Scientific name: Citrus aurantium var. bergamia

Common name: bergamot.

English name: bergamot.

Parts used: peel and pericarp, from which essential oil (limonene, linalool, coumarins) and waxes are obtained; juice: numerous flavonoids (naringin, rutin) and pectins.

Properties: counteracts stress and anxiety; calming and relaxing.

An evergreen tree 3-4 m high, with rounded oval leaves an small white flowers with a strong and characteristic scent. The name appears to derive from the Turkish beg armudi = "pear of the lord". A legend suggests its origins from the city of Berga in Spain. Bergamot is a typical and protected species of Calabria.

The coumarins contained in the essential oil accelerate the melanin synthesis process thereby accelerating the tanning process.

Curiosity: it is said that the Spanish Moors sold a branchy Bergamot for 18 shields to the Valentino family in Reggio Calabria, who proceeded to graft it on a bitter orange. In 1750 the first intensive planting was carried out along the Ionian coast, in the heart of Locride, and the essence was extracted using natural methods involving sponges; only 100 years later the first real industrialization of the plant was documented, guaranteeing the essence of excellent quality.

Today, from about 1,500 hectares, around 200 thousand kilograms of bergamot fruits are yielded per year, roughly equal to 90% of world production. Bergamot is referred to as Calabria's green gold.

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