Lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) is a tree native to the central east coast of Australia. It has been used for thousands of years by the Australian Aborigines for both flavouring fish, and for its many health benefits.
It’s an ancient herb for very modern problems with benefits for depression and insomnia. Lemon myrtle has powerful antioxidants whose main job is to prevent infections, colds and oxidative damage that causes our skin to age faster.
If you’re impressed so far by Australia's very own Lemon myrtle, we invite you to read on to be positively blown away by the many and varied talents of this remarkable herb.
Where you can you grow Lemon Myrtle
|New South Wales||YES||Northern NSW|
|Queensland||YES||South East QLS|
|Western Australia||YES||Milder areas|
|South Australia||YES||Milder areas|
|ACT||NO||Affected by frost|
|Tasmania||NO||Affected by frost|
Lemon Myrtle has antimicrobial and antifungal qualities
There has been comparatively little research done on lemon myrtle when compared to some herbs, such as chamomile or ashwagandha root. However, the research that has been done has uncovered the fact that the antioxidants in lemon myrtle are some of the most powerful around.
Furthermore, lemon myrtle contains equally as potent antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal qualities that make it perfect for dealing with everything from colds and sore throats to acne and bad breath.
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These bacteria and virus-fighting properties provide welcome relief to digestive issues. In fact, research has found lemon myrtle tea to be particularly effective against inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and other digestive problems which are usually either caused by an overpopulation of ‘bad’ bacteria, inflammation, or both.
What can I use lemon myrtle for?
Lemon myrtle is especially good with fish, chicken and also desserts (we love lemon myrtle cheesecake). It is naturally soothing and relaxing, but it has powerful health benefits such as preventing colds and flus, and minimising the symptoms like sore throats. Lemon myrtle is also effective against allergies, acne, cramps and digestive upsets, depression, headaches, and sinus problems to name a few. Furthermore, lemon myrtle can be used in cooking as a flavouring in baking, or in meat marinades.
Lemon myrtle contains powerful anti-oxidants, antimicrobials, anti-inflammatories and antifungals. This makes lemon myrtle effective at clearing up most infections ranging from colds and sore throats to digestive problems.
Lemon Myrtle is good for colds and flu
Lemon myrtle is an almost essential product in your medicine cabinet, particularly when it comes to colds and flu.
The antimicrobial features of lemon myrtle attack and kill viruses as they enter our bodies, thereby preventing them from getting enough of a foothold to cause a cold or the flu. If they do somehow manage to cause illness, the antimicrobial properties in lemon myrtle cause the virus to die off sooner than it ordinarily would have.
The anti-inflammatory qualities of this herb work on areas of inflammation to reduce symptoms. These are things like inflammation of the bronchial tubes (bronchitis) and inflamed sinuses (sinusitis).
Is lemon myrtle tea antiviral?
Lemon myrtle has been scientifically proven to have powerful antimicrobial properties. These include antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic and antioxidant properties. It can be taken internally as a tea or in cooking, and also applied externally to treat any number of skin conditions, mild infections and skin wounds. A 2003 study found it particularly effective against a common childhood viral disease called Molluscum contagiosum.
The wonderful thing is, the antimicrobial properties are working at the same time to destroy the bacteria or virus causing the inflammation. So your cold or flu is being attacked from all sides. Read also:
Inhaling the lemony aroma of your tea, or making a stronger lemon myrtle steam bath for your face, helps deal with blocked nostrils, and gargling with the tea is effective against the bacteria that cause sore throats. Adding honey to your herbal drink can also soothe a sore throat, while at the same time, the antimicrobials work to eliminate the cause.
Finally, lemon myrtle is incredibly high in Vitamin C, which assists in immune system function.
Lemon myrtle contains anti-inflammatories and antimicrobials which make it a powerful ally in the treatment of colds and flus, and their associated symptoms. It also has an incredibly high amount of Vitamin C, which helps support a healthy immune system.
Antiseptic and antimicrobial properties of Citral found in Lemon Myrtle
Citral is a liquid found in lemons, lemongrass, and lemon myrtle and is the substance that gives these fruits and herbs their lemon scent and flavour. Interestingly, while lemons only contain 4-5% citral, lemon myrtle contains 98% citral. It has extremely strong antiseptic and antimicrobial properties.
