Botanical name Citrus aurantifolia
Source Fruit Peel
Processing Method Steam Distillation
Color/Consistency A thin, clear, yellowish green to greenish brown liquid.
Aromatic Summary / Note / Strength of Aroma A top note with a medium aroma, it has a tart, fresh scent characteristic of the fruit.
Blends With Clary Sage, Lavender, Neroli and Ylang-Ylang.
Lime Essential Oil is amongst the most affordable of essential oils and is routinely used for its energizing, fresh and cheerful aroma. It is well known in folklore for its ability to cleanse, purify and renew the spirit and the mind. It is also said to be effective in cleansing the aura. Lime essential oil is rich in Vitamin C, making the oil an ideal immune system booster. Lime can be used in a diffusor or vaporizer to assist with relief from stress, anxiety, and allow for a calm mind.
Although the precise origin is uncertain, wild limes are believed to have first grown in Indonesia or Southeast Asia, and then were transported to the Mediterranean region and north Africa around 1000 CE.
To prevent scurvy during the 19th century, British sailors were issued a daily allowance of citrus, such as lemon, and later switched to lime. The use of citrus was initially a closely guarded military secret, as scurvy was a common scourge of various national navies, and the ability to remain at sea for lengthy periods without contracting the disorder was a huge benefit for the military. The British sailor thus acquired the nickname, "Limey" because of their usage of limes.
The essential oil of lime is extracted by cold compression of fresh lime peels or by steam distillation of its dried peels. The scientific name of lime is Citrus aurantifolia. It is composed of compounds like alpha pinene, beta pinene, myrcene, limonene, terpinolene, cineole, linalool, borneol, citral, neral acetate, and geranyl acetate.
In very rare cases, this oil can cause photosensitivity if exposed directly to the strong sun after application.
(β)-Limonene β1,8-cineole 40.4–49.4%
Quality Distilled lime oil may be adulterated with added a-terpineol, terpinolene and other lime terpenes.
Hazards Skin sensitization if oxidized.
Cautions Old or oxidized oils should be avoided.
Our safety advice
Because of its (β)-limonene content we recommend that oxidation of distilled lime oil is avoided by storage in a dark, airtight container in a refrigerator. The addition of an antioxidant to preparations containing it is recommended.
Has GRAS status. IFRA recommends that essential oils rich in limonene should only be used when the level of peroxides is kept to the lowest practical level, for instance by adding antioxidants at the time of production.
Adverse skin reactions Undiluted distilled lime oil was slightly irritating to rabbits; tested at 15% or 100% on two panels of 25 volunteers it was not irritating. Tested at 15% on 25 volunteers it was not sensitizing. It is non-phototoxic. Autoxidation products of (β)-limonene can cause skin sensitization.
Reproductive toxicity The low developmental toxicity of (β)- limonene in rabbits and mice suggests that lime oil is not hazardous in pregnancy.
Acute toxicity Distilled lime oil acute oral LD50 in rats>5 g/kg; acute dermal LD50 in rabbits >5 g/kg.
Carcinogenic/anticarcinogenic potential Lime oil has been reported as a promoter of tumors in the forestomach and in the skin of rats pre-treated with DMBA; most of these papillomas were benign, but a few were malignant. Lime oil was not mutagenic in the Ames test, and did not produce CA in Chinese hamster fibroblasts. Lime terpenes induced glutathione S-transferase activity to more than 2.5 times control level in mouse tissues.
Distilled lime oil is produced on a much larger scale than the expressed oil, and most of the production is used in food flavoring. Although distilled lime oils are not regarded as phototoxic, citropten (0.9%) and bergapten (0.3%) have been reported as constituents of a distilled Mexican lime oil. Distilled lime oil contains some relatively rare constituents such as 1,4- cineole, β-terpineol and terpinen-1-ol, because of the acidic conditions present during processing. The research in the 1960s that identified limonene in several citrus oils as a promotor of malignant tumors was probably flawed, since we now know that limonene, and its metabolite perillyl alcohol, are both anticarcinogenic. Oxidation products of (β)-limonene may have caused these early results.