Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) is an evergreen tree with white flowers that is native to sub tropical rainforests in central and south eastern Queensland. Lemon myrtle essential oil is distilled from the leaves which gives off a citrusy smell when crushed.
Lemon myrtle oil is composed mainly of Citral (45-60%) and Neral (30-45%). It is the highest natural source of Citral. Citral gives it its anti-microbial, anti fungal, anti viral and sedative properties.
Studies have shown lemon myrtle essential oil to be more anti-fungal than tea tree and nearly as anti bacterial as tea tree. These properties make it a great oil for use in natural home cleaners and aromatherapy diffusers.
Lemon Myrtle oil's zesty freshness is an alternative to citrus oil such as mandarin, orange, bergamot and lemon. Limonene in citrus oils can cause photosensitivity and allergic reactions to some individuals. The high citral content in lemon myrtle can also cause skin irritation if used undiluted. Ironically, studies show that limonene compounds can neutralise the irritating effects of citral. The safest option for using lemon myrtle and all other essential oils, is to dilute it before application.
The crisp citrus tones of lemon myrtle makes it a wonderful flavour and aroma enhancer for culinary purposes. However due to its potency, a little goes a long way.
When used diluted to <1%, lemon myrtle oil is can be used to treat acne and relieve respiratory infections. We cannot stress enough the importance of diluting this potent oil before any topical application. Avoid topical use or ingestion during pregnancy.
Due to its powerful antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties, lemon myrtle is an ideal natural ingredient for cleaning products and surface disinfectants.
Our favourite household products using lemon myrtle are:
- Koala Eco's Natural multi purpose kitchen cleaner and bench spray
- Koala Eco's Natural Dishwashing Liquid
They are natural, biodegradable, effective and refreshingly zesty without any artificial ingredients.