Facts About Bergamot and Earl Grey Tea

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What are the health benefits of drinking Earl Grey tea? What are the health risks of drinking Earl Grey tea? What is bergamot used for? What are the side effects of bergamot? What are the side effects of Earl Grey tea? Can Earl Grey tea make me sick?

Do you get sick after drinking Earl Grey Tea? I drink tea every night before bed and noticed that after drinking decaffeinated Earl Grey tea I would have a rotten sleep and feel terrible in the morning. So I decided to investigate why this was. Apparently I am not alone, many people get sick after drinking Earl Grey tea, or specifically after consuming bergamot, from which Earl Grey tea gets its flavoring.

What is Bergamot?

To note there are two kinds of plants known as Bergamot, one is the citrus fruit which is being referred to here and the other is group of flowering garden perennials, also used as herbs (eg Bee Balm).

Bergamot is a citrus fruit, the size of an orange but with an appearance more like a lemon, it is often called the Bergamot Orange. It is native to Italy. The essence of Bergamot comes from the skin of the fruits, as the fruits themselves are generally not eaten.

Bergamot is used in Earl Grey tea, and is also often used in aroma therapy, and is considered an essential oil. When used in teas it is considered an herb. For aroma therapy it is often used to relieve depression and anxiety.

Side Effects of Bergamot

Bergamot does not effect everyone the same, but for those who are sensitive to it the symptoms can be less than pleasant. The ones I experienced where slight nausea, burping, blurry vision, difficulty sleeping, and bad dreams.

Common side effects of Bergamot include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Upset stomach (gas)
  • Twitching
  • Burning sensation in fingers and toes
  • Pressure in the eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Some concerns exist the Bergamot could interfere with some drugs in the same way grapefruit juice does
  • When applied to the skin Bergamot can cause redness after exposure to the sun

Is Drinking Earl Grey Tea Safe?

For most people drinking Earl Grey tea is perfectly safe. It is for the people like myself, who are ultra sensitive to it, or for people who drink large quantities, over four cups a day, that Earl Grey tea may be a concern. If you drink Earl Grey tea regularly and have noticed the above side effects you should stop, and your symptoms should go away after a few days.

Many people drink Earl Grey tea for the positive benefits, many people find it calming and soothing. It is said to aid with digestion, and may even help control worms. It has been used for malaria, but not by the medical community.


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