Lemon Myrtle is a flowering rainforest tree native to Australia with a wide ranging distribution along the tropical and subtropical east coast.
Named after the English botanist James Backhouse, Lemon Myrtle is commonly known as the Australian sweet verbena tree due to its intense lemon fragrance.
The aromatic leaves of the Lemon Myrtle tree are considered to be the world’s richest and purest source of citral, with fresh leaves yielding between 0.33%-0.86% of essential oil consisting almost entirely of citral. Aside from its characteristic lemon fragrance citral is an aldehyde, valued for its sedative, antiviral and antimicrobial properties.
In a study carried out in the 1950’s on a number of Australian aromatic plants, Backhousia Citriodora exhibited the most potent germicidal action against human pathogens such as Staph aureus and Staph typhi. A more recent experiment involving the treatment of children with molluscum contagiosum, a viral skin disease, confirmed the germicidal properties of lemon myrtle. A daily application of a 1% solution of essential oil over a period of 3 weeks resulted in a 90% decrease of skin lesions.
Recent findings supported by the Australian Government Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation have confirmed that the essential oil of Lemon Myrtle has considerably stronger antimicrobial properties than the essential oils of either Tea Tree or Eucalyptus, and is now listed as a therapeutic product under the Therapeutic Goods and Administration Act. Lemon Myrtle oil can be used as a topical antiseptic in the treatment of warts, cold sores, cuts, stings, rashes, tinea, neurodermatitis, and headaches.
Infusions made from the crushed lemon scented leaves help to strengthen the immune system and reduce the incidence of throat infections, colds and influenza. Lemon myrtle leaves are also used to treat allergies, gastric problems and to alleviate muscle cramps.
Aside from it’s diverse therapeutic properties, Lemon Myrtle is a well known Australian bushfood and is a good source of essential minerals such as calcium, zinc and magnesium, as well as vitamin.E, folate, lutein, phenolic compounds and phytochemicals that provide beneficial antioxidant activity.
Enjoy the health benefits of this soothing and refreshing native spice in our Mirto herbal infusion.