Lime Essential Oil

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Lime Essential Oil
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Lime Essential Oil – General Description

Lime essential oil receives high remarks among aromatherapists for its crisp, sharp, refreshing aroma that is claimed to have uplifting, revitalizing, and energizing properties. It is among the least inexpensive essential oils on the market and appears pale yellow to light green in color with a thin consistency. It is considered wonderful either when used alone or when blended with other essential oils such as bergamot, cedarwood, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, mandarin, neroli, nutmeg, orange sweet, palmarosa, petitgrain, rose, rosemary, rosewood, tangerine, vetiver, and ylang-ylang essential oils. [1]
Nowadays, lime essential oil finds use not only in aromatherapy but also in perfumery and cleaning product industries.

Lime essential oil is extracted by cold expression of the thin peel or rind of limes (Citrus aurantifolia), the oval green fruits known for their sour vitamin C-rich pulp that stopped thousands of British navy sailors at sea from developing scurvy in the old days. The essential oil can also be obtained from the peel and/or the entire fruit through steam distillation, which renders lime essential to be non-phototoxic when applied on the skin as compared to cold-pressed lime essential oil. [2]

Lime Essential Oil – Uses and Reported Benefits

Due to its high antioxidant content, lime essential oil is an immunity booster and natural skin toner with purifying and body cleansing effects. It can be used to remedy acne and can act as an astringent that aids in clarifying oily and dull skin. It helps relieve common symptoms of asthma, flu, and colds. It eases the pain in the joints and muscles as well and improves poor circulation. As mentioned before, its scent lightens the mood, uplifts one’s spirit, allays stress-related fatigue, and drives away depression. [3]

Lime Essential Oil – Contraindications and Safety

Lime essential oils extracted through cold expression are phototoxic. Users are thus advised to avoid exposing themselves to direct sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet light after application. As with other essential oils, lime EO should not be taken internally.
Dilute lime essential oil with a carrier oil before use. It is suggested too that pregnant and lactating women consult first their physician prior to essential oil use.

Lime Essential Oil – Scientific Studies And Research

Lime Essential Oil as antibacterial and antifungal: Lime essential oil has been advocated in complementary medicine as an efficacious agent against bacterial and fungal infections. Prabuseenivasan, Jayakumar, and Ignacimuthu (2006) screened the antibacterial activity of 21 plant essential oils against six bacterial species, four of which are Gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Proteus vulgaris) and two are Gram-positive (Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus), using disc diffusion method. In this study, lime essential oil exhibited inhibitory effect against the tested bacterial strains and in fact deterred the growth of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. [4] Supporting this finding is that of Rath et al. (2005), who provided evidence on the antibacterial activity of juniper and lime essential oils against methicillin-resistant S. aureus through the inhibition of the bacteria’s cell membrane synthesis process. [5] As earlier mentioned, essential oils extracted from citrus peels possess antifungal properties, making them an excellent source of natural products with therapeutic efficiency in food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries. In 2013, a Vietnamese research team from Vietnam National University investigated the inhibitory activity of orange, mandarin orange, pomelo, and lime essential oils on the growth of three pathogenic fungi, namely, Mucor hiemalis, Penicillium expansum, and Fusarium proliferatum. The results revealed that all of the previously mentioned citrus essential oils have significant antifungal activity, lime essential oil in particular being the best inhibitor of M. hiemalis and F. proliferatum. [6]

Lime Essential Oil as antispasmodic: The findings obtained from the study of Spadaro, Costa, Circosta, and Occhiuto (2012)
indicated that lime essential oil exerts significant spasmolytic effects, which were evaluated on isolated rabbit jejunum, aorta, and uterus. The antispasmodic activity was mainly attributed to the essential oil’s chief components, namely, limonene (58.4%), beta-pinene (15.4%), gamma-terpinene (8.5%), and citral (4.4%). [7]

