Edition 27: January 2011
Essential Oil of the Month
Lime lets light and laughter bubble up
LIMES are so well known, they need no introduction; their sweet scent is prevalent in today’s market.
It is a staple in the perfume industry and extensively used in foodstuffs, beverages and numerous other industrial products.
Originally from Asia, it is now cultivated in most warm countries, especially Italy, the West Indies and the Americas.
The Moors first introduced the lime to Europe and then in the 16th Century, the Spanish explorers brought the lime tree to North America. Ships transporting it were called 'lime juicers' and ship crews depended on it to prevent scurvy, because of their high vitamin C content.
The role of lime oil in aromatherapy for therapeutic and cosmetic use is less understood. Its qualities are very similar to that of lemon; however lime like all individual oils has its own unique characteristics.
Refreshing and uplifting, lime revitalises a tired mind, banishing the feeling of apathy and anxiety. This clear-smelling citrus oil can help lift depression and lighten your mood when feeling blue. It creates a feeling of being totally cleansed; akin to a dive into the ocean, when lightness and laughter comes bubbling up.
The scent of lime soothes cellular memories; it encourages them to surface, allowing them to heal and dissipate. This is particularly helpful for traumatic memories that are stored in the etheric and physical bodies.
When the body is stuck in a time warp, lime oil helps heal the scar, bringing the body back to the present.
Practitioners can use lime oil in past-life therapy and for the shamanic practice of “cord-cutting.” These are karmic cords attaching people to other people, place and things; draining energy. Use the oil on any area that holds trauma to release it from the cellular memory. Lime is an admirable antiseptic to apply topically as a wound wash for cuts, sores, gangrene, ulcers and carbuncles and it will protect against infection such as tetanus.
FOR COOKS AND FOODIES
Lime oil is more tart and penetrating than other citruses. Adding a few drops of lime oil to a vinaigrette or sauce will add piquancy. Mix a little lime essential oil with lime juice and add to a syrup of equal parts sugar and water. Add some of this blend to sparkling water for a zesty summer drink.
In high dilution it is indicated for rashes, psoriasis and it may be dabbed on herpes and insect bites. Lime oil acts as a haemostatic, which is an agent that can stop bleeding, either by promoting coagulation of blood or by contraction of blood vessels.
Lime, like lemon, is full of anti- oxidants and other beneficial nutrients and valued in skincare; but only in low concentrations.
Add lime oil sparingly to a skincare blend of oils to help improve the circulation and to clear oily skin. Dab directly onto pimples with a cotton tip to assist in their healing.
Try adding lime oil to distilled witchazel to make an antiseptic and astringent skin tonic that will protect the skin and help minimise scarring. It is used to fight cellulite and to tone the skin in general. Apply it diluted on the scalp to protect hair from infestations such as lice.
Lime is a good bactericide when taken internally to treat infections of the throat, mouth, colon, stomach, intestines and urinary system; thus it may be employed in the treatment of food poisoning and diarrhoea. It is also effective in fighting other viral infections such as flu, mumps, coughs, colds and measles. It relieves infectionof the whole respiratory system, opening up the bronchial tubes and helping with breathing; thus a benefit in asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis and coughs; all the while strengthening the immune system.
Lime oil, applied with a cold compress, acts as a febrifuge and cools down the fever that accompanies all different infections.
Burners and Vapourisers: lime oil can be used to lift depression and energise a tired mind, while easing breathing.
Blended massage oil: use to help with painful muscles and joints and cellulite.
Gargle: Lime oil can also be used to help relieve a sore throat. Mix one teaspoon of cider vinegar and one drop of lime oil in a glass of warm water and gargle twice daily.
Disinfecting and cleansing by nature, lime is an excellent addition to your bath, shower, or sauna.
It is a most suitable oil for lymphatic drainage massage; blend equal parts of lime oil, pine oil and rosemary oil to really invigorate and provide relief for arthritis, rheumatism and poor circulation. Such a blend also works well for obesity and cellulite, firming and tightening loosened skin and muscles, giving a feeling of fitness and vigour.
This oil restores health and strength after a long illness and is indicated during convalescence to get you back on your feet. It is reputedly a help to recovering alcoholics.
The presence of limonene in lime oil shows promise as an anti-tumour agent and could be of use in the reduction of gall-bladder congestion.
The delicious and recognisable smell of lime oil is mouth-watering.
In small doses, it serves as an aperitif by activating secretion of digestive juices into the stomach, stimulating the appetite. This oil may be of complementary help in the recovery of anorexics.
Added to food stuffs, lime oil protects them from getting spoiled from contamination by microbes.
Note: Store lime oil in the refrigerator to prolong its shelf life.
Latin name: Citrus aurantifolia
Scent: Lime oil has a sweet, tangy scent with traces of citrus peel. It provides a fresh green top note with slightly bitter undertones and it is pale yellow to light olive in colour. Lime oil is extracted by expression, which is cold compression of the fresh unripe fruit peels or by steam distillation of the whole ripe fruit.
Blends well with: Bergamot, geranium, petitgrain, nutmeg, clary sage, lavender, neroli, ylang-ylang and citrus oils.
Origins: The lime is an evergreen tree growing up to 4.5 meters with smooth, green leaves, stiff sharp spines and small, white flowers.
Therapeutic properties: anti septic, anti viral, astringent, aperitif, bactericidal, disinfectant, anti inflammatory, febrifuge, haemostatic, restorative, tonic, anti-allergenic, anti-tussive, cicatrisant, fungicidal.
