> Isabell’s blog > Lemon Myrtle ~ Get the Benefits ~ 11/11/07
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Lemon Myrtle ~ Get the Benefits ~ 11/11/07

(Backhousia citriodora)

is a Queensland rainforest tree growing to 8 metres in height, although if regularly pruned it can be kept to bush size and is therefore suitable for home gardens. The leaves, growing to 10cm in length, are rich in lemon oil. Citral accounts for over 90% of the plants essential oil (note: lemons have approximately 3% citral).

The high levels of citral in the leaves is noteworthy, as citral is a component that has been found to relieve cramps, spasms, rheumatism, headaches, fevers and have an anti-cancer effect. Studies have shown that the citral can inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori, the pathogen that has been found to be a cause of ulcers and other gastroduodenal diseases. Lemon myrtle also has been found to be beneficial to muscles and connective tissue, for reducing cellulite, and to strengthen the immune system.

When the leaves are crushed in the hand, they release an amazing aroma of strong lemon, which is wonderful to inhale... and enjoy.

Lemon myrtle leaves are used fresh, dried, and ground, and used in bread, stuffing, with chicken, beef, fish and rice dishes, sauces, noodles, vegetables, barbecues, cheesecakes, biscuits, food on the barbecue, and as a refreshing tea served hot or chilled in summer. The lemon myrtle aroma combines well with basil, chilli, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coconut milk, galangal, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Add 2-3 leaves to your water bottle - just a great way to flavour water.

Other plants that have high levels of citral include lemon savoury, kaffir lime leaves, citronella, lemon grass, and citrus delight geranium that has leaves with intense lemon aroma. Just to crush the leaves of this geranium in the hand and inhale the delightful aroma is simply so special. These leaves are used for flavouring. They also press well and look wonderful on gift cards... and for the receiver of the card, the aroma can last for a long time, and build up energy in the body when inhaled. Get the benefits of lemon in your life.

Isabell Shipard

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