Lime Essential Oil as weight loss agent: Results from the study of Asnaashari et al. (2010) evidenced the promising potential of lime essential oil as an effective, safer, and cheaper weight-reducing agent and its role in treating drug-induced obesity and related diseases. In their study, lime essential oil was administered in mouse models alone and in combination with ketotifen, an antihistamine drug that relieves the symptoms of allergic rhinitis but may induce appetite stimulation and weight gain as a side effect. Within the experimental period, mouse models on ketotifen displayed enhancement in both the amount of food intake and body weight compared with the control group, whereas those mice treated with lime essential oil exhibited weight loss and reduced food consumption. Fascinatingly, the combination of lime essential oil and ketotifen inhibited weight gain and consequently decreased the body weights of mouse models. [8]

Lime Essential Oil and Alzheimer’s: The pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease is associated with a deficiency in acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the brain, and the cholinergic deficit augments the cognitive impairment experienced by patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It is not surprising therefore that considerable scientific focus has been poured upon therapies whose main mechanism revolves around the inhibition of cholinesterase, the enzyme that hydrolyzes acetylcholine to acetic acid and choline. Chaiyana and Okonogi (2012) of Chiang Mai University evaluated the anticholinesterase activities of plant oils using Ellman’s colorimetric method and reported scientific data on the high levels of acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase coinhibitory activities of lime essential oil. In this study, lime essential oil has an IC50 value of 139 ± 35 and 42 ± 5 μg/ml on acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase, respectively. [9] Tundis et al. (2012) similarly examined the acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase inhibitory activities of lime essential oil. Among the three citrus species from which peel essential oils were yielded from in their study, namely, lime, bitter orange, and bergamot orange, lime essential oil demonstrated exceptional selective inhibition of acetylcholinesterase and the highest radical scavenging activity on ABTS assay. [10]

Lime Essential Oil – Molecular Components and Chemistry

Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis performed by Asnaashari et al. (2010) on lime essential oil isolated and quantified approximately 22 main components, with limonene (28.27%) being the chief one. [8] Other major biologically important components contained in lime essential oil include beta-pinene, gamma-terpinene, and citral. [7]


[1] Lime 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil- 10 ml. Amazon. Product information. (no affiliation) Retrieved from

[2] Tisserand R., Young R. (2014). Essential oil safety. 2nd ed. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier

[3] doTERRA Lime Essential Oil 15 ml. Amazon, product information (no affiliation). Retrieved from

[4] Prabuseenivasan S., Jayakumar M., Ignacimuthu S. (2006). In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 6:39. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-6-39. Retrieved from

[5] Rath C. C., Mishra S., Dash S. K., Mishra R. K. (2005). Antisaphylococcal activity of lime and juniper essential oils against MRSA. Indian Drugs. 42:797-801.

[6] Van Hung P., Chi P. T., Phi N. T. (2013). Comparison of antifungal activities of Vietnamese citrus essential oils. Natural Product Research. 27(4-5): 506-508. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2012.706293. Retrieved from

[7] Spadaro F., Costa R., Circosta C., Occhiuto F. (2012). Volatile composition and biological activity of key lime Citrus aurantifolia essential oil. Natural Product Communications. 7(11): 1523-1526. Retrieved from

[8] Asnaashari S. et al. (2010). Essential oil from Citrus aurantifolia prevents ketotifen-induced weight-gain in mice. Phytotherapy Research. 24(12): 1893-1897. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3227. Retrieved from

[9] Chaiyana W., Okonogi S. (2012). Inhibition of cholinesterase by essential oil from food plant. Phytomedicine. 19(8-9): 836-839. doi:
10.1016/j.phymed.2012.03.010. Retrieved from

[10] Tundis R. et al. (2012). Comparative study on the antioxidant capacity and cholinesterase inhibitory activity of Citrus aurantifolia Swingle, C. aurantium L., and C. bergamia Risso and Poit. peel essential oils. Journal of Food Science. 77(1): H40-6. doi:
10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02511.x. Retrieved from

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