Bergamot Essential Oil
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Bergamot Essential Oil - General Description
Bergamot oranges, or bergamots, are yellowish pear-shaped citrus fruits of Citrus bergamia trees, which are almost exclusively grown in Reggio di Calabria coastal areas of southern Italy for aromatherapy and alternative medicine applications. 
Bergamot essential oil is extracted by cold pressing the epicarp (outer peel) and, partly, the mesocarp (pith) of fresh bergamot oranges.  Bergamot essential oil appears pale greenish yellow in color and affords a citrus-like or fruity refreshing scent with a note of floral slightly spicy quality and a warm, balsamic undertone.  It not only is demanded in perfumery and cosmetic industries but also is employed by pharmaceutical, food, and confectionery industries.
Uses and Reported Benefits
In alternative healthcare, bergamot essential oil is principally used for the therapeutic management of acne, boils, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, varicose ulcers, cold sores,  flu, fever and colds  and is stated to aid people suffering from depression, stress, tension, fear, hysteria, and anorexia. 
It can be either diffused into the air to freshen a room and uplift emotions or added into bathwater, massage oils, skin lotions, potpourri, and perfumes.  A few drops in a saucer of hot water on top of a radiator enliven any room, and inhaling it directly from a tissue presumably works magic for anyone in emotional upset or negative moods. A maximum of five drops for massage or bath is recommended to invigorate one’s spirit. 
Contraindications and Safety
The use of bergamot essential oil is generally considered safe for a majority of people if in appropriate amounts.  Due to its high bergapten content, bergamot essential oil is suggested to be not topically applied prior to sun exposure to prevent skin sensitivity to the sun, susceptibility to sunburn, and thus vulnerability to skin cancer.  Also, bergamot essential oil is best kept out of children’s reach, and administering large amounts of it is not recommended because convulsion as a serious side effect has been reported. 
Scientific Studies and Research
Bergamot essential oil’s pharmacological properties and utility are well supported by concrete research data, greatly implying its potential as an effective therapeutic option for a considerably diverse range of conditions and diseases.
Bergamot as Anti-bacterial: For instance, Furneri et al. (2012) illustrated in detail the antimycoplasmal efficacy of bergamot essential oil and its chief components in vitro, specifically against numerous strains of Mycoplasma hominis, M. fermentans, and M. pneumoniae. Bergamot essential oil inhibited these Mycoplasma species at concentrations from 0.5% to 1%.  Using disc diffusion method, Fisher and Phillips (2006) evaluated the antimicrobial effectiveness of lemon (Citrus limon), sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), and bergamot essential oils against five common food-borne pathogens, namely, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli O157, and Campylobacter jejuni, and declared bergamot essential oil as the most efficacious and inhibitory among the three oils screened, linalool being the most potent antibacterial constituent.  Bergamot essential oil’s antibacterial potency and effectiveness come in no wonder as primarily, the peel of bergamot is a natural rich source of antimicrobials that are active against Gram-negative bacteria. Bergamot ethanolic fractions, which are rich in flavonoids (e.g., neohesperidin, hesperetin, neoeriocitrin, eriodictyol, naringin, and naringenin), were found to be active against E. coli, Pseudomonas putida, and Salmonella enterica by Mandalari et al. (2007), with a minimum inhibitory concentration of 200–800 μg/mL. 
Sakurada et al. (2009) screened the effects of bergamot essential oil on capsaicin-induced nociception. An intense and short-lived licking/biting response upon the intraplantar injection of capsaicin was elicited in experimental mice and in this study, bergamot essential oil injected into the plantar surface of the mouse hindpaw in the capsaicin test significantly reduced the said nociceptive response. 
Citrus bergamia (Bergamot Orange)
Bergamot as Anti-anxiety treatment: Aromatherapy using bergamot essential oil sprayed for 10 min has been implicated to reduce workplace stress–related physiological parameters (i.e., blood pressure, heart rate, low-frequency power percentage) among fifty-four elementary school teachers recruited in one Taiwanese study. Moreover, the data results from this study suggested that bergamot essential oil aromatherapy “seems to drive autonomic nervous activity toward a balanced state” such that study participants with moderate and high degrees of anxiety manifested considerable benefits from the aromatherapy.  This anxiolytic property of bergamot essential oil is not much of a surprise as other studies have already showed its enhancing effect on the levels of γ-aminobutyric acid in rat hippocampus – and hence its potential anxiolytic property – and its reducing effect on the corticosterone response to stress. 
Bergamot as Neuroprotective: The neuroprotective property of bergamot essential oil has also a handful of studies to provide evidence about it. Corasaniti et al. (2007), for instance, furnished sufficient data that bergamot essential oil decreases the neuronal damage that results from excitotoxic stimuli. The neuroprotection provided by bergamot essential oil against the cell death brought upon by N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) in vitro was linked to the inhibition of injury-induced engagement of critical death pathways. Such death of SH-SY5Y cells in this study was observed to be heralded by the buildup of intracellular reactive oxygen species and the activation of the calcium-activated protease calpain I, and these processes were effectively suppressed by bergamot essential oil.  Amantea et al. (2009) similarly studied the neuroprotective ability of bergamot essential oil, but in their study, they focused on the effect of bergamot essential oil on the brain damage induced by permanent focal cerebral ischemia in rats. Amantea et al. (2009) demonstrated that bergamot essential oil at a dose of 0.1–0.5 mL/kg administered intraperitoneally an hour prior to the occlusion of the middle cerebral artery led to a significant decrease in infarct size and, at an effective dose of 0.5 mL/kg, a significant decrease in infarct extension throughout the brain, in particular in the medial striatum and the motor cortex. In summary, the prevention of glutamate accumulation and the upregulation of phospho-Akt presumably account for bergamot essential oil’s neuroprotective action. 
