Lemon Myrtle

Lemon Myrtle

The Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia Citriodora) is a tree that grows naturally in the Australian coastal regions, including Queensland and New South Wales. The tree can reach heights of 60 feet or more, though its average height is approximately half of that. The tree is now grown in other parts of the World, including in South Africa and the southern sections of the United States and Europe.

While the tree’s flowers and fruits can both be eaten, it is the leaves that have gained a reputation for having the most uses and health benefits.

Other Names for Lemon Myrtle

Among scientists, Lemon Myrtle is known by its Latin name, Backhousia citriodora. Although it is most commonly known as Lemon Myrtle, it is also recognized by other names, including Lemon Ironwood and Tree Verbena.

Lemon Myrtle Active Ingredient

Despite its citrus scent and flavor, Lemon Myrtle is not acidic, giving it a wide range of options when used to enhance or complement a meal. The leaves of Lemon Myrtle are rich in essential oil, most of which is made up terpenoid aldehydes such as Citral.

Vitamins and Minerals in Lemon Myrtle

Lemon Myrtle is high in minerals like calcium, zinc and magnesium, as well as vitamin A and vitamin E.

Health benefits of Lemon Myrtle

Lemon myrtle is a fragrant antioxidant herbal supplement that can be used in different ways every day to intensify food flavors, enhance your personal care routine and promote better overall health.

As mentioned above, the leaves of Lemon Myrtle are rich in essential oils, with Citral being a main ingredient. It is this ingredient that gives Lemon Myrtle many of its health benefits. Its rich lemon aroma is both pleasant and soothing.

In addition to the citrus-scented Lemon Myrtle being flavorful and refreshing, due to its Vitamin C content, it is a powerful antioxidant that can ward off illnesses. It can also be used as an antiseptic.

Lemon Myrtle is used to treat a diversity of ailments from throat disorders to gastric problems, and for this reason it is sold in many health and supplement stores.

Antiviral and Antiseptic Effects of Lemon Myrtle

Lemon Myrtle has a reputation as a powerful antiseptic and anti-virus agent that can destroy disease-carrying microorganisms. It has been used to treat allergies, colds, sore throats, gastric disturbances and infections. Murray, Michael T. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. January 7, 199.

The anti-viral properties of Lemon Myrtle have been confirmed in a 2004 experiment involving children with molluscum collusion, a viral skin disease that typically appears during childhood. It manifests in the form of lesions on the skin.

In the study, children with the disease were treated daily with a 10 percent Lemon Myrtle essential oil solution. After three weeks, 9 out of 16 children showed over a 90 percent decrease in the number of skin lesions. Burke, Briant E., Baillie, Jon-Eric and Olson, Richard D. Essential oil of Australian Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) in the treatment of molluscum contagiosum in children. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, Vol. 58, Issue 4, May 2004, pages 245-247.

Lemon Myrtle for Pain Relief

Lemon Myrtle has been used to alleviate headaches, fevers and muscle cramps and spasms. it is believed to help alleviate cramping through its anti-inflammatory effects, muscle relaxation properties and magnesium content.

Lemon Myrtle to Boost Immune System

Lemon myrtle is believed to boost the immune system due to its high content of beneficial compounds, including antioxidants and antimicrobial agents. Here’s how lemon myrtle may support immune health:

Antioxidant Properties: Lemon myrtle contains potent antioxidants such as citral and citronellal, which help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. By reducing oxidative stress, lemon myrtle may support immune function and protect cells from damage.

Antimicrobial Activity: Lemon myrtle possesses strong antimicrobial properties, thanks to its high concentration of essential oils. These antimicrobial compounds can help combat harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi that may compromise the immune system’s ability to function effectively.

Anti-inflammatory Effects: Chronic inflammation can weaken the immune system and increase susceptibility to illness. Lemon myrtle contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce inflammation and promote overall immune health.

