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Lime Essential Oil's Science-Backed Benefits, Uses, and Other Interesting Facts

As a member of the citrus family, lime shares many of its qualities with its cousins, which include lemon, orange, and grapefruit. But there’s a reason they’re called “cousins” and not, say, siblings or twins. Each of these zesty fruits has one or two things unique to them, and we’re here to explore just what sets lime apart from other citruses and how this translates into the essential oil extracted from it.

Lime fruit is most commonly used in drinks and in flavoring various types of dishes. As one of the few essential oils out there that can be ingested, lime essential oil may also be put to the same use as the fruit—but in much smaller quantities and with due precautions. See, another thing that makes lime essential oil special is how much more potent it is compared to others. If it is to be ingested at all, less than a drop of it would be required at a time to reap its full benefits. It’s one of the reasons why lime essential oil is so cost-effective. Even just the tiniest fraction can go a long way.

Essential Oil from Lime Is Extracted from the Fruits' PeelLime is commonly used as a flavoring ingredient for drinks. Photo Source: Pixabay

So what are the uses and benefits you can expect from the essential oil of this small but stalwart fruit? We’ll tell you all about that in a bit. But first, let’s dive into a few more interesting facts about lime and its essential oil.

  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Benefits and Uses
    • Antiseptic
    • Antibacterial
    • Antiviral
    • Antipyretic
    • Anticarcinogenic
    • Astringent
    • Antidepressant
    • Antimicrobial
    • Hemostatic
    • Bronchodilatory
    • Depurative
  • Precautions
  • Recipes
  • Summary
  • Bibliography

Background

Various species of lime are now being grown in all the tropical and subtropical parts of the world, so it is hard to imagine that this fruit was once indigenous only in parts of the Indian subcontinent and in the countries of Southeast Asia. It is a testament to its hardiness that after being introduced to Europe and then the Americas via Africa and the Mediterranean, it has continued to prosper and propagate, often crossing with other species to create natural hybrids.

A hybrid is exactly what Citrus aurantifolia is, and Mexican lime—also known as Key lime of the sumptuous pie fame—is possibly the most widely used lime variety today.

This is especially true in the kitchen, and unlike lemons, limes aren’t just limited to the main courses, they are also ideal for use in desserts. That’s mainly because of lime’s sweeter flavor relative to its high acidity, but there’s a good chance that it’s also because of its lesser-known but (perhaps) instinctively felt appetite-suppressing effects.

That’s right—a recent study has shown that lime and its essential oil can be beneficial for facilitating weight loss through curbing hunger pangs or cravings in people suffering from medication-induced obesity and other similar conditions.

Another study analyzed the chemical components of distilled essential oil of Key limes grown in Mexico and compared it with limes from elsewhere. A whopping number of 33 compounds out of the 98 identified “have not been previously reported for Key lime oil.” We may all take from that what we will, but we can safely say that lime essential oil has a lot more to offer than any of us may realize.

Luckily, plenty of light has already been shed on many of lime essential oil’s properties. Head on over to the next section to learn all about them.

Lime Essential Oil Can Be Used In Many Ways Including DiffusionMore than its refreshing citrusy aroma, lime essential oil offer many other benefits to our health. Photo Source: Sulen Lee, flickr

This essential oil is versatile, fast-acting, and easy to use. Read on to learn more about its uses and the benefits you could expect from it.

You can see a whole range of pure and all-natural essential oils from this collection.

Benefits and Uses of Lime Essential Oil

For centuries, lime essential oil has been used in Chinese medicine to promote the digestion of fats and to improve the absorption of nutrients by providing food and fluid intake a smoother course through the stomach tracts. They held that this results in the detoxification of the body by way of flushing, as well as in the improvement of the flow of the body’s energy via the purification of blood.

Modern day medicine, meanwhile, is constantly seeking to understand essential oils in order to explain why they exhibit the effects that each of them are known for. For instance, chemical analysis of lime essential oil reveals that its main active component is limonene. This compound is commonly found in citrus peels and in some other plants, and in lime essential oil, it’s concentration is at 28.27 percent. This explains why lime essential oil can potentially help promote weight loss—this is one of the effects that limonene is known for.

From this single component of lime essential oil alone, we can already expect multiple benefits. Want to know something awesome? Lime essential oil has 21 other active components, and like limonene, they each have more than one use. Let’s go and explore some of these uses and benefits in terms of their collective effects.

