Bergamot (Citrus bergamia, Risso) is a fruit most knowledgeable for its essential oil (BEO) used in aromatherapy to minimize symptoms of stress-induced anxiety and mild mood disorders and cancer pain though the rational basis for such applications awaits to be discovered. The behavioural and EEG spectrum power effects of BEO correlate well with its exocytotic and carrier-mediated release of discrete amino acids endowed with neurotransmitter function in the mammalian hippocampus supporting the deduction that BEO is able to interfere with normal and pathological synaptic plasticity. The observed neuroprotection in the course of experimental brain ischemia and pain does support this view. In conclusion, the data yielded so far contribute to our understanding of the mode of action of this phytocomplex on nerve tissue under normal and pathological experimental conditions and provide a rational basis for the practical use of BEO in complementary medicine. The opening of a wide venue for future research and translation into clinical settings is also envisaged.
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