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Bergamot orange

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Bergamot orange
Citrus bergamia
Scientific classification
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This page is a soft redirect. Citrus bergamia
(Risso) Wright & Arn.[1]

Citrus bergamia, the Bergamot orange (pronounced standard English: /ˈbɜːɡəˌmɒt/ or GenAm /ˈbɝɡəˌmɑt/), is a fragrant fruit the size of an orange, with a yellow color similar to a lemon. Genetic research into the ancestral origins of extant citrus cultivars found bergamot orange to be a probable hybrid of Citrus limetta and Citrus aurantium.[2] It is inedible, but extracts have been used[3] to scent food, perfumes, and cosmetics. Use on the skin can be carcinogenic; excessive consumption can be toxic.[4]


The word bergamot is etymologically derived from bergamotta in Italian, originating from Bergamo, a town in Italy.[5]

From French bergamote, from Italian bergamotta, of Turkish origin: "beg-armudi or beg armut ("prince's pear" or "prince of pears).[6]


Citrus bergamia is a small tree that blossoms during the winter. The fruit is not edible.[3] The juice tastes less sour than lemon, but more bitter than grapefruit.


The active ingredients in bergamot juice are neoeriocitrin, naringin, neohesperidin, ponceritin, melitidin, and brutieridin. Melitidin and brutieridin, only recently discovered, exist only in citrus bergamot, and exhibit statin-like properties.[7] Synephrine is not present in citrus bergamot.


The bergamot orange is unrelated to the herbs known as bergamot or wild bergamot, Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa, which are in the mint family, and are named for their similar aroma.

Citrus bergamia has also been classified as Citrus aurantium subsp. bergamia (i.e. a subspecies of bitter orange).[8]

Citrus bergamia is sometimes confused with (but is not the same as)


A bergamot orange from Calabria, Italy

Production mostly is limited to the Ionian Sea coastal areas of the province of Reggio di Calabria in Italy, to such an extent that it is a symbol of the entire city. Most of the bergamot comes from a short stretch of land there where the temperature is favourable. It is also cultivated in Côte d'Ivoire, but the quality of the obtained essence is not comparable with the essence produced from the bergamots of Reggio due to the argillite, limestone and alluvial deposits found there.[citation needed]

Citrus bergamot is commercially grown in southern Calabria (province of Reggio), southern Italy, where more than 80% are produced. It is also grown in southern France[9] and in Côte d'Ivoire for the essential oil and in Antalya in southern Turkey for its marmalade.[10] The fruit is not generally grown for juice consumption.[3] However, in Mauritius where it is grown on small scale basis, it is largely used for juice consumption by the locals.

One hundred bergamot oranges will yield about three ounces (85 grams) of bergamot oil.[11]

Adulteration with cheaper products such as oil of rosewood and bergamot mint has been a problem for consumers. To protect the reputation of their produce, the Italian government introduced tight controls, including testing and certificates of purity. The Stazione Sperimentale per le Industrie delle Essenze e dei Derivati dagli Agrumi (Experimental Station for Essential Oil and Citrus By-Products) located in Reggio di Calabria, was the Quality Control Body for the essential oil Bergamotto di Reggio Calabria DOP.[12] During World War II, Italy was unable to export to countries such as the Allied powers. Rival products from Brazil and Mexico came on to the market as a substitute, but these were produced from other citrus fruits such as sweet lime.[13]


Food and drink

The actual fruit of the bergamot orange itself is not known to be edible.[3]

File:Bergamot preserves.jpg
Bergamot marmalade

An essence extracted from the aromatic skin of this sour fruit is used to flavour Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas, and confectionery (including Turkish delight [14]). It is often used to make marmalade, particularly in Italy. In Sweden and Norway, bergamot is a very common flavourant in snus, a smokeless tobacco product.[15] Likewise in dry nasal snuff it is also a common aroma in traditional blends.[citation needed] Carpentierbe, a company based in San Giorgio Morgeto, near Reggio Calabria, makes a digestive liqueur derived from bergamot marketed under the name Liquore al Bergamotto.


Bergamot peel is used in perfumery for its ability to combine with an array of scents to form a bouquet of aromas which complement each other. Approximately one third of all men's and about half of women’s perfumes contain bergamot essential oil.[citation needed] Bergamot is a major component of the original Eau de Cologne composed by Farina at the beginning of 18th century Germany. The first record of bergamot oil as fragrance ingredient is 1714, to be found in the Farina Archive in Cologne.

The distinctive aroma of bergamot is most commonly known for its use in Earl Grey tea.[16]

Bergamot essential oil is popular in aromatherapy.


In several patch test studies, application of some sources of bergamot oil directly to the skin of guinea pigs was shown to have a concentration-dependent phototoxic effect of increasing redness after exposure to ultraviolet light (due to the chemical bergapten, and possibly also citropten, bergamottin, geranial, and neral).[17][18] This is a property shared by many other citrus fruits. Bergapten has also been implicated as a potassium channel blocker; in one case study, a patient who consumed four liters of Earl Grey tea per day (which contains bergamot essential oil as a flavouring) suffered muscle cramps.[19]

Bergamot contains extremely large amounts of polyphenols, as compared to other citrus species. Two of these, brutieridin and melitidin, directly inhibit cholesterol biosynthesis in a similar way to statins and they are not found in any other citrus derivatives.[20]

Bergamot is also a source of bergamottin which, along with the chemically related compound 6',7'-dihydroxybergamottin, is believed to be responsible for the grapefruit juice effect in which the consumption of the juice affects the metabolism of a variety of pharmaceutical drugs.[21]

