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Botanical name: Backhousia citriodora
Grows in the coastal rainforest regions between Brisbane and Mackay in QLD
The key ingredient in lemon myrtle is the high concentration of citral in its leaves. Citral comprises 90-98% of the essential oils in lemon myrtle, as opposed to less than 10% in lemons and limes. Some of the characteristics of citral include:
The list of reputed health benefits of lemon myrtle tea is voluminous. Just some of the disorders it is said to be able to relieve include muscle cramps and spasms, rheumatism, headaches and fevers. Scientific studies have indicated that citral can inhibit the growth of the pathogen which is one of the causes of many gastro-duodenal diseases, including ulcers. It is also said to aid in the reduction of cellulite and the anti-oxidants in citral help boost the immune system. A pleasant tasting tea, it is used alone or in combination with green tea as a caffeine free replacement for coffee and black tea.
Aromatherapists and herbalists use lemon myrtle and its essential oil for a variety of reasons. No one who has experienced its fragrant aroma denies that it has a wonderfully relaxing effect and it is also said to improve concentration as well as promote better sleep. It is used as an inhalant to treat colds, flus and other congestive disorders. Used topically, it is used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including warts and herpes simplex. Although lemon myrtle oil can be applied to the skin full strength, it is usually advised to dilute it with more neutral vegetable oils.
With so many of our naturally therapeutic herbs and other plants coming from overseas, it's nice to know that some of the best of them, including lemon myrtle tea, come from right here in Australia.