In addition to being a wonderful taste enhancer in The Essential Oil Cookbook recipes, Lemon Myrtle oil has many health benefits.

In these days, our immune systems are being assaulted from all directions; the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, even stress itself affects the immune system as we seem to be speeding up our lifestyles. This takes a toll on our health as each year viruses get stronger and stronger while we get weaker. Each winter many people find themselves taking not days, but weeks off work as they struggle to cope with the latest flu bug which can often end in pneumonia or even death. At the very least, there's an economic cost to this with time taken off work, trips to the doctor, medications etc. Lemon Myrtle oil is 16 times more effective than phenol which makes it an excellent weapon against germs. (1)

Action: Supports a healthy immune system and creates an unfriendly environment for microbes; antiseptic-like; sedative (2); repels fungus (3); carminative; corrective.

Useful for: Since Lemon Myrtle oil (Backhousia citriodora) is high in citral, whatever citral helps may be helped by using this oil (e.g. common cold, influenza, bronchitis, allergies, sinus infections, fatigue, dental infections, indigestion & irritable gastro-intestinal disorders, herpes simplex, depression, raw throat, psoriasis, rash, folliculitis, neurodermatitis, acne, itching, tinea, candidiasis, athletes foot, headaches, insect & flea repellant, meditative states, perfume).

Studies: Because it has the highest citral content of any known plant (85-97%) - even higher than Lemongrass (75-85%) - it exhibits a strong ability to repel viruses. Note that more studies need to be done. (4)

Out of 49 Australian essential oils, it exhibited the highest titre against staphyloccus aureus, salmonella typhi and mycobacteria phlei. Eucalyptus gave poor results and only 2 out of 7 Melaleuca species gave fair to good results (5). It is 16 times more effective than phenol (phenol coefficient of 16) which is higher than Melaleuca (phenol coefficient of 12) making it 25% more effective against a broad range of microorganisms than Melaleuca. As an acne cream, it would be vastly more effective than other products on the market. Citral is more active against fungus than camphor and its action is broad spectrum so the microorganism does not develop a resistance.

Mode of Application: Use topically on skin (dilute with carrier oil if irritating), soles of feet, add one or two drops to drinks for flavoring alcoholic beverages or food (it has a wonderfully smooth, clean lemon-like rich taste), gargle with 1 drop in water, add to cleaning preparations, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, moisturising creams. Avoid prolonged diffusion and do not use in baths, douches or enemas!

Purity of Source: Because this oil only comes from southeast Queensland and northern N.S.W. where most of the B. citriodora rainforests were destroyed in World War II for the production of a famous soft drink at the time, some companies dilute this oil with a cheaper similar oil from China, litsea cubeba. Our oil is undiluted.  It is organically grown plantation-style in 15' volcanic soil that had no chemical residues prior to planting, watered with mineral water and fed with natural fertilizers, mulch, microbes, and rock dust. Only natural pest control is used - no synthetic insecticides. The oil is  steam distilled and double filtered. No chemicals or solvents are used at any time.

Toxicity: None. Citral is found in fresh fruits and has a long history of acceptance by U.S. and European regulatory bodies and has been given GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status.

    Pengelly A., Australian Medicinal Plant, Aust. J. Med. Herbalism, Vol 3 (3) 1991
    Schnaubelt K., Friendly Molecules, Int. J. Aromatherapy 1989, 2:20
    Moleyar V. & Narasimbam P., Mode of Anti-Fungal Action of Essential Oil Components:
        Citral and Camphor, Indian J. Exp. Biology 1987:25:781
    Schnaubelt K., Potential Application of Essential Oil in Viral Disease, Int. J. Aromatherapy,     1988/89, 1/2:33
    Atkinson W. & Brice H., Anti-Bacterial Action of Essential Oil from Some Australian
        Plants, Aust. J. Exp. Biology 1955, 33:547

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Essential Oil Cookbook © 2004