Lemon essential oil smells exactly like the fruit! And it has amazing health, skin and beauty benefits! So let’s learn all about lemon essential oil.
Lemon Essential Oil Properties
Lemon’s botanical name is Citrus limon so you should find this name on your essential oil bottle.
As you probably already know there are a lot of other citrus oils on the market. So it’s sometimes easy to get the botanical names confused. For instance, lime is Citrus aurantifolia, orange is Citrus sinensis and grapefruit is Citrus paradisi.
So always verify the botanical name before buying this essential oil.
Color & Smell of lemon essential oil
Lemon essential oil has a pale yellow to yellow-green color. And it smells just like lemon peels. So it has a refreshing, citrusy scent.
What is in lemon oil?
Lemon oil contains several compounds that are indicative of a citrus oil. These are limonene, alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, alpha-terpineol, beta-bisabolene, beta-myrcene, beta-caryophyllene, borneol, p-cymene, eucalyptol, gamma-terpinene, geranial, linalyl acetate, linalool, sabinene and terpinen-4-ol.
These compounds are amazing and add to the many benefits of lemon essential oil.
Lemon Essential Oil Benefits
The health benefits of lemon essential oil show it
- reduces nausea and vomiting
- calms anxiety
- relieves pain
- gets rid of free radicals
- helps fight acne
- kill cancer cells in vitro
- destroys bacteria and fungi
- repels and kills insects
You will find the studies proving these benefits right here.
It helps with nausea
Well not just nausea, lemon essential oil can be effective against both nausea and vomiting. And there’s a clinical trial that proves it!
Researchers asked 100 pregnant women with nausea and vomiting symptoms to participate in their 2014 study. They divided the women into two groups: an intervention group (which was given lemon essential oil) and a placebo group.
Whenever the women felt nauseous, they were asked to add two drops of what they were given to a cotton and place it about 3cm away from their nose. Then they had to take three deep breaths through the nose. If they still felt nauseous after five minutes, they had to repeat this procedure.
This was done for about four days. And the results were awesome. The women who used lemon essential oil felt less nauseous and had far fewer (and less intense) vomiting episodes when compared to the placebo group.
Lemon essential oil is pretty incredible, isn’t it?
Note though, this study was done with pregnant women and the researchers suggested that the oil was safe to use during pregnancy. But, if you are pregnant and plan to use the oil, please check with your doctor before doing so. It’s always better to be cautious than sorry!
It may help with anxiety and pain
A 2004 animal study tested the responses of rats when exposed to lemon essential oil for long periods of time. The results were statistically significant.
They showed the rats that inhaled the oil had lower levels of the hormone, corticosterone, in their blood. This hormone is actually involved with the animal’s stress response. So lower levels mean the animals were less stressed than those who did not inhale the essential oil.
The study went further to show the rats’ threshold for pain was also higher than the control animals.
So inhaling lemon essential oil for long periods may help your anxiety and possible pain limits!
It is antioxidant
According to this 2014 animal study, lemon essential oil has powerful antioxidant benefits. In fact, the oil was found to be as powerful as Vitamin C and Vitamin E!
The study showed lemon oil contains known antioxidant compounds (like alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, limonene, linalool, eucalyptol, linalyl acetate and borneol), but the compounds had synergistic effects. This means that, together, the compounds were stronger and more potent than if they were used separately.
Now, you may know that antioxidants stop free radicals, which are harmful compounds that can affect your cells, skin, cause aging and even cancer. So antioxidants are pretty important compounds!
4. It can help with acne
So there are several causes of acne. And one of the main causes is bacteria or, more specially, the bacteria species – Propionibacterium acnes. And researchers have shown lemon essential oil is able to inhibit and kill this bacteria! So the oil could help with acne.
This 2010 study demonstrates these lemon essential oil benefits. The study tested 10 essential oils on the bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes. These essential oils were spearmint, ginger, lemon, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, chamomile, thyme, rose and cinnamon.
