THE SECRETS OF BERGAMOT: CHEMICAL FOCUS10/17/2017
Bergamot essential oil, extracted from the Mediterranean’s bergamot orange tree, provides more than just a spicy-floral aroma that makes it one of the most used perfumery and aromatherapy ingredients. It also offers users a number of health benefits. Made of 15 different powerful compounds, limonene is bergamot’s most active ingredient. It also contains melitidin and brutieridin, making it the only citrus fruit to do so. Here’s a look at the top benefits associated with bergamot essential oil’s main constituents.
Numerous studies have shown that the limonene in bergamot oil has a stimulating affect that gives users’ mood and energy levels a boost. By enhancing the production of serotonin and dopamine, improving nerve function and circulation throughout the body, and increasing the metabolic rate, limonene relieves stress, alleviates feelings of depression and apathy, promotes sleep and relaxation, and can even enhance sex drive.
A study published in 2013 identified the limonene in bergamot oil as having analgesic (pain relieving), anxiolytic, and neuroprotective effects. It also linked the activation of multiple death pathways in cancer cells to the combination of constituents bergamot essential oil contains, primarily limonene and linalyl acetate. Researchers are still trying to pinpoint how bergamot oil does this.
Melitidin and Brutieridin
Research shows that melitidin and brutieridin have an anti-cholesterol effect that is comparable to prescription statin medications. It is believed that together they work to lower cholesterol levels by inhibiting the production of HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme that produces cholesterol.
In a 2015 study performed by Italian researchers, participants in the bergamot group experienced a significant average decrease in total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, as well as a significant increase in HDL (“good”) cholesterol when compared to those not given bergamot. They also experienced a reduction in blood sugar levels by an average of 15-25%, meaning it may be beneficial for anyone with prediabetes.