With all the different essential oils out there, finding the right one for your needs can often seem difficult. Indeed, the choices can sometimes seem overwhelming and some oils are more suitable for particular situations than for others.
But, in this post, we want to talk about one of the most powerful options out there, which is lemon essential oil. Not only does this type of oil have an appealing scent but it is also associated with a range of practical uses and benefits to health.
Many of these lemon essential oil benefits come as the result of antimicrobial, antioxidant (1,2) and anti-inflammatory properties (3,4,5,6). At the same time, even the scent of citrus fruit can have dramatic impacts, particularly in relation to improving mood and concentration.
Top Uses for Lemon Essential Oil
The following list highlights some of the most powerful ways that you can use lemon oil. Now, the list isn’t exhaustive, not by any means. But, it is a great place to get started, especially if you haven’t used essential oils much in the past.
Mood and the Mind
Mood Booster. The smell of citrus plays a major role in improving mood and helping people to feel better overall (7,8,9). You can get some of the same benefits from simply sniffing a lemon or an orange but an essential oil can work better simply because it is more concentrated.
Reduces Stress. In a similar way the smell of some plants, including citrus fruit and lemons specifically, has been linked to a reduction in stress (10,11). This isn’t just a matter of opinion either. Research has shown that there is a physiological response to these scents when stress is present (12).
Concentration. Via the same mechanisms, lemon oil can be significant for improving concentration. This may be particularly relevant for anybody who has a large amount of work to do or is stressed about deadlines.
Lowers Fatigue. The same general idea means that lemon oil can help to lower fatigue. One way of achieving this outcome is to use some of the oil in a bath. The process can help make the bath more relaxing overall and is perfect at the end of a long day.
Immune Booster. Lemon essential oil has a range of vitamins, including vitamin C. As a result, it is able to help strengthen the immune system and stimulate white blood cells. In doing so, it can help your body to fight off disease and contributes to better health overall.
Reduces Stomach Pain. Lemon oil has calming properties and these apply to physical health as well as areas like stress. As a result, some people use lemon essential oil to help reduce stomach issues, such as cramps and acidity.
Improves Breathing. In many cases, the scent of lemons can help to clear the airways, making breathing easier. This may be particularly true for people who suffer from minor asthma or allergies.
Soothing a Sore Throat. As with lemon juice, lemon essential oil can be added to a hot drink to help soothe a sore throat. Many people use other ingredients as well to create an appealing drink, like raw honey, ginger and cinnamon. There are also other essential oils that can help fight the symptoms of a cold or the flu.
Weight Loss. Lemon water is commonly used to promote weight loss, although the effect is partly connected to the water as well as the lemons. Lemon oil can also be used in this way and can be added to water and other drinks as a way of helping you control your appetite. In some cases, lemon oil may be more powerful than lemon juice in this role, simply because lemon essential oil is more portable.
Softens Calluses. Lemon oil is commonly used on the feet to help tackle issues such as calluses, bunions and corns. In this case, you would apply the oil directly and it will help to soften these areas over time.
Skin Care. The compounds in lemon oil make it particularly relevant to the skin. While it can be applied directly, many people choose to add a few drops of lemon essential oil into skincare products. Additionally, there are various products you can make yourself using essential oils and other ingredients.
Promoting Hair Health. In a similar way, lemon essential oil can be added into bottles of shampoo and conditioner to promote hair health. Some recommendations suggest that you do this at night rather than in the morning, as there is a potential interaction between the compounds and sunlight. However, as long as the amount of lemon oil isn’t excessive, you’re unlikely to experience any issues.
The site The No Poo Method also highlights various essential oil recipes for hair health and some of these use lemon essential oil.
Soften Cuticles. Lemon oil can also be used directly on the nails and cuticles to help soften the cuticles and promote nail health overall.
As an Antibacterial Agent. Another interesting idea is to use lemon essential oil as an alternative to commercial hand sanitizers. Doing so offers many of the same benefits but you don’t have to worry about a range of chemicals.
Other Areas to Consider
Keeping Avocado and Apples Fresh. Lemon oil can also be used as a way to keep some fruit from turning brown, including apples and avocados.
Improve Flavor. Lemons are commonly used in cooking to enhance flavor. In most cases, you would use actual lemons or lemon juice. However, lemon essential oil has its place as well. For example, it is often added into sweet dishes, like frosting and cookies.
As a Disinfectant. Lemon oil has the ability to fight both bacteria and fungus, making it effective as a cleaner. At the same time, you get the advantage of the fresh scent of lemons, which is much more attractive than many commercial cleaners. The site Mommypotamus offers one recipe for doing so.
