- Citrus aurantium
- Ba gan meng (Chinese), bei jia mao cheng (Chinese), bei jia mi gan (Chinese), bergamot fruit, bergamot orange, bergamota (Portuguese), bergamotier (French), bergamotorange (Danish), bergamotoranje (Dutch), bergamotta (Italian), Bergamotte (German), Bergamottenbaum (German), bergamottenzitrone (German), bergamotti (Finnish), bergamottier (French), bergamottihedelmae (Finnish), bergamottin, bergamotto (Italian), bergapten (5-methoxypsoralen), berugamotto (Japanese), bey armudu (Turkish), C-glucosides, chrysoeriol (7-O-neohesperidoside), chrysoeriol (7-O-neohesperidoside-4′-O-glucoside), citroník bergamot (Czech), citropten, Citrus aurantium L. ssp. Bergamia, Citrus aurantium L. subsp. bergamia (Risso & Poit.) Wight & Arn. ex Engl., Citrus aurantium L. var. bergamia Loisel., Citrus bergamia, Citrus bergamia Risso, coumarins, eriodictyol, flavonoids, fragrant balm, hesperetin, isovitexin, laymûn adâlyâ barnatî (Arabic), limettier bergamotte (French), lucenin-2, monosaccharides, monoterpene hydrocarbons, naringenin, naringin, neoeriocitrin, neohesperidin, O-glycosides, oligosaccharides, oranger bergamotte (French), orientin 4′-methyl ether, polymethoxylated flavones, poirier bergamotte (French), psoralen, psoralens, rhoifolin (4′-O-glucoside), Rutaceae (family), scoparin and orientin (4′-methyl ether), stellarin-2, Strauchorange (German), xiang ning meng (Chinese).
- Note: This monograph does not cover the North American plant bee balm, which is part of the family Lamiaceae, genus Monarda. Sometimes Monarda species are called bergamot.
- Bergamot orange trees, indigenous to Calabria, Italy, are part of the Rutaceae family and Citrus genus. The peel of the pear-shaped fruit contains essential oils and other bioactive constituents. Bergamot juice is used for nutritional purposes. The bergamot orange is unrelated to North American herbs also known as bergamot, which belong to the genus Monarda (bee balm or Oswego tea). This monograph exclusively encompasses bergamot orange.
- The essential oil of bergamot contains the constituents that produce the pleasing odor that made it popular in cosmetics in the past and in aromatherapy today. Because bergamot may cause an adverse reaction to sunlight or ultraviolet light, its usefulness in substances that are applied to the skin is limited. However, research continues on its potential beneficial effects for the skin. Promising research is continuing on the antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties of constituents in bergamot essential oil.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Studies using blends of essential oils, including bergamot oil, have not reported positive effects for anxiety. However, additional study using bergamot oil alone is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Aromatherapy involving bergamot oil plus lavender and ylang ylang oils has been studied for high blood pressure. Although the blended oils provided positive results, the effects of bergamot alone is unclear. Additional research is needed.
*Key to grades:
The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Adults (18 years and older)
- There is no proven safe or effective dose for bergamot in adults.
Children (under 18 years old)
- There is no proven safe or effective dose for bergamot in children.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
- Avoid in individuals with known allergy/hypersensitivity to bergamot, its constituents, or plants in the Rutaceae family.
- When applied to the skin, bergamot may cause sensitivity to sunlight or ultraviolet light.
Side Effects and Warnings
- Essential oils of bergamot, including bergamottin, have been studied in humans and may be toxic if taken by mouth. Vapors released during aromatherapy may irritate the eyes.
- Applying bergamot to the skin may cause redness (erythema), changes in skin coloration, and sensitivity to sunlight or ultraviolet light. Use cautiously with other products that cause sensitivity to light.
- Use cautiously in individuals using agents that are broken down by the liver’s cytochrome P450 enzyme system.
