Lemon Myrtle is a rich, uplifting and very refreshing essential oil. To some, this oil has an aroma that’s even more ‘lemon-y’ than lemon! Lemon myrtle is sometimes likened to lemon sherbert and is very popular due to its natural sweetness. It blends beautifully with many of our other Australian native essential oils and is particularly wonderful when combined with Kunzea, Nerolina and Coastal Tea Tree.
The dried and fresh leaves of lemon myrtle have become very popular in cooking.1 It gives an exquisite lemon tang to seafood and chicken dishes and has gained culinary popularity in recent years. Due to its high content of the compound Citral - which gives the distinctive lemon flavour and aroma - lemon myrtle has been used extensively for lemon flavour in soft drinks, kombucha, sweets and even cocktails.2
About Lemon Myrtle Oil
Lemon Myrtle is native to Australia and is typically found growing throughout South East Queensland. The two principal compounds responsible for its lemony aroma are the aldehydes citral and citronellal.3
Lemon Myrtle has been an important part of bush medicine for Indigenous Australians for tens of thousands of years.4 It was used for its antiseptic, antimicrobial and calming properties, so it’s no surprise that it is widely used in soaps, shampoos and cleaning products.5 Indigenous Australians also used lemon myrtle in cooking as it added so much flavour.
Today, the leaves are used as fresh or dried herbs in a variety of food and drinks, such as herbal tea.1
Essential Oil Facts
Botanical name: Backhousia citriodora
Common name(s): Lemon Myrtle, Lemon Scented Myrtle, Lemon Scented Ironwood, Sweet Verbena Tree
Extraction method: Steam distillation of the leaves
Strength of Aroma: Strong
Aromatic Scent: Very strong lemon scent with a sweet undertone
Typical chemical constituents: Myrcene (0.1-0.7%), 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one(0.1-2.5%), linalool (0.3-1%), citronellal (0.1-0.9%), isoneral (0.6-2.7%), isogeranial 1.0-4.2%), neral (32.0-40.2%), geranial(46.1-60.7%), trans geraniol (0.4-0.7%)
Safety information: The high citral content indicates it may be a dermal irritant.
As an essential oil, it is commonly used for improving concentration, uplifting emotions and easing chest congestion.6 So, let's look more closely at some of the ways you can use this vibrant oil.
Benefits of Lemon Myrtle Oil
1) Respiratory Complaints
Studies have confirmed lemon myrtle's antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a perfect addition to the diffuser when you’re experiencing a cough or congestion.7 Due to the broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity of Lemon Myrtle, it’s also a great oil to have on hand during cold and flu season.8
2) Concentration & Energy
“The best description I can give for my first impression of Lemon Myrtle is WOW…what a bright happy essential oil. The fresh lemon scent really clears out the cobwebs of the mind…” - Mark Webb2
I agree wholeheartedly with this quote from Mark Webb’s book Bush Sense: Australian Essential Oils & Aromatic Compounds. I’ve simply loved Lemon Myrtle from the very start of my work with essential oils. I must not be the only one, with the popularity of the herb increasing in Australia thanks to its uplifting flavour and aroma which leaves people feeling happy and vital. When I’m feeling lethargic or in need of some inspiration I pop a couple of drops of Lemon Myrtle in my diffuser - it’s a great aromatherapy oil for the workplace or while studying.
3) Uplift the Emotions
As Robbi Zeck states in her book, The Blossoming Heart: Aromatherapy for Healing and Transformation, ”Lemon Myrtle helps you to move away from self-doubt. Driving ourselves unconscious by thinking.”8
Lemon myrtle is the oil of choice when you need to feel uplifted and rejuvenated. In his book, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy, author Salvatore Battaglia believes that its psychological properties would be similar to that of the very expensive Lemon Balm Essential Oil.6
Lemon Myrtle helps to alleviate mental fatigue, rejuvenates the mind, helps with stress and is emotionally uplifting.8 It’s recommended to blend Lavender with Lemon Myrtle to help with low mood and with Ylang Ylang and Vetiver to help with feelings of worry and fear.9
4) Fungal Infections
Athlete’s foot or tinea fungal infection usually occurs between the toes and can be relieved by using the DIY Anti-Fungal Blend recipe below. As both Lemon Myrtle and Kunzea have antifungal properties, I find that adding a couple of drops of each to a foot bath can work extremely well to support the healing process, as well as reducing the itch and discomfort.
