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Lemon oil: aromatherapy, health benefits and uses of lemon essential oil

Updated on July 24, 2013

Introduction

Lemon essential oil, derived from the genus Citrus, provides an array of health and aromatherapy benefits.

The English name comes from the lemon's Latin name, citrus limon (linnaeus), lemon  oil is derived from the fruit of the tall lemon trees.

Historians have found that the earliest traces of lemon were found in China, India, Italy, the Mediterranean, and regions of Arabia.

Historians tend to agree that the lemon was introduced to Europe during the Crusades, eventually gaining common popularity by the 16th century.

Experts believe that the lemon was not introduced to the Americas until 1493, when the lemon seeds were brought to the “new world” with Columbus.

With the subsequent Spanish conquest, lemon seeds were gradually planted and spread across the new lands.


A Victorian botanical drawing of the lemon tree, fruit, and flowers.
A Victorian botanical drawing of the lemon tree, fruit, and flowers.
Lemon flowers. This image is in the public domain.
Lemon flowers. This image is in the public domain.

Historical Use of Lemon Essential Oil

The use of lemon and its precious oil has been noted throughout history, as even famous authors and poets from the past have written of lemon's enticing aromas and benefits.

Noted by the renowned Maude Grieve in her 1931 book on herbal medicine, Grieve reported that the lemon is the most powerful fruit that can be used to preserve health.

Historically, lemon essential oil was used to treat various health concerns, and in fact, the oil was even used as an antidote for some poisons. With its antiseptic properties, lemon oil was commonly used as cleansing and healing agent.

Perhaps most famously, James Lind, starting in 1747, performed experiments using lemon oil while studying seamen who suffered from scurvy.

Through these investigations, Lind discovered that by adding lemon juice to sailor's diets, seamen were more able to fight off scurvy, as lemon provides bodies with a strong dose of vitamin C.

Throughout various cultures and regions of the world, lemon was used as a treatment for some illnesses, as an aromatic fragrance, and as a general food / beverage flavor additive.


Aromatherapy and lemon oil

While lemon oil is known to have powerful antiseptic properties, the lemon is also able to stimulate a variety of health and wellness benefits.

Most popularly, lemon essential oil is used for its many aromatherapy benefits, as the fragrance has an uplifting effect.

Many aromatherapy experts use lemon oil to promote wellbeing enhancements, such as:

  • Improved concentration

  • Enhanced awareness

  • Improved mood

  • Increased energy

  • Decreased psychological distractions and fatigue

  • Reduced stress / anxiety / nervousness / tension

  • Helps refresh the mind and remove negative feelings

  • Helps alleviate symptoms of insomnia while enhancing the body's ability to sleep more restfully


An unripe lemon still on the tree. This image is in the public domain.
An unripe lemon still on the tree. This image is in the public domain.

Lemon Essential Oil Benefits Immune Systems

In addition to emotional and mental benefits, lemon essential oil is also used to boost the body's immune system response.

As lemon oil contains an array of vitamins, an intake of lemon oil (only as directed) can help improve the body's immune system, enabling the body to ward off illnesses and infections.

Adding to the health benefits, many people use lemon oil to reduce fever, as well as to treat stomach disorders, such as indigestion and upset stomach.


Lemon Oil and Beauty

Many men and women use skin care products that contain lemon oil, as this ingredient helps to detoxify and rejuvenate the skin.

In addition, lemon oil is commonly used to reduce pimples and eliminate oil from oily skin.

On the other hand, to add gloss to one's hair, lemon oil can be used to remove dandruff and boost the hair's healthy appearance.

Lemon oil is extremely useful as a pre-shaving product. It helps soften the hair on the face, and protect the skin from the razor. It therefore reduces the risk of ingrowing hairs, or razor burn.

Lastly, for men and women seeking to lose a few pounds, lemon oil may even be helpful in reducing one's body weight.


How to Use Lemon Oil

Lemon essential oil can be used in a variety of manners, although this oil is most commonly used in a vaporizer, in the bath, or as an ingredient in aromatherapy products.

When using with a vaporizer, simply add 4 to 8 drops of essential lemon oil, or use the 4 to 8 drops with water on a burner.

For a bath, 3 to 5 drops of lemon essential oil can be mixed in with warm water, while 2 drops of oil with 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil can be combined for the application of essential lemon oil as a shampoo or body cleanser.

In aromatherapy products, lemon oil is frequently blended with other citrus oils.


Potential Dangers of Lemon Essential Oil

While many individuals often believe that the simple ingestion of lemon oil will promote benefits, all consumers must be careful to follow specific dosage and usage guidelines when using any form of lemon herb.

Although lemon oil can deliver an array of benefits, there are various precautions that should be taking when using this agent.

  • Lemon oil should not be consumed or applied directly to the skin without being diluted

  • Avoid contact with eyes

  • Avoid contact with children

  • Seek medical attention if oil is directly ingested, comes in contact with eyes, or inhaled to an excess degree (unless it is food grade lemon oil, designed to be used as a cooking ingredient)

  • Oil should be stored in a tightly sealed container, away from any contact with fire / heat. Lemon oil must also be stored away from any flammable chemicals / objects


Comments

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    • profile image

      Peter geekie 

      2 years ago

      I find your article very interesting.

      I use a blend of lemon zest and lemon juice with a dash of honey to make it palatable - drink a quarter of a small glass each day to heal wounds, operation scars which are slow to close up.

      Kind regards Peter

    • Fiona Jean Mckay profile image

      Fiona 

      2 years ago from South Africa

      I enjoy the fresh scent of lemon essential oil - I always use it in the cleaning water when wiping down the kitchen counters

    • sleepylog profile image

      Sleepylog 

      5 years ago from Australia

      I just love lemons. I love everything about them, their colour, their scent, their flavour, their juice...

      They are one of nature's true wonders. I drink the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon every morning to keep my immune system healthy and to kick start my digestive system before breakfast.

    • profile image

      Krista 

      6 years ago

      Thank you so... much! For sharing what you know, in order to help others, it really helped a lot...

    • PaperNotes profile image

      PaperNotes 

      8 years ago

      I love the smell of citrus lemon oil blends. Thank you for pointing out all the benefits. I think I will use lemon oils more often now. Great hub!

    • profile image

      nely foronda 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for mentioning about lemons. For me lemon is everything to me.Can be juice,recipe,lotion shampoo and most especially my own medicinal home remidy.It work better than drugs or prescribe.

    • Research Analyst profile image

      Research Analyst 

      8 years ago

      Lemon oil has so many great benefits

    • profile image

      Nisha shan 

      9 years ago

      Thanks for mentioning both the do's and don'ts while using the lemon oil. Lemon is extremely helpful in many ways for our body. Thanks for the hub.

    • Plants and Oils profile imageAUTHOR

      Plants and Oils 

      9 years ago from England

      You can buy it both as a food-grade oil for cooking, and as an essential oil for aromatherapy.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 

      9 years ago from UK

      I love lemon and use a great deal of it in cooking and food preparation. It's nice to know it's so good for me. I've never tried it as an essential oil, but will look out for it now.

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