Bergamot is used for high levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia). It is also used for other conditions, often as aromatherapy, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these other uses.
In foods, bergamot oil is widely used as a citrus flavoring agent, especially in gelatins and puddings.
In manufacturing, bergamot oil is used in perfumes, creams, lotions, soaps, and suntan oils.
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Possibly Effective for
- High levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia). Taking bergamot extract seems to lower cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol. It might work about as well as taking a low dose of the cholesterol-lowering drug called rosuvastatin (Crestor) when used for 30 days. Some research also shows that taking bergamot improves levels of blood fats called triglycerides.
Possibly Ineffective for
- Anxiety. Using bergamot oil as aromatherapy doesn't seem to reduce anxiety in people undergoing radiation therapy or a bone marrow transplant.
- Mental alertness. Using bergamot oil as aromatherapy doesn't seem to improve mental alertness. In fact, it might decrease mental alertness in heathy adults due to its relaxing effects.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Metabolic side effects caused by antipsychotic drugs. Early research shows that taking bergamot extract by mouth for 60 days doesn't improve side effects of antipsychotic drugs such as increased blood sugar, body weight, and cholesterol levels.
- Joint pain caused by drugs called aromatase inhibitors (aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgias). Early research shows that taking a product containing bergamot extract and other ingredients for 6 months slightly reduces joint pain in people with joint pain caused by drugs called aromatase inhibitors.
- Autism. Early research shows that inhaling the aroma of bergamot does not reduce anxiety in children with autism waiting to see their doctor.
- Depression. Early research shows that inhaling the aroma of lavender, sweet orange, and bergamot oil improves symptoms of depression in most older adults.
- Nausea and vomiting. Early research shows that using bergamot oil as aromatherapy doesn't decrease nausea in people undergoing bone marrow transplant.
- Scaly, itchy skin (psoriasis). Early research shows that applying bergamot oil to the skin along with UV light is not more effective than UV light alone for reducing plaque psoriasis.
- Schizophrenia. Early research shows that taking bergamot extract by mouth for 8 weeks may improve mental control and self-regulation in people with schizophrenia.
- Prediabetes, when inhaled.
- Insomnia, when inhaled.
- Loss of the color pigment on the skin (vitiligo).
- Protecting the body against lice and other parasites.
- Treating a type of cancer that begins in white blood cells and affects the skin (mycosis fungoides), when used along with ultra-violet (UV) light.
- Other conditions.
When applied to the skin: Bergamot oil is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when applied to the skin. It might make the skin sensitive to the sun.
When inhaled: There isn't enough reliable information to know if bergamot is safe or what the side effects might be.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Children: Bergamot oil is POSSIBLY UNSAFE in children when taken by mouth in large amounts. There have been serious side effects, including convulsion and death, in children who have taken large amounts of bergamot oil.
Diabetes: Bergamot might lower blood sugar levels. This could affect blood sugar control in people with diabetes and cause blood sugar levels to go to low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.
Surgery: Bergamot might lower blood sugar. There is some concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during surgery. Stop using bergamot at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Medications that increase sensitivity to sunlight (Photosensitizing drugs) interacts with BERGAMOT
Some medications can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Topical use of bergamot oil might also increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Using bergamot oil topically along with medication that increase sensitivity to sunlight could increase the chances of sunburn, blistering or rashes on areas of skin exposed to sunlight. Be sure to wear sunblock and protective clothing when spending time in the sun.
Some drugs that cause photosensitivity include amitriptyline (Elavil), Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), norfloxacin (Noroxin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), ofloxacin (Floxin), levofloxacin (Levaquin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), gatifloxacin (Tequin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Septra), tetracycline, methoxsalen (8-methoxypsoralen, 8-MOP, Oxsoralen), and Trioxsalen (Trisoralen).
Be cautious with this combination
- For high levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia): 1 gram of bergamot extract daily, with or without rosuvastatin 10 mg daily, for 30 days has been used. Bergamot extract providing 150 mg flavonoids daily for 6 months has also been used.
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