DIY Anti-Fungal Blend: Add 2-3 drops of Coastal Tea Tree Oil, 2-3 drops of Lavender Oil, 2 drops of Lemon Myrtle Oil, and 2 drops Kunzea Oil to a bucket of warm water. Soak your feet for 10-15 minutes as you sit back and relax.
5) Cleanse and Repel
A gift to the senses, Lemon Myrtle has been found to contain the highest citral purity of all citral containing essential oils, making it a potent insect repellant.7 Lemon Myrtle blended with Kunzea helps to cleanse the atmosphere and can also help to repel mosquitoes and other pests.
6) Cleaning and the Home
Use of Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil around the home is recommended as it is a natural cleaner, plus gives the benefit of the refreshing aroma of Lemon Myrtle. It’s particularly useful for surface cleaning, especially during cold and flu season, thanks to its antibacterial, anti fungal and germicidal benefits.
DIY Multipurpose Spray: Combine the following in a 500ml spray bottle – 2 cups of Distilled Water, 1 Cup of White Vinegar, 20 drops of Lemon Myrtle Oil, 20 drops of Coastal Tea Tree Oil, 20 drops of Sweet Orange Oil and a Solubiliser such as Polysobate 20 or Solubol. Be careful using vinegar on porous surfaces such as granite and marble (always patch test first!).
Blending with Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil
Aromatically, Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil blends well with essential oils in the citrus, wood, floral, camphorous, and mint families. For those wanting to create their very own essential oil diffuser blends at home, see below:
Michelle’s Special Suggestion
Lemon Myrtle is great in a diffuser for cleansing and refreshing the atmosphere but I also love to use it when washing my towels. Just add 3 drops of Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil to the washing machine for a clean, invigorating aroma in your laundry with a bonus antibacterial effect.
The Essence of Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil
As you can see, Lemon Myrtle is a prized ingredient both here and overseas for its Australian heritage. There is no wonder this Aussie extract is gaining popularity in products today for its amazing benefits.
Largely due its strong antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, it does all kinds of wonders for your body, skin, hair and your wellbeing.
Revive your spirit and senses with the crisp and zesty scent of Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil!
About the Author - Michelle Brass ND
With over 25 years of experience in the natural health industry, Michelle has dedicated her life to helping others embrace the therapeutic benefits of nature. Throughout her time as a health practitioner, she has used and recommended countless traditional and conventional treatments to her clients - as she believes an integrative approach to health and wellness is very important. Michelle is passionate about using and promoting essential oils and, in particular, Kunzea Oil, as she has seen them help thousands of people over the years. She knows that using essential oils in your daily life can help bring balance to the mind, body and soul. She is constantly trialling and testing new products with her loyal clients.
All content by Australian Kunzea Pty Ltd, including, text, images, audio, or other formats, were created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. To read our full medical disclaimer, click here.
- CSIRO. Dried and crushed lemon myrtle leaves - Backhousia citriodora. Accessed 14 October 2021 from https://www.scienceimage.csiro.au/tag/bush-tucker/i/4242/dried-and-crushed-lemon-myrtle-leaves-backhousia-citriodora/
- Webb M. Bush Sense: Australian Essential Oils & Aromatic Compounds. M. A. Webb; 2000.
- Native Oils Australia. Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil. Accessed 14 October 2021 from https://www.nativeoilsaustralia.com.au/lemon-myrtle-essential-oil/
- Planting Seeds. Feature Plant Friday on a Sunday - NAIDOC Edition: Lemon Myrtle; 2018
- Stylecraze. 20 amazing health benefits of lemon myrtle. Accessed 14 October 2021 from https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/health-benefits-of-lemon-myrtle/
- Battaglia S. The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. 3rd ed. Black Pepper Creative Pty Ltd; 2018.
- Taylor R. Lemon Myrtle the essential oil. CSIRO Rural Research; 1996
- Zeck R. The Blossoming Heart: Aromatherapy for Healing and Transformation. Brolga Publishing; 2004.
- Kerr J. Essential Oil Profile - lemon myrtle. Aromatherapy Today: 2000
- E Joy Bowles. Dr Joy’s Aromatherapy. Diem Capta Books; 2020