Sailors and explorers never set sail without crates of lime on board, as its vitamin C- loaded juice served as one of the most potent remedies for scurvy and other skin problems. Now, lime is more popularly used as a cooking ingredient, adding a tangy flavor to your favorite dishes. But there’s another great way to reap its benefits: use lime oil. Get to know the many uses of this invigorating and refreshing citrus oil.
Lime essential oil is amongst the most affordable of essential oils and is routinely used for its energizing, fresh and cheerful aroma. It is well known in folklore for its ability to cleanse, purify and renew the spirit and the mind. It is also known to be effective in cleansing the aura.
What is Lime Essential Oil?
Lime essential oil comes from Citrus aurantifolia of the Rutaceae plant family. This evergreen tree is short and bushy, growing between 6 and 13 feet high (much smaller than orange or grapefruit trees), and has dark green leaves, white blossoms, and green oval fruits. There are two main types of lime trees: the Mexican lime (Key lime) and the Tahiti lime (Persian or Bears lime).
Lime is indigenous to Southeast Asia and then spread to Egypt and Africa. The Moors also introduced lime to Spain during the 1200s and became a widely used fruit throughout Europe before it reached American shores. Today, the largest producer of lime is India (16 percent), followed by Mexico (14.5 percent), Argentina (10 percent), Brazil (8 percent), and Spain (7 percent).
Lime essential oil has a sharp citrus scent, and is either pale yellow or light olive in color depending on how it was produced. Although it’s traditionally used as a flavoring agent in food, there are other well-known uses for it.
According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of lime include:
It’s most commonly used for digestive support, immune boosting, and respiratory function, but most especially for the aromatic influence it has. It smells like…you guessed it, lime. Very sweet, fresh, and tart. When lime hits your noggin (via your nose, mind you), you’ll see what I mean. It’s one of the most invigorating and uplifting aromas, without being overly powerful.
Emotionally, it’s said to enliven a person’s appetite for life and playfulness. It helps a person get out from under stagnant energies – including grief, despair, apathy, and more – and regain their courage to embrace their zest for the goodness Life offers. It’s an oil that couples well with the heart center, in my experience, clearing trapped emotions and allowing a person to open up again.
In these ways it may be useful for someone dealing with depression, fatigue, overwhelm, or a heavy heart, and stimulate a person’s personal drive in fun, healthy, and heart-focused ways.
Composition of Lime Essential Oil
Like lemons, limes and lime essential oil are full of antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients. Lime essential oil is loaded with terpene hydrocarbons, such as a-pinene, b-pinene, d-pinene, camphene, sabinene, and terponolene. It also contains oxygenated compounds like a-terpineol, 1,8-cineole, 1,4-cineole, linalool, and fenchol, as well as sesquiterpenes. It also contains traces of neral acetate and geranyl acetate.
Germacrene B, another component of lime essential oil, is an important fragrance element in lime essential oil, giving it a sweet, woody-spicy, geranium-like note that makes it distinguishable from lemon oil.
Uses and Benefits of Lime Essential Oil
Lime essential oil has been extensively used in the food and beverage industry, as well as in making fragrances. This versatile citrus oil is also added to household cleaners, detergents, soaps, and other beauty products.
You can also get body-wide benefits by using lime essential oil in aromatherapy, as it is stimulating and refreshing. Just like lemon oil, lime essential oil can be used for its cleansing properties. Its rich vitamin C content also makes it an ideal immune system booster, helping protect you from colds and flu.
The following are potential uses found in or on Modern Essentials, Aromatic Science, PubMed.gov, as well as through anecdotal experience and other resources. Use them to inspire your own ideas, experiment, and see what works for you.
Because of the uplifting quality of citrus oils, diffusing lime can be beneficial for high-stress situations at home or work.
The very smell of lime essential oil makes the mouth water. In small doses, it serves as an appetizer or an aperitif. It also activates the secretion of digestive juices into the stomach before you even starts eating and increases your hunger and appetite.
