Bergamot: Laxative Properties II?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Roy
Posted on: February 10, 2001

I am so impressed... Now, do you want a life challenge...??

I am spinally injured – C5/6 (broken neck). I drink a lot of fluids (4 litres a day) to keep the kidneys flushed. Including about 2 litres of Earl Grey tea. I’ve been having problems – vis a vis the intestines.. (say no more!!) – and was wondering if bergamot had anything to do with it. The medics here are non plussed. I’m not much for spending my life on the toilet where liquid is a flowing!! Shall I stop the Earl Grey?

First, it necessary to clear up a common confusion. Earl Grey tea is made with the oil of bergamot, but this "bergamot" is the bergamot orange tree, Citrus bergamia, which is grown in southern Italy. In my previous message I assumed you were asking about the bergamot herb, Monarda didyma and other species. The latter is a hardy perennial which grows up to one meter in height. The former is a little known type of citrus that is not hardy in most temperate regions.

That being said, the oil of the bergamot herb, Monarda spp., is very similar to the oil that is extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange fruit. Although we have less information on the medicinal properties of bergamot orange, the medicinal effects on the digestive tract are likely to be very similar to those of the bergamot herb. Both are highly aromatic, and like many aromatic oil-yielding plants, I would not expect either to have any significant laxative action.

Still, in the effort to find out why you have diarrhea it is always a good idea to selectively eliminate items from your daily intake in order to isolate the cause of your distress. The bergamot orange oil is unlikely to be the cause of the diarrhea problem, but it would be nice to eliminate it as a causal agent by this selective elimination process. Once you have established that the problem is not related to Earl Grey tea, then you can reintroduce it.

It does strike me as excessive to be taking so much Earl Grey tea. I would try a rotation of different herb teas to see what changes occur in your condition.

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