Like many citrus oils, lime essential oil benefits your body in a myriad of ways. From reducing belly fat and preventing dental cavities to helping your anxious child get a good night’s sleep there’s a lot to know about its therapeutic efficacy!
Maybe you’re like me, and you love the bright, sweet scent of lime essential oil. It’s wonder it’s a popular addition to many aromatherapy blends and air freshening sprays. But, most people don’t know the benefits of using it far excel your sense of smell!
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Historical Uses of Lime
Lime oil can only be found in its rind, so many of the traditional uses for lime fruit and juice are not applicable when we discuss how to use the essential oil. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to look back and see how the benefits of lime essential oil were hinted at throughout historic uses.
The original vitamin C supplement? British explorers frequently carried limes aboard ship to prevent scurvy. All citrus fruits are well known to protect against this unpleasant, but completely preventable disease. Some captains are said to have felt so strongly about the necessity of preventing scurvy that they ordered every crew member to eat a lime, including a bite of the peel on a fixed schedule. Most of a lime’s volatile oils and vitamin C are in the peel, so this was a wise practice.
1. Dried Lime
People in semi-tropical climates have long relied upon this food preservative and flavoring to help prevent food borne pathogens long before refrigeration was available. Whole limes were kiln- or oven- dried, then broken and crumbled onto meat as needed.
Dried lime has also been simmered in oil warmers for house blessing— this may have been the ancient precursor to modern essential oil diffusers. Lime is still used effectively to preserve food and to brighten the energy in our homes.
2. Preserved Lime
Crushed in a jar with salt and left to naturally ferment, or pickle itself, lactic acid preserved limes and lemons were probably the first foods ever cultured specifically for their probiotic benefits. When traditionally prepared by this method, limes (and lemons) and their peels lose their sharp bitter bite.
The flavors meld with the fruit into a slightly salty, mellow, sweet-tart condiment that is still popular worldwide today. Who knew citrus fruit could provide your daily dose of good bacteria?
3. Natural Insecticide
Lime essence makes a note-worthy insecticide (22)—it successfully kills the vermin responsible for grain damage among others, such as mosquitoes. When properly diluted and applied, steam distilled lime essential oil may be a good tool in your insect repellent arsenal.
Properties of Lime Oil
Referred to in the scientific community as Citrus aurantifolia, lime oil is technically not an essential oil, but a “cold-pressed” oil similar to olive oil.
Primarily reserved for citrus peels, mechanical pressing (aka cold pressing) literally squeezes the volatile and non-volatile organic compounds out of the rind of the fruit. At one point in history, this was done by hand using a sponge to collect the oil, but those days are long gone. Citrus oils can also be steam distilled, but because of the extreme heat required to vaporize water and the plant matter, the aroma and chemical structures changes considerably and the therapeutic properties are much different than.
Lime oil is also becoming more popular as a CO2 extract. CO2 extracts are still experimental as few clinical trials have been conducted evaluating their safety and efficacy. That said, they are quite popular now in the aromatherapy community because, unlike with steam distillation, many more (medicinal) plant compounds are extracted during the process, no potentially harmful solvents are required, the oils are sometimes gentler to use on the skin, and their aromas are truer to the original plant than those of steam-distilled essential oils.
So, depending on the type lime oil you get, the chemical compounds will include a mixture of: alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, borneol, citral, cineole, d-limonene, geranyl acetate, linalool, myrcene, neral acetate and terpinolene.
6 Lime Essential Oil Benefits
Lime oil is safe to be use via inhalation, topically and ingestion if dosed and diluted properly. Try some of the recommendations below and be sure to consult with your physician if you’re being treated for a medical condition or are currently taking pharmaceuticals.
1. Reduce Stress
Unless you live in a sequestered non-technological community, you have probably heard again and again about the importance of putting away all the electronics. Not only to avoid constant EMF exposure, but to learn to be present in the moment with your family, friends, and co-workers… and you probably read that apt reminder on a social media app while gazing at your electronic device!
