Lemon Essential Oil Properties and Benefits

Lemon essential oil is technically an expressed oil extracted from the rind of lemons, however, as a rich liquid oil with nutritional and therapeutic properties it is still rightly classified as an essential oil (1).

Due to the extreme concentration of nutritional and therapeutic constituents in essential oils, such as lemon, they become highly effective in assisting with deficiencies and health issues.

What to look for in a Lemon Essential Oil

Most essential oils are extracted through means such as steam distillation, solvent-extraction, or absolutes. As an expressed oil it is produced through a pressing process that can either be cold-pressed or heat induced. If you procure expressed essential oils through the cold-pressing method, which I recommend, you actually have a raw essential oil.

When buying true essential oils, look for therapeutic grade oils that have been produced through a low-pressure and low-temperature steam distillation process, as these will retain more therapeutic properties comparatively to higher temperature and higher pressure extractions. Also, these oils have not been produced with chemicals such as hexane (a petroleum derivative), which is often used in the solvent method of extraction (2).

Unfortunately, only about 2% of essential oils sold in the U.S. are true therapeutic grade (3). Please keep this in mind when seeking them out. As a consumer in an age of little regulation, minimal to zero labeling, and companies seeking profit over quality, it is vital that we become conscious consumers and do research before buying products. Our health and the health of the planet depends on it.

Also, expressed and essential oils such as lemon should only be obtained from organically grown crops. Non-organic or conventional crops, when put through an extraction method, are very dangerous since pesticide residues can become highly concentrated (4).

Health Benefits and Research

1. Healing the Mind

  • In April 2009 researchers from Japan published in Nutritional Neuroscience that lemon essential oil improved the memory of subjects impaired with dementia (5).
  • University researchers in Japan also found that the diffusion of lemon essential oils into an office environment dramatically improved mental accuracy and concentration. The results showed 54% fewer errors (6).
  • In a collaborative effort, researchers from various Universities and Research Centers showed that citrus essential oils, including lemon, had a positive effect on improving depression and the immune system (7). In their words, “The treatment with citrus fragrance normalized neuroendocrine hormone levels and immune function and was rather more effective than antidepressants.” (8)

2. Healing the Body

  • Dr. Jean Valnet did research that showed vaporized lemon essential oil can destroy various types of bacteria in minutes to hours depending on the strain (9). This research suggest a tremendous potential for destroying airborne germs in hospitals, schools, and homes.
  • Researchers from Japan showed that thirteen essential oils, including lemon, were effective as an antimicrobial agent against a bacteria known to cause stomach and duodenum (the beginning of the intestines) problems in humans (10). They also were able to demonstrate that the essential oil treatment did not create bacterial resistance over time, whereas the allopathic antibiotic treatment did (11).
  • Lemon essential oil is a common ingredient in skin care products for its ability to cleanse the skin, reduce wrinkles, and improve acne (12).
  • Limonene, one of it’s key constituents at 59-73%, has been shown in over 50 clinical studies to combat tumor growth (13).

Suggestions for Use

Note: These recommendations are for therapeutic grade essential oils only.

1. In the home

  • Diffuse into the air to purify and create a pleasant aroma
  • Mix in water and use as a cleaning agent for counters, appliances, etc.

2. For the body

  • Directly inhale: it has a refreshing and invigorating smell
  • Take as a dietary supplement (1-2 drops): mix in recipes, take in capsules mixed with a small amount of food. Dilution is always recommend upon ingestion.
  • Apply on skin: mix the lemon essential oil (1-2 drops) with an organic cold-pressed oil of your choice, such as olive oil or coconut oil, at a ratio of 1 to 1. Then apply mix on area. Note: Avoid using on skin that will be exposed to sunlight or UV light within 24 hours (14).

3. Lemon Goji Refresher

  • In one quart of water mix in a decent sized handful of goji berries and let sit over night. In the morning strain out the goji berries (save them for later or eat them straight) then mix in 2 drops of lemon essential oil. Drink and enjoy!

Conclusion

Lemon essential oil is a powerful superfood supplement with the potential to bring important nutritional and therapeutic benefits. I personally love lemons, and as an essential oil I can feel the power of this food to an even greater level.

Essential oils are a fascinating healing agent with numerous studies constantly being done proving their efficacy. I encourage you to do more research into essential oils and find the ones that resonate with you.

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References:

1. Essential Oils Desk Reference, Fourth Edition, complied by Essential Science Publishing. pg. 33
2. Ibid
3. http://www.botanical.com/products/learn/what_makes_therapeutic.html Retrieved July 5th, 2009
4. Essential Oils Desk Reference, Fourth Edition, complied by Essential Science Publishing. pg. 33
5. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/maney/nns/2009/00000012/00000002/art00002 Retrieved July 5th, 2009
6. Essential Oils Desk Reference, Fourth Edition, complied by Essential Science Publishing. pg. 72
7. http://content.karger.com/ProdukteDB/produkte.asp?Aktion=ShowAbstract&ProduktNr=224176&Ausgabe=232344&ArtikelNr=96889 Retrieved July 5th, 2009
8. Ibid
9. Essential Oils Desk Reference, Fourth Edition, complied by Essential Science Publishing. pg. 72
10. http://pt.wkhealth.com/pt/r/hel/abstract.00063041-200306000-00008.htm;jsessionid=KRddpmyGG6ZG4CbJn3gsZrnLh1QhtJ2hp
Y3T1Z8JV1ZJhL00m1Dc!-631714950!181195629!8091!-1 Retrieved July 5th, 2009
11. Ibid
12. Essential Oils Desk Reference, Fourth Edition, complied by Essential Science Publishing. pg. 72
13. Ibid
14. Ibid, pg. 73

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