Bergamot is an herb with a citrus like fruit. For its flavor, the herb is often added to foods and beverages. There are different types of puddings and gelatins made using Bergamot. Due to its strong aroma, the herb is also used in the manufacturing industry for making soaps, creams and perfumes. This herb is often grown as an ornamental plant in the garden.
Bergamot has been actively used by the Native American tribal members. It is believed that the Blackfeet tribe used this herb to treat skin ailments due to its antiseptic properties. In herbal science, the oil derived from the fruit skin is extensively used in herbal remedies. Bergamot can be found in the following regions – USA, Europe and Asia.
What Is Bergamot?
Bergamot is botanically known as Monarda didyma and it belongs to the Lamiaceae family. The term Monarda is used as a dedication to one of the earliest herbalists in history, Nicolas Monardes. Bergamot is also known by the following other names – crimsom beebalm, scarlet beebalm and Oswego tea. The herb is more famously known as the bee balm as bees are attracted to its flowers. As an herb, Bergamot is perennial in nature and has dark green colored leaves with red colored veins. The herb has bright scarlet colored tubular flowers.
How Does It Work?
The exact composition of Bergamot is not known. However, it is known that the herb derives its anti-septic actions from thymol. Other medicinal actions associated with this herb include – carminative and stimulant.
The following are the health related benefits of Bergamot:
Bergamot is an active ingredient in many commercially available mouthwash formulas. Decoction made using the herb helps in treating mouth and throat infections that are caused by gingivitis and other dental issues.
Bergamot oil is added in lotions, creams and oils for skin treatment. It is widely believed that psoriasis can be treated by using ultra violet light and the oil of bergamot. The herbal oil also helps in treating loss of skin pigmentation, a condition known as vitiligo. It is also associated with the treatment of mycosis fungoides, a serious type of skin infection.
Some also believe that the herbal oil when used in aromatherapy can help in calming the mind and reducing anxiety associated with radiation therapy. However, some studies have proven this benefit entirely wrong.
Concentrated forms of bergamot oil when applied to the skin may cause blisters, redness and scabs. Sometimes, the herbal oil may cause extra photosensitivity to the skin leading to serious health issues in the long run like skin cancer.
Due to the presence of the harmful chemical bergapten, the herb may lead to muscle cramps, twitching and blurred vision. Avoid the herb in people with any type of seizure disorder or with an history of epilepsy.
The standard recommended dosage of Bergamot in humans is not known. The herbal oil is inhaled when used in aromatherapy.
Bergamot is an herb that has grown into prominence due to its extensive usage by the Native American tribal members. The herb is used to manufacture skin based creams and oils. When buying bergamot oil or supplements, always go for bergapten-free products.
Bergamot oil might interact with Photosensitizing drugs like amitriptyline, Ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin and Trioxsalen.