Rich in Vitamin C: Lemon myrtle is also a good source of vitamin C, a nutrient known for its role in supporting immune function. Vitamin C helps stimulate the production and function of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infections and viruses.

Stress Reduction: Some research suggests that the aroma of lemon myrtle essential oil may have calming effects and help reduce stress levels. Chronic stress can suppress immune function, so managing stress effectively may indirectly support a healthy immune system.

Lemon Myrtle for Skin Problems

Lemon myrtle possesses several properties that may contribute to its potential benefits in managing warts, cold sores, and acne:

Antimicrobial Activity: Lemon myrtle contains high levels of antimicrobial compounds, particularly citral and citronellal. These compounds exhibit strong antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, which may help combat the pathogens responsible for causing warts, cold sores (caused by the herpes simplex virus), and acne (often associated with Propionibacterium acnes bacteria).

Antioxidant Effects: Lemon myrtle is rich in antioxidants, such as flavonoids and phenolic compounds. These antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, which can contribute to skin inflammation and exacerbate conditions like acne and cold sores.

Anti-inflammatory Properties: Chronic inflammation plays a role in the development and persistence of skin conditions like acne and cold sores. Lemon myrtle contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce inflammation and soothe irritated skin.

Skin Cleansing and Exfoliating: Lemon myrtle essential oil is often used in skincare products for its cleansing and purifying properties. It can help remove excess oil, dirt, and impurities from the skin, which may contribute to preventing acne breakouts and promoting overall skin health.

Immune Support: Lemon myrtle may also support the immune system’s ability to fight off viral infections like cold sores. By bolstering the body’s natural defenses, it may help reduce the severity and duration of cold sore outbreaks.

Lemon Myrtle to Fight Cancer

Lemon Myrtle is a highly potent antioxidant that can help fight diseases such as cancer. It is believed to possess anticancer properties due to its rich content of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and essential oils. While research is limited, studies suggest that lemon myrtle may help combat cancer by reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, and microbial infections, as well as promoting programmed cell death in cancer cells.

Lemon Myrtle as a Sleep Aid

Lemon Myrtle’s pleasing scent has a soothing effect that helps promote relaxation and better sleep due to several factors:

Aromatherapy: The pleasant citrus aroma of lemon myrtle essential oil has calming and soothing effects, which can help promote relaxation and induce feelings of tranquility conducive to sleep. Inhaling the aroma of lemon myrtle oil through diffusion or inhalation before bedtime may help alleviate stress and anxiety, facilitating better sleep quality.

Stress Reduction: Lemon myrtle essential oil may possess stress-relieving properties that can help reduce feelings of tension and promote mental relaxation. By alleviating stress and promoting a sense of calmness, lemon myrtle may indirectly support better sleep outcomes.

Muscle Relaxation: Some individuals use lemon myrtle essential oil topically by diluting it with a carrier oil and applying it to the skin through massage. Massaging the oil onto tense muscles can help promote muscle relaxation and relieve physical tension, which may aid in achieving a more restful sleep.

Anxiety Management: Lemon myrtle essential oil contains compounds with potential anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects. By helping to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and nervousness, lemon myrtle may contribute to creating a more conducive environment for falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night.

Improved Sleep Quality: While scientific research specifically examining lemon myrtle as a sleep aid is limited, anecdotal evidence and traditional use suggest that its calming properties may help improve overall sleep quality by promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and fostering a sense of tranquility.

How is Lemon Myrtle Used?

Lemon Myrtle comes in many forms and can be taken in a variety of different ways. The leaves can be ground or sold individually. It is sold in the form of herbal tea, essential oil, powder and spice. It can be used in cooking to spice up a recipe, taken as a tea or applied topically in the form of essential oils.

Lemon Myrtle in Food Recipes

In addition to enhancing the flavor of beef, chicken, fish and rice dishes, Lemon Myrtle can be used in recipes for making breads, sauces, dips and pancakes. It can also be used in desserts like cakes and muffins to satisfy a sweet tooth. The Lemon Myrtle should not cook for more than 15 minutes, however, as it can develop an unpleasant bitterness if it is exposed to high temperatures for too long.

