Lime Essential Oil
Lime (Citrus Aurantifolia) oil is extracted from the fruit of the Citrus Aurantifolia tree, which is part of the Rutaceae plant family. While there are several varieties of lime, the two primary species are Mexican lime (also known as key lime) and the Persian lime. These evergreen trees grow from 6 to 13 feet high with dark green leaves, thorns, white blooms, and oval fruit. Though lime trees are now found in warm climates across the globe, they are indigenous to Southeast Asia.1
Lime essential oil is extracted from the rind of the fruit either through extraction (cold pressing). Depending on the extraction process used to cultivate the oil, lime essential oil may be a pale yellow or a light olive color with a distinct, citrus scent.5,6
Lime Essential Oil Uses
Lime essential oil is often used in homeopathic remedies, aromatherapy, personal care products, and as a natural cleaning agent. Below are some of the most common uses for lime essential oil.
To help relieve stress, exhaustion, and anxiety, add a 1-3 drops of lime essential oil to a diffuser. This may also help boost your immune system before, during, or after an illness. If you do not have a diffuser, simply add a few drops of lime essential oil to a bowl of hot water, and inhale the steam.
Relieve Cold Symptoms
Lime essential oil can lessen the discomfort of a cough or sore throat, as well as break up stubborn chest congestion.1 Dilute 3 drops in into a carrier oil like coconut, almond, or grapeseed, and apply to the neck and chest.
To enhance your next bath, incorporate lime essential oil for a stress-relieving soak. Dilute 3 drops of the essential oil to a carrier oil or soap, and add the mixture into the running bath water before getting in.
Due to its antibacterial properties, lime essential oil can help prevent infection and promote the healing of open wounds. Pour 2 cups of cold water into a bowl, add 2-6 drops of lime essential oil and mix. Soak a clean piece of cloth in the mixture, ring out and apply on the affected area. Cold compresses can be used for swelling, bruises or cuts.
A mixture of 2 drops of lime essential oil and 15 drops of jojoba oil, applied to the skin, may help eliminate impurities. Additionally, the oil’s antioxidants may promote the growth of new skin cells.
For a homemade, full body lotion, add a few drops to an unscented lotion for a naturally aromatic skin cream.
Lime essential oil may help remove oily build up on the scalp, add moisture, and avoid dandruff. Add 1 drop of lime essential into your shampoo as lather as usual.
For everyday household cleaning, lime essential oil may be an alternative option to harsh, chemical cleaners. With antimicrobial properties, help cut down on the overuse of commercial cleaners. For an all-purpose cleaner, mix one part water with one part vinegar in a spray bottle. Add 10-15 drops of lime essential oil and mix. Spray the mixture on household surfaces, windows, or tough grease spots.
For spot cleaning, place 2-4 drops of lime essential oil on a cotton ball or pad to remove sticky residue or gum, from unwanted surfaces. It can also be used to clean dry erase boards.
Lime essential oil has been noted to naturally repel certain cockroach species. To keep your house smelling fresh, and to keep cockroaches at bay, diffuse 2-4 drops of lime essential oil inside. Alternatively, add several drops of lime essential oil to a cotton ball and place near garbage containers or entrance ways.
Benefits of Lime Essential Oil
Lime essential oil has a number of well-researched practical and therapeutic applications that take advantage of its antibacterial properties. We share the top research-based benefits of lime essential oil.
Support Weight Loss
In 2010, researchers investigated if lime essential oil could help reduce weight gain as a result of taking ketotifen, an antihistamine. At the end of the 45-day animal study, data suggested that lime essential oil helped reduce food intake and may be useful in reducing drug-induced weight gain.2
Note: While data is promising, further research is required before lime essential oil could be considered as an alternative approach. Never ingest lime essential oil, unless under the direct supervision of a health care provider.
