Lemon essential oil, sometimes referred to as "liquid sunshine", is known to be energizing, purifying, and stimulating due to its many powerful therapeutic properties and benefits.
Lemon, or Citrus limon, is a small evergreen citrus tree in the Rutaceae family. Lemon trees take approximately six years to reach their full size of ten to twenty feet in height. The trees may begin bearing fruit as early as the third year after planting and full crops can be expected by the fifth year. Lemon trees need full sunlight to grow properly and they thrive in a temperature range between 70 ᵒF and 55 ᵒF. They have a heightened sensitivity to cold compared to other citrus trees and can become dormant at temperatures below 55 ᵒF. Lemon trees have oval leaves that are serrated around the edges and dark green. The flowers of the tree are white with four to five petals and may grow solitarily or in small clusters. Lemon fruits are oval-shaped and change from green to yellow as they ripen. They are highly aromatic when ripe and the oil glands can be seen dotted on the peel.
The exact origin of the lemon is unknown, though it is believed that lemons first grew in the Assam region of India, northern Burma, or China. It is thought that the name lemon is derived from either the Arabic word “laimun” or the Persian word “limun,” which both mean “citrus fruit.” The relatively small and the evergreen lemon tree is considered to be a cross between the bitter orange and citron. Lemon trees were originally grown for decorative purposes and the fruit was left on the tree, unharvested. Its ornamental use was often seen in early Islamic gardens. Once the many uses of the fruit began to be discovered, lemon trees were cultivated for fruit production. Both the lemon fruit and essential oil have been used in the practice of Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to help treat a wide variety of health issues. It is believed that lemon trees were brought to Europe in the time of ancient Rome in the second century before making their way to Persia and northern Africa in the next five hundred years. Lemon juice and essential oil were used by ancient Romans and Egyptians in the treatment of different infectious diseases. The first substantial cultivation of lemons in Europe began in Genoa in the middle of the fifteenth century.
The lemon was later introduced to the Americas by Christopher Columbus who brought lemon seeds to Hispaniola on his early voyages. Around this time English sailors in the Royal Navy also often utilized lemons to help protect themselves against scurvy and vitamin deficiencies. Spanish conquest worked to spread lemon trees throughout the Americas and they were growing in California by the eighteenth century and then in Florida by the nineteenth century. A few unprecedented freezes happened in the late nineteenth century that dealt a severe blow to the commercial lemon industry and it was mostly abandoned. Due to the demand for juice concentrate and essential oil, there was a revival of lemon tree cultivation in the 1950s.
Lemons cultivated for essential oil production are hand-picked when they reach their full size of around two to three inches. They are often picked while still green and will continue to ripen and turn yellow while they are being transported to the essential oil production facility. Lemon essential oil is extracted through the cold pressing of the fruit peels. It can take nearly one thousand lemons to produce one pound of lemon essential oil. The resulting essential oil has a very thin viscosity and is pale yellow to yellow. The aroma of the oil is a sharp, bright, and fresh citrus scent.
Benefits and Uses
Used in aromatherapy, lemon essential oil is invigorating and stimulating, working to increase our energy and boost our mood. It can help to clear our minds and give us an enhanced sense of concentration which increases our cognition and facilitates easier decision making. Lemon oil is also known to help ease negative emotions and soothe feelings of frustration and irritability for a more positive and uplifted outlook. Lemon essential oil is a powerful tool for those of us that may suffer from various respiratory issues. It works to clear the nasal passageways and ease coughs to promote easier breathing. Lemon can also help to relieve many symptoms of the common cold and flu. It can reduce fevers, combat throat and respiratory infections, help to uplift us out of that illness funk. When diffused, lemon essential oil can help to eliminate toxins in the air while leaving a revitalizing and refreshing scent throughout our homes. Lemon essential oil's antibacterial and detoxifying properties also allow them to act as a natural disinfectant when used in household cleaners.
When diluted and used topically, lemon essential oil offers a variety of properties that are useful for the skin and body. Lemon essential oil contains power properties that make it a must-have ingredient in our natural skincare routines. It helps to tighten our pores and reduce oil production as well as restoring the elasticity of tired and sagging skin. This works to tone the skin for a more vibrant, smooth, and plump-looking complexion. It can also help to moisturize chapped skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite when diluted and massaged in the skin. Lemon essential oil contains antibacterial properties that can help to sanitize wounds and combat infection for faster healing. Its high vitamin content boosts the immune system and stimulates our bodies’ ability to fight off bacteria. Lemon essential oil can also help us to achieve strong and healthy-looking hair. It combats dandruff and balances oil production on the scalp to leave hair shiny and smooth without feeling greasy. Lemon essential oil must be properly diluted when used topically as it can potentially cause skin irritation. Do a patch test when using lemon essential oil topically for the first time. Lemon oil may sensitize the skin to UV rays so it is best to avoid sun exposure directly after using it on the skin.
Here are some recipes using Lemon essential oil that we love...
Concentration Diffuser Blend
- 3 drops of Lemon Essential Oil
- 2 drops of Sweet Orange Essential Oil
- 2 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil
- 2 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil
Fresh Kitchen Cleaner
- 16oz Amber Glass Bottle with Spray Top
- 8oz of Water
- 4oz of Distilled White Vinegar
- 3oz of High Percentage Alcohol
- 1 tbsp of Liquid Castile Soap
- 10 drops of Lemon Essential Oil
- 10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
- 5 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
Add alcohol, vinegar, and essential oils to the spray bottle. Mix castile soap into the distilled water and slowly add this to the alcohol, essential oil, and vinegar mixture. Mix well. Spray on kitchen surfaces and wipe down.
Tightening Astringent Toner
- 4oz Amber Glass Bottle
- ¼ cup of Witch Hazel Extract
- ¼ cup Cooled Green Tea
- 5 drops Lemon Essential Oil
- 3 drops Cypress Essential Oil
- 10 drops Vitamin E Oil
- Mix all ingredients in a 4oz glass amber bottle. Shake well to combine.
- Wash face before using toner.
- Soak a cotton round with the toner and then gently rub it over your face, neck, and shoulders.
- Shake well before each use. Store in a cool dark place for extended shelf life.
"Perk Up" Roll-On
- 10 ml Amber Glass Roll-On Bottle
- ⅓ ounce Fractionated Coconut Oil
- 5 drops Lemon Essential Oil
- 5 drops Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Add the essential oils to the bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle to the top with fractionated coconut oil. Replace the rollerball and cap, gently shake, and roll across your skin. Apply this blend to wrists
Cleansing Wound Spray
- 4 ounce Amber Glass Bottle With Spray Top
- ¼ cup Witch Hazel Extract
- ¼ cup Distilled Water
- 1 tablespoon Aloe Vera Gel
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable Glycerin
- 10 drops Lemon Essential Oil
- 5 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
- 5 drops Lavender Essential Oil
Add the witch hazel, aloe vera gel, vegetable glycerin, and essential oils to the bottle. Gently shake to blend. Add distilled water to fill the bottle. Shake well to combine. Spray onto wounds and gently pat dry with a clean cloth.