Everyone knows that the English are crazy about tea and that the most beloved and famous brand is Earl Gray. It is named after Charles Gray, an aristocrat and British Prime Minister between1830 and 1834, famous for numerous reforms, one of which brought a ban on slavery in the British Empire. And what makes Earl Gray tea stand out from all other black tea blends is the aroma of bergamot.
Of course, Gray did not invent this recipe himself, and in fact it is not even known exactly how it came about. Two stories have been circulating: according to one, a consignment of tea travelled together with boxes of bergamot, so the tea consignment was infused with aroma of this citrus fruit; according to the other, the mixture was made by a certain Chinese acquaintance of Gray’s to mask the unpleasant smell of hard water on his family estate. However, the aroma of bergamot became so popular that when the Twinning company that produces it changed its formula in 2011, there was a public outcry in Britain. In our part of the world, that would be tantamount to banning our home-brewed coffee.
And what is bergamot anyway? Citrus bergamia is a tree and fruit from the citrus family, it looks like a small orange, but is lime-coloured. Although it is full of vitamins C, B1, B2, A and potassium, the fruit is not eaten fresh due to its very strong, sour taste. That is why it is usually candied and is a common ingredient in Turkish delight, while a very aromatic and refreshing oil is made from its skin. Although the word bergamot sounds Italian, where this citrus is mostly grown, the origin of the word is actually Turkish – bey armut – which means a gentleman’s pear. Although grown throughout the Mediterranean, most bergamot plantations are in Calabria, making it its trademark.
Bergamot is so fragrant that it can lift our spirits in an instant. If we smell its essential oil in the morning, we will surely start our working day with enthusiasm and positivity. Aroma therapy with bergamot reduces the feelings of stress, anxiety, restlessness and depression. For people who are not able to control their appetite and are prone to overeating, it can help to normalise the need for food and thus cope with obesity, which was proven by an Italian clinical study.
A study in Britain found that Earl Gray tea protects against cardiovascular disease precisely because it contains bergamot. A few drops of its essential oil mixed with olive oil helps digestion, it reduces gas and bloating. If rubbed on a sore spot, it can help with headaches, muscle and joint aches. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties are the reason why it is often part of deodorants, soaps and body care oils. But bergamot oil has another important quality when it comes to our skin.
Bergamot oil effectively promotes the healing of wounds and acne scars, it neutralises hyperpigmentation and relieves stretch marks. Its regenerative and anti-inflammatory properties help with eczema and skin inflammations.
And the regenerative properties of bergamot are the reason why it is part of the Devi regeneration balm. This completely natural balm that contains high-quality ingredients is ideal for everyday skin care, but also for the skin affected by eczema, psoriasis, irritations, scars and burns. That is not all – bergamot oil is also part of the Devi breast gel: in addition to giving the décolleté skin a velvety appearance, it also adds a seductive scent.
If we want to enhance the beneficial effect of bergamot for the whole body, we can use these balms while sipping Earl Gray tea, sweetening it with bergamot Turkish delight while fantasizing about traveling to the tip of the Italian boot-shaped peninsula. Bergamot is a balm for all senses.