Often second fiddle to the more popular lemon essential oil, lime oil is a brightening, beneficial oil in its own right.
The fruit originated in Southeast Asia and started making its way around the world from the 10th century.
The juice and flesh of the fruit has long been associated with health, adopted by the British Navy to combat scurvy as a cheaper alternative to lemons - a decision which earned them the nickname ‘limeys’.
However, it is the usually discarded peel or rind of the fruit which contains the beneficial oil and helps to clean homes, prevent infection, and lift the spirits.
What is Lime Essential Oil?
Also known by the botanical name Citrus Auranifolia, lime essential oil is extracted across the world for its refreshing scent and pleasantly familiar nature.
Like most citrus essential oils, lime oil is usually extracted by cold pressing the peel of the fruit – however, steam distillation is also becoming a popular alternative.
Steam distilling the rind prevents the oil from producing phototoxic effects in sunlight, therefore making it safe to apply to the skin.
Lime essential oil is generally clear to pale yellow in colour and has been extensively used for flavouring beverages as well as scenting cleaning products.
What are the benefits of Lime Essential Oil?
Despite being commonly considered as the “lesser” sibling of lemon, in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Lime essential oil contains its own host of impactful benefits that, while comparable to lemon in some cases, provide it with its own unique identity.
Some of the best lime essential oil benefits include:
- Fighting bacteria
- Reducing the effect of viruses
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Stress relieving qualities
Is lime essential oil effective against bacteria?
Citrus oils tend to share a powerful effect against bacteria and other microbes in the home – and lime is no exception.
Based on a number of different studies, lime oil has been shown to be effective against a wide variety of bacteria, including both gram positive and the notoriously harder to kill gram negative bacteria.
Unlike other essential oils of its kind, lime is said to be able to penetrate the harder cell wall of gram negative bacteria - powered in part by its constituent limonene - and effectively destroy all unwanted bacteria in the home.
Try adding a few drops of lime oil to home cleaners for a deep and more comprehensive clean.
Can lime oil reduce the effects of viruses?
Lime oil has also been found to have significant antiviral effects, which make it useful both to prevent viruses from infecting the body, and to slow the effect of the virus if any infection does occur.
A 2018 study found that the oil was able to reduce the activity of the influenza virus by over 30%, significantly reducing symptoms in participants overall.
It is thought that the constituent linalool, a part of lime oil’s natural chemical makeup, helps to produce these effects successfully.
Is lime essential oil an anti-inflammatory?
Inhaling lime oil can help to reduce inflammation and soothe the body – a particularly useful benefit, as inflammation is associated with a wide range of serious diseases and conditions.
Some people also use diluted lime oil to treat inflammation topically by rubbing it on sore muscles, or to reduce the appearance of acne by applying it to affected areas on the face.
We would only recommend applying lime oil topically if it is steam distilled.
Cold pressed lime oil may contain furocoumarins, which can have phototoxic effects on the skin and lead to burning and blistering.
If you are going to apply cold pressed lime oil topically, it is important to always dilute it, to avoid direct sunlight for up to eighteen hours after application, and to seek the advice of a medical professional before applying.
Does lime oil reduce stress?
The vitamin C present in lime oil has been said to reduce the amount of cortisol in the body.
Known as the ‘stress hormone’, cortisol can be responsible for regulating anxious responses, and a reduced amount in the body can therefore help to produce a calmer mood.
Like most other citrus oils, lime oil has often been said to have invigorating, uplifting effects that can help to awaken the senses and brighten a person’s mood.
How to use Lime Essential Oil
Refreshing and uplifting, lime is a great oil to diffuse first thing in the morning, as its naturally calming qualities can help prepare you for the day as well as reduce any stresses that may be looming over your head.
Try adding a few drops of lime to your diffuser or oil burner to make the most of these effects.
Alternatively, you can add a few drops to a tissue or cotton ball and take it with you on the go for a quick and balancing lift.
Lime oil is anti-inflammatory, which means it can lend itself very well to a restorative massage if you find yourself suffering from sore muscles.
Dilute some lime oil with a carrier oil of your choice and apply it to problem areas at will.
This mixture can also be rubbed into your temples and pulse points to create a soothing but boosting energy for your day.
Some people like applying diluted lime oil to their skin as a way to spot treat acne, as well as encourage shine in a dull or tired looking complexion.
Remember to only ever use steam distilled lime oil on the skin, as the cold pressed oil could cause damaging phototoxic effects.
Containing both antibacterial and anti-viral properties, lime essential oil is an impactful remedy against harmful microbes in the home.
Try adding a few drops to a spray bottle filled with water and an emulsifier and using this mixture to top up surfaces after cleaning.
History of Lime Essential Oil
The lime was one of the earliest citrus fruits to be traded, beginning its journey around the world about 3000 years ago.
After spreading to the Middle East, limes migrated their way through to the Mediterranean regions through the spice trade and were subsequently introduced to Europe by the Moors.
Spanish and Portuguese explorers would then go on to take them on their ventures to the Americas in the sixteenth century, at which point limes gained their worldwide status as an impactful and uplifting fruit.
Despite its overshadowing, the many benefits of lime essential oil are undisputable.
It’s no wonder that this cheerful fruit travelled so far around the world so long ago, and it’s equally unsurprising that its oil is still in use today.
Shop our lime essential oil here.