(Note: the leaves and twigs may be distilled to yield a Bergamot-Petitgrain Oil)
Light, delicate and refreshing. Something like orange and lemon with slight floral overtones. The characteristics of this topnote remain perceptible in good oils, it is followed by a still more characteristic oily herbaceous and somewhat balsamic body and dryout. The sweetness yields to a more tobacccolike and rich note, somewhat reminiscent of clary sage and neryl acetate. The freshness in the topnote is mainly due to the terpenes and small amounts of citral and aliphatic aldehydes.
History & Myth:
Bergamot is named after a small town in Italy, Bergamo in Lombardy, where the tree was originally cultivated. In Italy the oil was used in folk medicine for the treatment of fever and worms.
Linalool, Nerol, Terpinol (Alcohol), Linalyl acetate (Ester), Bergaptene (Lactone), Dipentene, Limonene (Terpenes)
Analgesic, Antidepressant, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Carminative, Cicatrisant, Deodorant, Digestive, Febrifuge, Sedative, Stomachic, Tonic, vermifuge, Vulnerary.
Mind & Sprit:
Its sedative yet uplifting character is said to be excellent for anxiety, depression and nervous tension. Almost everyone likes bergamot's fresh, and lively but gentle, flowery fragrance.
Skin & Hair:
Its antiseptic and healing action seems to benefit oily skin conditions, especially when linked with stress. It is an effective deodorizing agent.
Blend well with:
Chamomile, Coriander, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Juniper, Jasmine, Lavender, Marjoram, Neroli, Palmarosa, Patchouli, Ylang Ylang
Bergamot is used extensively in perfumery for its sweet freshness, particularly in citrus colognes, chypres, fougeres, modern fantasy bases, etc. Part of the sweetness and rich bodynote is due to the presence of large amount of linalylacetate combined with linalool and traces of methyl anthranilate.
Strong sunlight to be avoided after use as it increases photosensitivity of the skin. Certain furocoumarins, notably the chemical bergaptene have been found to be phototoxic on the skin.
According to the IFRA the average furocoumarin content is quite high at 0.2 to 0.5%.
***Bergamot's phototoxicity is classified as severe and it should be used in dilutions of less then 1% to avoid phototoxicity.
S. Arctander ~ Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin
S. Battaglia ~ The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy
W. Sellar ~ Directory of Essential Oils
Additional Information: Citrus bergamia essential oil: from basic research to clinical application