Bergamot Orange

Bergamot (Mi Feng Chun Gao)Bergamot Orange (Fo Shou Gan)

Botanical Name: Citrus aurantium, C. bergamia.

Bergamot orange (Citrus aurantium, C. bergamia) is a beautiful plant. It is the ingredient in Earl Grey Tea that gives the tea its particular scent and flavor. Bergamot orange is often confused with the herb, bergamot / bee balm (Monarda fistulosa), as bee balm, with its lemony scent, is often commonly called bergamot too. The rind of the bergamot orange fruit is used to make the well known essential oil called “bergamot oil.” The oil is used to quickly heal wounds, cracked skin, scars, ulcers, and eczema. Bergamot essential oil is used to treat convulsions, cramps, promote digestion, and tonify the respiratory, digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems.

Below is an overview of Bergamot Orange (Fo Shou Gan), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Bergamot Orange (Fo Shou Gan).

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Western Name: Bergamot Orange

Also Known As: Bergamot

Organs/Systems: Digestive, Circulatory, Skin

Key Actions: Antiseptic, Deodorant, Vulnerary, Vermifuge, Antispasmodic, Antibiotic, Sedative, Analgesic, Antidepressant, Febrifuge, Disinfectant, Digestive, Antimicrobial, Antifungal, Antiviral, Tonic, Expectorant

Medicinal Uses: Coughs, colds, asthma, cramps, convulsions, muscle cramping, menstrual cramping, intestinal worms, reduce fevers, malaria, typhoid, tetanus, influenza, constipation, irregular bowel syndrome (IBS), prevent colon cancer, depression, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, joint pain, herpes, infections (skin, mouth, intestinal, urinary, colon, and kidney), digestion, balance blood sugar levels, lowers blood pressure, tooth pain.


Pin Yin: Fo Shou Gan

Also Known As: N/A

Meridians: Liver, Spleen, Stomach, Heart

Key TCM Actions: Liver and Spleen Qi Stagnation, Moves Qi, Lifts and Harmonizes Qi, Calms Shen

Medicinal Uses: Digestive disorders, gas, depression, emptiness, grief, nausea, bloating, loss of appetite, vomiting, mental fatigue, depression, insomnia, anxiety, mood swings.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

Bergamot is a tree that is a cross between a bitter orange and lemon tree, also known as a mutation of a lemon tree.

Bergamot orange is a tropical plant that can be traced back to Southeast Asia. It now also thrives in Europe, especially Italy.

Bergamot (Mi Feng Chun Gao)Parts Most Frequently Used: Fruit, Essential oil

Flavors/Temps: Aromatic, Slightly Sweet, Neutral

Caution: Considered safe. The essential oil needs to be stored in dark cool places as exposure to sunlight can turn the oil poisonous, even after being applied to the skin, so avoid sun exposure when using the essential oil.

History/Folklore: Bergamot is a citrus fruit whose rind is used for extracting bergamot essential oil. The essential oil is light green in color and is derived from cold compression (versus steamed distillation which is often used to make other essential oils). It is famous for its use in flavoring and scenting of Earl Grey Tea. The essential oil is also used as a medicine and the fruit is also rich in dietary nutrients.

The name “bergamot” is derived from the Italian city of Bergamo in Lombardy, Italy where it was originally sold and traded. It is now produced in Argentina, Brazil, Morocco and the Ivory Coast.

The constituents alpha-pinene and limonene are known to have antidepressant and stimulating properties. They improve the circulation of blood, improving mood and increasing energy. These antidepressant qualities are not superficial. Bergamot reduces mental and physical fatigue by improving circulation and hormonal secretions that help to maintain proper metabolic rates. The hormonal properties of bergamot essential oil is known as having a highly effective impact on neurological and mental conditions, which help counter the impact of depression and anxiety. These constituents also stimulate the production of digestive juices, bile and insulin, aiding digestion and supporting the absorption of nutrients and the assimilation and decomposition of sugar, helping to lower blood sugar levels.

