Bergamot Oil

What other names is Bergamot known by?

Aceite de Bergamota, Bergamot, Bergamot Orange, Bergamota, Bergamotier, Bergamoto, Bergamotte, Bergamotto Bigarade Orange, Citrus Bergamia, Citrus aurantium var. bergamia, Huile de Bergamote, Oleum Bergamotte.

What is Bergamot?

Bergamot is a plant that produces a type of citrus fruit. Oil taken from the peel of the fruit is used to make medicine.

Some people treat a skin condition called psoriasis by applying bergamot oil directly to the skin and then shining long-wave ultraviolet (UV) light on the affected area. Bergamot oil is also applied to the skin then exposed to UV light to treat a type of cancer that begins in white blood cells and affects the skin (mycosis fungoides). Bergamot oil is also applied for pigment loss (vitiligo) and as an insecticide to protect the body against lice and other parasites.

Bergamot oil is sometimes inhaled (used as aromatherapy) to reduce anxiety during radiation treatment.

In foods, bergamot oil is widely used as a citrus flavoring agent, especially in gelatins and puddings.

In manufacturing, bergamot oil is used in perfumes, creams, lotions, soaps, and suntan oils.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Mental alertness. Using bergamot oil as aromatherapy does not seem to improve mental alertness. In fact, it might decrease mental alertness in heathy adults due to its relaxing effects.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Anxiety during radiation treatment. Developing evidence suggests that inhaling bergamot oil as aromatherapy does not help reduce anxiety in people receiving radiation treatment.
  • Psoriasis, when used along with UV light. Early research suggests that applying bergamot oil to the skin along with UV light is not more effective than UV light alone for reducing plaque psoriasis.
  • Loss of the color pigment on the skin (vitiligo).
  • Protecting the body against lice and other parasites.
  • Treating a type of cancer that begins in white blood cells and affects the skin (mycosis fungoides), when used along with ultra-violet (UV) light..
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of bergamot oil for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Quick GuideVitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough?

Vitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough?

How does Bergamot work?

Bergamot oil has several active chemicals. These chemicals can make the skin sensitive to sunlight.

Are there safety concerns?

Bergamot oil is LIKELY SAFE for most people in the small amounts found in food. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used on the skin (topically), because it can make the skin sensitive to the sun and more vulnerable to skin cancer. People who work with bergamot can develop skin problems including blisters, scabs, pigment spots, rashes, sensitivity to the sun, and cancerous changes.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Children: Bergamot oil is POSSIBLY UNSAFE in children when taken by mouth in large amounts. There have been serious side effects, including convulsion and death, in children who have taken large amounts of bergamot oil.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Do not use bergamot oil on your skin if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE.

Diabetes: Bergamot might lower blood sugar levels. This could affect blood sugar control in people with diabetes and cause blood sugar levels to go to low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.

Surgery: Bergamot might lower blood sugar. There is some concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during surgery. Stop using bergamot at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Medications that increase sensitivity to sunlight (Photosensitizing drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Topical use of bergamot oil might also increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Using bergamot oil topically along with medication that increase sensitivity to sunlight could increase the chances of sunburn, blistering or rashes on areas of skin exposed to sunlight. Be sure to wear sunblock and protective clothing when spending time in the sun.

Some drugs that cause photosensitivity include amitriptyline (Elavil), Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), norfloxacin (Noroxin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), ofloxacin (Floxin), levofloxacin (Levaquin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), gatifloxacin (Tequin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Septra), tetracycline, methoxsalen (8-methoxypsoralen, 8-MOP, Oxsoralen), and Trioxsalen (Trisoralen).



Medications used for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Bergamot might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking bergamot along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Dosing considerations for Bergamot.

The appropriate dose of bergamot oil depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for bergamot oil. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011

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