Lemons are abundant in nutrients and this is one of the reasons why it is the most widely used citrus fruit. However, it seems that they are most known for their vitamin C content.
Ancient Indians, Romans, and Egyptians have widely used lemons as a remedy for infections. These days their uses go far beyond a remedy for infectious diseases and they are mostly grown in the U.S and Europe.
When used as essential oil, which can be used for cleaning or applied topically, its effects are even more enhanced.
Lemon essential oil is obtained from lemon peels whose pits have many oil glands. While an estimate, 1,000 lemons are needed for the production of one pound of lemon oil. Limonene, a compound which makes the majority of lemon oil, is the one responsible for its citrus scent.
Uses of Lemon Oil
Besides, from being used in making lemonade, lemon oil can be used as:
Insect Repellent and Insect Bite Treatment: It works as antibacterial agent and natural repellent
Disinfectant: Lemon oil is the ultimate disinfectant for public bathrooms, chopping boards, countertops, and hospitals
Spot remover: It can remove grease stains, oil, and gum from clothes and surfaces
Skin and Hair Product: It can exfoliate skin, reduce acne, treat blemishes and even remove dandruff and improve hair`s quality
Treatment for Calluses and Warts: Regular application of lemon oil onto the affected areas helps reduce the appearance of calluses and warts
Medicine: Lemon oil is used to treat asthma and other respiratory issues, diabetes, hypertension, and headaches
Gargle: It is an amazing remedy for tonsillitis, sore throat, and mouth inflammations
Food Ingredient: It works as great addition to cakes, marinades, and pies
Aromatherapy Oil and Air Freshener: Due to its pleasant citrus fragrance
Composition of Lemon Oil
As mentioned in the very beginning, limonene makes the majority of lemon oil, which is about 50-70%. Apart from limonene, it also contains pinene, terpineol, terpinene, and other organic compounds.
Lemons have a robust nutritional profile and are low-glycemic fruit. They also contain citric acid, which works as a natural preservative.
Needless to say, they are packed with vitamin C, a powerful water-soluble antioxidant. Interestingly, although they have acidic nature, lemons have an alkalizing effect in the body.
They also contain flavonoids which are responsible for its amazing antioxidant properties. According to a study published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, lemons contain a dominant flavonoid class called flavanones, such as hesperidin and eriocitrin.
It has been found that these nutrients have both free radical quenching and anti-inflammatory properties. Lemons also contain other antioxidants, such as alpha- and beta-carotenes, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and lutein. Other nutrients include:
- Pectin (a type of fiber)
- Vitamin A
- Folate and B-vitamins
Benefits of Lemon Oil
- Relieve arthritis, due to its anti-inflammatory properties
- Lower blood pressure and promote healthy blood circulation
- Detoxify your skin and body of toxins
- Control overactive sebaceous glands that contribute to acne and poor hair conditions
- Reduce broken capillaries and varicose veins
- Sanitize wounds, household objects and hospital rooms due to its antibacterial properties
- Calm anxiety, improve mood and prevent emotional outbursts and violent behavior
- Fight respiratory infections like bronchitis, coughs, and sore throat. It can also bring relieve to discomfort from colds, fevers, flu and asthma
- Support immune function by stimulating the production of white blood cells
- Inhibit inflammation
- Soothe acidity and heartburn, as it helps balance your stomach pH level
- Treat constipation and promote elimination of waste
How to Make Lemon Oil
As mentioned in the very beginning, lemon oil is obtained from the peels through the process of cold-pressing. On the other hand, heat processing has negative impact on the oil as its strips its color, flavor, and nutrients. This is the reason why cold-pressed oils are much more expensive and of higher quality. Another way to produce lemon oil is through distillation, a process which is inferior to cold-pressed oil.
How Does Lemon Oil Work?
Lemon oil is highly versatile and it can be applied topically on the skin and surfaces or added to food and drinks. Below you have a list outlining some of its uses:
- Using 1-2 drops of lemon oil can help remove stains due to grease, crayon marks, and oil,
- As little as 1-2 drops of lemon oil can help sterilize countertops and surfaces
- Rubbing lemon oil on your hands can help sanitize them
- Apply a few drops of lemon oil on cotton balls and use on your skin for cleansing
- Use lemon oil in a diffuser to spread its fruity scent
- Lemon oil can help improve mood, when inhaled
- Adding 2-3 drops of lemon oil to tea or warm water can help relieve a sore throat
- Applying a few drops of lemon oil to your nails kills off nail fungus and strengthens the nails
- Applying 1-2 drops of lemon oil behind your ears can calm you down
- Applying 2-3drop of lemon oil to cold sores, calluses or blisters daily can help remove them
Is Lemon Oil Safe?
Given that it is very strong and irritant to the skin, it is recommended to dilute it first. You must always use it with carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, olive oil, or coconut oil.
According to certain studies, lemon promotes photosensitivity, which increases your sensitivity to sun and may cause sunburn and skin darkening. So, never apply lemon or other citrus oil to your skin, when outdoors.
Moreover, people with sensitivities should be extremely cautious when it comes to using essential oils. Some may experience respiratory problems while some may have skin reactions. Children and pregnant women should consult a doctor prior using lemon oil.