Many people are aware there is good evidence to suggest aromatherapy essential oils such as Lavender and Chamomile may have a positive effect on the nervous system. However, research has now been carried out in Taiwan on school teachers which showed simply breathing a spray of bergamot essential oil is significantly relaxing. School teachers were chosen because they are considered to be in a high stress job in Taiwan. The participants with moderate to severe anxiety received the most benefit in reduction of measures of stress e.g. reduced blood pressure and heart rate. It is thought this group received the most benefit because essential oils encourage the nervous system to return to a balanced state, whereas less effect was seen in those with only low stress levels.
It is amazing to think these results were achieved simply by two ten minute aromatherapy sprays a week apart!
What is Bergamot essential oil?
The Bergamot tree grows in Northern Italy and the essential oil comes from squeezing the rind of the fruit which looks like a very small orange. It has a wonderful citrusy smell and is used to scent Earl Grey tea. The active constituents include linalyl acetate, limonene and linalool.
Bergamot oil is used by aromatherapists to treat depression and anxiety, for skin care and urinary infections like cystitis.
Bergamot oil is thought to have an uplifting effect on mood and to calm nervous tension and anxiety. It can be used in a diffuser so it’s scent fills the room or, even better, combined with a base oil and massaged into the body.
For urinary infections the essential oil should be added to the bath water or diluted and used in a wash for the genital area. The patient should also drink lots of water or chamomile tea, rest, keep warm, and avoid sugar and alcohol. If fever develops or symptoms persist it is important to seek professional advice – feel free to call or email me for further help and advice in treating urinary infections.
Bergamot essential oil is also anti-inflammatory and cleansing to the skin and can be used in facial washes or added to creams as part of a skin care regime for acne or oily skin and infected skin conditions.
For baths: add three drops of bergamot oil to each teaspoon of carrier oil (e.g. almond oil) and then add to the bath water.
For Massage: add two drops of bergamot essential oil to each teaspoon of carrier oil
For skin care: add 1 drop of the essential oil to each teaspoon of cream or product you are using. For very sensitive skin, add one drop essential oil to two drops of cream/product
Caution: Bergamot causes sensitivity to the sun and increased risk of sunburn. Do not use it on skin which will later be exposed to bright sunshine.
To see the full research paper: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2011/946537/abs/