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Bergamot Essential Oil -- We Love You! (Even if we don't know exactly what you are)

I was at the monthly member luncheon at Hera Hub Temecula (a spa inspired, female focused co-working space: to learn more click here) and the owner and founder Dr. Alisha Wilkins starting sharing about how much she loved bergamot essential oil -- and lovely Sarah, the brand and media specialist sitting next to her wholeheartedly agreed.

Now bergamot essential oil is probably not a typical topic for a business co-working space, but in a previous luncheon I hosted an aroma inhaler workshop where I invited members to create an inhaler with a palate of essential oils that included bergamot, which the group fondly remembered.

While you are probably familiar with lemon, orange, grapefruit, and lime and can easily get them at the grocery store, you might be surprised to learn that bergamot is also a citrus fruit -- but like lemon or lime, not the kind you want to eat.

And you could say bergamot is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. Like most citrus fruits bergamot offers a bright punch of limonene -- that sunshiny uplifting quality (the rock and roll). It also offers linalool and linalyl acetate -- the same soothing and relaxing aromatic molecules as lavender (the country). And as I enjoyed geeking out talking about the limonene, linalool, and linalyl acetate and bergamot's uplifting and relaxing qualities my fellow Hera Hubbetes nodded in agreement -- who doesn't want to feel both uplifted and relaxed?

So yes bergamot we love you!

But in all transparency bergamot does have a dark side -- that is if you are looking to add it to skin care products or use it topically.

Bergamot essential oil is what we in the aromatherapy world call -- phototoxic. It's a word spell check doesn't like and maybe doesn't make sense but here's what it means: phototoxic oils make your skin more sensitive to UV radiation.

In other-words it's like the opposite of sunscreen. A phototoxic substance can cause serious blistering and burning if applied to the skin that is exposed to the sun. Bergamot is particularly sensitizing. The dermal limit for cold pressed bergamot is 0.4% (that's 0.4 g per 100g of product or on the order of 1-2 drops per ounce).

But there is a solution. It's called called FCF or furocourmarin free or bergaptene free bergamot. It's a rectified bergamot that is free of the aromatics that cause the phototoxic effect. But you can't get too crazy with it even without the furocourmarins. Like other citrus oils bergamot is prone to oxidation and can cause sensitization and is best used in low dilutions (say 1 - 2%). If you are making products be sure to check safety guidelines.

More interesting facts about bergamot: Did you also know that the flavor is an integral part of Earl Gray tea? And the fruit is mostly grown in the Italian region of Calabria (a place I definitely want to visit -- it looks gorgeous. Field trip anyone?).

Bergamot is an amazing addition to perfume, personal care, and an aromatherapy treasure and makes a great cup of tea. Just be sure to use it safely.

Bergamot we love you!

Here's a spa-inspired diffuser blend that features bergamot:

Uplift & Relax Diffuser Blend: This blend features sunshiny bergamot and lemon, refreshing peppermint, and woodsy balsam fir. It's like a brisk walk in the woods on a sunny day.

Add to a diffuser:

3 drops bergamot

2 drops lemon

2 drops peppermint

2 drops balsam fir (or other fir)

Run diffuser as directed and enjoy

Bergamot is featured in our Be Tranquil Blend, Stress-Less inhaler, and Quiet Focus blend.

Are you a fan of bergamot? Or do you have another citrus oil you love?

Aromatic blessings,



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