1. Antiseptic

Lime essential oil is a highly effective disinfectant. It can be especially beneficial as a first aid treatment for wounds made by rusty iron or anything soil-contaminated in order to help ward against tetanus. Just add one to two drops of steam-distilled lime essential oil to a tablespoon of carrier oil. If you’re using lime essential oil that’s been produced through cold pressing, use only a fraction of a drop as this type tends to be a lot more concentrated. Dip a toothpick into the bottle—the resulting drop at the tip should just be enough.

Like we cover in the Precautions section, cold-pressed citrus essential oils are photosensitive, which means that they are highly reactive to any source of ultraviolet light, sunlight chief among them. As such, when using lime and other citrus essential oils topically, please refrain from going out into the sun for at least twenty-four hours and wear protective clothing.

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2. Antibacterial

Lime essential oil may not only protect against infection, it may also fight infections that are already existing, whether they’re outside of the body or in. The list of skin conditions it could help treat includes acne, eczema, psoriasis, and sores. If you lead an active lifestyle, however, and daily sun exposure is unavoidable, lime essential oil might not be the most suitable choice to help with facial skin issues. Other essential oils can be just as effective, if not more so.

You can reap the highest benefit from lime essential oil by using it for internal complaints such as sore throat, diarrhea, and UTI, to name just a few. In most cases, all you’ll have to do is to add up to two drops of lime essential oil (steam distilled, please use much less for cold-pressed lime) to a tablespoon of carrier oil and massage it over the affected areas.

3. Antiviral

It’s viruses that are responsible for common illnesses like colds and influenza. Viruses are persistent and can be harder to get rid of than bacteria, which is why you often see people walking around for days or even weeks on end sniffing and coughing as if trapped in a neverending pollen season. In some cases, even seemingly innocuous infections like the flu can be fatal if left untreated.

Lime essential oil can not only help fight and kill viruses, it can also help protect you from catching them in the first place. As a citrus, it is rich in vitamin C which boosts the immune system, and its essential oil has natural antiviral components which targets infection at its root. You may get this benefit by regularly inhaling lime’s essence either straight from the bottle or through steam diffusion, which would also be helpful for decongesting sinuses or the chest.

4. Antipyretic

As a natural antipyretic, lime essential oil can also serve to lower the body’s temperature while it attacks the cause of the fever. Through mixing up to two drops of lime oil in a quarter cup of distilled water, the extra-powerful steam produced could help induce sweating, which would serve to cool the fever down while also flushing out toxins from within. Bask in this oil’s fragrance and essence for thirty minutes to an hour and repeat later if necessary.

5. Anticarcinogenic

Several studies have revealed lime essential oil’s great potential for inhibiting the growth of different types of cancer cells, including lymphoma, cancer of the breast, and cancer of the colon. Regular consumption of citrus fruits such as lime has also been found to have strong correlation with lowered incidence of cancer among a large cohort of subjects aged 40–79 years. Cancer research that specifically looks into the benefits of citrus essential oil have already produced some promising results and are still ongoing around the globe. We can expect to learn more about their anticarcinogenic effects, among many others, in the future.

6. Astringent

Lime essential oil’s property as an astringent has been known in the cosmetic industry, which is why we often find it as one of the main ingredients of pore-refining and anti-aging products. But skin tightening is only one among many things that lime essential oil can be good for. Astringents are often used to treat gum problems that often results in loose teeth. It helps inhibit bacterial growth while tightening the blood vessels; as such, it can also help treat varicosity, reduce the appearance of stretch marks, and eliminate cellulite.

For topical use, dilute one to two drops of steam-distilled lime essential oil (less for cold-pressed) with one tablespoon of skin-friendly carrier oil like coconut. Rub over the affected areas up to twice a day. Prior to ingestion, please consult a qualified professional to learn about the proper dosage for your given condition as well as the best method of administration.

Lime Essential Oil for Lifting MoodAroma Foundry uses Mexican Lime, also known as Key Lime, in making our 100% pure lime essential oil. Photo Source: Pixabay

7. Antidepressant

Sharing the antidepressant properties of other citruses like orange and lemon, lime essential oil also works to help alleviate feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression by lowering the heart rate and reducing cortisol levels, which has been found to have a link with the condition.

In Chinese medicine, digestive stagnation is said to be one of the causes for the rise of negative emotions like irritability, frustration, and moodiness. Lime essential oil is used to reduce this stagnation because it’s believed to facilitate a steady and healthy flow of energy throughout the body. Just pop a few drops in your citrus-safe diffuser and feel your body relax as the lime’s uplifting scent melts your stress away.

