The bergamot has been known in the Mediterranean for several centuries, the distinctive and desirable characteristics
of its extracted oil having been recognized as early as 1750.
Presumably it originated as a seedling in southern Italy.
While there is general agreement that the sour orange has one parent, the other parent is a matter of conjecture.
It has usually been assumed that it was the lemon, but Chapot (1962b) has presented rather convincing evidence in support of the conclusion that some kind of acid lime was the other parent.
For reasons that are not clear, the commercial culture of this fruit, which is grown primarily for the rind oil, is virtually confined to the province of Reggio di Calabria, in southern Italy, where the most recent statistics indicate a total planting of approximately 7,500 acres.
While the tree grows and bears well in Sicily and in portions of North Africa and elsewhere, reportedly the oil is highly variable, inferior in quality, and therefore unprofitable.
Bergamot oil is commercially important because it constitutes the base of cologne water (eau de cologne), perhaps the most widely used toilet water, and also has other perfumery uses.
According to Chapot (1962b), this cologne water was developed in Cologne in 1676 by an Italian emigrant, Paolo Feminis, and commercialized by his son-in-law, Gian Maria Farina.
Its manufacture dates back to 1709.
Bergamot petit grain oil is another product, of minor importance, distilled from the leaves and young growth. An important byproduct of the highly acid juice in the oil extraction process is citrate of lime or citric acid.
Can citrus bergamot lower your cholesterol as opposed to taking prescription statin drugs? Although the bergamot is typically known for its intoxicating citrusy scent and for its antiseptic properties it has been shown that the bergamot is also very effective in the fight against high blood sugar and cholesterol.
There are 2 types of cholesterol - good and bad. It's so important to keep it at healthy levels because high blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
For all those who do not want, can not or do not get benefits from statins, there might be an alternative as suggested by a study conducted by Italian researchers at the University Magna Graecia of Catanzaro, the results of which were published in the scientific journal International Journal of Cardiology.
Such as statins, bergamot could be used effectively to reduce levels of "bad" cholesterol and increase those of "good" cholesterol. The Italian study says.
These results are not to be underestimated, considering that high cholesterol can cause heart disease and stroke, as well as can also benefit from the bergamot diabetics or people at risk of diabetes, whereas a positive effect is the reduction of blood sugar.
It been also shown in more recent studies that by administering one or more portions of 500 mg of extract of bergamot in individuals with high cholesterol, after 30 days you had a 42% increase in HDL (good cholesterol), a 38% decrease LDL (bad cholesterol), a 41% lower triglycerides and a decrease of up to 25% of blood glucose.
Bergamot works so well because it is a powerful antioxidant that protects against free radicals. Additionally, in its stem there is a high concentration of flavonoids which act by blocking a key enzyme in cholesterol production.
Bergamot has no significant side effects, although it can interfere with certain medications, so it is important to first ask your doctor’s advice.
The bergamot extract capsules are typically found in pharmacies or herbalists. Once your doctor has given the okay to use the bergamot, you can use this supplement if the blood sugar or cholesterol is too high
It is recommended that you also consume it in the form of tea, because it is known that the key ingredient of the famous Earl Grey is just the oil extracted from the rind of the fruit of bergamot.
Also available for consumption is a bergamotto juice developed three years ago.
The fruit is not edible and is cultivated for production of its essential oil which is extracted from the ripe fruit peel and is used extensively in perfumery for its sweet freshness.
It was a component of the original Eau de Cologne developed in Germany in the 17th century, and today is used in different proportions in almost all modern perfumes. Perfumes of the so-called Chypre and Fougère types are not possible without bergamot oil.
Can citrus bergamot lower your cholesterol as opposed to taking prescription statin drugs?
Citrus bergamot is becoming more popular as an alternative to statin on a global basis.
Recently, speakers have been appearing on radio shows touting the health benefits/effects of this exotic fruit grown in sunny Calabria, Southern Italy.
The benefits of bergamot could be great also for heart patients, which may reduce the intake of drugs instead of increasing the consumption of citrus fruit.
On March 11, 2013, a national radio show featured a popular, well-published cardiologist and a PhD nutritionist discussing the health benefits of citrus bergamot, among other flavonoids some patients take instead of statins.
What researchers looked for was that bergamot inhibited the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which promotes cholesterol synthesis, and lowered blood pressure. Researchers found that HMG-CoA reductase is active when blood glucose is high.
So, by lowering blood sugar levels, citrus bergamot also indirectly affects the activity of HMG-CoA reductase...
March 13, 2013 - The Examiner.com : Some cardiologists are not prescribing statins routinely, but instead are offering some patients plant extracts instead to lower cholesterol, for example citrus bergamot
Personal note:Among the many uses, the BergaCal(image above- the small bottle comes with a air spray kit)extract is commonly used in Calabria to prevent bad odors, (when sprayed under the arm pit it kills the bacteria causing bad odors), itchy feet, discolored skin patches and sun tanning. (Warning - Although widely used, Bergamot might damage the skin when exposed to the sun and is NOT recommended to use as a tanning oil).