It may look like a weird lumpy lime, but this is a gorgeous essential oil. If you've ever had Earl Grey tea, you've experienced Bergamot. It provides the distinctive herby, citrusy component to this iconic tea.
It’s also used in perfuming because it blends beautifully with many fragrance notes including those of Lavender, Cedarwood, Neroli, Rose, Clary Sage and Black Pepper (Rhind 2014).
In aromatherapy, bergamot is valued for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It works in massage oils to reduce tension and soothe tight muscles. On an emotional front, it is used for soothing depression and anxiety in a diffuser or in massage blends.
Important to know: It is phototoxic, meaning that it may cause a burning reaction on skin exposed to direct sunlight. How to stay safe? Avoid direct sunlight or tanning beds for up to 18 hours after applying Bergamot to the skin. Always dilute Bergamot before using. It may be used safely (no phototoxic response) on the skin in a blend at no more than 0.4% (approx. 1-2 drops per 1 oz/30 ml of carrier). Or, choose an FCF-free Bergamot oil which has had the phototoxic components removed. For more info on essential oil safety, see Robert Tisserand's encyclopedic text, Essential Oil Safety.