Removes Gum and Labels. Lemon oil works well for removing gum from various locations, along with sticky residue from labels and other items.
Insect Repellent. When mixed with eucalyptus and peppermint oil, lemon essential oil can make an effective insect repellant. This idea is appealing to many people who don’t want to use a large amount of chemicals on their skin.
As a Polish. Lemon oil works effectively as a polish for wood and silver. To achieve this, you can simply soak a cloth in the oil and then use this to polish.
Masking Smells. Lemon does have an attractive and fairly potent smell. As a result, it can be a good way to make things smell better and to mask any nasty odors around your home.
Of course, there are many other ways to use lemon essential oil as well. In fact, people that rely on essential oils continually find new ways to take advantage of them. This can include adding the oil to household products or food, along with other approaches entirely.
Because of this, the most powerful approach is simply to experiment with essential oils. By doing so, you can find a range of benefits that work for your own specific needs and situation.
The Reasons Behind Lemon Essential Oil Benefits
As with any essential oil, the scientific evidence for lemon essential oil is relatively limited. For that matter, many of the advantages above haven’t been the result of rigorous research.
But, lemon essential oil isn’t entirely without support. Instead, there is considerable evidence for the health benefits of lemons. Many of those benefits will also apply to the lemon essential oil itself, especially as the same compounds tend to be present.
Additionally, there has been a significant range of studies into the essential oil (13), even though many of these areas need more research before scientists can be confident of results.
Research into essential oils aside, lemons themselves are popular for health and this is one reason that lemon water is so popular and heavily promoted.
Many of the benefits are associated with one specific compound, limonene. This is the compound responsible for the distinctive scent of lemons, although it is also present in other fruit.
Other compounds may help to decrease cholesterol levels (16,17), promote heart health (18), eye health and immunity (19). With all of these benefits, it’s easy to see why lemons are so popular, along with the essential oil.
There is also one other area – scent.
Scent is one of the key reasons for using any essential oil and it is particularly relevant in the case of lemons. Research strongly supports the idea that citrus scents can help to boost energy levels, improve mood and raise concentration overall (20,21,22).
In fact, this effect is so significant that it won’t come as a surprise to most people.
Quality and Precautions
For the most part, essential oils are safe and they are commonly used throughout society. At the same time, many of the potential uses are external, which helps to reduce any possible risk.
Nevertheless, it is important to be careful with any product, including lemon essential oil. For example, if you are ingesting it, the general amount tends to be around 3 drops. You certainly don’t want to be ingesting a large dose at one time.
It’s also important to pay attention to the way that your body responds. In particular, if you have any negative reactions, including ones that seem similar to an allergy, you may need to stop using the oil entirely. If this happens, it’s important to talk to your doctor before using it that way again.
The other thing to mention is that the essential oil industry (like the supplement industry) is mostly unregulated. So, the quality of oils can vary dramatically and this is often difficult or impossible to determine from the labeling alone.
As a result, it’s important to go with brands that have a good reputation – particularly ones that focus on quality. You can also look for the word ‘therapeutic’ on the labeling. While this is not a guarantee of quality, it is a valuable indicator.
There are many examples of brands out there but one that we recommend is doTERRA. Now, the company is a MLM and it does have a varied reputation, depending on who you are and your experience.
However, there is little doubt that the oils they produce are high quality and the company is reliable in this sense. The image below offers a link to their oil on Amazon, as I’m not a distributor (nor do I ever plan to be).
The reviews suggest that this is an authentic product, even though it is sold on Amazon. Besides, buying from doTERRA online is an attractive approach – simply because you won’t get hassled to become a distributor yourself.
Using Lemon Essential Oil
So, with all of these various benefits, how do you use the oil effectively?
Well, as the list earlier suggests, your use of the oil is going to depend on the outcome you want. For example, if you are relying on the aroma, you will often be using lemon oil in a diffuser or something similar. Some people also make use of small bottles that allow you to roll the oil on physically, like the example in the image below.
These are easy to use and effective if you plan to take the oil with you. Doing so offers a quick pick-me-up and you can just apply the oil to your hands or wrists any time you want to take advantage of the scent.
Likewise, there is no shortage of different diffusers on the market (check them out on Amazon). These are similar to traditional oil burners in that they help to disperse the oil in the air around you.
However, unlike burners, this type of product isn’t going to damage the chemical structure of the oil in the process. As a result, picking up a good diffuser is a critical step if you plan to use essential oils at all.
Beyond this, there are some uses that call for consuming the oil. If you do so, you need to be careful with the amount you use. One common recommendation is simply adding 3 drops to water. You can check out this article at The Hippy Homemaker for more details about ingesting essential oils.
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