Bergamotto di Reggio Calabria

Business Name: Consorzio di Tutela del Bergamotto
Category: Essence Oil
Sub-Category: Cosmetic/Other

Address: Via RodinĂ²
Postal Code: 89030
Province: Reggio di Calabria
Country: Italy

Tel: 0965 6784060
Fax: 0965 776116

Contact: Send Email

Business Profile:

The special qualities of the habitat and the constantly changing methods of extraction of the essence from the fruit have made the Bergamotto di Reggio Calabria PDO the most precious and sought after in the world.

Production : World production is mostly (at least 90%) concentrated in Italy, in the province of Reggio di Calabria. However the quantity of essential oil produced has been decreasing in the last decades.

The essential Bergamotto oil is produced on the coastline which runs from Villa S. Giovanni to Gioiosa Ionica, between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas, and includes numerous districts of the province of Reggio di Calabria.

The presence of Bergamotto di Reggio Calabria PDO was noted between the 14th and the 16th century, and the first bergamot tree was planted around 1750.

It probably derives from a cross between a bitter orange and an acidic lime even if it is believed to be a real species, denominated Citrus Bergamia Risso, of Chinese origin.

The Bergamotto di Reggio  Calabria PDO is an essential oil extracted from three varieties of Citrus Bergamia Risso: Femminello, Castagnaro and Fantastico.

Since the beginning of the last century, the market for bergamot essence has suffered from heavy speculative pressures due to fluctuations in both production and price which have caused cyclical crises in the sector, in their turn accentuated by self-interested defamatory campaigns conducted by the multinational industrial producers of synthetic essences.

Beginning in 1930, various laws were enacted to regulate the bergamot sector and in 1946, following pressure from to promote and encourage adherence to a strict production  protocol aimed at offering the market a genuine, high-quality essence product. 

The fruit is harvested at the beginning of November. 

The orange blossom flowers are numerous, white and with an extraordinarily heady perfume.

The fruit from which Bergamotto di Reggio Calabria PDO is extracted is similar to that of an orange, but with a green-yellow color, depending on the maturity. The fine and smooth peel is rich in essential oils and is characterized by the typical color which varies between green and yellow.

The plant is produced by grafting and today it is usually grafted onto a bitter orange, which gives strong, resistant, long-living plants.

The origins of the bergamot  are still mysterious.   
Different experts have traced it to China, Greece, Pergamo in Asia or the Spanish city of Berga, imported by Christopher Columbus on his way back from the Canary Islands.

Another fascinating hypothesis is that the bergamot  originates from Turkey where a variety known as “pear of the lord” – in Turkish “Begarmudi” - exists.

However, the most probable hypothesis is that the bergamot derives from the spontaneous mutation of another species (the bitter orange or lime) which took place in the city of the Fata Morgana towards the end of the seventeenth century  due to the particularly mild micro-climate.

The extraction of bergamot oil in Calabria started around the middle of the 17th century and for much of its history, it was carried out manually; the technique, known as the “sponge” method consisted in cutting the fruit in half, extracting the pulp and then pressing the peel against a natural sponge, using a turning action of the hand so as to squeeze the essence out of the pores.

200 kg of fruit are needed to obtain a liter of essential oil, extracted by pressing the skin of the fruit and absorbing it with natural sponges, collocated in special recipients.

The mixture of oil and peel liquid collected in the sponge was then squeezed out into a container known as a “concolina” and the essential oil was separated out be decantation.
In 1840 Nicola Barillà invented the first system of mechanical extraction of bergamot oil although it was somewhat clumsy and not automatic.   
However, Barillà and Luigi Auteri perfected the system and in 1844 presented the first model of what would be called the “Calabrian Machine”.

The machine allowed for the extraction of high-quality essence with a much greater yield than the sponge technique had given.  
This method was based on the rubbing of the surface of the fruit by two “cups”- one fixed and one rotating - fixed with metal points and blades  which forced the essential oil out of the pores.

The essential oil Bergamotto di Reggio Calabria PDO is indispensable in the perfume industry where it is utilized, not only for fixing the aromatic bouquet of the perfumes, but also to harmonies the other essences contained exalting the notes of freshness and fragrance.

The essence is also used in the pharmaceutical industry for its antiseptic and anti bacterial properties, especially in dentistry and gynecology.

In the food and sweet industry, it is used as an aroma for liquors, sweets and beverages.

