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Essential Oil Research – Lime Essential Oil

I’m always interested in sharing good research about essential oils because even though essential oils have been used for medicinal purposes since the time of the ancient Egyptians, and we have a significant quantity of information from herbalists and aromatherapists, what we lacked was scientific proof demonstrating exactly how helpful essential oils can be. That lack exists no more!

According to a 2014 review titled Essential Oils and Their Constituents as Anticancer Agents: A Mechanistic View1, as of February 2014, 135 research papers have been written about the anti-cancer properties of essential oils.  Of these 135 papers, 117 of them have been written after 2005, which shows the recent increase of interest in this field.

Research on Lime Essential Oil and Cancer

One Iranian study reported in 2014 indicates that an extract from the peels of lime (Citrus aurantifolia), in combination with the breast cancer drug Doxorubicin (the generic name for Adriamycin, also known as the Red Devil among breast cancer survivors), proved to be a potent anti-cancer combo2.

Doxorubicin is a type of chemotherapy drug called an anthracycline. It works by slowing or ceasing the growth of cancer cells by blocking an enzyme called topo isomerase 2 used by cancer cells to divide and grow.

The Iranian researchers discovered that an extract of lime peels sensitized MCF-7 breast cancer cells (this line of cells is estrogen-receptor positive, progesterone-receptor positive and HER2 negative) to the drug Doxorubicin. While it is true that the researchers did not employ the use of lime essential oil specifically, it is likely that the extraction process utilized would contain significant quantities of essential oil within it.

The study was undertaken because the researchers understood that the use of Doxorubicin as a chemotherapy drug causes various problems such as drug resistance, toxicity to normal tissues, and it is hard on the immune system and heart.  When cancer cells develop resistance to a drug, the drug fails to cause the cancer cells to die off.  So the researchers set out to discover something which could be combined with Doxorubicin which would increase its effectiveness, and the common lime provided the synergistic effect they were searching for.

The researchers stated that Citrus aurantifolia was a potential chemopreventive agent, chemoprevention meaning a drug, substance or food that prevents cancer.

Lime Essential Oil Potent Against Candida

Breast cancer survivors often struggle with Candida albicans infections (aka thrush), both before breast cancer diagnosis, and also afterward due to some of the drugs utilized to fight the cancer.

An interesting study reported just last month indicated that a special photo-activated lime essential oil (again, Citrus aurantifolia) increased the killing capacity of two fungi, Candida albicans and Tricophyton rubrum, by 10-13%. The researchers stated that the photo-activated citrus essential oil exhibited remarkable lethal effect on fungal cells.3

For more information on the link between candida and breast cancer, see my article What Is The Candida Breast Cancer Connection?

I am not telling you to cure your breast cancer using essential oils. I would certainly not rely upon essential oils alone to do that job. But in combination with a holistic regimen of nutrition and other lifestyle changes, together with chemotherapy and radiation (should you choose to go that route) I believe that essential oils can be an extremely beneficial healing tool and chemopreventive aid.


1. Essential Oils and Their Constituents as Anticancer Agents: A Mechanistic View –

2.  Combination of Ethanolic Extract of Citrus aurantifolia Peels with Doxorubicin Modulate Cell Cycle and Increase Apoptosis Induction on MCF-7 Cells –

3.  Eradication of C. albicans and T. rubrum with photoactivated indocyanine green, Citrus aurantifolia essential oil and fluconazole –

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