- Excessive consumption of bergamot-containing earl grey tea was linked to muscle cramps, involuntary muscle contractions, abnormal sensations, and blurred vision.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
- Bergamot is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Interactions with Drugs
- Bergamot may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs that use the liver’s “cytochrome P450” enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be increased in the blood and may cause increased effects or potential serious adverse reactions. Patients using any medications should check the package inserts, and speak with their qualified healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, about possible interactions.
- Bergamot may enhance the immune system. Use cautiously with drugs that may affect the immune system.
- Bergamot may also interact with antibiotics, antifungals, anti-inflammatory drugs, cardiovascular drugs, or photosensitizing agents.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
- Bergamot may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements that use the liver’s “cytochrome P450” enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these agents may be increased in the blood and may cause increased effects or potentials serious adverse reactions. Patients using any herbs or supplements should check the package inserts, and speak with their qualified healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, about possible interactions.
- Bergamot may enhance the immune system. Use cautiously with herbs or supplements that may affect the immune system.
- Bergamot may also interact with antibacterials, antifungals, anti-inflammatory herbs or supplements, cardiovascular herbs and supplements, antioxidants, prebiotics, or photosensitizing herbs or supplements.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
- This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().
- Bailey, D. G., Malcolm, J., Arnold, O., et al. Grapefruit juice-drug interactions. 1998. Br.J.Clin.Pharmacol. 2004;58(7):S831-S840.
- Dijoux, N., Guingand, Y., Bourgeois, C., et al. Assessment of the phototoxic hazard of some essential oils using modified 3T3 neutral red uptake assay. Toxicol.In Vitro 2006;20(4):480-489.
- Dugo, P., Presti, M. L., Ohman, M., et al. Determination of flavonoids in citrus juices by micro-HPLC-ESI/MS. J.Sep.Sci. 2005;28(11):1149-1156.
- Finsterer, J. Earl Grey tea intoxication. Lancet 4-27-2002;359(9316):1484.
- Fisher, K. and Phillips, C. A. The effect of lemon, orange and bergamot essential oils and their components on the survival of Campylobacter jejuni, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus in vitro and in food systems. J Appl Microbiol 2006;101(6):1232-1240.
- Graham, P. H., Browne, L., Cox, H., et al. Inhalation aromatherapy during radiotherapy: results of a placebo-controlled double-blind randomized trial. J.Clin.Oncol. 6-15-2003;21(12):2372-2376.
- Gruson, L. M. and Chang, M. W. Berloque dermatitis mimicking child abuse. Arch.Pediatr.Adolesc.Med. 2002;156(11):1091-1093.
- Hwang, J. H. [The effects of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension]. Taehan Kanho.Hakhoe.Chi 2006;36(7):1123-1134.
- Kaddu, S., Kerl, H., and Wolf, P. Accidental bullous phototoxic reactions to bergamot aromatherapy oil. J.Am.Acad.Dermatol. 2001;45(3):458-461.
- Kiani, J. and Imam, S. Z. Medicinal importance of grapefruit juice and its interaction with various drugs. Nutr.J. 2007;6:33.
- Luchini, A. C., Rodrigues-Orsi, P., Cestari, S. H., Seito, L. N., Witaicenis, A., Pellizzon, C. H., and Di Stasi, L. C. Intestinal anti-inflammatory activity of coumarin and 4-hydroxycoumarin in the trinitrobenzenesulphonic acid model of rat colitis. Biol.Pharm.Bull. 2008;31(7):1343-1350.
- Placzek, M., Fromel, W., Eberlein, B., et al. Evaluation of phototoxic properties of fragrances. Acta Derm.Venereol. 2007;87(4):312-316.
- Sanguinetti, M., Posteraro, B., Romano, L., et al. In vitro activity of Citrus bergamia (bergamot) oil against clinical isolates of dermatophytes. J.Antimicrob.Chemother. 2007;59(2):305-308.
- Statti, G. A., Conforti, F., Sacchetti, G., et al. Chemical and biological diversity of Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) in relation to environmental factors. Fitoterapia 2004;75(2):212-216.
- Wiebe, E. A randomized trial of aromatherapy to reduce anxiety before abortion. Eff Clin Pract 2000;3(4):166-169.
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.