Bergamot Oil User Guide: Uses, Benefits, Recipes, & FAQs

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Bergamot oil is a popular essential oil with its uplifting and calming aroma and cleansing and purifying properties. It has several intriguing uses and benefits, backed by quite a few scientific studies.

In this user guide, you'll read all about bergamot oil, including scientific studies, health benefits, suggestions on how to use it, diffuser blend ideas, safety considerations, oils it blends well with, oils you can substitute bergamot with, and our readers' and members' FAQs.

The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only. Nothing on this page has been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is not intended to provide medical advice for any health condition, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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What Is Bergamot Oil

Bergamot is a plant that produces small citrus fruits, and grows in Algeria, Argentina, Southeast Asia, Brazil, southern Italy, the Ivory Coast, Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey.

Citrus bergamia, also known as bergamot, is a member of the Rutaceae family. This tree’s bergamot orange fruit is a cross between a lemon and an orange, giving the small, yellow, almost pear-shaped fruit.

Most people don't eat bergamot fruit because of their sour taste, although it is often used to flavor some foods, such as various baking dishes, marmalades, cocktails, and tea.

While bergamot has distinct culinary uses, the oil aroma offers a floral yet zesty and tart aroma that is popular for fragrant diffuser blends and perfumes. The oil also provides several well-loved health benefits.

Bergamot constituents

  • Limonene
  • Linalyl Acetate
  • Linalool
  • Sabinene
  • Gamma-Terpinene
  • Bergapten

How Bergamot Oil Is Made

Bergamot oil is made by cold pressing the bergamot orange peel when the fruit is nearly ripe. When pressed, the oils drip out of the rinds.

Bergamot Oil Scientific Studies

  • A pilot study showed diffusing bergamot oil in a mental treatment facility waiting room showed an increase in patients' emotional positivity (source)
  • This study shows positive results in aiding depressive moods in postpartum women by diffusing bergamot oil compared to a placebo (source)
  • Bergamot oil may help with serving as a natural anti-depressant (source)
  • A study found that bergamot oil may reduce blood pressure and could have positive benefits on mental health (source)
  • More studies show bergamot oil may help with alleviating anxiety symptoms (sources 1, 2)
  • A placebo study showed bergamot oil is effective in patients experiencing natural, low-cost sleep improvement. (source)
  • Acne Vulgaris reduced by using bergamot oil (source)
  • Bergamot oil could potentially help your body produce more collagen (source)
  • Bergamot oil shows serious potential to aid in pain management activities (sources 1, 2)
  • Study shows bergamot oil helps reduce the cortisol response to stress. (source)
  • Bergamot works as an antimicrobial-enhancing agent (source)
  • Study shows bergamot oil's promising results in inhibiting viruses (source)
  • The anti-inflammatory properties of bergamot oil showed promising results in assisting with asthma (source)
  • A 2015 study showed promising results with using bergamot oil to assist with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and metabolic syndrome (source)
  • This study from 2019 shows bergamot oil may help with hair growth (source)
  • Bergamot oil study shows its ability to aid in reducing the decay rate of strawberries (source)

Health Benefits of Bergamot Oil

Historically, bergamot fruit juice was used by the indigenous people of Italy to expel intestinal parasites and to reduce fevers. In Ayurvedic medicine, bergamot oil is known to soothe skin rashes and acne, sores, sore throats, obesity, flatulence, loss of appetite, compulsive behaviors, and dental needs.

  • Assists in maintaining healthy skin
  • May promote hair growth
  • Enhances your sleep quality
  • Helps your mind calm down
  • May assist with relieving stiff joints and occasional pain
  • Supports your body's natural immune response
  • Antioxidant properties may reduce oxidative stress
  • May support heart health
  • May assist with normalizing body weight

Uses for Bergamot Oil

Bergamot oil makes a great addition to most homemade natural products.

