So What Is Bergamot?
The bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia), is a fragrant citrus fruit the size of an orange, with a yellow or green color similar to a lime, depending on ripeness. The origin of this fruit is believed to be the result of combining lemon and bitter orange. There are also herbs called bergamot or wild bergamot that are in the mint family. Although they have a similar aroma they are not related to the fruit.
Originally coming from South-East Asia, bergamot fruit is now grown around the world, including countries in North and South America, Africa, and southern Europe. Because the juice is quite tart, somewhere between a lemon and a grapefruit, it is rarely consumed as a juice and while produced as marmalade in Turkey, a particular French candy, or other miscellaneous products, it is primarily harvested for its essential oils, yielding around 3 ounces of oil from the aromatic skins of 100 bergamot oranges. That oil has been used for years to make perfumes, cosmetics, and to flavor food, and one of the most common uses is as an ingredient in Earl Grey tea, giving it that distinctive flavor and aroma.
How Earl Grey Tea Came To Be
Like many things, there are stories around the origin of Earl Grey tea and bergamot. One version says that a container of oranges was shipped with tea from China and absorbing the flavor was purely accidental. Another version says that the water at Earl Grey’s property was unpleasant and a Chinese visitor created the blend to offset the bad flavor of the high mineral content of the water. Whatever the true origin, Earl Grey tea has been around since the early 19th century and is still a classic beverage around the world.
The Health Benefits of Bergamot
Beyond its cultural significance in the British Empire, there are also a number of proven health benefits derived from bergamot:
- Assists in Proper Digestion – Known to enhance the body’s digestive process, stimulate digestion and ease discomfort, you can take a few drops of the essential oil, mixed with another carrier oil like coconut or almond oil, and rub it into your stomach area. An easier way to help your digestion is to simply drink a cup of our Wise Women’s Tea.
- Aids Weight Loss and Protects Against Diabetes and Heart Disease – A study by the University of Catanzaro in Italy found that bergamot could help you lose weight, and prevent diabetes by reducing blood sugar. Also, the UK Telegraph, Health News reported findings that drinking Wise Women’s Tea could help protect against heart disease, due to its bergamot content.
- Improves Your Mood, Eases Stress, Anxiety, and Depression – When diffused, the essential oil has powerful mood-stabilizing effects.
- Reduces Pain – Just as you might do for stomach pain and digestion, combine a few drops of essential oil with another carrier oil and apply to sore, achy muscles, or where you feel a tension headache. Make sure to keep the oil away from your eyes and be aware that it will make your skin extra sensitive to direct sunlight or artificial UV light from tanning beds, like most citrus oils.
- Natural Deodorant and Air Freshener – Add a few drops to your liquid soap, deodorant, or air freshener to remove bad odors and help stop the spread of viruses and germs.
- Nausea and Vomiting – Bergamot oil is commonly used in aromatherapy for these and other conditions, like schizophrenia, and to reduce the side effects from certain prescription drugs, but there is no scientific evidence to support those uses.
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