It is particularly effective at dealing with digestive problems and gut infections, such as infection by Helicobacter pylori bacteria. This H. pylori bacteria infects the stomach and if left untreated, can lead to painful stomach ulcers.Citral is also known to greatly assist with weight loss. First, it prevents the formation of new fat cells, known as adipogenesis. It increases metabolism, which is the rate at which the body burns available calories for energy. This in turn obviously reduces weight gain. And finally, by reducing blood sugar levels.
Citral is also a natural diuretic, which means it makes you urinate more often than usual. While this may be annoying, think of it this way. The more often you pee, the less water weight you have.
It also means you are cleansing your body, especially your bladder, kidneys and liver. The more water that courses through them, the cleaner they remain. The cleaner they are, the more effective they are at performing their various functions.
This, in turn, has benefits for your skin. When a diuretic causes you to pee more, it also increases the volume of toxins and other waste products in the blood that are flushed out of the body. This has the effect of clearer, brighter skin.
Is lemon myrtle tea good for arthritis?
Lemon myrtle contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties and evidence is growing that it can be very beneficial for the relief of pain associated with arthritis and rheumatism. A 2020 study found lemon myrtle to contain potent anti-inflammatory properties, and recommended the herb be investigated further for use as a commercial anti-inflammatory. Furthermore, as well as being taken as a tea, you can add the loose-leaf tea to your moisturizer and massage it into joints affected by inflammation.
Citral is a key ingredient in lemons and lemon myrtle, but is found in the highest amounts in lemon myrtle. Citral is effective against the bacteria that causes ulcers, and weight reduction. As it is a diuretic, it helps cleanse the body and aids in maintaining clear, blemish-free skin.
Lemon Myrtle can relieve depression and insomnia
Lemon myrtle has been found to be effective against both depression and insomnia. In fact, one of the original uses of lemon myrtle by the Australian Aborigines was as a sleep aid. Read:
- How can I Solve My Sleeping Problem Naturally?
- Which Herbal Teas Should I Drink for Stress and Anxiety?
They used to pick a handful of leaves, crush them up in their hands and inhale the fragrance, which has a calming, relaxing effect.
Is lemon myrtle tea calming?
Lemon myrtle tea can be very calming. First there is the soothing lemony fragrance given off by the tea which is relaxing on it own. Then you have the refreshing taste. Researchers have suggested it is the high magnesium and calcium content of the tea that is responsible for it calming effect on nerves. Magnesium both inhibits neurotransmitters responsible for activity, and binds to more calming receptors to encourage relaxation. Calcium is known to play a part in helping to prevent panic attacks, irritability and restlessness.
The way in which the herb relieves mild depression is through its magnesium content. Magnesium is known to help alleviate symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety.
The same magnesium content responsible for reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, is the reason why lemon myrtle is used as a sleep aid. A cup of this herbal tea taken 45 minutes before bedtime helps you to both fall asleep quicker and promotes a deeper, more beneficial sleep.
Does lemon myrtle tea help you sleep?
A cup of lemon myrtle tea midway between dinner and bed is the ideal satisfying brew since it both relieves digestion issues and calms the nerves in readiness for sleep. As stress is notorious for preventing sleep, or for disrupting sleep, lemon myrtle, with its anti-stress properties, has been used for thousands of years to promote relaxation and sleep.
It is thought the magnesium content in lemon myrtle is responsible for reducing the effects of mild depression and anxiety. Magnesium is responsible for the herb being able to relieve insomnia, both directly and indirectly via anxiety reduction.
Lemon Myrtle may reduce some cancer cells
The powerful antioxidants in lemon myrtle are responsible for a great many of the herb’s health benefits.
One of the main functions of anti-oxidants is to rid the body of harmful free-radicals. These are unstable atoms that enter our body through things such as air pollution, alcohol, cigarettes and cigarette smoke, fried and burnt foods (think of the black grill marks on a piece of steak or chicken) and exhaust fumes.
