Lime trees are quite small evergreens, bearing white flowers and bright green fruit. The fruits are smaller than lemons and have a distinctive bitter taste. Limes grow in several countries and are grown commercially in Florida, Mexico, Italy and the West Indies. The tree is a member of the family Rutaceae.
Lime has been used quite extensively in herbal medicine for many years and shares most of the properties of lemon.
Essential oil of lime is produced by mechanical expression of the peel of the fruit. The oil is yellow/green with a strong, fresh citrus fragrance. It is used for its fragrance in the production of cosmetics, household cleaning products and perfumes. It is also used extensively by the food and drinks industries.
Therapeutically, essential oil of lime is more or less interchangeable with lemon. It is refreshing and cleansing and uplifting to the spirits. It has antiseptic properties and is astringent so can be used in the treatment of greasy and spotty skin. The bactericidal properties of the oil also make it suitable for treating skin infections such as boils.
Lime oil can also help in the treatment of respiratory complaints, such as colds and sore throats, catarrhal coughs and bronchitis.
The oil blends well with a variety of other essential oils and, used in a vaporizer or room spray, will also help to disinfect a room.
Suitable methods of use
- Skin care
Lime oil is phototoxic. After using lime oil on the skin, avoid exposure to sunlight for 24 hours. Generally non-sensitizing, but may cause sensitization in a few individuals.