There are numerous uses of the essence also in the aromatic sector like pipe tobacco, candid and teas. Recently, the Bergamot essence has been used with great success in tanning products.

The product is sold as  Bergamotto di Reggio Calabria ​PDO , under the form of an essential oil in small glass bottles.

Almost all products are sold transformed and utilized mainly in the food industry, in the perfume sector and in the pharmaceutical industry.

Thanks to the special characteristics of the Ionian-Mediterranean microclimate, it is possible to obtain the yield in essential oil. For this Calabria is the major world producer of Bergamot with 90% of the production, a minimal part is cultivated in Africa and South America.

In discussing the properties of bergamot essence,  we cannot overlook the landmark clinical studies on the use of bergamot essence as a surgical antiseptic carried out by Antonino Spinelli in 1932.  

In his study he also quoted the experiences of another Reggio doctor, Vincenzo De Domenico (1854) who carried out observation experimentation on himself, taking increasing 15 drop doses.  He noted an overall sedative effect with somnolence and a lowered heart and breathing rate.  He later used bergamot essence as a malaria remedy in doses varying from 4 to 30 drops daily.  

Other research studies have shown the effectiveness of bergamot essence in the treatment of psoriasis, and of  vitiligo and also its anti-HIV effect which may indicate it as a future treatment method for AIDS.

As far as we are aware, studies have not yet addressed the possible modifications in the level of endorphins or other liquor parameters in the body in the presence of bergamot essence although we may expect any future studies of this nature to reveal aspects of considerable interest.

Texts adapted from Qualigeo

Side effects
Bergamot is a plant that produces a type of citrus fruit. Oil taken from the peel of the fruit is used to make medicine.

Some people treat a skin condition called psoriasis by applying bergamot oil directly to the skin and then shining long-wave ultraviolet (UV) light on the affected area. Bergamot oil is also applied to the skin (used topically) for a tumor caused by a fungal infection (mycosis fungoides) and for pigment loss (vitiligo). It is also used as an insecticide to protect the body against lice and other parasites.

Bergamot oil is sometimes inhaled (used as aromatherapy) to reduce anxiety during radiation treatment.
In foods, bergamot oil is widely used as a citrus flavoring agent, especially in gelatins and puddings.
In manufacturing, bergamot oil is used in perfumes, creams, lotions, soaps, and suntan oils.

How does it work?
Bergamot oil has several active chemicals. These chemicals can make the skin sensitive to sunlight.
Please note - Insufficiente evidence for the uses suggested  below

Anxiety during radiation treatment. Developing evidence suggests that inhaling bergamot oil as aromatherapy does not help reduce anxiety in people receiving radiation treatment.

Treating a tumor under the skin due to a fungal infection (mycosis fungoides), when used along with ultra-violet (UV) light.

Protecting the body against lice and other parasites.

Psoriasis, when used along with UV light.

Loss of the color pigment on the skin (vitiligo).

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of bergamot oil for these uses.
Bergamot oil is safe for most people in the small amounts found in food.
It might not be safe when used on the skin (topically), because it can make the skin sensitive to the sun and more vulnerable to skin cancer.

People who work with bergamot can develop skin problems including blisters, scabs, pigment spots, rashes, sensitivity to the sun, and cancerous changes.

Special Precautions & Warnings:Children: Do not use bergamot oil in children. There have been serious side effects, including convulsion and death, in children who have taken large amounts of bergamot oil.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Do not use bergamot oil on your skin if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. It might not be safe.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

Medications that increase sensitivity to sunlight (Photosensitizing drugs) interacts with BERGAMOT OIL

Some medications can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Topical use of bergamot oil might also increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Using bergamot oil topically along with medication that increase sensitivity to sunlight could increase the chances of sunburn, blistering or rashes on areas of skin exposed to sunlight.

Be sure to wear sunblock and protective clothing when spending time in the sun.

Some drugs that cause photosensitivity include amitriptyline (Elavil), Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), norfloxacin (Noroxin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), ofloxacin (Floxin), levofloxacin (Levaquin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), gatifloxacin (Tequin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Septra), tetracycline, methoxsalen (8-methoxypsoralen, 8-MOP, Oxsoralen), and Trioxsalen (Trisoralen).
The appropriate dose of bergamot oil depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for bergamot oil. 

Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. 

Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
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