In a recent study published in the American Journal of Plant Sciences, researchers examined citrus essential oils including lime, orange essential oil and lemon essential oil, for their ability to combat a number of infections and bacteria. Their findings established that all oils demonstrated antimicrobial properties and among the effective oils, limonene was a common component. Therefore, they concluded that lime essential oil may be an effective deterrent for parasitic diseases including staph, listeria, and salmonella.3
A 2014 clinical study found that an extract of lime peels increased the effectiveness of the generic breast cancer drug Doxorubicin, also marketed under the brand name of Adriamycin. When isolated cancer cells came into contact with the extract and Doxorubicin combined, increased cell apoptosis (programmed cell death) occurred more frequently than when either method was used alone.4
Note: Essential oils still require extensive research before they can be considered as a complementary approach. Do not substitute essential oils for conventional cancer treatments.
Limonene is the primary compound found in lime essential oil, and is thought to be responsible for its stimulating and invigorating effects. In a 2009 study, lime essential oil was evaluated for its ability to reduce stress in office workers via aromatherapy massage.7
Volunteers aged 25-45 received a 1 hour massage with lime essential oil, or a placebo (almond oil) for 4 weeks. At the end of the study, the experiment group had a significant reduction in blood pressure. Researchers hypothesized that the lime essential oil massage may have had a positive influence on parasympathetic (automatic nervous system) activity.7
When tested against Bactericera cockerelli, a species of cockroach, lime essential oil was noted to have one of the top repellency rates of all 12 oils, with an average 66.5% repellency over 20 days.8
Side Effects of Lime Essential Oil
Lime essential oil appears to be a safe and well-tolerated when inhaled or used as a topical treatment. When used topically, lime essential oil should be diluted, as essential oils are extremely potent. Blending the oil with a carrier like olive oil, coconut oil or cocoa butter can reduce the chance of an adverse reaction.
Users should avoid exposing oil-treated skin to direct sunlight since phototoxicity is a concern with lime essential oil and can result in blistering, swelling, and a sunburn-like inflammation.1
Essential oils are highly concentrated, and may be toxic if ingested. Do not consume lime essential oil unless under the direct supervision of a health care provider.
Consult your physician if you are pregnant or nursing prior to use. Do not use on small children. Always read and follow any directions printed on the product’s label.
Where to Buy Lime Essential Oil
Previously, high quality essential oils could only be bought at specialty health stores, or through expensive multi-level marketing companies. Now, due to advancements in technology, extremely high grade essential oils can be purchased over the internet at very reasonable prices.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (2016, November 28). Lime. Retrieved March 14, 2017 from https://www.britannica.com/plant/lime – View reference
- Asnaashari, S., Delazar, A., Habibi, B., Vasfi, R., Hamedeyazdan, S., Sarker, S.D. (2010). Essential oil from Citrus aurantifolia prevents ketotifen-induced weight-gain in mice. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 24(12), 1893-7. doi:10.1002/ptr.3227 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20623616
- Gomes, M. S., Cardoso, M. D., Soares, M. J., Batista, L. R., Machado, S. M., Andrade, M. A., & Rodrigues, L. M. (2014). Use of Essential Oils of the Genus Citrus as Biocidal Agents. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 05(03), 299-305. doi:4236/ajps.2014.53041
- Adina, A.B., Goenadi, F.A., Handoko, F. F., Nawangsari, D. A., Hermawan, A., Jenie, R. I., Meiyanto, E. (2014). Combination of Ethanolic Extract of Citrus aurantifolia Peels with Doxorubicin Modulate Cell Cycle and Increase Apoptosis Induction on MCF-7 Cells. Iran J Pharm, 13(3), 919-926. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4177652/
- The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (2016, April 6). Essential oil. Retrieved March 14, 2017 from https://www.britannica.com/topic/essential-oil – View reference
- Chisholm, M. G., Wilson, M. A., & Gaskey, G. M. (2003). Characterization of aroma volatiles in key lime essential oils (citrus aurantifolia swingle). Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 18(2), 106-115. doi:1002/ffj.1172
- Dobetsberger, C., & Buchbauer, G. (2011). Actions of essential oils on the central nervous system: An updated review. Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 26(5), 300-316. doi:1002/ffj.2045
- Diaz-Montano, J., & Trumble, J. T. (2013). Behavioral responses of the potato psyllid (hemiptera: Triozidae) to volatiles from dimethyl disulfide and plant essential oils. Journal of Insect Behavior, 26(3), 336-351. doi:1007/s10905-012-9350-8