23 December 2021 / Caitlin Devlin
Lime Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits
This vibrant citrus oil has protective, deep-cleaning qualities.
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.
Lime essential oil is effective against bacteria.
Lime oil has been shown to be effective against a wide variety of bacteria, including both gram positive and the harder to kill gram negative bacteria. It is 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.
It can reduce the effects of viruses.
Lime oil has also been found to have significant antiviral effects, helping both to prevent viruses from infecting the body, and to slow the effect of the virus if infection does occur. A 2018 study found that the oil was able to reduce activity of the influenza virus by over 30%, significantly reducing symptoms. It is thought that the constituent linalool helps to produce these effects.
It’s 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.
It can reduce stress.
The vitamin C present in cold pressed 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 produce a calmer mood. Lime oil has often been said to have invigorating, uplifting effects that can help to awaken the senses and brighten a person’s mood.
Despite its overshadowing, the many benefits of lime juice 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.