  • Reduce stress by diffusing bergamot oil in your classroom, office, car, or home.
  • Add a few drops to your favorite moisturizer or homemade toner to improve your skin health.
  • Mix a tablespoon of aloe vera gel with 5 drops of bergamot oil and half a cup of Epsom salt to use in the tub or a foot soak.
  • Add one to two drops to your DIY skin cleanser.
  • Mix a few drops of bergamot oil in your shampoo or homemade hair mask to help your hair grow.

Directions for using bergamot oil

** Keep in mind bergamot oil (being a cold-pressed oil) is sensitive to heat. If you use it in DIY recipes, allow your concoction to cool before adding the oil.

Aromatic use: Use three to four drops in the diffuser of your choice.
Topical use: Dilute with a carrier oil, and apply topically to an area that will not see direct sunlight within 12-18 hours. Recommended to dilute 1 drop per ml of your favorite carrier oil.
Internal use:
described below under “Uses & Recipes for Bergamot Vitality Oil”

A carrier oil can be any cold-pressed, seed-based oil (ideally organic and unrefined). This includes most cooking oil, like coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil. Personally, we LOVE using sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, and the V6 Carrier oil (made by Young Living). This is the best way to dilute your essential oils for topical use.

DIY bergamot diffuser blends

  • Lower Stress Diffuser Blend – 3 drops bergamot, 2 drops frankincense, 2 drops lavender
  • Mental Clarity Diffuser Blend – 3 drops bergamot, 2 drops juniper berry, 1 drop spearmint
  • Rejuvenated Diffuser Blend – 2 drops bergamot, 2 drops lavender, 1 drop lemon
  • Relax and Uplift Diffuser Blend – 3 drops each of patchouli and bergamot oil

For more diffuser blends and a list of essential oils that blend well with bergamot, check out our Master List of DIY Bergamot Diffuser Blends

Culinary Uses & Recipes for Bergamot Vitality Oil

Bergamot Vitality essential oil has an uplifting, bright, and refreshing flavor you can add to any dish, calling for citrus flavors.

  • ​Add a drop of bergamot vitality to your stir fry to give it an extra dimension
  • Spruce up your water with a squirt of Bergamot Vitality Drops
  • Add a drop or two of bergamot vitality to coconut or sesame oil to brush over seafood while grilling to add an extra citrus depth to your food.
  • Add 1-2 drops of bergamot vitality to a veggie capsule filled with olive or coconut oil as a dietary supplement to support your immune and digestive systems.
  • Replace each teaspoon of citrus zest with a drop of bergamot vitality to give your baked goods a fun flavor twist
  • Add a drop or two to a tsp of honey and infuse in your Earl Grey tea for a surprisingly uplifting flavor.

If you decide to ingest bergamot oil in a manner that isn't a flavoring agent, please check out our report on how to ingest essential oils safely first.

Bergamot Oil Safety Considerations

If you have a potassium deficiency, we strongly recommend not using this oil (especially ingesting). Bergamot is known to deplete potassium in the body. 

Do NOT apply bergamot oil to your skin within 12-18 hours of that area seeing direct sunlight.

Bergamot oil is photosensitizing. If applied to the skin at certain concentrations and then exposed to ultraviolet light, it can cause a burning sensation on your skin.

To avoid any photosensitizing effects, bergamot should be diluted to no more than 0.4% when applying it on the skin. If using higher concentrations, avoid direct sunlight for 12-18 hours.

Another option is to use “bergapten-free” or “furocoumarin-free” bergamot oil, which is not phototoxic. Bergapten is also known as Furocoumarin.

This warning applies to “leave-on” applications such as oils, lotions, and balms. There has been no reported risk from products designed to rinse off, such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, and bath additives.

Bergamot Oil Substitutions & Alternatives

Bergamot oil has similar benefits to grapefruit and orange oils, and can easily be used interchangeably. The aroma differences between bergamot and grapefruit are easily the most similar compared to all other oils.

You can easily substitute your bergamot oil with orange, lemon, mandarin, Jade Lemon, and grapefruit oils.

Which Essential Oils Blend Best With Bergamot

FAQs About Bergamot Oil

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What Are Your Favorite Ways to Use Bergamot Oil?

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bergamot oil user guide: uses, benefits, safety info, and FAQ