Feb 04 2016 In Ask the Herbalist By Kenneth Roberts
Brighten Up With Bergamot and Get Your Earl Grey On!
What makes Earl Grey an Earl Grey? Typically bergamot--which is in the citrus family--is the signature flavor note of this classic black tea blend. Historically, there are many versions of how Earl Grey came to be. Whether bergamot was a flavoring added to offset high mineral content in the water, or that Charles Grey (1764-1875) received the first blend as a gift for his good deeds in China. Whichever story, one thing you can believe is that there is more to a cup of Earl Grey than just good flavor.
Not to be confused with “wild bergamot” an herb also known as oswego, horsemint or indian nettle, the preferred source for use with tea is from the bergamot orange which is a citrus fruit grown in the mediterranean. This citrus contains enzymes known as HMGF (hydroxy methyl glutaryl flavonones) which can attack proteins in the body known to cause heart disease. The flavonoids in bergamot have been shown to help reduce LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol, without any of the side effects often experienced when using pharmaceuticals for the same effect.
Bergamot from the citrus is also a natural astringent that is antibacterial and anti-infectious. Try making a cup of Earl Grey, letting it cool and use it to wash your face at night--great for the skin!
Even simply using bergamot aromatically is considered uplifting and has been used to help with depression and stress. While no medical studies have been done to verify the claim, it is also touted as having weight loss benefits as it can aid digestion and increase the metabolism.
The bergamot in Earl Grey is also very high in antioxidants which increase the total antioxidant value of the brew. Earl Grey can be a great cuppa to start the day, but like all teas at Discover Teas, it is a component of a healthier, mindful, lifestyle.