Lemon Myrtle might just be one of the best known Australian Native plants.
I suspect all of you would have at least heard of this beauty. The Lemon Myrtle (backhousia citriodora) is a rainforest tree in the family of Myrtaceae. Not just a perfect cooking addition, the leaves are also the purest source of natural citral (90–98%), making Lemon Myrtle a powerful essential oil, thus a powerful medicine. It has a refreshing, clean citrus aroma and taste, and goes in just about everything. Dubbed the ‘Queen of Herbs’ she is more lemony than a lemon will ever be.
◎ Common Name: Lemon Myrtle
◎ Scientific or Latin Name: Backhousia citriodora
◎ Comparison: Lemon
◎ Seasonality: All year dried
◎ Region: Rainforest
◎ Taste Profile: It has a fresh aroma of citrus, with delicate menthol essence and a strong lemon flavour, which is sweet and refreshing.
◎ Types: We offer Lemon Myrtle as a whole leaf, dried and ground. It's also found in our herbal teas and most recently features as a scent in some exciting new Home & Body products.
- The most concentrated source of plant citral (>90%). Citral contains powerful antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which are even superior to those of terpene hydrocarbons found in the renowned tea tree oil.
- An exceptional, vegan source of calcium.
- A good source of lutein – a carotenoid vitamin that plays an important role in eye health, improving symptoms in atrophic age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of vision loss in aging Western societies. Lutein protects the retina from damage by inhibiting inflammation.
- A great source of antioxidants, such as phytochemicals that provide antioxidant activity in both the hydrophilic and lipophilic environment. These antioxidants provide comprehensive protection from oxidative stress, as well as other health benefits.
- An excellent source of folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin E and essential minerals including zinc and magnesium. These nutrients are required for the synthesis and self-repair of DNA.
Aboriginal & Traditional
Lemon myrtles have been used by Indigenous Australians for 40,000 years, by wrapping the leaves in paperbark to flavour fish dishes, and to treat headaches by crushing and inhaling the leaves.
The leaf was used for food flavouring and as an insect repellent when the volatile leaves were burned on the campfire. A natural antiseptic paste was made with Lemon Myrtle leaves to help heal aboriginal wounds.
Western & Modern
Lemon myrtle has a ton of different uses. In addition to enhancing the flavour of beef, chicken, fish and rice dishes, lemon myrtle can be used in recipes for making breads, sauces, dips and pancakes. It can also be used in desserts like cakes and muffins to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Lemon myrtle essential oil can be found in many personal care products like body lotions, lip balms, soaps, shampoos and conditioners. Its scent has a soothing effect that helps promote relaxation and better sleep. It also thought to repel fleas, making it an ingredient in some pet shampoos, as well.
Lemon myrtle makes a great antioxidant herbal tea, which can be served hot or cold. In fact, this is one of lemon myrtle’s most popular uses.
Rich in antioxidants, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, lemon myrtle has been known to be effective in easing the symptoms of:
- Sinus Problems
- Sore Throats
- Digestive Issues
- Oral Health
- Viral Infections
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Lemon Myrtle is featured in these recipes in Warndu Mai:
- Finger Lime & Lemon Myrtle Cheesecake
- Native Plum, Lemon Myrtle & Limoncello Trifle
- Iced Tea Recipes
Warndu Products featuring Lemon Myrtle
If you like Lemon Myrtle then you will love our Australian Native Three Lemon Loose Leaf Tea or Davidson Plum & Lemon Myrtle Loose Leaf Tea! Or make cleaning up a delight with the aroma of our Lemon Myrtle, Native Lemongrass & Kakadu Plum Dishwashing Soap Bar.
Note: The term 'Bush Tucker' and 'Bush Food' are not Warndu's preferred terms for Australian Native Ingredients or Australian Botanicals.
Images: © Luisa Brimble