What is Bergamot Essential Oil used for?


A classic ingredient in eau-de-cologne and Earl Grey tea, bergamot takes its name from the Italian city of Bergamo. Long used in Italian folk medicine for treating ringworm, ulcers and snakebite, it is now used for easing anxiety as well as skin, respiratory and urinary tract infections. 

Bergamot essential oil is obtained by cold expression or steam distillation of the greenish yellow rind of the bergamot orange.

It has a delightfully uplifting, euphoric, refreshing scent with a hint of spice and balsam, which makes it rich and fruity rather than sharp and citrusy. It blends well with other citrus-type oils, such as grapefruit, orange & lemon. It also makes an interesting counterpoint to softer, milder scents, such as Chamomile and floral types such as Clary Sage, Geranium and Lavender.


Thanks to its antiseptic, disinfectant and diuretic effects, this essential oil has a special affinity with healing urinary tract infections- use it as a preventive wash or in a sitz bath to help reduce itching and the spread of infection. As it is also thought that recurrent bouts of this condition may be associated with pent-up emotions, stress and frustration, the fragrance of bergamot essential oil may have a two-fold effect, helping to ease the anxiety that may trigger or worsen the condition in the first place.

Bergamot’s properties earn it a place in topical skincare preparations, including skin creams or toners and massage oils, especially those for treating acne, blemishes and skin infections, and it is a valuable inclusion in treatments for varicose veins, hemorrhoids and eczema.

As well as reducing infection and speeding healing, this essential oil has a subtle balancing and regulating effect, which may play a role where hormonal imbalances are involved. It can also be used to boost immunity, as a deodorant (both personal and in the home) , as an insect repellent and in countering mouth infections, notably cold sores.


Bergamot is perhaps second only to lavender essential oil as a “natural all-round balancer”. In the early 20th century, the renowned aromatherapist Robert Tisserand described its aroma as ‘harmonising’, much clinical and anecdotal study since then confirms its psycho-emotional benefits in a bath,massage blend or inhalation for treating depression, anxiety, tension, stress-related disorders, nervous tension, pre-menstrual syndrome, insomnia, apathy, listnessness, burnout, loneliness, grief, appetite disorders where stress is involved, anger, frustration, bitterness, and other problematic mental and emotional states.

  • In an Italian study, researchers have found that bergamot essential oil increases mental activity, at least in animals.
  • British research published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology has shown that the flavonoids in bergamot essential oil inhibit the growth of Salmonella bacteria.


Can provoke a phototoxic reaction. May cause a reaction in sensitive skin.