All about Bergamot Mint essential oil
Mentha piperita L. var. citrata (EhrH.) or Mentha citrata as it is commonly written is an interesting essential oil that I have started using recently. It is of course a subspecies of mint and contains high amounts of linalyl acetate and linalool accounting for the majority of the total constituents (Murray et al 1970). Handa et al. (1964) have reported that Mentha citrata oil has 0.6% alpha-pinene, 0.9% beta-pinene, 1.1 % limonene, 0.2% cineole, 4.2% piperitone, 3.0% piperitone oxide, 8.1 % pulegone, 0.1 % menthofuran, 32.4% linalool, 45.0% linalyl acetate, and 3.8% unaccounted. Small amounts (0.1-2.0%) of limonene and of cineole are found in all Mentha citrata parental and hybrid strains and there are also small amounts of citronellol and geraniol (known to cause sensitization). Variations will of course be determined by soil composition, weather, harvesting time and different hybrids so you would need to request the GC analysis for the batch you purchased. "Taxonomically, [it] has been considered a variety of Mentha aquatica L. by DeWolf (1954), or as a variety of Mentha piperita L. by Hegi (1931)" (Murray et al 1970) but clearly a hybrid of different species of mint. The plant's origins are most likely southern Mediterranean, central Europe and Asia. It is typically a mint as you can see from the image with a purple flower, which is a perennial herb growing up to about 3 feet. The essence is used extensively in the perfume industry, is clear to pale yellow in colour and is extracted by steam distillation of the whole flowering plant.
I have been using this in different ways over the past few weeks to see what it does
and to understand its personality. I started wearing it as a perfume and found it to be very comforting. The aroma has an uplifting lemony quality with herb undertones and as a mint oil and a member of the Lamiaceae family, it will be a middle note, although most sources I have read state that it is middle-top and that is probably due to its citrus tones. Personally, I felt that it was quite grounding with an earthy quality. The mint aroma is quite mild, which is pleasant. Murray et al (1970) concludes that certain species of the subgenus Menthastrum will have a Lavender odour and blend well with Lavender. My bottle of oil from Base Formula does have a hint of a Lavender aroma but with mint and lemon. It has a Bergamot-like aroma without the sweetness and with those herby undertones. This mix of mild mint and citrus notes makes the aroma very interesting and I agree with Wendy Robbins at NAHA that it can be used as a substitute for Lavender. This is great news as it has similar chemical constituents and makes a pleasant change but I also think it is more complex than Lavender oil in terms of its aroma and benefits. I spent some time working through my essential oil box to see which other oils it blends well with. This is what I came up with:
Sweet Orange (Citrus aurantium) - this blends well for massage and was used on several clients who presented with muscle pains and stress related symptoms. I actually dowsed the oils and was surprised when Orange oil came up on three occasions to use with the Bergamot Mint. It is certain that these two are synergistically compatible. The reports I received back from each of the clients concerned were that they felt highly relaxed after, comfortable and pain free following their aromatherapy massage treatment. Result!
Lime - (Citrus latifolia) - I also carried out a treatment on a client using the Bergamot Mint with Orange and Lime oils. This was a beautifully uplifting a fruity aroma and all blended well. It was a morning treatment so it was good to have oils high in monoterpenes to heighten the senses and uplift her for the rest of the day. She reported feeling really good all day and her aches and pains had completely gone. I put that down to my massage skills and the Bergamot Mint!