Bergamot Essential Oil Profile
(with therapeutic additions)

Essential Oil Profile as used by The Aromatherapy Course – Home & Family

by Dawn Copeland and Jeanne Rose

Name of Oil
Bergamot Peel Oil

Latin Binomial/Botanical Family:
Bergamot, Citrus bergamia, Rutaceae

Countries of Origin:
Originates in Asia, grown in Italy, Reggio di Calabria, Sicily; and Ivory Coast

General Description of Plant, Habitat & Growth:
Small tree, about 16 feet in height, branches with thorns. Flowers are white. Fruit is not edible, about 2-4 inches in length. It is a hybrid of the Bitter Orange and the Lemon, a product of cultivation.

Portion of Plant Used in Distillation, How Distilled, Extraction Methods & Yield:
The peel of nearly ripe fruit is used, cold pressed. The fruit yields about 0.5% essential oil.

Organoleptic Characteristics (description of color, clarity, viscosity, taste & intensity of Odor)
See Basic 7, Vocabulary of Odor© for how to use: Color: yellow to greenish, Clarity: clear like water, Viscosity: non-viscous, Taste: bitter and aromatic taste.

Odor Quality: predominating floral and citrus, subsidiary notes of fruit, slight spicy back note. Wonderful examples of this oil can be found in the Jeanne Rose Citrus Kit. If you purchase Bergaptene-free or decolorized Bergamot oil, you begin to lose the rich floral/fruity/citrus odor and it becomes less ‘natural smelling’ and more ‘synthetic smelling’.

Chemical Components - Bergamot oil is the only Citrus oil in which limonene is not the dominant component. It is however, rich in linaloöl and linalyl acetate up to 50%. The ester content changes depending on climate in any year.(375 Essential Oils, p. 49) 30-60% linalyl acetate and 11-22% linaloöl. Oxygenated derivatives of the hydrocarbons of caryophyllene, germacrene D, farnesene and Bisabolene contribute to the typical odor of Bergamot. Bergamotene is of particular interest as it is responsible for the phototoxic reactions of Bergamot oil on the skin.

Historical Uses - History is speculative. Possible that the tree was brought to the Canary Islands and Christopher Columbus who brought it to Calabria found them there.

Interesting Facts - The fruit is bitter and inedible, however, it is available, can be candied and eaten either in a fruitcake or with bitter Coffee as a sweetmeat as they do in Greece.

Properties (by IG=ingestion or IN=inhalation or AP=application):
Ingestion: Calmative, antispasmodic, carminative, and digestive stimulant (use only organic oil); Inhalation: Antidepressant, calmative, soporific, antispasmodic and cooling;
Application: Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, calmative, and mildly anti-infectious.

Physical Uses & How used (IG or AP):
Ingestion: Gargle for a sore throat, abdominal distension, indigestion, colic, and to flavor Tobacco and tea.
Application: Skin care, acne, cold sores, herpes, eczema, psoriasis, skin infections, perfumery, and convalescence.

Emotional Uses (AP or IN):
Inhalation: Depression, stress, irritability, frustration, anxiety, fear, hysteria, emotional crisis, insomnia, nervous eczema, both uplifting and relaxing, anorexia, and nervous indigestion.

Key Use - The ‘Oil of Anxiety’©

Safety Precautions - Bergaptene is phototoxic. Do not apply pure Bergamot oil on the skin and expose to the sun.

A story about Bergamot Sensitivity. Bergamot Sensitivity called Berloque Dermatitis

March 11, 2004Ask Jeanne Rose Question
I need your advice. I was wearing a strong blend of Bergamot, Rosemary and Geranium on a HOT day this week. I woke up the next day with a big brown-red splotch on my neck. I realize this may take months and months to heal correctly (it’s the Bergamot I think that is so sensitive to sunlight.) I am going on vacation to the beach. Any suggestions as to what to put on my neck NOW that I have burned it? I need something to heal it fast. At least I am an example of what not to do. I am so embarrassed. I forgot to look at the Aromatherapy Studies Course Work. Thanks, Jeanne,