8. Antimicrobial

Aside from helping rid and protect the body from bacteria and other infection-causing entities, lime essential oil’s property as a general antimicrobial makes it ideal for cleaning the air as well as household surfaces. It also works great for scrubbing clean stubborn and sticky grease and other residues because its high acidity melts them away completely—disinfecting and giving off a fresh scent all the while.

9. Hemostatic

Hemostasis is the opposite of hemorrhage in that it promotes blood coagulation in order to stop bleeding. As a hemostatic, lime essential oil has this effect, making it ideal not just as a first aid treatment for wounds as previously stated but also for helping to ease heavy menstrual flow in women, which might be caused by a disorder with the body’s hemostatic function.

10. Bronchodilatory

Lime essential oil can function as a bronchodilatory to help soothe the symptoms of bronchitis. Breathing in lime’s essence through steam diffusion may facilitate the relaxation of lung and throat muscles, widening the airway and allowing for easier breathing. You may also mix up to two drops of steam distilled lime oil to a massage carrier oil and rub over the throat and chest. Please note that the skin around the neck area is also highly sensitive. Ensure proper coverage if sun exposure cannot be avoided, but it is advisable to keep away from UV rays for at least twenty-four hours after any topical application.

11. Depurative

A depurative is a substance that detoxifies the body by supporting the liver and the kidneys’ function of flushing out accumulated toxins, among other things. Lime essential oil’s main function in this regard is by aiding a healthy lymphatic circulation.

A clogged or stagnant lymphatic system results in the overburdening of the liver with toxins that have no way to be flushed out. It often prompts the body to find other means of releasing them, such as through the skin. Detoxifying is essential to promoting the good working order of all the systems in the body, and one way to help do that is by regularly practicing aromatherapy using depurative essential oils like lime.

As many traditional medicines around the world have found, one of the main benefits lime essential oil can offer is to the digestive system. While chemicals within it may have appetite-suppressing effects with certain conditions, a few whiffs could also often result in the production of digestive acids in the stomach, which could in turn promote a good appetite, especially in the case of patients under recovery.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and as stated before, we may discover many more of lime essential oil’s properties as research on it, as well as on other essential oils, advances. In the meantime, to make the most of lime’s effects, try blending it with other essential oils.

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Precautions

Essential oils, in general, are incredibly potent, and citrus-based essential oils can be even more so. Always use lime essential oil after proper dilution in carrier agents like coconut oil or olive oil. Before any extensive topical use, please perform a patch test first in a non-sensitive part of the skin to ensure there’ll be no allergic or other adverse reaction.

It is important that you first understand how your essential oil had been distilled before putting them to use. In the case of a majority of citrus-based essential oils, there are two methods of distillation. The first is through cold pressing, or extracting the oil directly from the citrus peels. This method collects the oil that’s already naturally occurring in the fruits’ skins, and this largely accounts for the greater potency of cold-pressed citrus essential oils.

The second method is through steam distillation, and this is the standard process of essential oil making for any raw material. As the lime oil produced through this method is truly “essential,” it doesn’t come with any extra precautions. Lime and other citrus essential oils that had been cold pressed are photosensitive: when it’s already on the skin, exposure to UV rays or other strong sources of light may cause pigmentation, rashes, or other skin damage. Following topical application, avoid sun exposure for at least twenty-four hours and wear protective clothing.

The high acidity of lime and other citrus essential oil may also cause damage to some diffuser machines. Before diffusing, check with the manufacturers to see if citrus oil may be safely used with their product.

And as with any other type of essential oil, avoid any contact with eyes or other mucous membranes. Keep away from children and pets, and refrain from using if you are pregnant, lactating, or undergoing medication unless cleared by a qualified professional.

Lime Essential Oil Recipes, Uses, BenefitsThe numerous benefits of Lime essential oil make it an ideal ingredient for scrubs and lotions. Photo Source: Pexels

Recipes

Using lime essential oil it is a great way to spur your body’s natural cleansing mechanism, but you don’t have to take it orally to enjoy these benefits—topical application can work just as well.

We found a couple of great ways for you to enjoy it.

This is a great way for you to make full use of your time in the shower. All you’ll need are:

Instructions:

    1. Over a double boiler, melt the coconut oil. Set aside and allow it to cool.
    2. Stir in the salt or sugar just enough to incorporate everything, not so much that the sugar melts.
    3. Blend in the drops of lime essential oil.
    4. Transfer to your glass jar and seal tightly when not in use.

