Lemon Myrtle’s Most Powerful Essential Oil - Uses & Benefits
The beneficial properties of lemon myrtle essential oil as expectorant, astringent, antiseptic, sedative, deodorant, antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial made it the world’s most in-demand citral essential oil. It is a useful ingredient in cooking, aromatherapy and perfumery. Australia has the most extensive lemon myrtle plantations in the world. It dominates production of this plant’s pure, all-natural essential oil generating approximately 95 % of the world supply.
Lemon Myrtle is a small shrubby tree native to Australia. This plant abounds in the coastal rainforest of Queensland, Australia before it was given the botanical name ‘Backhousia Citriodora’ by James Backhouse. He was the English botanist responsible for discovering and documenting the therapeutic properties of this plant’s leaves and oil; that’s why he called it after his own name. Backhouse was well known for his work on flora in the valley of Teesdale in Victoria Australia and other parts of England.
The work of Backhouse spread awareness of Australia’s rainforest plants; one of them was a standout -- the lemon myrtle. This plant became popular more than 100 years ago for its incomparable fragrance, medicinal value and as superb ingredient before it was called Backhousia Citriodora’ in 1853. Backhouse found the leaves as a source of an oil of the highest citral quality. Since then lemon myrtle farming has been very successful.
The elegant canopy form, beautiful flowers and fragrance make it a dramatic ornamental plant. You should see a real plantation to experience the magnificent lemon myrtle trees. This plant is a huge shrub (small tree) that is farmed from cuttings. Essential oil is extracted from the leaves, flowers and seeds by steam distillation. Simply Earth exclusively uses the pure lemon myrtle essential oil from the leaves that is clear light-yellow in color. Lemon myrtle trees identify to the following descriptions:
- Botanical name: Backhousia Citriodora; Family: Myrtaceae
- Height: 2-3 meters when fully grown
- Suitable Climate: temperate, tropical, subtropical
- Soil: grows best in moist, organic, tolerates sandy – heavy textured soil
- Frosting: moderate tolerance
- Leaves: thick foliage, glossy evergreen
- Flowers: from creamy white to pure white
- Branches: wide-spread, can take roots for replanting
Only mature plants are harvested for the production of oil and spice. The florist industry makes use of the flowers. At 3 meters when fully grown, it can mature up to 8 or 10 meters tall in your garden. It grows beautifully when pruned; you can plant it in containers under direct sunlight. Be sure to protect or shelter it from strong winds and frost while it is still young.
Lemon myrtle essential oil holds a strong crisp aroma of mixed lemon and lime. The charm of the lemon myrtle plant is hidden on the leaves which are the source of a wonderful, all-natural and pure essential oil. Pass by a lemon myrtle tree and you’ll find it’s impossible to ignore. You cannot help but notice the fragrance which is more prominent in the early morning and after rainfall. Lemon myrtle oil blends well with lime and spicy woody floral essential oils. Essential oil lovers know it possesses the cleanest scintillating aroma in its family.
Uses: Lemon myrtle essential oil & leaves
- Soap & Cosmetics: The most used essential oil in Australia’s soap and cosmetics industry is that from lemon myrtle tree because of its uplifting fresh lemon aroma. Soap, body wash, foaming soap, hand cream, skin lotion, foot & hand scrub moisturizer - all of them contain a certain amount of lemon myrtle essential oil. Not only from Australia but also from other countries producing the same.
- Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil in a Diffuser: It has the freshness of the rainforest – a cheerful lemon aroma that is relaxing, soothing and uplifting. It reduces episodes of colds, coughs, sinusitis and allergic rhinitis. In addition to that, using a diffuser helps eliminate dust from your indoor air. It can be a nebulizer, ultrasonic, evaporative, or heat diffuser.
