About Lemon MyrtleThe botanical name of lemon myrtle is backhousia citriodora. Indigenous to Queensland, it is a rainforest tree that grows to heights of up to 8 metres. Young lemon myrtles, if regularly pruned, can be used as decorative bushes and are very commonly found in Brisbane suburbs and other parts of Queensland, where they are cultivated for their lovely white flowers and delicate lemon scent. They are also grown commercially for their high citral (lemon oil) content, which is extracted by a steam distillation process. The oil is used in a variety of cleaning and other products.
Health Benefits of Lemon Myrtle TeaThe key ingredient in lemon myrtle is the high concentration of citral in its leaves. Citral comprises 90-98% of the essential oils in lemon myrtle, as opposed to less than 10% in lemons and limes. Some of the characteristics of citral include:
- Citral is an anti-fungal agent.
- Citral is non-acidic.
- Citral is high in anti-oxidants.
Aromatherapists and herbalists use lemon myrtle and its essential oil for a variety of reasons. No one who has experienced its fragrant aroma denies that it has a wonderfully relaxing effect and it is also said to improve concentration as well as promote better sleep. It is used as an inhalant to treat colds, flus and other congestive disorders. Used topically, it is used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including warts and herpes simplex. Although lemon myrtle oil can be applied to the skin full strength, it is usually advised to dilute it with more neutral vegetable oils.
With so many of our naturally therapeutic herbs and other plants coming from overseas, it's nice to know that some of the best of them, including lemon myrtle tea, come from right here in Australia.