Companion Botanical Close-Up: Bergamot Orange

Citrus bergamia is a member of the Rutaceae family, commonly known as the rue family. It contains over 2000 species across 160 genera, including Citrus, many of which are woody shrubs and trees that exhibit intoxicatingly fragrant flowers and aromatic foliage. The bergamot orange is native to the Mediterranean region and is believed to be a hybrid of a lemon and a bitter orange. It is not to be confused with the herb wild bergamot (Monarda didyma), or bee balma member of the mint family. Despite the name “orange,” you would not eat a bergamot orange the way you would expect. Even though they are a great source of vitamins C, B1, B2, and A, they are very bitter and sour. Instead, this fruit is prized for its peel, which includes the rind and the pith. Used fresh, it can be candied or made into marmalades. When the orange is dried, it is used in cooking or added to beverages. Most notably, the peel is extracted for its essential oil. For centuries, this oil has been used in the perfume and confectionery industries and is perhaps best known for giving Earl Grey tea its signature citrus taste and aroma.

Bergamot essential oil also has a long history of therapeutic use. In traditional Western herbalism systems, it is particularly noted as being analgesic, antiseptic, nervine, antispasmodic and vulnerary, or wound healing. In topical preparations, this vulnerary action of bergamot is often focused on the skin to help manage dry, chapped and irritated conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. In Ayurveda, the bergamot is said to calm excess Vata, which can manifest as irritability, pain, spasms or tremors and to soothe anger associated with excess pitta. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, bergamot is indicated for depression when linked to stress and stifled emotions. It is said to relax and refresh the Shen or spirit and to disperse stagnant energy, or Qi, within the body.

Some of the relaxing qualities of bergamot essential oil can be accredited to its terpenes. Terpenes are volatile, organic compounds that contribute to a plant’s aroma and taste and perform functions within its immune system. Significant terpenes found in bergamot orange are d-limonene, linalool, a & b-pinene, sabinene, and a-carene. All of these are also found in cannabis. Knowing which terpenes are in various cannabis cultivars can help you understand their potential therapeutic effects. For example, a-carene is classified as an anti-inflammatory. Therefore, cannabis cultivars that contain high levels of a-carene can potentially be better choices for addressing underlying inflammation that can lead to chronic illness. Understanding terpene content can also help you determine which companion botanicals might best combine with cannabis for effective herbal formulations.

Our Relax Aromatic CBD Roll-On is a synergistic blend of CBD, essential oils and terpenes. The essential oils in this formula are a soothing combination of bergamot, lavender and marjoram. We pair them with botanically-sourced terpenes representing the aromatic and therapeutic profile of Skunk #1, a tried and true Indica-dominant cannabis cultivar known for its relaxing qualities. Applied topically, the oils and terpenes in this blend have a long-standing reputation for relieving pain and inflammation. Aromatically, they are known for their potent sedative and stress-reducing qualities. Together, they support the therapeutic benefits attributed to CBD.

Caution: Bergamot essential oil is photosensitizing, do not apply before exposure to sunshine or a similar light.

The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the statements made regarding these products. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.