Antibiotic Benefits of Lemon Myrtle

With more and more people looking to live more naturally and sustainably, it is important to source natural products to replace everyday chemical ones, such as those used for cleaning or housework. One such natural product is the Australian native Lemon Myrtle. This incredible plant has been shown for years to be an effective cleaning ingredient due to its powerful antibiotic properties, and can be used as a key natural ingredient for soaps and cleaners, with a delightful lemony scent.

Citral, the major chemical component found in Lemon Myrtle, has antibacterial properties that have been known since 1949. Since that time, worldwide research has increasingly been conducted into lemon myrtle’s natural antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. There is a growing body of scientific evidence backing these beneficial functions.

These antimicrobial effects, on a wide range of bacteria, have led to lemon myrtle’s inclusion in many personal and household cleaning products, including hand soap, sanitizers, shampoo, lip balm, liquid disinfectant, and other cleaners.

Citral has antibacterial effects on MRSA resistant bacteria, as does lemon myrtle essential oil. Lemon myrtle can inhibit the growth of a wide range of bacteria including:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Escherichia coli
  • Bacillus cereus
  • Proteus vulgaris
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Enterobacter aerogenes
  • Acinetobacter baumannii
  • Shewanella putrefaciens
  • Listeria monocytogenes

Interestingly, lemon myrtle in different forms or isolated in different manners can have varying antibiotic effects. For example, one study found that a methanol extract of dry ground lemon myrtle had a greater antimicrobial effect than a water-based extraction method on 14 of 27 different food spoilage bacteria and yeasts, while having no effect on others.

Additionally, a study from Japan found that Lemon Myrtle tea was the most effective of 44 herbal teas studied at combatting dental plaque build-up caused by the bacteria Streptococcus mutans.

These antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of citral and Lemon Myrtle are one of many reasons to incorporate this powerful plant into your everyday diet and routine, whether through Lemon Myrtle extracts, tea, or oils.

Reference Cited:

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Nirmal NP, Mereddy R, Li L, Sultanbawa Y. Formulation, characterisation and antibacterial activity of lemon myrtle and anise myrtle essential oil in water nanoemulsion. Food Chemistry 2018;254(15):1-7. https://www.
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Yabuta Y et al A lemon myrtle extract inhibits glucosyltransferases activity of Streptococcus mutans. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2018 Sep;82(9):1584- 1590.doi: 10.1080/09168451.2018.1478714.