folk medicine & modern science
I love it when Western medicine catches onto what herbalists, old wives and Ayurvedic practices have said for countless years - German researchers find that inhaling bergamot essential oil lowers stress and improves mood.
One of many oils extracted from citrus plants, bergamot is used by herbalists and Ayurvedic practice to calm the mind, soothe the spirit and reduce anxiety.
Researchers in Germany found that just inhaling the essential oil reduced the psychological AND physiological markers associated of stress in humans. Stress hormones were lower, and high frequency heart rate activity increased (an indicator of lower levels of stress).
None of this information will come as a surprise to folks like me who work on human bodies all the time - bergamot is the single most chosen oil when my clients are offered a choice of facial oils. An added benefit of bergamot is that calmer body and mind equals better balanced skin.
The same tree that produces bergamot (from the peel of the fruit) is also the source for petitigran (leaves) and neroli (flowers).
Bergamot is also the top note in the 'Dandelion' eau de parfum by Alchemy.
(source: the German Journal of Research in Complimentary Medicine, quoted by Ananda Apothecary)