This is a great way to treat the whole body to the detoxifying property of lime essential oil. Slather onto your skin and gently rub dead skin cells away for a smoother, more glowing skin!

For another full-body treat to help you heal tired muscles and relax your mind before hitting the sack, gather together:

    • Lime essential oil – 15 drops
    • Coconut oil – 1 cup
    • Avocado oil OR olive oil – ¼ cup
    • A dark glass* lotion dispenser for storage

Instructions:

    1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and beat together either by hand or using an electric beater set on “whip.”
    2. Keep beating for 3–5 minutes, or until you’ve attained a light and fluffy consistency.
    3. Transfer to your glass lotion dispenser and apply all over the body before bedtime.

And there you have it! Enjoy these aromatic treats and reap all of lime essential oil’s benefits in one sweep. Just keep in mind that the measurements for lime oil used here are strictly for the steam-distilled kind. For cold-pressed lime essential oil, you’ll need a lot less and exercise due caution after every application as this type is reactive to UV light. Refrain from going out in the sun for at least twenty-four hours if cold-pressed lime—or any other citrus—essential oil was used.

*Due to the high acidity and photosensitivity of lime and other citrus essential oils, they should not be stored in a container that can easily be eaten through, like plastic or ordinary bottles. They must also be protected from the sun and other strong sources of radiation. Prolonged exposure could lead to oxidation, making your essential oil unsafe for further use.

Essential Oil from Lime Contains Nutrients from the FruitLime possesses some remarkable qualities that other citruses do not have. Photo Source: Pixabay

Check out a variety of essential oils you can use in these recipes here in Our Shop.

Summary

Lime Essential Oil

Lime is often overshadowed by its more famous cousins, but it isn’t any less great because of that. Lime essential oil offers benefits that other citrus might not have, or only in smaller quantities. For instance, while it’s been known to stimulate appetite in patients undergoing recovery from illnesses, it has also shown a surprising and promising benefit of suppressing cravings that can be useful for treating medication-induced obesity.

Used in Chinese medicine for centuries, it is believed to promote the balance of all the body’s systems by keeping energy flow from stagnating. While modern medicine hasn’t yet learned all there is to find out about essential oils, those of us who’ve already experienced its myriad of benefits can all safely sit at the side and wait the answers out—after all, they might just turn out to be mere confirmations of what we already know.

Here at Aroma Foundry, the quality of the raw materials used and the standards by which they are made are of topmost priority. The limes for our essential oil is sourced from Mexico and is guaranteed to be 100% pure and all-natural. Give it a try and be cleansed from the inside out.

Bibliography

  1. Loren. "8 Lime Essential Oil Benefits & Uses (Plus 14 Recipes, Tips & FAQ) -." Essential Oil Sanctuary. October 25, 2017. http://essentialoilsanctuary.com/8-lime-essential-oil-benefits-uses-plus-14-recipes-tips-faq/.
  2. "Actionable Info for Natural Health Enthusiasts." Organic Daily Post. November 08, 2017. https://organicdailypost.com/21-wonderful-uses-lime-essential-oil/.
  3. Asnaashari, S., A. Delazar, B. Habibi, R. Vasfi, L. Nahar, S. Hamedeyazdan, and S. D. Sarker. "Essential Oil from Citrus Aurantifolia Prevents Ketotifen-induced Weight-gain in Mice." Phytotherapy Research : PTR. December 2010. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20623616.
  4. Chamblee, Theresa S., and Benjamin C. Clark, Jr. "Analysis and Chemistry of Distilled Lime Oil (Citrus Aurantifolia Swingle)." Journal of Essential Oil Research. 2012. https://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/10412905.1997.10554242.
  5. "Lime Essential Oil." Bodyfeed. https://body-feedback.com/education/how-to-use-essential-oils/how-to-use-lime-essential-oil/.
  6. "LIMONENE: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings." WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1105-limonene.aspx?activeingredientid=1105&activeingredientname=limonene.
  7. Narang, Nithithep, and Wannee Jiraungkoorskul. Pharmacognosy Reviews. 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5214556/.
  8. Seward, Marc. "10 Proven Lime Essential Oil Benefits." Healthy Focus. June 17, 2016. https://healthyfocus.org/lime-essential-oil-benefits/.
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