Precautions: Lime like other oils from the citrus family can cause photosensitivity, so avoid the sun immediately after use. Use sparingly in the bath if sensitive skinned. Most essential oils are not suitable to be taken internally; however, lime oil may be where it is feasible.
What Herb is That?
Hops history goes beyond beer
THE HOP got off to a bad start in England but beer’s famous ingredient has been held in regard by herbalists by more than 1000 years as a sedative and digestive tonic.
Hops appear to have been used in Dutch breweries in the beginning of the 14th Century. It was introduced in England in the 16th Century, but was soon banned by King Henry VIII, whose public believed it spoiled the taste of drinks, caused melancholy and endangered the people; and hops were not used in the composition of beer till nearly 200 years later.
Culpeper said that hops’ medicinal uses made “beer better than ale”. Hops gained acceptance in England as an ingredient in beer and as a medicinal herb in 17th Century.
Of course hops are more than a brewer’s must-have. Their cultivation dates back to at least 860AD and the therapeutic use of hops for treating anxiety, insomnia and restlessness is first noted in Europe in the 9th Century.
Hops are mentioned by Pliny, who speaks of it as a garden plant among the Romans, who ate the young shoots in spring in the same way as we do asparagus; the tender first foliage, blanched, is a good pot herb.
The leaves and flower-heads have been used also to produce a fine brown dye. The tough and flexible stem of the plant is used in Sweden in the manufacture of a coarse, durable cloth and paper has also been made from the stem, or bine, as it is termed.
American Indians traditionally made a sedative from the blossoms and they also applied heated, dried flowers to relieve toothaches. Cherokee healers used hops as a painkiller for rheumatism and a gynaecological aid for breast and womb problems. In India and China hops are used to treat leprosy, tuberculosis and digestive problems.
Hops are not aphrodisiacs - in fact they counter a man’s libido. King Henry VIII banned the herb in England, believing it caused melancholy.
Fresh hops possess a bitter aromatic taste and a strong characteristic odour. They are high in bitter substances; the two primary bitter principles are known as humulone and Lupulin, and are natural preservatives. The best preparations of hops are as infusions (tea) and in tincture form; both are most commonly used as a sedative.
Indeed, hops have a calming effect on the nervous system, treating stress, anxiety, nervous tension and hyper-excitability, even hysteria.
At bedtime the soporific hops induce sleep, especially in cases of nervous- ness, delirium and restlessness; and are soothing after long periods of insomnia.
Hops are indicated for other nervous disorders such as palpitations, nervous and irritable coughs, amenorrhea with nervous association and in males for premature ejaculation and sexual neuroses.
Many herbal preparations combine hops with other herbal sedatives such as valerian, passion flower, and skullcap which serve well as a sedative to alleviate tension headache.
A hop pillow is a popular method of overcoming insomnia; whereby dried hops are used to fill cloth pillows or dream pillows to help induce sleep.
Hop tea is recommended for nervous digestive problems, such as diarrhoea and nervous dyspepsia and colitis. The bitter principle in the hop proves one of the most efficacious vegetable bitters obtainable; being a useful general tonic for indigestion, jaundice, and sluggish liver conditions.
Hops are a primary digestive that stimulate appetite, dispel flatulence, and relieve intestinal cramps.
The cold tea, taken an hour before meals, is particularly good as a digestive tonic and daily use of hops tea has been reported to ease chronic constipation. The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of hops are also used for infections of the upper digestive tract, dysentery and also to expel worms.
Excellent as a tea
Hops also have diuretic properties useful for urinary system conditions and can be taken for various problems with water retention and excess uric acid to promote urination, giving prompt ease to an irritable bladder. The tea is also said to be excellent in cases of delirium tremens. (A condition sometimes caused by alcohol withdrawal.)
Hops may also be applied as a poultice when a local antiseptic is relevant for skin abrasions, skin ulcers, and frostbite.
Flowers may be heated and applied to the face as a compress to relieve headaches and toothaches.
As an external remedy, an infusion of hops used in combination with chamomile flowers makes a helpful fomentation for painful swellings, inflammation, neuralgic and rheumatic pains, bruises and boils.
Clinical research suggests that a formula containing hops may help reduce symptoms of rheumatic diseases, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia.
Hops are now recognised for their strong estrogenic activity, making them a gynaecological aid. Research reveals they contain phytoestrogens that have effects on hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast, uterine, cervical or prostate cancer and endometriosis.
When used in combination with other herbs, hops may help alleviate menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and sleeping difficulty because of its estrogen-like activity. Interestingly the herb is considered an anaphrosisiac for men, countering excessive libido.
Latin name: Humulus lupulus
Family: Cannabaceae (Hemp)
Origin: The specific name Lupulus, is derived from the Latin, lupus (wolf), because, as Pliny explains, when produced among osiers, it strangles them by its light, climbing embraces, as the wolf does a sheep. The English name Hop comes from the Anglo-Saxon hoppan (to climb).
Actions: Analgesic, antidepressant, antibacterial, anti- fungal, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiviral, appetite stimulant, diuretic, febrifuge, galactagogue, hypnotic, sedative, stomachic, (bitter) soporific tonic, nervine.
Precautions: Generally considered safe. There are no known contraindications or potential interactions with other medications. There are some reports of persons experiencing allergic skin rash after handling the fresh flowers; this could have been from pollen sensitivity. Hops are rich in estrogenic substances and may interfere with pre-existing hormonal therapy. In view of this, hops are contraindicated in the case of breast cancer. It should be avoided in conditions of marked depression as this may be accentuated.