Bergamot: Health Oil


When nature’s gifts and our endless human curiosity meet up, great things happen.

Today’s star is the citrus fruit bergamot. So many health benefits from so little of its essential oil!

Imagine that distant day in sunny Bergamo, Italy…

“Marcello, what is this unknown fruit?”

“Hmmm…he seems both a lemon and an orange.”

“Such a lovely fragrance, Marcello. Let us squeeze him for his oil.”

“Ecco, Giovanni” (Italian for OK!!).

Wild Bergamot - Essential oil Benefits

Talk about a versatile fixer-upper. The oil of this hybrid lemon-orange fruit—an essential flavor element in Earl Grey or Lady Grey tea—is a tiny treasure chest, highly effective in relieving digestive difficulties, reducing stress, healing infectious wounds, repelling insects, and even protecting crops.

It’s all this and more:

  • An analgesic
  • A stimulant
  • A diuretic
  • An antiseptic
  • An antidepressant
  • A deodorant
  • A tonic
  • An anti-spasmodic
  • An anti-fungal

Bergamot oil for instant gratification

As Giovanni suggested, squeezing the bergamot fruit for its oil is the way to go. Its flesh is bitter, though Italians make bergamot marmalade. Hand- or cold-pressing some 100 bergamot oranges gives us about three ounces of bergamot oil.

But those three ounces go a long way, especially when you use only a few drops at a time, as with these simple applications:

  • Just a few drops in your bath water helps reduce stress
  • Inhaling its lovely fragrance, which takes no drops at all, can give you an instant positive mental boost
  • Applying a few drops can soothe insect bite irritation
  • Combining a few drops with other digestion-friendly essential oils, like chamomile and fennel, for an abdominal massage that can relieve gas, indigestion, and flatulence
  • Mix a few drops with lavender, salt, and filtered water for a genital wash to prevent recurrence of urinary tract infection (UTI)

(FYI, to save you the trouble: 3 ounces = around 1,744 drops. Even at 10 drops per day, 3 ounces is about a six-month supply.)

Bergamot For Cholesterol

The cholesterol-reducing drugs known as statins are used by some 25 percent of Americans over 45, making them the most widely prescribed drugs in the US.

While statins do reduce some cholesterol in some patients, they come with:

  • Tripled risk of artery calcification, increasing the severity of heart disease
  • Depletion of essential nutrients, including vital coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Muscle pain that can become fatal
  • Liver dysfunction and acute kidney failure
  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes and elevated blood sugar levels
  • Cataracts
  • Serious memory problems

Bergamot is a much better way. New research has shown that it has statin-like molecular structures, and far more important, statin-like benefits—without statins’ terrible side effects.

Bergamot Supplement?

Bergamot beats antibiotics for bacterial infections:

The various bacteria that cause UTIs, meningitis, and other serious infections—some of which resist even potent antibiotics—can be controlled by bergamot oil in the bath. As antibiotics are an overkill intervention that destroys both beneficial and harmful biome bacteria, bergamot instead is a double blessing.

Bergamot’s antibacterial power also takes on the symptoms of shingles, herpes, and chickenpox—the cold sores, mouth ulcers, and genital lesions. A few drops applied topically on the affected area speeds up healing and prevents recurrence of painful symptoms.

Bergamot takes the fun out of being a fungus: 

Italian researchers have proven that bergamot oil has potent antifungal properties when used as a topical remedy for candida fungus infections. Arrivaderci, nasty symptoms.

Bergamot is a breath of calming air:

Bergamot aromatherapy reduces anxiety, even for patients in the very anxious moments just before undergoing surgery. It also helps lift the cloud of depression and helps eliminate chronic fatigue syndrome.

How To Use Bergamot Oil?

All up, bergamot has an impressive resume, packing a hearty and wide-ranging list of health benefits. Like most essential oils, it’s powerful medicine.

As always, consult with your doctor before trying something new and different.

He or she should know that bergamot oil applied topically can increase sensitivity to direct sunlight, which can cause extreme sunburn. Play it safe and avoid sunlight for 72 hours after topical application.

If you’re taking photosensitizing drugs—among them, Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), norfloxacin (Noroxin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), ofloxacin (Floxin), and levofloxacin (Levaquin)—bergamot should be on your no-apply list.

With those caveats, give bergamot a “go.”


  • Federici, C.T., Roose, M.L. and Scora, R.W. (2000). RFLP ANALYSIS OF THE ORIGIN OF CITRUS BERGAMIA, CITRUS JAMBHIRI, AND CITRUS LIMONIA. Acta Hortic. 535, 55-64. DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2000.535.6
  • Davidson, Alan. The Oxford Companion to Food (2006). Second Edition. Ed. Tom Jaine. p. 75. ISBN 0192806815.: “The bergamot orange is not edible and is grown only for its fragrant oil, although its peel is sometimes candied.”
  • Di Donna, Leonardo; De Luca, Giuseppina; Mazzotti, Fabio; Napoli, Anna; Salerno, Raffaele; Taverna, Domenico; Sindona, Giovanni (2009). “Statin-like Principles of Bergamot Fruit: Isolation of 3-Hydroxymethylglutaryl Flavonoid Glycosides”. Journal of Natural Products 72 (7): 1352–1354. doi:10.1021/np900096w. PMID 19572741.
  • Board, Niir (2011). “Oil of Bergamot.” The Complete Technology Book of Essential Oils (Aromatic Chemicals). p. 75. ISBN 978-81-7833-066-2.
  • Health Benefits of Bergamot Essential Oil
  • Kejlova K, Jirova D, Bendova H, Kandarova H, Weidenhoffer Z, Kolarova H, Liebsch M (2007). “Phototoxicity of bergamot oil assessed by in vitro techniques in combination with human patch tests”. Toxicology in Vitro 21 (7): 1298–1303. doi:10.1016/j.tiv.2007.05.016. PMID 17669618.
  • Finsterer, J (2002). “Earl Grey tea intoxication”. Lancet 359 (9316): 1484. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(02)08436-2. PMID 11988248.


Last Updated: May 4, 2021
Originally Published: May 27, 2016