A New Study Analyzes Data On Citrus Essential Oils

A new research paper in published in the International Journal of Food Properties (Volume 26, 2023 —Issue 1) analyzes original research into citrus essential oils. The team of researchers from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana referenced just under 200 studies in reaching their findings.

Citrus essential oils (or CEO) are isolated from the fruit, leaves, peel, and other parts of the plant and fruit, and used extensively in many industries, including food and chemicals, as well as in traditional medicines. As the researchers note, the medical field is constantly in search of new therapeutic compounds. Citrus essential oils have been used for therapeutic purposes for thousands of years.

When it comes to modern medicine, they have a potential that has not yet been tapped, with what the researchers dub “knowledge gaps” and incomplete data that should be explored further.

Here’s what we do know.

  • More than 2,000 metabolites have been isolate in CEO;
  • The main active compounds are: terpenes, monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and diterpenes;
  • The secondary metabolites include γ-terpinene, linalool, linalyl acetate,α-terpineol, geranyl acetate, terpinolene, and β-pinene;
  • These secondary metabolites protect the plants against insects and other dangers, including microorganisms.

The properties of CEO have been revealed through the research papers analyzed.

  • Antibacterial and antiviral properties: lime, lemon and other citrus essential oils react against specific types of bacteria as well as microbes, and represent a viable alternative to synthetic compounds.
  • Antifungal properties: CEO have shown the capacity to treat specific fungal diseases such as Aspergillus flavus, Rhizopus stolonifera, Candida albicans and Candida parapsilosis.
  • Anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects: lemon essential oil, among others, have shown both anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that operate at the cellular level.
  • Antioxidant properties: CEO which contain limonene (lemons, oranges, grapefruits primarily) have displayed antioxidant and radical scavenging properties.
  • Anticancer properties: CEOs may have the ability to inhibit the growth and metastasis of different types of tumor cells;
  • Anticholinesterase: some CEO have shown the ability to inhibit key enzymes which enable the process of neurological disorders such as senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Antidiabetic properties: CEO seems to be able to help the body regulate lipids and manage blood sugars.

In addition to their effects on physical processes in the body, citrus essential oils have demonstrated promise in the area of aromatherapy, where they have been associated with improved mood, reduced stress, and other beneficial effects.

The researchers conclude with their hopes that their review will help to draw a spotlight on citrus essential oils for the scientific community, and spur more research into their potential therapeutic uses.

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