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  Lemon Myrtle
Backhousia citriodora, organically produced but not certified, steam-distilled leaves, Australia.

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This tree is plantation grown on an organically certified farm, and produces the purest natural form of citral in the world. A sweet lemon scent, used in perfumery, aromatherapy, and in cooking.

An extremely potent antibacterial and germicide, Lemon Scented Myrtle Oil is a much more effective germ killer than the more familiar Tea Tree. Anecdotal evidence shows a much lower than expected number of coughs, colds and sinus problems in households that regularly diffuse the oil in an aromalamp. It makes a lovely winter oil, with its combination of a cheerful lemon scent and its proven germicidal activity.

Anecdotal evidence from a friend who has been testing this oil in Australia:

Over the last 8 months, three different homes have been using Lemon Myrtle oil in common oil burners—two to three drops only—with the following results:

  • Definite reduction in colds and flu symptoms.
  • Reduction in sinus problems. One has suffered for years (he’s also wheel-chair-bound due to a football accident when much younger), and is now a confirmed “addict" to Bc oil.
  • Happier, sweeter smelling houses—“What is that beautiful smell” type reactions.
  • Reduction in moths and silverfish and other creepy crawlies in clothes cupboards. (The whole leaf can be used in a similar way—a couple in each drawer—seems to be particularly efficient in the bathroom drawers.)

None of these people are related to me, so have not had to bribe them them to say “good things” about Bc!!

Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil is wonderful for oily skin and acne. The distiller recommends a drop dabbed neat on zits, however, the oil has not gone through extensive testing so we do not know if it is a potential sensitizer. It is a skin irritant, so I would not advise using it undiluted. I would dip a cotton ball in distilled water and add one drop of the Lemon Myrtle, and then touch THAT to the zit.

Many oils are classed as “lemon” oils because of their aroma. Lemon oil itself is cold-pressed from lemon peel and is actually less “lemony” than many other oils because it contains only 3–10% of citral, the best known of the lemon scent components. Lemon myrtle, by contrast, contains 95% citral. I do not enjoy most “lemon-scented” oils. I am not a fan of lemongrass for example because it seems to lack the clarity of true lemon. This Lemon Myrtle is exquisite; as clear and clean as any lemon I have experienced.

Anecdotal evidence from Australian aromatherapists, who have tested Lemon Myrtle indicate that it can be effective for relieving chest congestion whether diffused or in a massage blend. It also seems useful for relaxation, uplifting emotions, and soothing sleep.

Lemon Myrtle’s extraordinarily high level of citral should make it a powerful antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal agent. I like to add a few drops to the diffuser just to generally clear the air in our house.

The distiller states that Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil has many culinary uses. The pure essential oil is best suited to:

  • Vinaigrettes
  • mayonnaise
  • salad dressings
  • cold custards
  • sorbets
  • cheese cakes
  • ice creams and
  • any product with a milk or oil base where no heat is applied after the oil has been added.

Because of the pure oil's potency, only a drop or two will be needed to flavor the products. “A little goes a long way!!”

Starting in mid-2009 we started getting requests from those who had read a research study showing that Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil proved effective in treating Molluscum contagiosum (a viral skin disease that predominantly effects children). I was appalled at the thought of people using this extraordinarily irritating oil in very strong dilution on a child's skin, and did more research. Please read the following two blog posts for other, safer suggestions: Molluscum contagiosum and Lemon Myrtle Oil.

And for a blend that has been used successfully by a well known and respected aromatherapist: More on Molluscum contagiosum.

PLEASE do not order Lemon Myrtle if your purpose is to treat Molluscum contagiosum!!!!

WARNING: Contains citral, a strong sensitizer. Avoid use on broken skin. Avoid use during pregnancy (see this blog post on High Citral Oils vs Pregancy). Maximum dilution for topical use: 0.7% (4 drops per fluid ounce). Please also see our blog post on the benefits of inhalation vs. ingesting essential oils.

Photos courtesy of Mark Webb.



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