Citrus bergamia, the bergamot orange (pronounced
/ˈbɜːrɡəˌmɒt/), is a fragrant citrus fruit the size of an
orange, with a yellow or green color similar to a lime, depending on
Genetic research into the ancestral origins of extant citrus cultivars
found bergamot orange to be a probable hybrid of lemon and bitter
orange. Extracts have been used to scent food, perfumes, and
cosmetics. Use on the skin can increase photosensitivity, resulting
in greater damage from sun exposure.
5.1 Food and drink
5.4 Skin care
5.5 Medicinal properties
8 External links
The word bergamot is etymologically derived from the Italian word
"bergamotto", ultimately of Turkish origin: bey armudu or bey armut
("prince's pear" or "prince of pears").
Citrus bergamia is a small tree that blossoms during the winter. The
juice tastes less sour than lemon, but more bitter than
The active ingredients in bergamot juice are neoeriocitrin, naringin,
neohesperidin, ponceritin, melitidin, and mitrocin and 0.69% miriflin
with 0% moisture brutieridin.
Melitidin and brutieridin, only
recently discovered, exist only in citrus bergamot and exhibit
Synephrine is not present in citrus
Citrus taxonomy § Oranges
The bergamot orange is unrelated to the herbs known as bergamot or
Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa, which are in the
mint family, and are named for their similar aroma.
Citrus bergamia has also been classified as
Citrus aurantium subsp.
bergamia (i.e. a subspecies of bitter orange).
Citrus bergamia is sometimes confused with (but is not the same as):
Citrus medica – citron, the yellow fruit of which is also known as
Citrus limetta, the "sweet lemon" or "sweet lime".
A bergamot orange from Calabria, Italy
Production is mostly limited to the
Ionian Sea coastal areas of the
province of Reggio di
Calabria in Italy, to such an extent that it is
a symbol of the entire city. Most of the bergamot comes from a short
stretch of land there, where the temperature is favourable. The fruit
is also produced in Argentina, Brazil, Algeria, the Ivory Coast,
Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, and South-East Asia where it has its roots.
Citrus bergamot is commercially grown in southern
of Reggio), southern Italy. It is also grown in southern France
and in Côte d'Ivoire for the essential oil and in Antalya in southern
Turkey for its marmalade. The fruit is not generally grown for
juice consumption. However, in Mauritius where it is grown on a
small-scale basis, it is largely consumed as juice by the locals.
One hundred bergamot oranges yield about three ounces (85g) of
Bergamot orange tree in Maricopa County, Arizona
Adulteration with cheaper products such as oil of rosewood and
bergamot mint has been a problem for consumers. To protect the
reputation of their produce, the Italian government introduced tight
controls, including testing and certificates of purity. The Stazione
Sperimentale per le Industrie delle Essenze e dei Derivati dagli
Agrumi (Experimental Station for Essential Oil and
located in Reggio di Calabria, was the quality control body for the
essential oil Bergamotto di
Reggio Calabria DOP. During World War
II, Italy was unable to export to countries such as the Allied powers.
Rival products from Brazil and Mexico came on to the market as a
substitute, but these were produced from other citrus fruits such as
Food and drink
The fruit of the bergamot orange is edible.
An essence extracted from the aromatic skin of this sour fruit is used
to flavour Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas, as well as confectionery
Turkish delight ). It is often used to make marmalade,
particularly in Italy. In Sweden and Norway, bergamot is a very common
flavourant in snus, a smokeless tobacco product. Likewise, in dry
nasal snuff, it is also a common aroma in traditional blends.
Carpentierbe, a company based in San Giorgio Morgeto, makes a digestiv
liqueur derived from bergamot marketed under the name Liquore al
Bergamot essential oil
Bergamot peel is used in perfumery for its ability to combine with an
array of scents to form a bouquet of aromas which complement each
other. About one-third of all men's and about half of women’s
perfumes contain bergamot essential oil. Bergamot is
a major component of the original
Eau de Cologne
Eau de Cologne composed by Farina at
the beginning of the 18th century in Germany. The first record of
bergamot oil as a fragrance ingredient was in 1714, to be found in the
Farina Archive in Cologne.
Bergamot essential oil
Bergamot essential oil is popular in aromatherapy.
In several patch test studies, application of some sources of bergamot
oil directly to the skin of guinea pigs was shown to have a
concentration-dependent phototoxic effect of increasing redness after
exposure to ultraviolet light (due to the chemical bergapten, and
possibly also citropten, bergamottin, geranial, and neral).
This is a property shared by many other citrus fruits.
also been implicated as a potassium channel blocker; in one case
study, a patient who consumed four litres of
Earl Grey tea
Earl Grey tea per day
(which contains bergamot essential oil as a flavouring) suffered
Bergamot is also a source of bergamottin which, along with the
chemically related compound 6',7'-dihydroxybergamottin, is believed to
be responsible for grapefruit–drug interactions in which the
consumption of the juice affects the metabolism of a variety of
Bergamot is used in many skin care creams.
In the past, psoralen extracted from bergamot oil has been used in
tanning accelerators and sunscreens. These substances were known to be
photocarcinogenic since 1959, but they were only banned from
sunscreens in 1995. These photocarcinogenic substances were banned
years after they had caused many cases of malignant melanoma and
A highly concentrated extract of Bergamot has been shown to be a
'natural statin' that is beneficial in patients with dyslipidemia (an
abnormal amount of lipids, such as triglycerides and cholesterol) in
the blood. In a group of 107 patients with confirmed non-alcoholic
fatty liver disease, the extract significantly improved all measured
biochemical and ultrasonographic characteristics of the disease in 120
days without reported side effects.
Other studies have shown that Bergamot juice reduces serum levels of
lipids, attributable to its high content of neoeriocitrin,
neohesperidin and naringin. A study of 80 subjects with moderate
hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) found that a daily dose of a
Bergamot extract significantly reduced plasma lipids and improved the
lipoprotein profile. Subclinical atherosclerosis, which was assessed
by carotid intima-media thickness, was also reduced significantly over
a relatively short time frame of six months. Total cholesterol,
triglycerides, and LDL-cholesterol were reduced, while HDL-cholesterol
Evidence is insufficient to indicate that bergamot oil is of medical
benefit for some of its claimed uses. Use on the skin can be
unsafe, particularly for children and pregnant women. Potential
side effects of drinking large amounts of bergamot oil can include
convulsions and death in children.
The juice of the fruit has been used in Calabrian indigenous medicine
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