We all know we desire more downtime; we want our children’s lives to be at least a little more like our own internet-free childhood years. The screen-drain is real—we may feel frequently fatigued, even exhausted. But ironically, we may also feel too stressed or anxious to sleep well.
Lime essential oil is known to be high in the d-limonene compounds that rat studies show (1) can help with stress. It is difficult to be in the moment when the cares of the day will not leave your mind and body. We hold onto concerns and tensions, unfortunately, ending up with less connection and more stress- related health concerns.
See one of my favorite emotional detoxification blends which includes the uplifting spark of lime essential oil!
Lime essential oil eases stressful transitions. Studies show pressed oil (2) reduces muscle spasms so it’s worth asking what benefits the essential oil may show in future studies on this topic.
All citrus oils are beneficial for mood and stress relief because of the d-limonene. While orange essential oil usually has the highest levels, lime essential oil should not be overlooked as a d-limonene rich option. This compound seems to protects us (3) from stress at a cellular level, helping relieve the harm of stress on us physically.
2. Boost Mood & Energy
These affects and benefits of lime essential oil extend into mental health and mood support as well!
Lime Essential Oil is Extremely Energizing
Lime essential oil is an energizing essential oil, like many of the citrus family. In fact, you could combine lime and peppermint essential oils into a room spray to boost mood, energy, and concentration. Try mixing 10 drops of each in a 2 oz. spray bottle and top off the rest with 190-proof alcohol. The perfect afternoon pick-me-up spray!
This study shows (4) the benefits of lime juice in energizing you, and we look forward to more studies on the benefits of lime essential oil. It may also improve energy and focus without the jittery feelings caused by drinking too much caffeinated coffee, tea, or soda. In fact, some people like to add a drop of high-quality essential oils (safe to take internally) like lime or key lime solubilized in a refreshing drink to replace caffeinated drinks while driving.
Learn more about safely solubilizing essential oils in water Learn more about how to disperse and dilute essential oils in our guide.
Lime Supports Mental Health During Depression
Depression effects many lives in ways that can be devastating, and not everyone finds relief in pharmaceuticals. Some people do find relief but suffer greatly from the dangerous side effects of prescription antidepressants. To support your self care efforts at home, try lime essential oil.
All citrus oils are great at combating depression, and lime is no exception. Lime and other citrus essential oils provide relief from acute feelings of anxiety, dread, and hopelessness. Obviously, if you have thoughts of self harm, contact your medical professional immediately, but for day to day dealing with depressive feelings, essential oil therapy is very effective. It is shown to work (5) on brain chemistry directly to help address the cause, and not only the symptoms of depression.
Other Citrus Oils Also Boost Mood
Have you ever returned from work in a funk, only to find a sulky teen or grouchy grade schooler—maybe even an irritable spouse? This study shows (6) how citrus oils can have a positive impact on mood overall. Diffuse some lime essential oil, and bring the family together for some revitalizing family time.
If your family practices “good morning do over”, this is a perfect oil to diffuse in the family room to set the cheerful tone while everyone goes back to their rooms and comes out again to restart the day with a new perspective.
Application: Try 3 drops of each of lime and bergamot into your diffuser to change the environment in the air and enhance your mood!
3. Kills Bacteria, Fungi & Viruses
Lime essential oil kills the big three types of pathogens- bacterial, fungal, and viral, and it is an antiparasitic as well.
Dental caries or cavities are caused by a specific group of oral bacteria that are difficult to control—even with great dental hygiene practices. Researchers found (6) that the best anti-cavity preparation they tested, including several fluoride products and even chlorhexidine (which is too toxic for daily use) was a garlic and lime juice solution. You know how much we love garlic here!
Not Just Oral Bacteria but Fungus Also! Lime essential oil even kills oral thrush—a fungal yeast overgrowth.
