The Mint that Likes to Relax -- Bergamot Mint.
Credit for this gorgeous image: Jackie Wichman/USFWS -- accessed 1/30/2018 at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmtnprairie/14252130479
Although bergamot mint (Mentha citrada) shares the same genus as peppermint (Mentha x piperita) and corn mint (Mentha arvensis) its chemistry is quite different. We generally think of mint as cooling, refreshing, and menthol rich. Both peppermint and corn mint have a high menthol content (my latest GC/MS reports show 45% and 74% menthol respectively).
But bergamot mint looks more like lavender or bergamot on a GC/MS report with a large amount of linalool and linalyl acetate making it great in soothing and calming blends. It has an herby, fresh, light minty aroma with a hint of citrus. So if you're looking for something with the calming and soothing benefits of lavender with a different aroma bergamot mint fits the bill.
Bergamot mint is excellent for soothing stress and anxiety and supporting sleep. It's also anti-spasmodic and would help to soothe and relax muscles when used in a massage blend. It works well in a variety of applications including diffuser blends, scrubs, aroma inhalers, bath bombs, soaps, salts, and massage lotions. Unlike bergamot it is safe for use in the sun and it is much gentler than peppermint, which can be icy hot or irritating to sensitive areas.
How to use it:
Try adding bergamot mint to an aroma inhaler along with cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) and orange (Citrus sinensis) essential oils for a stress soothing blend. Use 15-20 drops total essential oils. A great way to blend is to add a drop of each at a time and mark down the oils as you add them. Then keep working towards your total of 15-20 drops varying the oils until you end up with a combination you love. Be sure to write down what you added!
Bergamot mint also excels in massage blends. To a base of jojoba oil (or your favorite carrier) add bergamot mint, along with balsam copaiba (Copaifera officinalis) and spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia). Aim for a 2% blend using 10-12 drops per ounce of oil for everyday massage and 3% (15-18 drops per ounce of carrier) for a more intense blend for acute muscles aches. Add the oils in a dropwise fashion until you come up with a blend you love. Again, be sure to write down your recipe.
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Have you tried bergamot mint? Tell us more. Feel free to leave comments.