Bergamot: Food For The Nerves
We love the medicinal properties of citrus as it’s a central ingredient in our line-up of tinctures and body care. One such favorite is bitter orange peel and bergamot oil. The fruits are commonly grown in Italy and have been traditionally used to balance and harmonize dysregulated conditions of the body and mind brought on by stress. They are associated with the anthroposophical concept of the “light organism” and warmth processes. Here, we highlight its benefits, usages, sources, and constituents.
Botanical Source: The rind of Citrus aurantium L.; and C. aurantium ssp. bergamia.
Pharmaceutical Name: Pericarpium citri aurantii (bergamotae).
Alternate Names: Bitter orange, Bergamot orange, Orange amère, Bergamot, Bergamote (Fr), Bergamotte (Ger), Bergamotto (It), Laymun adalya (Ar).
Constituents: Essential oil, esters, monoterpenols (linalool, nerol, geraniol), monoterpenes (limonene, beta-pinene), sesquiteroines, furocoumarins (bergapten, bergamottin).
Tropism: Stomach, intestines, liver, lungs, uterus, central nervous system. TCM: Liver, Spleen, Stomach, Heart meridians, Air, Warmth bodies.
Preparation: Bitter orange rind is prepared by long infusions and is a component of traditional formulas to treat Qi constraint and digestive organs. Bergamot essential oil is expressed from the rind of the nearly ripe or unripe fruit and is traditionally used to clear damp-heat, reduce inflammation, fever, and infections, and promote tissue repair.
Essential Function: Balances and harmonizes dysregulated conditions.
Traditional Use: Stress-related emotional symptoms, depression, post-partum depression, nervous tension, anxiety, depression, insomnia, stagnant flow of chi (vital force), fever, intestinal parasites, varicose veins, stress-related skin disorders, wounds, and insect bites.
Physiological: ANS regulatory, nervous relaxant, and restorative for conditions associated with tension, mood swings, insomnia, anxiety, chronic neurasthenia, and all chronic stress-related conditions. Bergamot can act as a gastrobiliary stimulant and spasmolytic relaxant when orally dosed in a gel cap.
Psychological: Regulator of the hypothalamus and promotes relaxation in states of stress, grief, and chronic depression. Bergamot is harmonizing and has an affinity for the upper gut and the enteric nervous system. It is valuable for easing all stress-related disorders involving the upper digestive tract and gallbladder that requires relaxation.
Topical: A rubefacient and skin toner for dull, devitalized, crepey skin, wrinkles, and cellulite. Vulnerary and tissue healing for wounds, burns, cold sores, varicose ulcers, and insect bites. The essential oil can cause skin irritation when applied to the skin as long as 12 hours before sunlight exposure as bergapten, a furocoumarin, penetrates skin-cell nuclei and causes phototoxicity.
TCM: Regulates the Qi and harmonizes the Shen, such as liver and heart Qi constraint with Shen disharmony associated with restlessness, overstimulation, insomnia, palpitations, irritability, and anxiety with possible depression. Also, liver-stomach disharmony with Qi stagnation associated with bloating, loss of appetite, and nausea.
Chakra Affinity: Heart, throat, third eye, and crown.
Psychospiritual: Bergamot opens the heart chakra, quieting the conscious mind and allowing greater access to intuitive processes and the higher intellect.
Anthroposophical: Bergamot is associated with the anthroposophical concept of a “light organism,” which refers to an internalized spiritual light body. Light can be thought of as food for the nerves and has a stimulating effect on all internal processes. The spirit body depends upon inner warmth and light metabolism for its incarnation into the physical body. Bergamot oil supports the body’s warmth organization through its restorative effect upon the ANS and its dynamic relationship with the light organism.
Citrus Essentials to Revitalize Mind and Body