Friday, May 11, 2007

Put some sunshine in your life with Bergamot

That hint of citrus in your Earl Grey, that's Bergamot. Essential oil is extracted from the rind of this fruit by cold pressing. Well, ideally it is, certainly if you are a therapist it should be, but perhaps the flavourings people are not going to be so picky.

The best Bergamot should come from Italy - Calabria, in particular, on the toe of the boot shaped country. Support these small family growers by choosing whole cold pressed essential oil from Italy because many perfumers and other big users of Bergamot have turned to synthetics or extracted the Bergaptene from it. What is bergaptene? It is the component which has been identified as causing photosensitisation of the skin. This means if you have bergamot on your skin and you sunbathe, it may cause your skin to burn much faster.

The controversial mistake that manufacturers made in the 70's was to actually add bergamot to sun "protection" cream. Oops. Opposite effect than intended, resulting in bad name for bergamot. So now you can actually buy it without this component in case you are worried your client may go out in the sun and sue you for sunburn. However, education is important and I believe that simply informing your client of these facts, and advising them not to go on a sunbed directly after treatment is the key. Or to bathe small children in it and then let them play in the sun. Perhaps I wouldn't use Bergamot in Malaysia for my skin or on beach holidays, but I'd certainly inhale the gorgeous sunshine scent of it because it would make me happy. And I would keep it whole, no fiddling with the bits, please.

Use it carefully and respectfully, and you will be rewarded with an amazingly relaxing oil - uplifting and regulating to the body. Of course, it comes into its own in cold, grey, snowbound times - or when your soul still feels that way, even if the sun is shining outside. It is an excellent digestive, and good for bloated conditions. I use it for PMS and I've used it to treat cystitis and insomnia. People with knots in their necks also benefit from a dose of bergamot to remind them to breathe in and find a summer meadow to lounge in, even if it will have to be in their mind. Bergamot is uniquely calming, more so than the other citruses, so it is ideal for knotty people. It is under the Wood Element and helps sooth irritable Liver clients.

Safety notes: Always dilute your essential oils. 6 drops in 10 ml of base oil like sunflower is a safe dose for adults. Bergamot is safe for pregnant mothers after the first trimester - during the first trimester, inhaling it is great for dealing with so many hormonal changes. I would use orange and mandarin for children instead, as they have tender skin which burns easily. Bergamot always seems to float in the bath and sting the skin, so dilute it properly in a dispersant or unscented bubble bath before putting it into the water. Some literature suggests full fat milk, but I think that is not enough. Swish it very thoroughly.


Kathryn said...

Did you write this post for me? I am the original Knotty person! thank you thank you for describing how to get it not to float in the bath too.

Great post!


Lyrical Lemongrass said...

I've loved bergamot for many years already. The scent is just so refreshing and it does lift up the spirits!

msiagirl said...

K-girl! It is a good one for you in the wintertime!

Lyrical, it is a relative of the lemongrass smell - maybe I can try a special blend for you - your own style perfume.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

msiagirl: wow, that would be wonderful! Two of my favourite scents! I know that lemongrass goes well with ginger, though...I've never tried a blend of lemongrass and bergamot.

msiagirl said...

So Lyrical, are you going to be on holiday on the 26th? Maybe we go look for sashimi?

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Msiagirl: As it turns out, I'll be free the whole day on the 26th so we can have sashimi or anything else that you wish! I'll drop you an email with my mobilephone number. :-)

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Msiagirl ar, your email address doesn't like mail to you bounced back. Can you drop me an email at the email address listed on my blog? Or else, dunno how to reach u when u're here!

msiagirl said...

Hope you got my email Lyrical! Sorry bout the bounce, it was wrong and now I fixed it...cheers!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

msiagirl: hey no probs! Got your email and have duly replied. :-) See ya soon!