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Lemon Essential Oil Benefits, Uses and Side Effects

You know what they say about life giving you lemons. Instead of making lemonade, however, why not turn them into essential oil? After all, lemons have a number of health boosting properties. Lemon essential oil benefits the body by improving  digestive functions and treating a range of health conditions that include rheumatism to scurvy. Extracted from lemon peels, this essential oil has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes throughout the centuries.

The earliest lemon tree is said to have originated from northeastern India. Around the 10th century, the tree was cultivated primarily as an ornamental plant. Arab merchants brought lemon seeds to Spain in the 11th century. By the year 1150, the lemon was being cultivated in the Mediterranean. Soldiers from the Crusade introduced it to other parts of Europe. In the 15th century, Europeans were using lemons to add flavor to their dishes. After some time, commercial cultivation has become popular in the United States, particularly in the states of California and Florida. These days, lemons are among the most popular citrus fruits in the market. Apart from its culinary purposes, lemon is also widely used for its medicinal properties.

Lemon is a rich source of vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant. It helps the body neutralize free radicals, which can damage the cell. Vitamin C can also rejuvenate the skin and return its healthy glow. If you encounter so much stress at work, you will appreciate one of the best benefits of the oil: It relieves anxiety and stress. This essential oil is also useful in relaxing the mind and increasing concentration. A study in Japan showed that diffusing lemon oil through the air systems of an office environment can have positive effects in the workers’ mental accuracy.

Lemon Essential Oil Health Properties

  • Antidepressant – An excellent natural antidepressant, the scent of this oil uplifting and cleansing. It creates a pleasant atmosphere of freshness that replaces any negative vibe in the room.  Inhaling its scent alone can help ease anxiety and improve your mood. You may even choose to add a few drops to a hot bath for a more relaxing effect.
  • Anti-inflammatory – Free radicals can have a severe effect on healthy cells, which usually results in inflammation or painful swelling. The Vitamin C from lemons provides protection against inflammations in the form of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
  • Antioxidant – Lemon contains high levels of antioxidants, making it effective in reducing wrinkles and age spots. It also improves the body’s immune system as it attacks free radicals.
  • Antibacterial/Antiseptic – English sailors benefited from the lemon’s antiseptic and antibacterial properties. They used the fruit as protection against scurvy as they sail on the high seas. As an antiseptic, lemon essential oil works by preventing infection to facilitate the healing of cuts, wounds and abrasions. It helps keep the affected area free from harmful microorganisms. Lemon itself is about 5-6 percent citric acid. Its acidity makes it an excellent antibacterial oil. When diluted in warm water, lemon essential can be a great mouthwash, especially if you have mouth ulcers.
  • Astringent – Lemon essential oil is useful for treating blemishes that are common with oily skin. Its rejuvenating properties can help brighten dull skin. To achieve a healthy glow, simply place slices of fresh lemon on your cheeks for a few minutes on a regular basis.
  • Circulation stimulant – Lemon essential oil is beneficial to the circulatory system. It can help stimulate proper blood flow and reduce blood pressure. It is also useful for stopping nosebleeds. Simply rub one drop of the oil to the nose bridge up to your forehead.
  • Expectorant – You can use lemon essential oil as a natural remedy for coughs, colds and nasal congestion. Simply rub a few drops on your chest and throat several times a day. Diffusing the oil into the air can also provide you with relief.
  • Diuretic – Lemon is known as a natural diuretic due to its ability to increase the rate of urination. This enables the body to flush out harmful toxins and bacteria. This also makes lemon oil useful in rheumatism and arthritis treatments.
  • Digestive – Adding 2 to 3 drops of lemon essential oil in a glass of water can aid with the body’s digestive functions. Apart from improving metabolism, it can also do wonders for your weight loss efforts.
  • Immune system stimulant – Lemon’s Vitamin C and potassium content can help boost the body’s immune system. It helps protect the body from illness by warding off of common diseases such as colds and flu, as well as ear infections.

There are a number of ways that you can do to make the most of the oil. For one, you may dilute it with a carrier oil such as avocado, sweet almond, or jojoba essential oils before applying it directly to the skin. Adding a few drops to your baths is also a great idea.

The oil you works great when blended with a number of other essential oils such as lavender, sandalwood, eucalyptus, and geranium among others. As mentioned earlier, inhaling lemon essential oil can also be therapeutic. You may use a diffuser or vaporizer for this purpose. You can also do so by simply sprinkling a few drops on a piece of cloth or tissue.

If you are using it for aromatherapy, keep in mind that lemon essential oil has a shelf life of 8 to 10 months. When it reaches that period, you can still use it in vapor therapy. Using lemon oil in vapor treatment is a great way to treat colds, flu, depression, stress, and fatigue. After opening, make sure to place your bottle of lemon oil away from sunlight to maintain its efficacy.

Lemon Essential Oil Side Effects

Lemon essential oil does not seem to produce any side effects, but like many essential oils, it is not recommended for use with pregnant women or children. Some essential oils may cause irritation or allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin so it is wise to do a patch test before using regularly.

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.