These free radicals cause oxidative damage to healthy cells and tissue, which has the effect of disabling them, and often killing them.
This shows up on the outside of our body as age lines on our face, dry, saggy skin, and wrinkles.
It can cause the inflammation which prevents our internal organs from functioning to their maximum capacity, but can also cause inflammation. Inflammation is responsible for illness, pain, and is a contributing factor to obesity.
More seriously, damage from free radicals can lead to cell mutation. In other words, cancer.The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is an Australian government scientific research agency, which has done studies on the health benefits of lemon myrtle leaf and found it to be effective in reducing the incidence of stomach, colon, liver and bladder cancer.
It is thought lemon myrtle kills cancer cells by altering their DNA, which in turn stimulates the activity of caspase-3, an enzyme that turns on the cancer cell’s kill switch.
In other words, the bio-compounds in lemon myrtle kill the cancer cells before they have a chance to multiply and before they can do any damage. And it does this without negatively affecting the surrounding healthy cells.
The potent antioxidants in lemon myrtle destroy dangerous free radicals that cause damage that can lead to signs of early ageing on our skin, and cancer. It is thought to do this by altering the cancer cells' DNA and by stimulating an enzyme which kills the cell before it has a chance to multiply.
Amazing skin benefits of Lemon Myrtle
As a diuretic, lemon myrtle flushes out unwanted toxins and waste products from our bodies. This cleansing property has a secondary benefit with regards to clearer, younger-looking skin. The destruction of free radicals by antioxidants also contributes.However, lemon myrtle can work topically as an anti-bacterial facial wash, which cleanses facial pores and assists with clearing up the germs and irritations that can lead to pimples and acne. As a natural astringent, lemon myrtle can tighten pores.
Using a facial wash made of the tea combined with natural sea salt, you can both cleanse your skin and reduce the amount of sebum the skin makes. Sebum in pores can trap the bacteria that cause pimples and acne.
Another pleasant benefit of using lemon myrtle as a facial wash and cleanser – you will have a slight lemony fragrance, which just by inhaling will help elevate your mood and keep you calm.
Finally, the antiviral qualities in lemon myrtle have been proven to be effective against cold sores.
Lemon myrtle can promote clearer, younger-looking skin in two ways. Internally, via tea, it cleanses the blood and its antioxidants destroy harmful free radicals. Topically, as a facial wash, it cleanses and tones the skin; the antibacterial properties killing the germs that cause pimples and acne. It can also heal cold sores.
Lemon Myrtle is good for eyes and vision
A lot of people go to the gym or play sport to keep fit, and look after their internal organs, and we all brush our teeth to keep them and our gums strong and healthy. We eat fruit and vegetables to take care of our health, but one of our most important organs often doesn’t get a second thought.
Our eyes.But lemon myrtle tea is extremely beneficial to our eyes, partly due to the presence of vitamins A and E, and also lutein. Lutein is a carotenoid which is especially important for eye health. In particular, it protects them against developing age-related macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of vision impairment and the complete loss of vision.
One of the highest concentrations of lutein is found in avocados. Well, lemon myrtle has an even higher concentration.
It is best taken with a meal high in fat. So perhaps you could have a nice lemony cup of lemon myrtle after a meal of fish and chips.
Lutein can likewise help fight against the formation of cataracts, which are milky or cloudy areas on the lens of our eyes that impair vision.
Does lemon myrtle tea contain caffeine?
Lemon myrtle is a herbal tea that does not contain caffeine. True teas made from the Camellia sinensis plant contain caffeine. These include green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong, milk oolong, and pu-erh. A very few herbal teas do contain caffeine such as yerba mate, kola nut, and yaupon holly. Most of these are so rare you needn’t worry about accidentally taking in caffeine. And you have no worries at all with lemon myrtle.
The concentration of lutein in lemon myrtle is higher than that in an avocado. Lutein is essential for eye health, in particular, the prevention of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Lemon myrtle is a potent herb with so many health benefits you may never need to go to the chemist again. With its antioxidants, and antimicrobial, antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties, you pretty much have everything the chemist has got in one cup of delicious herbal tea. Plus, you have the added bonus of it being organic and 100% natural.