The constituent cicatrisant, found in bergamot, helps heal skin scars by ensuring the proper distribution of skin pigments and melanin which helps reduce scars and skin tonal imperfections, including those caused by acne.

As an analgesic, bergamot helps reduce pain in the body by supporting the secretion of specific hormones that help lessen the sensitivity of nerves to pain. This property makes is effective for treating headaches, sprains and muscle aches. It is also effective as a mouthwash for minimizing pain, fighting infection and bad breath. For treating headaches 2-3 drops can be applied to the forehead or palms and wrists for lasting good effect. A few drops added to bath water can also provide relief from pain, depression, and stress.

Bergamot essential oil helps inhibit the growth of germs, virus and fungi. As an antiseptic it can help prohibit infections explaining its presence in many skin soaps, cosmetics, and shampoos. It makes an excellent deodorant. Bergamot essential oil also helps inhibit infections in the colon, intestines, kidneys and urinary tract. It is a good topical remedy for infections caused by candida fungus strains. Mixing three drops of the essential oil to one cup of yogurt can be added to a sitz bath of warm water filled to cover the hips to help treat urinary tract infections.

Bergamot is the only citrus fruit to contain the compounds melitidin and brutieridin, known for their anti-cholesterol effect that can only be compared to pharmaceutical statins used to treat heart problems associated with high cholesterol. Studies show that it lowers total cholesterol levels, lowering LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels, a major player in heart health, and raising (HDL) high-density lipoprotein which helps protect the heart.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, bergamot is used to help move Qi (Energy), especially digestive Qi as it is effective in treating indigestion and flatulence. The essential oil called Chen Pi oil, made from bitter oranges is interchangeable with bergamot essential oil. They can be used together to mutually support one another and both are recognized in Traditional Chinese Medicine for being especially good at treating mental disharmonies that are neither caused by either an excess (agitated) or deficient (weakened or collapsed) condition. This precondition of mental disharmony, caused by stress and anxiety, is very common in Western society. Bergamot essential oil is probably the best qi-regulating oil available. It is often used to treat Liver-Stomach or Liver-Spleen imbalances, known as wood overacting or invading the earth element. It is a gentle and effective substance especially good for treating the young, the elderly and/or more sensitive persons as it is excellent at balancing what is not yet an excessive or completely deficient mental emotional condition.

Bergamot oranges are found in grocery stores around the world, popular for their flavor, scent and nutritional value.

Bergamot essential oil is known for building courage and confidence. It is associated with providing protection, prosperity and happiness. It releases unwanted negative thoughts and emotions helping to connect a person’s spirit with the divine. It is used to support the third chakra, and solar plexus, as well as the seventh chakra or the crown of the head and the opening in meditation of spiritual connection.

Bergamot essential oil is often used as a “top note” scent in perfumes. It blends well with sage, rose, ginger, jasmine, frankincense, lavender, black pepper, and other citrus oils. It makes a wonderful oil for the skin after showering. It takes about a hundred bergamot oranges to make about 3 ounces of bergamot essential oil.

Key Constituents:

Essential oil (includes Alpha-pinene, Alpha bergapten, Alpha-terpineol, Limonene, Linalool, Linalyl acetate, Nerol, Neryl acetate, Beta bisabolene, Geraniol, Geraniol acetate, Myrcene), Cicatrisant, Melitidin, Brutieriden.

Did you know?

Worms in Children

Bergamot helps kill intestinal worms in children.


Prevent Tetanus

Bergamot not only helps to heal wounds fast it helps prevent wounds from becoming septic or developing tetanus.

Fun fact!

Protect from Sunlight

The constituent bergapten, found in bergamot orange, becomes poisonous if exposed to sunlight. Store the essential oil in dark bottles and cool, dark cupboards and pantries.

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