Lime essential oil is a good bactericide. It can be used in the treatment of food poisoning, diarrhea, typhoid, and cholera, all of which are caused by bacteria. Furthermore, it can cure internal bacterial infections like those in the colon, stomach, intestines and urinary tract as well as external infections on the skin, ears, eyes, and in wounds. Diffusing the oil, inhaling directly, or with steam are all gentle ways to get most oils into your system. Lime can also be applied topically, either over the area in question or massaged into the reflex points of the feet (diluted for sensitive skin).
Lime essential oil may help regulate blood pressure, especially due to stress. Consider adding it to shampoos, baths, lotion, or a drop in each glass of water.
Try adding a few drops into a salt or sugar scrub, making your own deodorant, dropping in your shampoo, or adding to homemade soaps or lotions.
Some have even reported a decrease in cellulite when adding this essential oil to their lotions or coconut oil and massaging into area of concern.
Use your Lime Essential Oil in natural household cleaners, including sprays, scrubs, and furniture polish.
Used in the same manner as Lemon essential oil, Lime’s antiviral properties can help fight colds by diffusing, adding to your water, or massaging into the body (especially the lymphatic system).
High-quality brands of lime essential oil can be used internally as a food supplement (don’t try this with untested brands!). Add a drop to your water for flavor, a couple drop for a citrus dish or guacamole, even add a drop to your beer!
Lime essential oil is also known for its disinfectant properties. Added to food, it protects them from getting spoiled through infection by microbes. When consumed, it can cure microbial infection in the colon, urinary tract, kidneys, and genitals. When applied externally, it protects the skin and wounds from infections and helps them to heal quickly. It can also be used in a diluted state for applying on the scalp. This will protect hair from various infections like lice, and also strengthen it so it won’t fall out prematurely.
Mix one drop of lime essential oil with 2 drops of the (naturally antibacterial) coconut oil and apply under the arms. It’s not an antiperspirant, but it does make a great deodorant.
Support the emotional and spiritual aspects of a person by diffusing lime, or using it topically or internally on a daily basis.
Dry Erase Board Cleaner
One of the coolest aspects of lime is it de-gunking abilities. Add one drop at a time to a gunky dry erase board and rub with a rag to remove marker, crayon, and buildup. I did this with an old and terribly cared for dry erase and it looked brand new!
Add a drop to each glass of water throughout your day to increase energy levels and boost your mood. This oil serves as a restorative by restoring health and strength to organ systems throughout the body. This is quite similar to the effect of a tonic, and is very good for those who are recovering after extended bouts of illness or injury.
Same as above, add a drop to your water, massage into the skin, or even diffuse into the air for uplifting benefits.
It’s antiviral and antibacterial properties will support the body in fighting infection. The refreshing qualities can also be used topically to cool the body. You might also consider Peppermint oil for its cooling effects.
Have a kid that hates plain water? Add a drop of lime to zest it up and promote their health at the same time. You can also add to any dish that calls for lime (start with one drop only!).
All citrus oils are great for focus, mental clarity, uplifting energies, and so on. Inhale from the bottle for a quick pick-me-up, diffuse at work or while studying, and apply topically (diluted for sensitive skin).
Its antiviral and antibacterial properties will help alleviate symptoms. Try adding a drop or two of lime essential oil to your increased water intake.
Lime is superb at removing gum or grease or sticker residue from surfaces. Add it to your cleaning products or apply directly. Works well on skin too.
An agent that can stop bleeding, either by promoting the coagulation of blood or by means of contracting the blood vessels, is considered a haemostatic. Lime essential oil is a haemostatic, by virtue of its astringent properties, which help to reduce hemorrhaging by contracting the blood vessels.
This oil is great for detoxifying the liver. Add to your water on a regular basis, or put in empty capsules to take internally for a detox regimen.