Immune protection is another benefit of using lime essential oil. Lemon is not the only citrus fruit that helps boost your immune system during cold and flu season. Add lime to your homemade hand soaps, gels, or lotions, and add it to your spray cleaners whenever the latest bug is going around. Lime essential oil is one of the best to add to your bathroom cleaner as it protects your immune system and fights so many pathogens.
Much mainstream research (8) shows that lime and other citrus essential oils are highly antibacterial. Lime is proven to kill (9) many gram-positive organisms (staph and enterococcus), gram-negative organisms (e. coli, salmonella, citrobacter, serratia, shigella, klebsiella pneumoniae, pseudomonas aeruginosa), fungi (candida, aspergilus), and anaerobic bacteria (bacteroides, clostridium, porphyromonas).
Research show (10) citrus preparations such as lime essential oil to be especially powerful against fungal infections. Many parents use lime as a safe treatment for fungal skin overgrowths such as ringworm or athlete’s foot for the entire family—always dilute for use on skin, especially for children. You may wish to consult an aromatherapist when using essential oils with an infant.
Because of lime’s reliability as an antimicrobial, combined with its safety for human consumption, lime is considered to be one of the best (11) food-safe antibacterial preparations available. In addition, it imparts great flavor when used as a marinade or added to salsa. Yum!
4. Burns Fat & Reduces Cravings
Weight loss is an ongoing battle for an ever-growing number of American men and women. It is distressing that even our children are increasingly struggling to control their weight in a healthy, nurturing way. In addition to healthy eating habits, using essential oils can help.
You’ve probably seen the recommendations to drink fresh lemon or lime beverages to help lose weight. But lime essential oil is an even more concentrated, and, though it has a different chemical profile than the juice, may contribute to weight-loss efforts as well. It’s one of my seven top essential oils for weight loss support!
Lime essential oil has been proven to help prevent weight gain in this murine study (12). In another study (13), subjects were given capsules with lime essential oil before lunch and dinner, and capsules of coriander seed after lunch and dinner. Even with no additional lifestyle changes, they showed significant weight loss in just a few weeks. Those who were given higher doses lost the most weight on average.
D-limonene was shown in this study (14) to help prevent and treat high triglyceride (fat) levels, high cholesterol levels and in this murine study (15), helped balance high blood sugar levels. This was true even in subjects consuming a terrible diet and who already carried excessive weight.
This information obviously is not meant to encourage poor food choices, but rather to offer hope that essential oil therapy for weight loss can offer great results. Starting from where you are, even if you feel you haven’t completely fixed your diet yet, is important. Make simple switches in your sweeteners, your meat, and look for healthy recipes your family will enjoy.
Application: from the Essential Oils Diet, make our fat-burning roll-on…
5. Soothes Inflammation
Inflammation is a necessary part of healing, in fact, your body cannot heal without a degree of inflammation. However, chronic or excessive inflammation can cause numerous very serious inflammatory conditions, including:
- certain cancers
- Crohn’s disease
- hay fever
- active hepatitis
- rheumatoid arthritis
- chronic peptic ulcer
- ulcerative colitis
Citrus oils such as lime essential oil are proven by peer- reviewed studies in mice (16) to be active, safe, and effective anti-inflammatory agents. They seem to specifically address inflammation at its cellular source.
Application: trying mixing 2 drops of lime oil, 2 drops orange, 2 drops lemon, 2 drops grapefruit, 2 drops petitgrain and 2 drops of vanilla absolute with 1 ounce of a carrier oil and apply over your body after getting out of the shower for total body inflammation-soothing properties.
6. Anti-Aging & Rich in Antioxidants
Lime essential oil prevents and treats signs of aging such as dark skin spots, deep wrinkles, fine skin lines, skin dryness, and lack of elasticity. The high levels of antioxidants even help with brain fog and memory lapses. While no essential oil can turn back the clock two decades overnight, specific components in lime essential oil (such as limonene) are among the best sources of antioxidants (17) safe for regular use.
