Lime; Citrus aurantifolia.

Feb 05, 2020

Lime oil is not an oil that is just one type of "Lime" oil. There are several types out there. Many times the Lime will carry a qualifier such as Persian, Mexican, etc. This is not in reference to the country that they are sourced from, but rather the type of Lime oil.  I don't want to go into a lot of comparing and contrasting of the types, so we will only make passing references to the other types and focus on the type that we do use. The type we use is the Mexican type, aka Key Lime oil. But the Key lime is sourced from the peel after the fruit has ripened and turned yellow. It is usually steam distilled. The one we typically use is the same Mexican type, but obtained by using the green fruit, before ripening, and the method of extraction is from Cold Pressing or also known as Expressed. The label of cold-pressed is the more common name and that is the name we use. The various types of Lime oil and from the 2 main methods of obtaining the oils will all come in with similar components but at various levels, depending on the type and extraction methods. The lime oils will come in at a slightly clear-yellow to a moderately green tint in coloring. 

There is more Steam Distilled Lime oil done every year than there is Cold Pressed. The distilled oil is used primarily in food flavoring applications. Whereas the Cold Pressed is the type we use in aromatherapy. The cold-pressed can be used as food flavoring with the results being almost as good as the distilled would produce when cooking in the home kitchen. The distilled is preferred in the food industry, read as; Industrial food preparations, as it lends to a more consistent and more finite application that the industrial setting requires. The downside to using the distilled in aromatherapy applications is that the distilled Lime oils tend to oxidize easily and quickly. Storage of the distilled requires refrigeration, dark and airtight conditions.  Also, to be used in the short term rather than longer terms as usually found in aromatherapy settings. The distilled Lime oil tends to have a more intense aroma than does cold-pressed. 

Lime oil tends to be somewhat difficult oil to work with as a small amount will work wonders in a blend. When you use too much in a blend, for example, it will ruin a blend real fast. It will also make the blend almost not palatable in oral administered blends. If too much Lime oil is used in a topical application it will irritate the skin in short order and will be intense.

 Cold-Pressed Lime oil tends to carry a number of non-volatile components whereas the steam distilled does not appear to carry those non-volatile ones. Because of this factor, people using Lime oil need to be cautioned against using Lime oil with certain types of medications. The reason being is because of these non-volatile components, either as a single one or combinations of these components can react to the medicines by increasing the metabolism of the medicines. Because of Lime oil essentially ruining a blend if too much is used, the typical amount used in a blend will be low enough to not making Lime oil and medicine an adverse situation. If you were to use Lime oil as a single and in larger amounts, amounts larger than rational aromatherapy recommends, then you might begin to experience this oil/medicine adverse interaction. There is nothing out there that suggests that using a small amount, as found in a blend, and then that blend being used in rational aromatherapy at the recommended diluted rates, the person shouldn't experience any adverse reactions. But none-the-less the caution is there, so if you are on any of a wide range of meds, go easy and observe closely when using Lime oil in either the expressed or distilled forms. 

Other types of precautions that these oil carries are usual for any citrus oil. Officially, the distilled one is not supposed to be phototoxic, but some people have reported phototoxic type reactions. Also, the distilled one tends to be adulterated more often than not than does the cold-pressed one. In the next paragraph, I will make note of some technical type points that is important.

 In the Lime oil, all types we see what is labeled as (+) - Limonene. There is another one labeled as (-) - Limonene.  We will refer to these two as the + one and the - one, due to the first part being (+) or (-). The (+) one is the one that is in almost of the citrus-based oils and is usually the most major component in those oils. The (-) one is usually found as a minor component and found in some pine, some mints, and some other oddball oils. The major differences between the two are in the way they oxidize and how they are used after that happens. I wrote a paper on this very subject a number of years ago, perhaps I need to find it and put it out there. It was really pretty extensive and I, at least, thought it was pretty good. But in simple terms when these oils with these high levels of Limonene in them oxidize, it does not mean it is the end of the world. You can still use them, but for different purposes and in different amounts. In Tisserand's book, Pg. 583 and 584, he makes note of a number of studies where that the (+) Limonene appears to prevent or kill a wide range of cancer cells. So I guess if this is applicable to your situation, maybe a cheap form of chemotherapy. lol.

 Lime oil is also a good anti-parasitic oil for certain types of bugs. Usually, these are of the types that hang around in the stomach. Perhaps this is why certain types of cuisine widely use this type of food, where this oil is sourced from, is to build in an anti-parasitic treatment. For me personally, this is where I use the Lime oil, in anti-parasitic blends. Leiann uses it in food settings, but since I am not much of a cook, I just don't go there. Any time I use Lime is in consuming Mexican food. I like it there, but with that application, it is by cutting up fresh limes and then squeezing the pulp for the juice. So with this oil, I am sure you will have to do a little bit of exploring to see where it works best for you. The pricing for this oil comes in at a little lower than the Grapefruits and more than the Orange oils. leaning more toward the Grapefruit pricing.

 Well, there is the base run down for Lime essential oil. Great oil if used in small quantities, but can be harsh if used in larger amounts. Enjoy experimenting with using this oil, explore new worlds with it, lol. Let us know how it works for you. 



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