The Benefits and Side Effects of Drinking Bergamot Tea

Bergamot tea

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Bergamot tea is usually a combination of black tea and bergamot fruit extract. The tea is commonly referred to and sold as Earl Grey tea. Bergamot—also known as the bergamot orange—is a citrus fruit grown in the Mediterranean that has been rumored to have medicinal qualities.

Wild bergamot tea is usually prepared at home using an unrelated wild herb and may provide different health benefits, although studies are lacking.

What Is Bergamot Tea?

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) is a pear-shaped citrus fruit grown primarily in Calabria, Italy, but also in Argentina, Brazil, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, and parts of Asia. The rind of the green or yellow fruit is pressed for oil that is used for medicinal or dietary purposes. Some believe that the bergamot is a hybrid of lemon and bitter orange. The word "bergamot" is derived from a Turkish word that means "prince's pear."

Bergamot tea is not made solely from the fruit. Usually, it is made from black tea and bergamot extract. Also called Earl Grey tea, bergamot tea can be purchased with caffeine or without caffeine. Earl Grey tea may also be produced using other tea leaves including green tea or rooibos tea. The amount of caffeine in the tea will depend on the leaves used to produce it.

Bergamot tea may also refer to a type of tea made with leaves from the wild bergamot plant, sometimes called bee balm. Wild bergamot may grow in parts of the United States and also in Europe. Wild bergamot tea was reportedly used by Native Americans to treat cold symptoms and for other medicinal uses.

How to Make Bergamot Tea

Many familiar brands, like Twinings, Bigelow, and Stash make bergamot tea. Bergamot tea bags can be purchased online and in many health food stores or markets.

Tea bags should be steeped for 3-5 minutes in hot water or about 190-209 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you are interested in making wild bergamot tea, you may have a hard time finding the ingredients. According to sources, the tea can be made with fresh or dried bergamot leaves or even from the seeds. Some people grow wild bergamot at home.

If you are using fresh ingredients to make wild bergamot tea, you'll need to use more of it (up to one-half cup of leaves). If you are using dried leaves or seeds, use about two tablespoons. Leaves should steep for about five minutes. Strain before drinking the tea.

Bergamot Tea Health Benefits

Bergamot ( Citrus bergamia) is often consumed for its health benefits. Some people drink tea to boost mental alertness or prevent certain types of cancer. Bergamot oil may also be used topically (on the skin) to protect the body against lice, relieve psoriasis, and manage the appearance of vitiligo.

Some research studies have investigated the health benefits of bergamot. One study published by Phytotherapy Research was conducted by several employees of a company that makes the essential oil. They found that inhaling the aromatic oil may help reduce anxiety before radiation treatments.

Another study investigated the use of bergamot juice to reduce cardio-metabolic risk factors. Researchers in that study concluded that bergamot juice extract supplementation reduced plasma lipid levels and improved lipoprotein profiles in study subjects.

Scientific studies regarding the health benefits or safety of wild bergamot are lacking.

Risks and Side Effects

Bergamot oil is likely safe for most people when consumed in the small amounts typically found in food.

It is possibly unsafe when used topically on the skin because it can make the skin sensitive to the sun and may make you more vulnerable to skin cancer

6 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Navarra M, Mannucci C, Delbò M, Calapai G. Citrus bergamia essential oil: from basic research to clinical application. Front Pharmacol. 2015;6:36. Published 2015 Mar 2. doi:10.3389/fphar.2015.00036

  2. Britannica The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Bergamot. Encyclopædia Britannica.

  3. USDA. Wild Bergamot. Plants Profile for Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot).

  4. Nauman MC, Johnson JJ. Clinical application of bergamot (Citrus bergamia) for reducing high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease markersIntegr Food Nutr Metab. 2019;6(2):10.15761/IFNM.1000249. doi:10.15761/IFNM.1000249

  5. Han X, Gibson J, Eggett DL, Parker TL. Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) Essential Oil Inhalation Improves Positive Feelings in the Waiting Room of a Mental Health Treatment Center: A Pilot StudyPhytother Res. 2017;31(5):812–816. doi:10.1002/ptr.5806

  6. Perna S, Spadaccini D, Botteri L, et al. Efficacy of bergamot: From anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative mechanisms to clinical applications as preventive agent for cardiovascular morbidity, skin diseases, and mood alterationsFood Sci Nutr. 2019;7(2):369–384. Published 2019 Jan 25. doi:10.1002/fsn3.903

Additional Reading

By Malia Frey, M.A., ACE-CHC, CPT
 Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.