Bergamot Essential Oil - Molecular Components and Chemistry
Limonene, linalyl acetate, γ-terpinene, linalool, and β-pinene are considered the primary active constituents of bergamot essential oil.  Much has been studied about the abundant compounds in bergamot essential oil, particularly linalool whose antinociceptive and antihyperalgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anticonvulsant effects have been well examined in different animal models. 
Coumarins and furanocoumarins are compounds generally found throughout all Citrus species. Bergapten, a coumarin reported to have a strong antiproliferative activity (IC50 value of 71.3 μg/mL after 20 min of irradiation), is of note among coumarins found in bergamot essential oil.  In one study examining the effects of bergamot extracts on interleukin-8 (IL-8) production in cystic fibrosis IB3-1 and CuFi-1 cells, bergapten and citropten were determined to be the most active, strong inhibitors of IL-8 expression, signifying their potential in alleviating lung inflammation distinct to patients with cystic fibrosis.  Bergapten has also been reported to effectively diminish ERα in MCF-7 breast cancer–sensitive cells and in tamoxifen-resistant clone  and to improve p53 gene expression and to induce apoptosis in human breast cancer cells. 
 Bergamot orange. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergamot_orange
 Rombolà L. et al. (2009). Effects of systemic administration of the essential oil of bergamot (BEO) on gross behaviour and EEG power spectra recorded from the rat hippocampus and cerebral cortex. Functional Neurology, 24(2): 107–112. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19775539
 Bergamot 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil- 10 ml. Edens Garden. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.amazon.com/Bergamot-100-Therapeutic-Grade-Essential/dp/B003TMA3DU
 Bergamot 100% Pure Essential Oil - 10 ml. Plantlife. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.amazon.com/Bergamot-100-Pure-Essential-Oil/dp/B00181A96A
 Bergamot Essential Oil - 10ml - 100% Pure. Mystic Moments. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bergamot-Essential-Oil-10ml-100/dp/B00461AX92
 Abbey Essentials Bergamot Essential Oil 1 Litre. Abbey Essentials. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Abbey-Essentials-Bergamot-Essential-Litre/dp/B00AME3NYY
 Bergamot oil. WebMD, LLC. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-142-BERGAMOT%20OIL.aspx?activeIngredientId=142& activeIngredientName=BERGAMOT%20OIL
 Furneri P. M. et al. (2012). In vitro antimycoplasmal activity of Citrus bergamia essential oil and its major components. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 52: 66–69. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2012.03.005. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22465092
 Fisher K. & Phillips C. A. (2006).The effect of lemon, orange and bergamot essential oils and their components on the survival of Campylobacter jejuni, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus in vitro and in food systems. J Appl Microbiol, 101(6): 1232–1240. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17105553
 Mandalari G. et al. (2007). Antimicrobial activity of flavonoids extracted from bergamot (Citrus bergamia Risso) peel, a byproduct of the essential oil industry. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 103(6): 2056–2064. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18045389
 Sakurada T. et al. (2009). Intraplantar injection of bergamot essential oil into the mouse hindpaw: effects on capsaicin-induced nociceptive behaviors. International Review of Neurobiology, 85: 237–248. doi: 10.1016/S0074-7742(09)85018-6. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19607974
 Chang K. & Shen C. (2011). Aromatherapy benefits autonomic nervous system regulation for elementary school faculty in Taiwan. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2011: 946537. doi: 10.1155/2011/946537. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3092730/
 Saiyudthong S. & Marsden C. A. (2011). Acute effects of bergamot oil on anxiety-related behaviour and corticosterone level in rats. Phytotherapy Research, 25(6): 858–862. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3325. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21105176
 Corasaniti M. T. et al. (2007). Cell signaling pathways in the mechanisms of neuroprotection afforded by bergamot essential oil against NMDA-induced cell death in vitro. British Journal of Pharmacology, 151(4): 518–529. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2013960/
 Amantea D. et al. (2009). Prevention of glutamate accumulation and upregulation of phospho-Akt may account for neuroprotection afforded by bergamot essential oil against brain injury induced by focal cerebral ischemia in rat. International Review of Neurobiology, 85: 389–405. doi: 10.1016/S0074-7742(09)85027-7. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19607983
 Menichini F. et al. (2010). In vitro photo-induced cytotoxic activity of Citrus bergamia and C. medica L. cv. Diamante peel essential oils and identified active coumarins. Pharm Biol, 48(9): 1059–1065. doi: 10.3109/13880200903486636. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20690896
 Borgatti M. et al. (2011). Bergamot (Citrus bergamia Risso) fruit extracts and identified components alter expression of interleukin 8 gene in cystic fibrosis bronchial epithelial cell lines. BMC Biochemistry, 12:15. doi: 10.1186/1471-2091-12-15. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21496221
 Panno M. L. et al. (2012). Bergapten induces ER depletion in breast cancer cells through SMAD4-mediated ubiquitination. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 136(2): 443–455. doi: 10.1007/s10549-012-2282-3. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23053665
 Panno M. L. et al. (2009). Evidence that bergapten, independently of its photoactivation, enhances p53 gene expression and induces apoptosis in human breast cancer cells. Current Cancer Drug Targets, 9(4): 469–481. Retrieved 2 April 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19519316
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