Native to South Asia, the bergamot orange or Citrus bergamia was exported to Italy where it flourished and now the fruit is harvested for medicinal and commercial purposes. The fruit is the size of an orange but yellow in color. The juice is very sour and bitter, so it would be very hard to drink enough to get the benefits that can be obtained from the extract supplement.
Studies showed that bergamot lowered the total cholesterol levels in participants as well as the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, which is a major factor for heart disease. It also raised the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) which is good and has protective benefits.
It is thought that bergamot works by blocking the production of cholesterol in the liver. Without cholesterol, the liver may be forced to find cholesterol that is stored in the bloodstream. Bergamot has compounds that are similar to commercial chemicals that are given to lower cholesterol.
Bergamot contains very large amounts of polyphenols. Brutelidin and Metilidin are two that directly inhibit the biosynthesis of cholesterol. Triglyceride levels were also lowered in the participants of these studies.
Other uses for bergamot are
• Along with ultra-violet (UV) light treatment for a fungal infection tumor under the skin
• Preventative for lice and other parasites
• Treatment along with UV light for psoriasis
Bergamot is used in skin care products such as creams, soaps, perfumes, lotions and suntan oils. It is used for psoriasis as well as an antiseptic against infections and to reduce inflammation. It is also used to treat Mycosis Fungoides, a rare type of skin cancer. It increases the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, so it must not be used along with other medications that increase sensitivity to sunlight. It could cause severe sunburn and rashes and blisters. For anyone using bergamot, it is necessary to wear protective clothing and sunblock if there will be time spent in direct sunlight.
Bergamot Essential Oil
The essential oil used in aromatherapy is energizing and uplifting. It is used to reduce stress and calm as well as treat depression. For this purpose, it can be used as incense, or added to an essential oil diffuser. Its fragrance is very fresh and sweet and slightly fruity. It restores the appetite if the loss of appetite is due to depression. Inhaling the fragrance of the oil has been seen to reduce anxiety in people who are having radiation treatment for cancer. The principal constituents of bergamot orange oil are-
• Linalol for the fragrant scent
• Linalyl acetate for the pleasant odor
• Sesquiterpenes for antibacterial, antiseptic or anti-inflammatory properties and for its calming effect
• Terpenes shape the properties of the pleasant odor and taste
• Furocoumarins used as treatment for pigment loss in skin
• Bergapten for the treatment of pigment loss in skin
• Alkanes for lubrication
A small amount can also be added to bath water, but if it is too concentrated, it can be harsh on the skin.
There are no guidelines for the dosage of bergamot orange for high cholesterol, but usually two to four 500 milligrams of extract in capsules is taken on an empty stomach once or twice a day for a month. After that, one capsule per day is taken to maintain the bergamot in the blood. The dosage for using the essential oil depends on the user’s health, age and other conditions, and the recommendations on the label should be followed.
Bergamot oil and zest is used in very small amounts as a flavoring in food, and this is safe for most people. It is used as a citrus flavoring element in gelatins and puddings.
Bergamot should not be used as a medication for children. It can cause serious side effects in children who have taken large quantities of it. It is also not recommended for pregnant or breast-feeding women.