Discover the Benefits of Lemon Myrtle
Indigenous ingredients have been in the culinary spotlight of late. There’s a recent movement to utilise more native Australian ingredients, whether it be herbs, spices or native flora and fauna in our cooking.
Going back to the roots of traditional bush tucker is also unearthing many health benefits. None more so than the super food and most popular of the native herbs, lemon myrtle. With a fresh fragrance of lemon and lime, it’s a tasty zesty inclusion in our pesticide-free black tea Nerada Loose-Leaf Tea with Lemon Myrtle, but there’s also a myriad of other uses which we reveal below.
What is Lemon Myrtle?
Lemon myrtle, or “Backhousia citrodora” as it’s scientifically known, is a relatively slow-growing aromatic flowering shrub, native to Australia. It’s often found in coastal rain forests areas, predominantly in Northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland.
Lemon myrtle stands out for its fresh fragrance and is quite often referred to as the ‘Queen of lemon herbs’. Named by the English botanist James Backhouse in 1853, it is well known for its richly scented lemon leaves and attractive white flowers produced in long stalked clusters.
How can you use Lemon Myrtle?
The leaves of lemon myrtle are often harvested for essential oils given their enticing citrus aromas and flavours. It can be used in cooking to add flavour to a recipe, blended in beverages (like our Organic Green Tea and Lemon Myrtle) or used to treat a range of ailments. It’s also commonly found in toiletries and beauty products.
What are the health benefits of lemon myrtle?
Indigenous Australians have long utilised the healing properties of lemon myrtle as part of their traditional medicines. The potential medicinal use is now being widely studied, with Charles Sturt University proving that lemon myrtle is found to be an effective germicidal and antibacterial oil to treat skin ailments and other health conditions because of its antiseptic and skin-friendly properties.
It’s also reputedly known to assist with:
- Skin health – a natural cleanser helping with acne, tinea, cold sores and blemishes
- Weight loss and detoxing – helps by acting as a diuretic to flush out the kidneys, liver, bladder and other organs
- Improved concentration
- Sore throats and sinus
- Viral infections
- Oral health
- Potential antioxidant
- Natural deodorant and air freshener
The essential oils obtained from the lemon myrtle leaf reputedly contain microbial compounds. The oil is believed to have a high citral content (above 95%), which means that the benefits of the oil are effective as a sanitiser and deodorant. It is also high in vitamin C.
How do you use lemon myrtle in cooking?
Known for it’s strong sweet citrus-scented aromas, there’s a myriad of ways that lemon myrtle can be incorporated in cooking. The aroma of lemon myrtle is similar to a blend of lemongrass and kaffir lime, with a slight eucalyptus background. The flavour is distinctively tangy with lime zest notes releasing a fresh aroma and taste.
It is often featured as a key ingredient in recipes, and is a delicious way of adding depth of flavour to stir fries, rubs, marinades or even ice creams and sorbets.
When brewed with black tea, lemon myrtle adds a light perfume and freshness to your cup making it a delicious start or end to your day.
Looking for a refreshing drink for the warmer weather? Why not try our Lemon Myrtle Iced Tea recipe. Taste the aromatic and zesty flavour combination for yourself with our popular Nerada Loose-Leaf Tea with Lemon Myrtle, available from our online store.
Disclaimer – Please note that while most information given in regards to the health benefits of our tea is backed by scientific study, we recommend consulting with a medical practitioner if you are consuming teas that you are unfamiliar with.