(Natural News) A study published in the Science Direct journal Bioenergetics found that the bergamot fruit, which is commonly used for perfumes and Earl Grey tea, can be a natural anti-cholesterol remedy.
In conducting the study, a team of chemists at the University of Calabria in Italy collaborated with biologists at the University of Salford in the U.K. who specialize in identifying non-toxic methods of killing cancer stem cells, or the cells that stimulate the formation of tumors.
In a study published in 2009, the Calabria team initially observed that bergamot displayed statin-like properties. Statins are the most widely prescribed drug in the world for lowering cholesterol and the incidence of heart attacks. However, these drugs are controversial because they destroy muscle cells and result in cardiomyopathy or the hardening of the heart.
The research team extracted the compounds Brutieridin and Melitidin from the peel of the fruit. They found that a 2:1 combination of the two bergamot fruit extracts targeted and prevented the cholesterol enzyme HGMR as effectively as a range of statin drugs. The mixture also attacked the cancer stem cells and caused them to stop dividing and die.
“This combination – what we are calling BMF – is targeting mitochondria which are effectively the engine room of cancer cells, cutting off a cancer cell’s ability to generate energy, so it dies,” explained Dr. Marco Fiorillo, who gathered the data for his Ph.D. thesis.
The researchers concluded that extracts from bergamot fruit lowered blood cholesterol levels, as well as destroyed cancer stem cells in laboratory tests. The natural compounds of bergamot can potentially be used as a natural statin without causing any adverse effect. (Related: Bergamot Oranges: Fruit That Lowers Cholesterol, Diabetes And Great Antibiotic Natural Agent.)
More on bergamot fruit and its health benefits
Bergamot fruit (Citrus Bergamia) is grown exclusively in the Italian region. Bergamot may come from different families and species – bergamot orange and wild bergamot – but one thing they have in common is their distinctive smell. The benefits of bergamot can be attributed to its pleasant orange-blossom aroma. Here are the health benefits of bergamot:
- It helps with depression – The fragrance of bergamot oil may help improve mood and calm the mind. In a 2007 study, it was found that aromatherapy from oils, including that from bergamot, can help people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons. In a study published in the International Journal of Aromatherapy in 2004, aromatherapy caused a significant improvement in relieving anxiety and depression in 32 subjects.
- It is rich in antioxidants – Antioxidants contribute to the prevention of cell damage and maintenance of a youthful appearance.
- It aids in digestion – The bitter properties of bergamot and wild bergamot can help treat digestive problems. A study in 2009 suggested that dietary and herbal products use bergamot due to its eupeptic properties and therapeutic uses against digestive problems, such as indigestion.
- It contains high amounts of antimicrobial properties – A 2007 study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology identified bergamot as a natural antimicrobial. Bergamot’s antimicrobial properties are the reason Native Americans and naturopaths use it as a treatment for urinary tract infections and yeast infections.
Read more news stories and studies on bergamot and other natural medicines by going to AlternativeMedicine.news.