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Lemon essential oil uses and benefits

lemon essential oil

You may be used to putting wedges of lemon in your drinks or cooking with lemon juice, but did you know you can also get lemon essential oil too?

Lemon oil comes from the fruit of lemon trees, which are native to Asia and were reportedly used by ancient Indians and the Egyptians and Romans to treat infectious diseases. These trees are believed to have been brought to Europe in the Middle Ages and the fruit was once used by sailors to protect against scurvy and vitamin deficiencies.1

How is it made?

Lemon essential oil is a completely natural ingredient that’s made by extracting the peel from fresh lemon and using a cold press to prick and rotate the peel. This process releases the natural lemon oil.2 Interestingly, lemon trees are harvested in the summer for their fruit, and in the winter to make lemon essential oil and lemon juice.3

How long have people been using lemon essential oil for?

Both lemons and lemon essential oil have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to treat all sorts of health issues. Today, lemon essential oil is widely used in perfumery and cooking and to help improve concentration, among many other things.4

How can it be used?

There’s so much you can do with lemon oil. You can:

  1. Clean with it

A great benefit of essential lemon oil is that you can use it to clean a number of surfaces. Its particularly good at removing grease, so adding a little to your surface cleaner or making your own at home is a great way to benefit from lemon oil.

You can do this by adding 5 to 6 drops of lemon oil to 1oz of water in a spray bottle to clean, disinfect and deodorise countertops, sinks, tables, wood cutting boards, appliances and other surfaces.

For greasy cookers, counters and dishes, mix 20 drops of lemon oil with 1 cup of white vinegar in a 16oz spray bottle and fill to the top with water.5

  1. Infuse your laundry

With the citrusy freshness of lemons by adding 5 to 8 drops of lemon oil to the rinse cycle when washing clothes and towels.6

  1. Diffuse it

You can spread a citrussy, fragrant and powerfully purifying lemon scented essential oil throughout your home by using a diffuser or oil burner.

Mix 3 or 4 drops of lemon essential oil into a portable or plug-in diffuser and breathe it in for a refreshing way to relax.7

  1. Massage with it

Like many essential oils, lemon oil is great to massage with.

Lemon oil has a releasing, cleansing and protective effect on the body. It helps to defend the body against harmful pathogens and promotes detoxification through the blood and liver.

Lemon oil also stimulates lymphatic drainage, which helps the body to cleanse itself of wastes and toxins.8

  1. Bathe in it

As lemon oil works as a natural relaxant, you may want to run a warm bath and add in 4 to 6 drops of lemon oil. Then relax in the bath for at least 10 minutes to allow the aroma to work.

  1. Spray it

Studies show that lemon essential oil works as a natural disinfectant agent because of two dominant compounds found in the oil, limonene and b-pinene.

Lemon oil can be used to cleanse your home of harmful pathogens, like bacteria, fungi and other harmful pathogens. Using lemon as a natural cleaning product also keeps your home free of conventional products that are made with dangerous chemicals.

You can do this by filling a spray bottle with half a cup of water and 8 drops of lemon oil, 8 drops of tea tree and 8 drops of eucalyptus essential oils to create a room spray that will help eliminate stale odours.9

Lemon essential oil benefits

Lemon oil has antiseptic and energising, as well as calming powers.10 As a result, there are lots of benefits to using it, including these:11

  • Reduce feelings of anxiety

According to a study carried out on mice in 2006, lemon essential oil was proven to have powerful calming and mood-improving qualities. The same research also found it to be a better stress reliever than lavender and rose oils.

  • May help nourish your skin

Lemon essential oil benefits your skin by nourishing and hydrating the skin.

Lab studies show that lemon oil is able to manage the damage of skin cells and tissue in the skin that’s caused by free radicals. This is due to lemon oil’s strong antioxidant activity and healthy ageing effects.12

How to use it safely

Always do a patch test to make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin and always dilute it first with a carrier oil before putting it on your skin.

Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how to use it.13 Citrus oils, such as lemon oil, have also been known to increase skin sensitivity in the sun.

Lemon oil should never be applied immediately before going out in the sun and sunscreen should always be used to help prevent sunburn.14

Facts about lemons and lemon oil

  1. Lemon essential oil has been nicknamed ‘liquid sunshine’  beausebecause of its vibrant yellow colour, refreshing scent, purifying properties and the burst of energy that lemon oil provides.
     
  2. Lemons are widely referred to as being the ‘fruit of health’ because of its high vitamin C content.15

In addition to vitamin C, lemons also contain other important nutrients such a fructose, fibre, potassium, calcium, magnesium and copper, as well as vitamins B1, B2, B6 so it really does own that name! 

  1. Fun essential oil fact: It takes 3000 lemons to produce 1 kg of essential oil, which is obtained by cold-pressing the rind.16

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Last updated: 9 June 2021

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