Lemon Myrtle in Beauty Products

Lemon Myrtle essential oil can be found in many personal care products such as body lotions, lip balms, soaps, shampoos and conditioners.

Lemon Myrtle to Stop Fleas

Lemon myrtle contains compounds such as citral and citronellal, which are known for their insect-repellent properties. These compounds emit a strong citrus scent that can act as a natural deterrent against fleas and other pests. Therefore, using lemon myrtle essential oil or products containing lemon myrtle as an ingredient may help repel fleas when applied to pet bedding, collars or directly onto the fur. It is also an ingredient in some pet shampoos.

Lemon Myrtle in Beverages

Incorporating lemon myrtle into beverages adds a refreshing and aromatic citrus twist to various beverages.

Here are some popular ways lemon myrtle is incorporated into beverages:

Herbal Tea: Lemon Myrtle makes a great antioxidant herbal tea, which can be served hot or cold. In fact, this is one of Lemon Myrtle’s most popular uses. Lemon myrtle leaves can be steeped in hot water to create a fragrant and invigorating herbal tea. The tea offers a zesty lemon flavor and a pleasant aroma, making it a soothing and refreshing option.

Infused Water: Lemon myrtle leaves can be added to water to create infused water, providing a subtle lemony flavor without the acidity of lemon juice. This infused water is a refreshing and hydrating beverage option, perfect for hot summer days.

Cocktails and Mocktails: Lemon myrtle leaves or lemon myrtle-infused syrups can be used to add a unique twist to cocktails and mocktails. The citrusy and aromatic notes of lemon myrtle complement a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, enhancing their flavor profile.

Lemon Myrtle Lemonade: Lemon myrtle leaves or lemon myrtle extract can be used to infuse lemonade, offering a natural lemon flavor with an added hint of complexity from the lemon myrtle. This lemon myrtle lemonade is a refreshing and uplifting beverage option.

Smoothies: Lemon myrtle leaves can be blended into smoothies to add a burst of citrusy flavor and aroma. When combined with fruits like mango, pineapple, or berries, lemon myrtle can elevate the taste of smoothies, creating a vibrant and delicious drink.

Always take care when taking herbs and Read Our Disclaimer.

Lemon Myrtle Herb Notes / Side Effects

While lemon myrtle is generally considered safe for most people when consumed in moderate amounts as a food or used topically, there are potential side effects and precautions to consider:

Allergic reactions: Some individuals may be allergic to lemon myrtle, particularly if they have existing allergies to plants in the Myrtaceae family, such as eucalyptus or tea tree. Allergic reactions may include skin irritation, rash, itching, or respiratory symptoms like difficulty breathing.

Skin sensitivity: Lemon myrtle essential oil, when applied topically, may cause skin irritation or sensitization in some people, especially those with sensitive skin. It’s recommended to perform a patch test before using undiluted lemon myrtle oil on the skin and to dilute it properly with a carrier oil.

Gastrointestinal discomfort: In some cases, consuming large amounts of lemon myrtle tea or supplements may lead to gastrointestinal issues such as stomach upset, nausea, or diarrhea. It’s advisable to start with small doses and monitor your body’s response.

Drug interactions: Lemon myrtle supplements or extracts may interact with certain medications or medical conditions. For example, lemon myrtle essential oil may interact with blood-thinning medications or medications metabolized by the liver. Consult with a healthcare professional before using lemon myrtle supplements, especially if you are taking medications or have underlying health conditions.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding: There is limited information available regarding the safety of lemon myrtle during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid excessive consumption of lemon myrtle supplements or essential oil during these periods unless under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

As with any herbal remedy or supplement, it’s essential to use lemon myrtle responsibly and in moderation. If you experience any adverse reactions or concerns after using lemon myrtle, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional for further guidance.

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