Smorgasbord Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – Aromatherapy – Bergamot Essential Oil

Twenty years ago I ran a health food shop and diet advisory centre here in Ireland and we sold essential oils for aromatherapy. I thought that I should learn more about it and took a course on the subject. It is not something that I have covered here on the blog, and I am looking forward to refreshing my memory from my course notes. and introducing you to this relaxing therapy at the same time.

What is Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy uses essential oils which have been extracted from specific sweet smelling plants for therapeutic massage. They are blended with specialised carrier oils to ensure that they are used in a diluted form and are easily absorbed by the skin. The oils can also be used to add these therapeutic aromas to our environment as well with the use of burners.

This week I begin a series of posts on the individual essential oils that we may knowingly or sometimes unknowingly come into contact with in our daily lives.

The first essential oil is one that you may be surprised to learn is not just in skincare but in the food that we eat.

Bergamot citrus fruit originates from Italy and a yellow to green colour depending on ripeness and uses the rind.

Image wikipedia.

  • Scent: citrus
  • Usage: Massage, bath, inhaled
  • Note:  Middle
  • Mood: Uplifting
  • Safety: avoid sunlight.

If you are wondering where you might have smelt the citrus notes of bergamot essential oils, it may well be as you pass through a crowd in the street or at an event. It may even be on your partner’s dresser as it has always been one of the major elements of eau de cologne.

The essential oil is cold pressed from the rind of the inedible Citrus Bergamia. It looks like a small yellow orange but is very bitter which surprisingly results in one of the freshest of the citrus aromas.

The fruit originates from Bergamo in northern Italy although it is now grown in the south of Italy and the north African coast too. Despite its bitter taste it was originally sold as a flavouring for cakes and pastries, and you will also smell a hint of this versatile oil when you sip a cup of Earl Grey tea.

As you will note from the safety note above, it should be avoided in sunlight. However, for a long time it was used as a major ingredient in commercially produced tanning products. It was used to activate the production of melanin in the skin which produces a deeper tan.

Melanin determines the colour of skin, hair and even the depth of colour in the iris of the eye. It also offers some protection from the harmful rays of the sun, although not completely. A person who suffers from albinism for example is lacking melanin resulting in very light coloured skin and white hair.  The specific ingredient in the essential oil (bergaptene), which causes the photosensitivity, has now been removed when used to manufacture tanning products, but you need to check the label carefully especially for cheaper brands.

The mood that this oil enhances is one of well-being and uplifting, making it a great choice is you are feeling anxious or going through a stressful time. Especially helpful for those who are suffering from a chronic condition, or find themselves unable to break a cycle of depression. Massage is of course relaxing anywaym and using bergamot blended with other oils with a similar mood enhancing property, can be very effective.

This applies to body lotion, to give yourself a daily boost or a bath gel, and you can make these easily at home by taking 50ml of an unperfumed body lotion (I use baby lotion) and adding a few drops of bergamot (7 drops) and other complementary oils. Experiment by using between 4 and 8 drops of the additional oils until you find the blend that suits you best.

Soap making is an art and one that I leave to the professionals. You will usually find them at craft fairs, especially at Christmas or check them out locally online. Not only are they wonderful to use as a bath product but I also keep in a little mesh bag in my clothes drawers or hanging from a hanger in the wardrobe.

Here are some of the other essential oils that blend well with Bergamot and offer similar mood enhancing qualities such as calming, consoling, harmonising, reassuring, soothing or sensual.

Camomile made from the flowers from UK, France and Egypt. There are two types Roman and German and they have different therapeutic benefits.

  • Scent: Herbaceus, light, fruit
  • Usage: Skin Care, Massage, Compresses, Tea.
  • Note: Middle
  • Mood: Consoling
  • Safety: Usually none needed.

Frankincense from Somalia and Oman is extracted from the resin.

  • Scent: Incense, warm
  • Usage: Inhalation, Bath, Skin Care, Massage
  • Note: Middle, Base
  • Mood: Calming
  • Safety: None indicated.

Geranium from Egypt, Madagascar, China is made from the whole plant.

  • Scent: Floral
  • Usage: Skin Care, Massage, Baths
  • Note: Middle
  • Mood: Harmonising
  • Safety: None Indicated.

Jasmine from Egypt, India and France and uses the flowers.

  • Scent: Floral
  • Usage: Inhalation, Massage, Baths
  • Note: Middle
  • Mood: Reassuring
  • Safety: 24hour test on sensitive skin.

Lavender from Tasmania, England and France uses the flowers.

  • Scent: Floral
  • Usage: Inhalation, Bath, Skincare, Massage
  • Note: Middle
  • Mood: Soothing
  • Safety: None indicated.

Patchouli is made from the leaves and comes from India, Malaysia and Indonesia.

  • Scent: Musky
  • Usage: Burners, massage, baths
  • Note: Base
  • Mood: Calming
  • Safetly: None indicated.
  • Ylang Ylang is made from the flowers and comes from Madagascar.
    • Scent: Floral
    • Usage: massage, baths, skin care
    • Note: Middle
    • Mood: Seductive
    • Safety: None indicated.

Bergamot is not only used in skin or bath products but can also be used to add its calming aroma to your home. So much better than using commercially produced atomizers that pump chemicals into the air. One of these is by combining a naturally made pot pourri with 10 drops of bergamot (vary according to your own prefence) or any of the essential oils that you want to infuse your home with.

You can find a number of online suppliers of dried flower combinations that are additive free and less expensive than buying in shops, and here is one to give you an idea. This particular supplier also has a useful blog that shares the process of making your own.

Bergamot has some other properties that make it very useful. This includes as an antiseptic for minor cuts and grazes as well as helping to reduce acne or eczema. You can buy an unperfumed hypo-allergenic silica gel from most health food shops. I always recommend that you do a skin test 24 hours before using any skincare product especially if you suffer from an existing skin condition.

  • 30g of the silica gel
  • 20 drops of pure bergamot essential oil
  • 4 drops of German Camomile
  • 3 drops of pure Lavender essential oil

It can even help with bad breath… one drop in a small glass of water, rinse around and then spit out…

That is only a brief look at the amazing applications of this versatile essential oil. I hope you enjoy experimenting with some of the ideas and look forward to your feedback.

You can find the other posts in the series here:


20 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – Aromatherapy – Bergamot Essential Oil

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – The Militant Negro™

  2. Bergamont is such a lovely High note citrus fragrance Sally, in Turkey they did Bergamont Jam which was very strange… a runny faintly orange flavoured syrup with Huge chunks of Bergamont peel in it… Turkish Jam was incredibly odd to someone brought up on English jam and marmalade!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – Bergamot | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  4. Another wonderful post on essential oils. Bergamot has been a long time favorite. The fragrance fills the room and I immediately blow out a deep sigh and relax. It is definitely uplifting. Thanks, Sally.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Madonna, Primulas, Lemon Grass Chicken and Springtime Literature | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  6. Pingback: The smell of well – JudeSpace

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