Skin care

Bergamot is used in many skin care creams.[citation needed]

In the past, psoralen extracted from bergamot oil has been used in tanning accelerators and sunscreens. These substances were known to be photocarcinogenic since 1959,[22] but they were only banned from sunscreens in 1995.[23] These photocarcinogenic substances were banned years after they had caused many cases of malignant melanoma and deaths.[24]

Psoralen is now used only in the treatment of certain skin disorders, as part of PUVA therapy.[medical citation needed]

Medicinal properties

The juice of the fruit has been used in Calabrian indigenous medicine to treat malaria.[25]

There is insufficient evidence bergamot oil is of medical benefit for a variety of claimed uses.[4] Use on the skin can be unsafe, particularly for children and pregnant women.[4] Potential side effects of drinking large amounts of bergamot oil can include convulsions and death in children.[4]


  1. ^ Citrus bergamia – Risso
  2. ^ RFLP Analysis of the Origin of Citrus Bergamia, Citrus Jambhiri, and Citrus Limonia
  3. ^ a b c d The Oxford Companion to Food (2006): "The bergamot orange is not edible and is grown only for its fragrant oil, although its peel is sometimes candied."
  4. ^ a b c d "BERGAMOT OIL: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings". WebMD. Retrieved April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". 
  6. ^ "Collins". 
  7. ^ Di Donna, Leonardo; De Luca, Giuseppina; Mazzotti, Fabio; Napoli, Anna; Salerno, Raffaele; Taverna, Domenico; Sindona, Giovanni (2009). "Statin-like Principles of Bergamot Fruit: Isolation of 3-Hydroxymethylglutaryl Flavonoid Glycosides". Journal of Natural Products 72 (7): 1352–1354. PMID 19572741. doi:10.1021/np900096w. 
  8. ^ "USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network entry for Citrus bergamia". United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-09-07. 
  9. ^ Bergamot Orange – Citrus aurantium ssp bergamia
  10. ^ Aktas, Ali (26 October 2004). "Reçellerin gözdesi, Bergamut(The most prominent marmalade: Bergamot)". ZAMAN. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  11. ^ Brannt, William Theodore; Schaedler, Karl. A Practical Treatise on Animal and Vegetable Fats and Oils
  12. ^ "Decreto 15 novembre 2005 – Designazione della Stazione sperimentale per le industrie delle essenze e dei derivati degli agrumi quale autorità pubblica, incaricata di effettuare i controlli sulla denominazione di origine protetta "Bergamotto di Reggio Calabria", registrata in ambito Unione europea, ai sensi del regolamento (CEE) n. 2081/92" (PDF). ISMEA. 
  13. ^ Niir Board. "Oil of Bergamot". The complete technology book of essential oils. p. 75. ISBN 978-81-7833-066-2{{inconsistent citations}} 
  14. ^ "Three generations of Turkish delight in Southern California". Los Angeles Times. 
  15. ^ "". 
  16. ^ "Citrus bergamia Risso & Poit.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. 
  17. ^ Girard J, Unkovic J, Delahayes J, Lafille C (1979). "Phototoxicity of Bergamot oil. Comparison between humans and guinea pigs". Dermatologica (in French) 158 (4): 229–43. PMID 428611. doi:10.1159/000250763. 
  18. ^ Kejlova K, Jirova D, Bendova H, Kandarova H, Weidenhoffer Z, Kolarova H, Liebsch M (2007). "Phototoxicity of bergamot oil assessed by in vitro techniques in combination with human patch tests". Toxicology in Vitro 21 (7): 1298–1303. PMID 17669618. doi:10.1016/j.tiv.2007.05.016. 
  19. ^ Finsterer, J (2002). "Earl Grey tea intoxication". Lancet 359 (9316): 1484. PMID 11988248. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(02)08436-2. 
  20. ^ "The Fruit Extract that Fights Cancer, Aging". Wake Up World. 
  21. ^ Bailey, David G.; Malcolm, J.; Arnold, O.; Spence, J. David (1998). "Grapefruit juice–drug interactions". Br J Clin Pharmacol 46 (2): 101–110. PMC 1873672. PMID 9723817. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2125.1998.00764.x. 
  22. ^ Urbach, F (1959). "Modification of ultraviolet carcinogenesis by photoactive agents". J Invest Dermatol 32 (2, Part 2): 373–378. PMID 13641813. doi:10.1038/jid.1959.63. 
  23. ^ Autier P; Dore J F; Schifflers E et al. (1995). "Melanoma and use of sunscreens: An EORTC case control study in Germany, Belgium and France". Int. J. Cancer 61 (6): 749–755. PMID 7790106. doi:10.1002/ijc.2910610602. 
  24. ^ Autier, P.; Dore, J.-F.; Cesarini, J.-P.; Boyle, P. (1997). "Should subjects who used psoralen suntan activators be screened for melanoma?" (PDF). Annals of oncology 8 (5): 435–437. ISSN 0923-7534. PMID 9233521. doi:10.1023/A:1008205513771. [dead link]
  25. ^ Krippner, Stanley; Ashwin Budden; Michael Bova; Roberto Galante (September 2004). "The Indigenous Healing Tradition in Calabria, Italy". Proceedings of the Annual Conference for the Study of Shamanism and Alternative Modes of Healing (San Francisco: Chair for Consciousness Studies at Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center). Retrieved 10 February 2009. 


  • Dugo, Giovanni; Bonaccorsi, Ivana (2013). Citrus bergamia: Bergamot and its Derivatives. Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles (Book 51). CRC Press. ISBN 978-1439862278. 

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