The results showed that lemon was the fifth strongest oil against the bacteria.
Yeah fifth isn’t great. Thyme, cinnamon, rose and grapefruit were all more powerful than lemon. But the concentration that lemon showed these effects was 0.25%. That shows lemon oil is pretty potent! But, of course, it isn’t the best antibacterial essential oil out there.
Important note: before you start using the oil for acne, you should know lemon oil can be phototoxic, meaning if you’ve got the oil on your skin and you go out into the sun, it can burn your skin pretty badly.
So yes, lemon can help fight the bacteria that causes acne, but you have to be very careful when using it on your skin, especially on your face.
It’s also cytotoxic
The same study we were just talking about also tested the essential oils on three human tumor cell lines. The study showed that lemon essential oil inhibited the cells at concentrations below 0.15%.
That’s remarkable! Therefore, lemon essential oil possesses possible cytotoxic and anti-cancer benefits.
It is antibacterial
Like many essential oils, especially citrus oils, lemon can kill bacteria (which we pretty much saw for the bacteria that causes acne). But there are many other studies that demonstrate lemon oil’s moderate antibacterial effects.
While it’s moderate against bacteria, lemon essential oil smells amazing. So you can blend it with more powerful antimicrobial oils (like lemongrass or tea tree) and use the blend to sanitize and disinfect your home.
Lemon oil is also antifungal
Here’s another lemon essential oil benefit: it can inhibit and kill fungi.
This 2014 study specifically tested the effects of lemon essential oil on five Candida yeast strains (including Candida albicans). And the results showed the oil was able to inhibit the growth of the strains tested. The study also went on to suggest lemon oil was an effective natural remedy against candidiasis caused by C. albicans.
It is insecticidal
Finally, lemon essential oil is a strong repellent and insecticide. That is according to this 2013 study.
The study discussed the effects of several citrus essential oils (like orange, grapefruit, and mandarin) on the Aedes albopictus mosquito, the vector for dengue fever. It noted the oil has strong activities against the mosquito and pointed to limonene as one of the compounds responsible for these effects.
The study went on to suggest the use of citrus-based essential oils – like lemon oil – for managing the dengue fever vector.
Lemon Essential Oil Uses
As you can see, lemon oil has some amazing benefits. And you’ve also gotten a glimpse of how to use lemon essential oil. But let’s get into a few more lemon essential oil uses.
Who doesn’t love that fresh, clean, lemony scent? I know I do. So you can simply add 2-3 drops of lemon essential oil to your diffuser to brighten up your space.
Remember too lemon may help with anxiety, pain, nausea, vomiting, and more. So add 1-2 drops to a tissue and inhale deeply.
We saw lemon oil was used with pregnant women to treat their morning sickness symptoms. But before you reach for this oil while pregnant, you have to check with your healthcare provider. Essential oils are too powerful to be trifled with. And when it comes to your baby, safety first!
This one is a little tricky. While lemon essential oil has been proven against the bacteria linked to acne, the oil is phototoxic. That means if you have it on your skin and go outside, you can get a chemical burn, similar to a really bad sunburn. The oil has also been found to cause skin irritation.
Yikes! And we don’t want that. So if I were you, I wouldn’t use it on my skin, especially on my face.
If, however, you do decide to use it on your skin, always do a skin patch test first. Simply add 1 drop of lemon essential oil to a carrier oil of your choice. Dab a little of this mix on the inside of your elbow or back of the ear. If you don’t feel any burning or skin irritation or the area doesn’t get red (even after a few hours), then you aren’t sensitive to the oil.
You can use diluted blends (e.g. 1 drop of lemon to 1 tablespoon of a carrier) on your skin in areas where you can cover up properly before going outside. It’s actually better to avoid the sun altogether when using this oil on your skin.
That’s why I wouldn’t use it on mine.
Like with all other essential oils, check with your doctor before using lemon oil, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or suffer from any other ailments.
Be safe when using this oil.
Where to buy lemon essential oil