Bergamot

Botanical Name: Monarda citriodora/Citrus aurantium ssp. bergamia
Family :Rutaceae — (rue family)
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Genus: Citrus
Species: C. aurantium x C. medica
Other Name : The bergamot orange is unrelated to the herbs of the same name, Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa.Citrus bergamia syn C.b. rutaceae syn C. aurantium var. bergamia
The name BERGAMOT is shared by unrelated perennial plants of the Monarda species.
Parts Used: Flowers, ripe fruit peel.

Habitat:Originally Asia. Today also cultivated in the Ivory Coast and Reggio di Calabria in southern Italy. Italian Bergamot is preferred. Extensively cultivated in southern France and Italy for a long time, it is believed the orange blossom as a symbol for marriage originated there.

Description:
A tree of the citrus family which is similar in appearance to Bitter Orange aka Seville Orange (C. aurantium), but with wider leaves and a more aromatic rind on the fruit. Both Neroli oil from the flowers, and Bergamot oil from the rinds, are obtained by distillation.Bergamot grows on small evergreen trees which blossom during the spring.

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Leaves – The bergamot tree has an evergreen and a relatively light-green foliage, close to the one of the lemon tree. (Citrus limon)
Flowers – Flowers are white, star-shaped, and strongly fragrant. Branches are often thorny.
Fruits – The bergamot, or orange bergamot, is a citrus fruit that looks like a slightly flattened and small lemon. Its skin is yellow to orange-yellow. The bergamot is seldom eaten raw, but is rather candied or processed to get the essential oils it contains
Fragrance: Subtle orangey, citrus scent. Somewhat spicy.

Companion plant
Bergamot’s aromatic roots are thought to mask other nearby plants from pests that attack their roots, and so are sometimes grown as a companion in vegetable gardens.

Religious importance
It is believed that this herb is used in the rituals and spells for money and success.


USES:

In food
An essence extracted from the aromatic skin of this sour fruit is used to flavour Earl Grey tea and confectionery. One Italian food manufacturer produces a commercial marmalade using the fruit as its principal ingredient. It is also popular in Greece as a preserve, made with bergamot peel boiled in sugar syrup.

As a scent
Bergamot peel is used in perfumery for its ability to combine with an array of scents to form a bouquet of aromas which complement each other. Approximately one third of all men’s and about half of women’s perfumes contain bergamot essential oil. Bergamot was a component of the original Eau de Cologne developed in 17th century Germany – in 1704 the bergamot was first used to make the now famous “Eau de toilette” from the bergamot fruit by scooping out the pulp and squeezing the peel into sponges. 100 bergamot oranges will yield about 3 ounces of bergamot oil.

Companion plant
Bergamot’s aromatic roots are thought to mask other nearby plants from pests that attack their roots, and so are sometimes grown as a companion in vegetable gardens.

Medicinal Uses:
The strongly acidic fruit of the bitter orange stimulates the digestion and relieves flatulence. An infusion of the fruit is thought to soothe headaches, calm palpitations and lower fevers. The juice helps the body eliminate waste products, and, being rich in vitamin C, helps the immune system ward off infection. If taken to excess, however, its acid content can exacerbate arthritis. In Chinese herbal medicine, the unripe fruit, known as zhi shi, is thought to regulate the quick helping to relieve flatulence and abdominal bloating, and to open the bowels. The distilled flower water is antispasmodic and sedative.

In sunscreens:

In the past psoralen – extracted from bergamot oil – has been used in tanning accelerators and sunscreens. Psoralens penetrate the skin, where they increase the amount of direct DNA damage. This damage is responsible for sunburn and for an increased melanin production.

These substances were known to be photocarcinogenic since 1959, but they were only banned from sunscreens in 1995. These photocarcinogenic substances were banned years after they had caused many cases of malignant melanoma and deaths. Psoralen is now used only in the treatment of certain skin disorders, as part of PUVA therapy.

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Witchcraft
Bergamot was said to be used by Italian calabrian wiccas that used the fruit in potions to make women fertile, men impotent, or to get rid of warts or blemishes. Today there is a well-known pagan cult that worship the god given name of the Bergamot. On their talismans is a bergamot orange.

In hoodoo rootwork, bergamot is used to control or command, and for this reason is used in a variety of spells and formulas in which a practitioner might wish to subdue another person.

Bergamot Oil (Citrus bergamia) – A light greenish-yellow liquid with a fresh sweet-fruity, slightly spicy-balsamic undertone. Blends well with lavender, neroli, jasmine, cypress, geranium, lemon, chamomile, juniper, coriander and violet. Contains 0.2-0.5% furocoumarin (as bergaptene). If used straight, it has severe phototoxicity. Avoid sunlight after use on skin. To avoid phototoxicity use in dilutions of less than 1%. Otherwise non-toxic and relatively non-irritating.
Extraction: Cold pressed from the peels.
Country of Origin: Italy

MEDICINAL USES:
*Antiseptic, appetite stimulant.
*Bitter, aromatic; relieves tension; antispasmodic; digestive aid.
*Oil is considered sedative and healing.
*Orange blossom water has been used for infant colic.
*Bergamot oil has been used in douches and baths for vaginal infections.
*Formerly, the dried flowers were used in infusion form as a mild nervous stimulant.

This herb also known as Oswego tea and Bee Balm is good for the treatment of nausea, vomiting, cold and flu. If used in oil form is an effective treatment for Gingivitis, lost appetite, acne, coughs, fevers, tension, stress, and depression.


AROMATHERAPY:

Bergamot oil is considered sedative and healing and used for stress related problems, depression and anxiety. Neroli oil is considered stimulant and aphrodisiac. Both are used for skin conditions.

COSMETIC:
Increases tanning (do NOT apply directly to skin – photosensitivity)
Oil used in perfumery, diffuser (aromatherapy), massage, bath.

CULINARY:

Bergamot oil is used to flavor Earl Grey tea; also hard candy, tobacco, some chewing gum, baked goods and desserts.
Orange blossom water is used in desserts such as blancmange and in pastries.

Toxicology:
In one study, oil of bergamot has been linked to certain phototoxic effects (due to the chemical bergaptene) and blocking the absorption of potassium in the intestines.

Bergamot is also a source of bergamottin which, along with the chemically related compound 6’,7’-dihydroxybergamottin, is believed to be responsible for the grapefruit juice effect in which the consumption of the juice affects the metabolism of a variety of pharmaceutical drugs.

BITTER ORANGE (Citrus aurantium ssp amara): The peel is CONTRAINDICATED with stomach or intestinal ulcers; NOT given to children (possible toxic effects); NOT with ultraviolet or sun therapy (increased photosensitivity).

CAUTION:Because bergamot EO contains bergaptene and bergamotine, it needs to be used with care when applied to the skin. These two chemicals can produce over pigmentation of the skin when exposed to the sun or even just light. Do not apply bergamot oil to skin in greater than .5 to 1% diluted form in a base oil. It increases PHOTOSENSITIVITY.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://earthnotes.tripod.com/bergamot_h.htm
http://www.wellbeingsonline.com/Aroma-pedia/Bergamot.htm
http://www.ayurveda-herbal-remedy.com/herbal-encyclopedia/ayurveda-encyclopedia-b.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergamot_orange
http://coolexotics.com/plant-9.html#
http://www.candbsupplies.ca/essentialoils.html

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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