While sampling our iced Earl Grey, a customer told me she had read that Bergamot was bad for you.
How can the most popular flavored tea in the world possibly have an unhealthy ingredient for you? I wanted to prove that theory very wrong and found some interesting facts. First, though, I’ll tell you about our iced Earl Grey later and the London Fog, an Iced Earl Grey Latte!
Bergamot is small, pear-shaped citrus native to southeast Asia. Now it is commercially grown in Calabria, Italy. The fruit thrives on the Calabrian coast and is the symbol of the region. Like most citrus, I am sure it makes excellent marmalade. My Key Lime marmalade would be hard to top, but I digress.
It is also used in half of all women’s perfumes. And Bergamot is used in aromatherapy to treat depression and aid digestion. I couldn’t find much negative press.
Extract from the bergamot plant was used in sunscreens but was banned in 1995. Bergamot blocked the absorption of potassium in the intestines. Why would it be used as a digestive aid then?
I found that various North American plants of the mint family are also called bergamot due to their fragrance. One was used to make a beverage by the American Indian Oswego tribe. In the 18th century, colonists drank this ‘tea’ during their boycott of British teas! We won’t get into that now, though!
The worst info I found was that this herb had been used in Witchcraft. Maybe it cast a spell on all those people who think it is the best-tasting tea ever! Are you spellbound?
The Tea Lady