Essential Oil Profile: Lime

By Amelia E. Stone, RN


Common Name: Lime

Latin Binomial: Citrus aurantifolia

Family: Rutaceae

Other Common Names: West Indian lime, Key lime, Mexican lime, sour lime

Production Method: Cold Pressed & Steam Distilled

Countries of Origin: Persia (cold pressed), Mexico (steam distilled)

Typical Constituents: DISTILLED: [+]-Limonene + 1,8-cineole (55.6%), γ-Terpinene (11.8%), α-Terpineol (6.6%), Terpinolene (5.2%), b-Myrcene (2.6%), [Z]- b-Terpineol (2.2%), Terpinene-1-ol (1.9%), α-Pinene (1.8%), b-Pinene (1.8%), 1,4-Cineole (1.8%), ρ-Cymene (1.5%), Terpinen-4-ol (1.3%), α-Fenchol (1.1%)

COLD PRESSED: [+]-Limonene (48.2%), b- Pinene (21.1%), γ-Terpinene (8.1%), Sabinene (3.1%), α-Pinene (2.5%), Geranial (2.4%), b-Bisabolene (1.8%), Neral (1.4%), b-Myrcene (1.3%), [E]- α-Bergamotene (1.1%), b-Caryophyllene (1.0%), [2E, 26E]- α-Farnesene (1.0%)

NON-VOLATILE COMPOUNDS: 7-Methoxy-5-geranoxycoumarin (1.7-5.2%), 5-Geranoxy-7-methoxycoumarin (1.7-3.2%), Bergamottin (1.7-3.0%), Citropten (0.4-2.2%), Isopimpinellin (0.1-1.3%), 5-Geroxy-8-methoxypsoralen (0.2-0.9%), Bergapten (0.17-0.33%), Oxypeucedanin (0.02-0.3%), 8-Geranoxypsoralen (0.10-0.14%)

Description of Oil: DISTILLED: clear to pale yellow; sharp, fruity citrus odor

                                      COLD PRESSED: yellowish green to olive green; intensely fresh, rich citrus odor

Description of Plant: Mexican limes are smaller than Persian with a smooth, thin peel.  Persian limes are larger and seedless.

History, Folklore and Myth: Introduced to Europe by the Moors and brought to America by the Spanish and Portuguese around the 16th century.  Ship crews depended on the lime juice to prevent scurvy.  The oil has been used in the beverage industry since the 19th century.

Properties and Uses: antiseptic, antiviral, astringent, bactericide, disinfectant, febrifuge, haemostatic, insecticide, tonic

Precautions and Contraindications: Maximum dermal use level 0.7%.  Storage in a dark, airtight container in the refrigerator will prevent oxidation of cold pressed oil.

References: Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Virginia, Queensland, Australia: The Perfect Potion. 1995.

Tisserand, Robert, and Tony Balacs. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. 1995.

Sellar, Wanda. The Directory of Essential Oils. London: Random House. 2005

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