Massage lime essential oil with coconut oil into the body, starting with the hands and feet and working your way toward the heart to increase the lymphatic system’s movement.
Purifying (water and air)
Add a drop to your water, or diffuse the oil throughout the air as needed.
Lime essential oil makes a great addition to a beauty routine. Try mixing 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 tsp of coconut oil, 1 drop of lime essential oil, and any water necessary, and use as a face scrub to revitalize the skin.
Add a drop of lime and a drop of lemon essential oil to your hot tea, or add to warm water to gargle and alleviate soreness.
Lime essential oil tones up muscles, tissues and skin as well as the various systems that function in the body, including the respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive and excretory systems. This tonic effect helps retain youth for a long time and prevents the appearance of aging symptoms like hair loss, wrinkles, age spots, and muscle weakness.
Apply one drop of lime essential oil with 2 drops of coconut oil over varicose veins to ease discomfort and diminish their appearance.
How to make Lime Essential Oil?
There are two ways by which lime essential oil is produced: cold-pressing and distilling. Cold-pressed oil has a yellow or green color, with a rich and fresh lime peel aroma. Meanwhile, distilled is either pale yellow or clear, with a fragrant fruity scent.
Between these two, I would recommend using cold-pressed lime essential oil, as it retains more of the natural elements that make lime essential oil so beneficial. Even though cold-pressed lime essential oil costs more than distilled varieties, it’s definitely worth the money.
You can also make a basic lime essential oil infusion at home with these easy steps:
2 cups olive oil
Citrus zester or paring knife
2 Kaffir lime leaves (optional)
Heat two cups of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. While doing this, wash the limes and dry them thoroughly.
Using the paring knife or zester, cut the lime zest into quarter-inch strips. Do not cut into the pith, though.
Add the lime zest and two Kaffir lime leaves (if using) to the olive oil. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat.
Remove the saucepan from heat and then cover, allowing the zest and leaves to steep for 2 ½ hours.
Using the fine-mesh sieve, store the oil in an airtight and non-reactive storage container. You can leave the zest in the mixture as a garnish. Store it in a cool, dry place. No need for refrigeration.
This lime oil infusion can be used for up to two weeks.
How does Lime Oil work?
According to a 2003 study on the aromatic volatiles in key lime essential oils, the components geranial, neral, and linalool are dominant in lime oil, contributing to its fresh and citrus aroma. These components also contribute to the oil’s astringent, tonic, antiseptic, antiviral, antimicrobial, restorative, stimulant, and other health-promoting properties.
To ensure the shelf life of your lime oil, keep it in a cool, dark place, away from sunlight.
Is Lime Oil Safe?
Lime oil can be inhaled or vaporized, used topically, or added to food in small amounts. It’s said to be non-toxic and non-irritating, but this does not mean that you should use it recklessly. For instance, do a patch test to see if you have any sensitivity to this oil. Simply apply a drop or two to your skin to check if you develop any allergic reaction.
I do not recommend using undiluted lime oil, as it can be very potent. Instead, blend it with a milder oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil. Lime oil also blends well with lavender, neroli, ylang-ylang, and clary sage.
As with other herbal oils, I advise you to consult your physician before ingesting this oil (diluted or mixed in food) to determine the proper dosage for your condition. I also do not recommend lime oil for pregnant women or nursing mothers without first seeking the advice of their healthcare provider.
As with all citrus oils, avoid direct sunlight at least 12 hours after use. It can cause skin irritation in some people, especially children. So whatever happens, don’t expose your skin to the sun if you’ve just used lime oil. Wait for six to 24 hours before going out. The stronger the UV rays that you will be exposed to, the longer the wait should be. Always test for skin sensitivity prior to widespread use and use on the feet when possible. Excessive use of any oil can lead to skin sensitization. Keep out of eyes, ears, or nose. Not all oils are created equal, so test brands carefully and never use oil in a way not recommended by its maker.