Latin/Botanical Name: Citrus Limon
Botanical Family: Rutaceae
Part of the Plant Utilized: The peel
Origin: South Asia and South Eastern Asia. Commercially Cultivated in Areas: Israel, South Africa, Italy, North America, South America
Oil Characteristics: Strong citrus aroma with a thin consistency and pale to deep yellow color.
Extraction Method: Cold Pressed
Lemon is under the genus of Citrus and it has 16 different species of the plant family Rutacceae. It is closely related to lime and citron. Lemon trees usually grow up to 15 feet and produce highly aromatic and scented fruits that have white blossoms all throughout the year. The Lemon tree is very sensitive to cold temperature and will thrive in arid and subtropical climate conditions similar to the areas of the Mediterranean region and Southern California where lemons are commercially produced in large orchards.
Lemon originated in Asia, probably in the country of China and was later brought to the Mediterranean and Italy by traveling Arabian merchants. Early historical records of lemon came with the arrival of Columbus in 1493 in Hispaniola which is now the Dominican Republic / Haiti.
Lemon essential oil comes directly from the fruit rind or peel. Lemon oil is naturally delicate and the effective method of extraction is by cold pressing. Using heat would damage the lemon essential oil and will destroy the subtle aromatic fragrance which is well preserved through cold extraction.
The juice and peel of the lemon have historically been used as a seasoning for culinary purposes and are high in vitamins A, B and C. Lemon has many therapeutic properties and has been known for centuries for its curative benefits in relationship to infectious illnesses such as malaria. The English used lemon juice in their tea for scurvy due to its high vitamin C content. It is also widely used for over acidic stomach conditions, arthritis, and liver congestion. It has a very strong and refreshing odor and strong antiseptic properties which is why it is used as a scent in household cleaning products.
Therapeutic Properties and Uses
In aromatherapy, Lemon Essential Oil is used in massage, as a compress, in the bath, as an ointment and in skin care. It is also used through inhalation which can be done directly or with a diffuser or vaporizer.
Lemon Essential Oil has the following therapeutic actions: antimicrobial, anti rheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, bactericidal, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, insecticide, tonic.
Based on its applications and therapeutic actions, the following are some of the many uses of it:
Circulatory System – Lemon is a great tonic for this system and helps in maintaining good circulation within the body which can help in reducing varicose veins and help repair broken capillaries.
Digestive System – Due to its carminative properties for stomach disorders it can help soothe stomach upsets like acidity, cramps and indigestion.
Lymphatic System – Lemon is a great oil for detoxification because it helps mobilize the toxins in the body through the lymphatic system which is good for cellulite.
Immune System – Lemon Essential Oil has high antimicrobial properties which is important in helping the body when treating colds, the flu, bronchitis and asthma. Lemon essential oil also has immune stimulating properties which stimulates the production of white blood cells helping to fight bacteria.
Personal Care – Lemon oil is an effective all around home cleaner that can be applied to cleaning household things around the kitchen and throughout your home. It has a good antiseptic property that can generally control and eliminate bacteria on contact. It also has a stimulating aroma for energy.
Nervous System – Lemon essential oil can produce an uplifting and cleansing feeling. and cleansing. It can clear out negative feelings and replace them with renewed and refreshed emotions. In one Japanese study it was suggested that lemon oil can help increase productivity in workers through a heightened level of awareness and deeper concentration. Lemon essential oil is also referred to as the rational oil for its ability to clear the mind needed for good decision making.
Skin Care – Lemon essential oil has astringent properties which helps oily skin and works well for treating skin blemishes. It also helps in the elimination of skin conditions such as pimples, acne marks, freckles and other skin impurities through its effective antiseptic properties. Lemon essential oil can also be used as part of hair care regimen bringing luster and shine to hair. It can also help in removing dandruff and good for conditioning an oily scalp. Lemon oils is a widely used ingredient in bath soaps, facial cleansers and washes and is also used in perfumes.
Considerations and Safety Information
- Lemon Oil is generally non-toxic and non-irritant. It can however cause sensitization in some users. So do a test patch before using on your skin.
- Lemon essential oil is photoxic and should not be used on the skin prior to sun exposure.
- Essential oils should always be kept in a dark bottle and away from sunlight.
- Essential Oils should be used with caution by those who are pregnant or nursing and those who suffer with a serious medical condition.
- Essential oils should not be taken internally unless directed by a trained aromatherapist.
- Always use caution when using essential oils with children.
- Essential oils should not be applied topically without being diluted.
Important Notice: The information given above is ONLY intended for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The data in this article is not complete and there is no guarantee of its accuracy.
References: www.pubmed.com; www.amrita.net; Lawless, J., The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, 2002, Thorsons, Great Britain Battaglia, S., The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, 2003, The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, Australia