This means, one of our our favorite essential oil roll-ons not only treats visible signs of aging, but some of the physical deterioration as well if it is caused by oxidative stress. And of course the antimicrobial benefits makes it great for healthy homemade deodorants and other body-care recipes!
Application: Make Mama Z’s anti-aging, skin healing serum and add 5 drops of lime oil!
Other Health Benefits (Including Cancer)
Lime essential oil doesn’t just benefit sleep concerns and mild anxiety. Studies are showing health benefits and healing support for major medical issues too! Isn’t God amazing?
Cancer fighting. Lime essential oil has been shown to fight cancer cells (18) in general. Lime juice has also been shown in vitro to specifically target pancreatic cancer cells (19) — among the most painful and difficult cancers to treat. Breast cancer cells are also destroyed by components (20) present in lime essential oil.
Essential Oils and Cancer See more of our tips for using essential oils while battling cancer in this important article!
Fatty liver disease (even the type caused by stress) is greatly improved by taking limonene found in lime essential oil and other citrus oils. Research confirms that limonene helps insulin resistance and liver injury that is caused by stress and an unhealthy diet.
Alzheimer’s Disease. This is a devastating diagnosis as the personality of the patient slowly fades away. It’s something that has touched our family personally. Essential oils for Alzheimer’s patients provide promising treatment options. Lime essential oil may help by inhibiting cholinesterase, an enzyme responsible for damaging neurotransmitters in the brain and with it’s high antioxidant levels.
Heart Disease. Citrus consumption, including lime, may also have a direct impact on the incidence of heart disease. How much of this benefit translates to lime essential oil is something future studies will need to show, but lime essential oil shouldn’t be ruled out. When dietary and lifestyle changes can protect your heart, why take chances—try to add some citrus, whether from diffused oil, fresh fruit, or refreshing citrus water, every day.
Diabetes and Heart Disease Relief with Essential Oils See additional ways we use essential oils to help with diabetes and heart disease.
Gallstones.The limonene present in lime essential oil is responsible for an impressive 48% success rate when used to dissolve gallstones in this trial (21). Others found partial dissolution. While gallstones may not seem as life threatening as heart disease or cancer, they are reportedly among the most painful of medical disorders, and if they cause a rupture, are just as dangerous.
Some European countries report similar success with peppermint essential oil, and European doctors rarely remove a gallbladder from an otherwise healthy patient. The trial above injected the oil directly so it’s not the same as topical application but the results are interesting.
Risks & Contraindications
With all the remarkable and almost unbelievable applications for lime essential oil to improve your health, home, and life, you may rightly wonder whether there is any downside to using lime oil.
There is a lot of buzz in the essential oil world regarding photosensitivity of skin after using citrus oils. It is true that expressed citrus oils can cause you to be very susceptible to sunburn for hours after application, and they are really only appropriate for products that are well diluted, used in the evening, and washed off in the morning (or that are used on completely unexposed skin).
However, steam distilled citrus oils do not cause (23) ultraviolet light sensitivity. Even pressed oils are typically safe if they are used in appropriate concentrations and diluted with care and common sense. See more about citrus essential oils and photosensity here!
So, there is no downside at all? Actually, there is one caveat. Here, kitty, kitty.
Some cats may be extremely sensitive to essential oils—especially citrus essential oils such as lime or key lime. See more about our recommendations for using essential oils for animals in this post with Dr Janet Roark.
The GRAS is always greener… the GRAS designation means that upon inspection for safety, a product or ingredient is Generally Recognized As Safe. Steam distilled, fresh lime essential oil received the GRAS designation (23). Remember, we recommend diluting essential oils appropriately for maximum safety.
Additionally, most carrier oils help the essential oil penetrate and stick to skin for more effective use. Citrus oils like lime may deteriorate with time, ultra violet light exposure, and oxygen exposure. It’s best to buy smaller quantities you will use up fairly quickly. Lime essential oil makes a great gift, especially if you include a card with fun and healthy ideas for how to use it!