Lime oil comes from Citrus aurantifolia also called Lime. Lime oil has a sharp citrus scent, and is pale yellow or light olive in color depending on the method of production. Lime oil is produced in two ways, cold-pressing the peel of the lime and distilling. Cold pressed oil has a yellow or green color, with a rich and fresh lime peel scent. Cold pressed lime oil is usually recommended as it contains more of the natural compounds that make it so beneficial.
How to Make Lime Essential Oil
Lime essential oil for therapeutic purposes is made through two processes – expression and distillation.
Expression is a method of extraction which is specific to citrus oils. It is also called cold pressing. In olden times, expression was done in the form of sponge pressing. The zest or rind of the citrus would be first soaked in warm water to make it more receptive to the pressing process. A sponge would then be used to press the rind, thus breaking the essential oil cavities and absorb the essential oil. Once the sponge was filled with the extraction, it would then be pressed over a collecting container and there it would be allowed to stand till the separation of essential from the liquids.
A more modern method is one that involves a prodding, pricking and sticking action to release essential oil. The rind is placed in a container having spikes that will puncture the peel while the device is rotated. The puncturing of the rind releases essential oil that is collected in a small container below.
Distilled citrus oils deteriorate more quickly and are not recommended for aromatherapy use. If the oil is not extracted using steam distillation or cold expression, it is not considered a therapeutic grade oil.
Health Benefits of lime oil
Citrus fruits are very good sources of nutrition with a large amount of vitamin C. They are also abundant in other macronutrients, including sugars, dietary fiber, potassium, folate, calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. Citrus fruits contain a number of secondary metabolites, such as flavonoids, alkaloids, coumarins, limonoids, carotenoids, phenol acids and essential oils. These secondary metabolites are known to show several activities which are of importance to human health. These include anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, cardiovascular protective effects and neuroprotective effects.
Lime essential oil is full of antioxidants and other nutrients. Lime oil, like lime is an antiseptic, antiviral, astringent, bactericidal and a disinfectant. It is also a febrifuge (reduces fever), haemostatic (stops bleeding), restorative and a tonic. Lime oil extract has a sharp citrus smell and is used in aromatherapy. Due to its refreshing properties, Lime oil can be used as a massage oil or in a cream or lotion. The oil can also be added to bathwater.
- Lime oil is useful to cool fevers associated with colds, sore throats and flu. It helps to ease coughs, bronchitis and sinusitis, as well as helping asthma.
- Lime oil can stimulate and refresh a tired mind and helps with depression. Its uplifting scent is used to treat depression, and improve mood in vapour therapy.
- It may be helpful for arthritis, rheumatism and poor circulation, as well as for obesity and cellulite, as it has the ability to improve circulation. Lime oil can be used as a massage oil or diluted in the bath, to help with painful muscles and joints.
- Lime oil can be used in a cream or lotion to clear oily congested skin. It also acts an astringent and tones the skin.
How to make lime infused oil
1 cup olive oil
- Heat one cup of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Wash the limes and dry them thoroughly.
- Peel or zest the limes.
- Cut the lime peel into very small strips.
- Add the lime zest to the olive oil.
- Allow to simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat.
- Remove the saucepan from heat and cover, allowing the zest to steep for 2 1/2 hours.
- Sieve the oil and store in an airtight and non-reactive container.
- Store it in a cool, dry place.
This infusion can be used for up to two weeks. It can be used as a garnish or as a dressing in salads.
Lime oil is used extensively in the food and beverage industry. It is also used for making beauty products, fragrances and as cleaning agents.