Answer: Dear K, Wear a hat. Keep face and neck out of sun. It will only get worse. Use Sea Buckthorn, Calophyllum, and Bruise Juice in this proportion 25•25•50. Do not use any citrus at all as a scent or deodorant or body wash until it is gone. This brown mark is the reaction of the sun and Bergaptene. Now you know from personal experience what not to do. In the future, you can put on the citrus as scent on the parts of the body that are covered or put on the scent and stay out of sun for several hours. It is the combination of the application and the immediate sun exposure that does this.
 --  Jeanne Rose

Dear Jeanne,
Thank you for your help with my neck burn, I really appreciate your time and caring. Some notes: I went and got some Calophyllum inophyllum (cold pressed) and filled up the rest of the bottle of Bruise Juice with it . About .25 oz or 20-25% total. I am applying this in the morning and evening. I am wearing scarf to keep out of sun. I am using titanium 25 sunscreen that is nice, thick, and mostly organic. I notice when the sun/heat gets on the scarf even, the burn mark will start to hurt/sting, than I will apply more of the Sea Buckthorn/Calophyllum/Bruise Juice treatment. (I also have applied a Calendula and Comfrey salve when I didn’t have the other treatment handy). I have an inclination to apply the Calophyllum by itself because it is so soothing. It is like becoming familiar with Calendula infused oil, it works for everything! The mark is now a brown/pink. I am writing down in my journal and taking notes. Thanks again Jeanne, don’t know what I would have done without you -probably cried for days about ruining my neck.

Here is some basic information from the web on this reaction of Bergamot with the sun.
I. Definition:
Berloque Dermatitis is a skin condition in which patients develop a brownish to reddish discoloration of the neck and sometimes the arms due to applying perfume or cologne to the skin. Sometimes the skin first turns red before changing to a brownish color. This condition can persist for years or even be permanent.

II. Causes:
Many perfumes and colognes contain oil of Bergamot, an extract of the peel of a specific orange grown in the South of France and the Calabria district of Italy. When this oil contacts the skin and the skin is exposed to sunlight, the oil of Bergamot causes the skin to discolor. With repeated exposures to sunlight, the discoloration becomes permanent.

III. Treatment:
•  Cosmetics can work well to cover the area so it is not as noticeable.
•  Patients with Berloque dermatitis should use a daily sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to help keep
   the condition from worsening. In addition, perfume should no longer be applied to areas of the skin
   that get sun exposure.
•  Laser treatment may be an effective treatment in the future. At this time, we do not have this available.
   You may want to go to a laser center to seek their opinion.
•  Retin-A applied to the involved areas daily will improve this condition.
•  Daily application of soothing gels is a treatment for this problem.

Profile Author Bio:
Since 1969, Jeanne Rose has authored over 20 books including the well-respected 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols, a complete reference book of plant extracts and hydrosols with phyto-chemical, clinical and botanical indices. Recently, she has produced a workbook and Aromatherapy classes on Blending Essential Oils and another transformative book on Natural Perfumery. Jeanne has a unique and mindful approach as she reaches out into the hearts of thousands of readers through her Jeanne Rose News-Online email forum and seminars. [Sign up at] In addition to teaching through books and her three home-study courses, Jeanne travels throughout the United States and Canada during the Fall and Spring of each year to teach weekend Seminars on various aspects of aromatherapy and herbalism. See

DISCLAIMER: This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. The author is neither a chemist nor a medical doctor. The content herein is the product of research and some personal and practical experience. Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies - Jeanne Rose©

Buksh, Genie. Bergamot. student. 
Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils.
Miller, Richard & Ann. The Potential of Herbs as a Cash Crop. Acres USA. Kansas City. 1985.
Prakash, V. Leafy Spices. CRC Press. NY. 1990
Rizzi, Susanne. Complete Aromatherapy. Sterling. NY. 1989.
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols. Frog Publ. Berkeley, CA 1999.
Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations. San Francisco, CA 1992

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