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Bergamot Oil is cold-pressed from the outer rind of a citrus fruit that is indigenous to the Canary Islands. Currently, most of the bergamot for essential oil production is grown in Italy, in areas around Calabria and Sicily. It is thought to be a cross of some type of orange; its pear-shaped fruits are characterized by a green, lumpy rind, and is harvested between December and February. Not to be confused with bergamot pears, or red bergamot, which is an herbaceous perennial responsible for bee balm, and Oswego tea. It takes approximately 1,000 peels to produce 30 ounces of essential oil, which results in a clear, yellow-green liquid with a spicy, subtle, sweet, slightly floral, lemony scent with a medium-strength top fragrance note. The primary chemical constituent in bergamot oil is linalyl acetate, geraniol, myrcene, nerol, neryl acetate, a-terpineol, and geraniol acetate, with linalool, d-limonene, and bergamotine, and bergaptene in lesser concentrations. These latter substances, classified as furocoumarines, are often found in proprietary suntan lotions, as they stimulate melanin production in the skin which in turn encourages over-pigmentation. This can be dangerous, however, as this action can increase the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers.
Botanical Name: Citrus Bergamia
Plant Origin: Italy
Processing Method: Cold pressed
Plant Part: Fruit rind
Odor and Color: A clear liquid (sometimes there is a deposit consisting of waxes) in color from green to greenish yellow.
Contraindication: Bergamot essential oil can be highly phototoxic if not heat-treated to remove the furocoumarines. Great care should be taken to avoid unprotected sun exposure following a topical application, as it can cause severe blistering, burning and at the very least, irritation to the skin. Wait at least 24-48 hours before exposing treated areas to direct sunlight. One of its ingredients, bergaptene, becomes toxic when exposed to sunlight, so care must be taken to store bergamot essential oil in a cool, dark place that is protected from light. If you notice the color of your oil darkening, discontinue use and discard immediately. Ingesting too much bergamot, even in tea, can block potassium absorption in the body, so it is best to enjoy in small amounts. Keep out of reach of children, and do not use internally unless under the direct guidance of a qualified practitioner who is trained in aromatherapy. If you are pregnant or nursing, consult your physician before use. Keep away from the eyes and mucous membranes, and always heed recommended dilution factors until you know your tolerance.
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