- Enhancing Flavor of Food & Beverages: Lemon myrtle enhances the flavor of fish, chicken, pork, beef, pasta, and rice recipes. In addition, it makes superb tasting sauces, breads, cakes and dips. Dried flaked leaves have longer shelf life and are used in flavoring tea blends, sorbet and some milk-based recipes because it doesn’t cause curds like acidic fruits.
- Yummy confectionaries are made with lemon myrtle. ‘Dark Lemon Myrtle Cream’ for example; “is a tangy fondant cream flavored with Australian lemon myrtle enrobed in a premium dark chocolate…” says Haigh (manufacturer). It must taste divine with that lemon myrtle flavor!
- Aromatherapy: The use of lemon myrtle essential oil has spread across the globe since the 1800s because people found it effective and safe to use in healing different health problems of the respiratory, skin and wounds. Its vapor when dispersed into the air offers relaxing and uplifting aroma that soothes the mind and body that proceeds to faster recovery.
Aside from being a very ornamental plant, lemon myrtle produces a significant essential oil that offers many health benefits; some of them are as follows:
- Antiseptic: The oil can effectively help kill bacteria, fungi and viruses on the skin to prevent infection and promote healing of certain diseases that may infect the skin. It must be noted that it is not a kind of drug taken internally to kill bacteria; it is topically applied in diluted form to kill bacteria on the surface of the skin.
- Disinfectant: If lemon myrtle essential oil is an antiseptic that kills bacteria on the skin of human, it is also effective on surfaces of objects. It is a powerful disinfectant because it contains concentrated citral oil that you can blend with tea tree and peppermint essential oils to come up with a fragrant spray. Try mixing the ingredients listed below and go…spray it in your bathrooms, trash bins, toilets, drains, kitchen countertops, sink and wherever you think there are germs and bacteria.
Lemon myrtle essential oil – 7 drops
Tea tree essential oil – 3 drops
Peppermint essential oil – 4 drops
White vinegar - ¼ cup
Water – 2 cups
- Calming: The lemon myrtle oil is very soothing with its cool and fresh aroma that offers the calming effect to anyone feeling tired, anxious or fatigued. Massage, diffuse, or dip into a warm bath with this oil to calm the mind and body. A moment like this promotes sleep and would help you get the much needed rest and the tranquility that would make you feel energized for the next day.
- Expectorant: This can be your perfect cough reliever! This oil helps reduce and expel phlegm; clears congested nasal and bronchial passages to help you get relief from colds and cough. It helps thin the mucus and lubricates the respiratory system to promote drainage from the lungs. How? The essential oil must simply be inhaled from a vaporizer, diffuser or humidifier.
- Deodorant: Release this essential oil into the air to fight bad odors through a diffuser, vaporizer, burner, spray or incense sticks. It is a safe and eco-friendly air freshener. It can also be applied to certain body parts likely to have odor to help you feel fresh by masking body odor. It is again safe for the skin; you would never get side effects like irritation and itching.
Lemon myrtle plant is very friendly; low-maintenance, sturdy, stunning and all sorts of beautiful words can be attached to it! It grows faster when pruned to provide regular harvesting of leaves for cooking, salads, tea blends and of course the powerful essential oil. The beauty of this all-natural oil is that it has not been adulterated with any additives – it’s pure essential oil to provide relief from many kinds of health issues.
Lemon myrtle essential oil in its pure or concentrated form is toxic when used on the skin. Other oils also bring high risk of sunburn. Check dilution guide for general use. It is advised that you dilute any essential oil in carrier oil before using it on your skin. If it causes skin irritation, washing with soap & water, then applying carrier oil must be the immediate solution. Everyone must prevent ingestion of any essential oil without prescription or professional advice.
You can find hundreds of essential oils’ safety guidelines in the book ‘Essential Oil Safety’.
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Please note: This post is a compilation of suggestions made by those that have extensively used essential oils and has not been verified scientifically with clinical tests nor reviewed by medical experts. It is anecdotal information and should be treated as such. For serious medical concerns, please consult your doctor.