Bergamot orange trees, indigenous to Calabria, Italy, are part of the Rutaceae family and Citrus genus. The peel of the pear-shaped fruit contains essential oils and other bioactive constituents. Bergamot juice is used for nutritional purposes. The bergamot orange is unrelated to North American herbs also known as bergamot, which belong to the genus Monarda (bee balm or Oswego tea). This bottom line exclusively discusses bergamot orange.
The essential oil of bergamot produces the pleasing odor that made it popular in cosmetics and aromatherapy. Because bergamot may cause an adverse reaction to sunlight or ultraviolet light, its usefulness in substances that are applied to the skin is limited. However, research continues on its potential beneficial effects for the skin. Research is also continuing on the antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties of constituents in bergamot essential oil.

Related Terms

4-4'-5'-Trimethylangelicin, 5,7-dimethoxycoumarin, 5-gernaoxy-psoralen, 5-geranoxypsoralen, 5-methoxypsoralen, 5'-trimethylazapsoralen, 6,4,4'-trimethylangelicin, 8-methoxypsoralen, aceite de bergamota (Spanish), ba gan meng (Chinese), bei jia mao cheng (Chinese), bei jia mi gan (Chinese), bergamot fruit, bergamot orange, bergamota (Portuguese), bergamote (French), bergamotier (French), bergamotorange (Danish), bergamotoranje (Dutch), bergamotta (Italian), Bergamotte (German), Bergamottenbaum (German), Bergamottenzitrone (German), bergamotti (Finnish), bergamottier (French), bergamottihedelmae (Finnish), bergamottin, bergamotto (Italian), bergamotto bigarade orange, bergapten (5-methoxypsoralen [5-MOP]), berugamotto (Japanese), bey armudu (Turkish), C-glucosides, chrysoeriol (7-O-neohesperidoside), chrysoeriol (7-O-neohesperidoside-4'-O-glucoside), citroník bergamot (Czech), citropten, Citrus aurantium L. ssp. bergamia, Citrus aurantium L. subsp. bergamia (Risso & Poit.) Wight & Arn. ex Engl., Citrus aurantium L. var. bergamia Loisel., Citrus bergamia, Citrus bergamia Risso, Citrus bergamia Risso et Poiteau, coumarins, eriodictyol, essential oil, flavonoids, fragrant balm, hesperetin, huile de bergamote (French), isovitexin, laymûn adâlyâ barnatî (Arabic), limettier bergamotte (French), lucenin-2, monosaccharides, monoterpene hydrocarbons, naringenin, naringin, neoeriocitrin, neohesperidin, O-glycosides, oleum bergamotte, oligosaccharides, oranger bergamotte (French), orientin 4'-methyl ether, pectins, polymethoxylated flavones, poirier bergamotte (French), psoralen, rhoifolin (4'-O-glucoside), Rutaceae (family), scoparin and orientin (4'-methyl ether), stellarin-2, Strauchorange (German), sweet orange, terpenes, xiang ning meng (Chinese).
Note: This monograph does not cover the North American plant bee balm, which is part of the family Lamiaceae, genus Monarda. Sometimes Monarda species are called bergamot.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Alertness (Grade: C)
Limited research suggests that bergamot odor may affect stimulation in a specific brain region. Additional research is needed in this area.
Anxiety/stress (Grade: C)
Studies using blends of essential oils, including bergamot oil, have reported a lack of positive effects for anxiety. Additional research using bergamot oil alone is needed.
High blood pressure (Grade: C)
Aromatherapy involving bergamot oil plus lavender and ylang ylang oils has been studied for high blood pressure. Although the blended oils provided positive results, the effects of bergamot alone is unclear. Additional research is needed in this area.
Improving health outcomes (general) (Grade: C)
Limited studies have investigated the effects of combination bergamot oil aromatherapy massage on the improvement of health in both clinical and healthy populations. Additional high-quality research on the use of bergamot alone is needed.
Psoriasis (Grade: C)
Preliminary research suggests that applying bergamot oil to the skin before ultraviolet B (UVB) therapy may improve outcomes in patients with chronic plaque psoriasis. Additional research is needed in this area.