Most Citrus oils are phototoxic. Photosensitization and phototoxicity can occur when certain natural chemicals, found in all of nature, particularly quite potent in essential oils, react when exposed to ultraviolet light, including tanning beds. This can cause inflammation, blistering and reddening/burning of the skin.”

15. Heal Wounds

Use bergamot as part of your wound healing regimen will increase your healing time. Paired with cicatrisant (wound healing) oils, it can treat cold sores, ulcers, topical wounds, boils and other skin issues.

16. Wear as Deodorant

Bergamot is an excellent antibacterial. Along with its cooling properties, it would work nicely in a deodorant. Bergamot is often used in the fragrance industry because of its unique soft floral aroma, unlike other citrus oils. It goes nicely with other citrus oils, florals, herbal oils and spicy oils such as Black Pepper or Ginger. Blend into your favorite carrier oil and use as a deodorant.

Odor Relief

  • One-ounce carrier

  • 5 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

  • 4 drops Rose Geranium Pelargonium roseum x asperum

  • 10 Drops Clary Sage Salvea sclarea

17. Immune Supporter

Bergamot is supportive to immune systems that have been compromised. It is excellent at fighting off colds, flu and other bacterial infection and viral infections. Other immune supportive oils include all citrus oils, Clary Sage, Lavender, Rosewood, Sweet Marjoram, Tea Tree to name a few.

One of my favorite quotes is from Marguerite Maury, the Mother of Aromatherapy, from her book, first originally published in French as Le capital "jeunesse" with editions de la Table Rond in 1961. It was published in English as "The Secret of Life and Youth" in 1964 and she stated “To reach the individual we need an individual remedy. Each of us is a unique message. It is only the unique remedy that will suffice. We must, therefore, seek odiferous substances which present affinities with the human being we intend to treat, those which will compensate for his deficiencies and those which make his faculties’ blossom.”






  6. Sheppard-Hanger, Sylla; The Aromatherapy Practitioner Manual, Bergamot Citrus bergamia, pg. 167

  7. Dr. Jean Valnet, The Practice of Aromatherapy, Vermifuge oils, pg. 81


  9. Dr. Jean Valnet, The Practice of Aromatherapy, Bergamot pg. 91



  12. In vitro activity of Citrus bergamia... (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed May 17, 2018].



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