Lemon oil is one of the most common and affordable essential oils on the market and one that I love to use in my home on a daily basis!
Most research states the lemon trees are native to Asia, specifically India, and are a cross between the citrus fruits bitter orange and citron.
Though originally it is believed that they were grown decoratively, with the fruits never being harvested, eventually it was discovered that the fruit and the peel (from which the essential oil is extracted) had incredible health benefits.
Used by Indians, Egyptians, and Romans to treat infectious disease, the lemon tree was most likely brought to Europe around 200 A.D. during the middle ages.
Its use is now ubiquitous for everything from home cleaning to oral mouthwash.
Lemon oil’s natural antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory health benefits should give it a prime place in everyone’s natural medicine cabinet and cleaning cupboard!
How Do We Get Lemon Essential Oil?
Like many other high quality oils, the essential oil from lemons is extracted using a cold pressing method.
The rinds of the citrus fruit are slowly compressed at a very low temperature to protect the volatile aromatic compounds, such a limonene, from going rancid.
Because essential oils are such a concentrated form of plant medicine, they generally require a large amount of plant material to produce a small amount of oil.
It takes roughly 1000 lemon rinds to produce about 1 pound of lemon oil.
Luckily, because it is so concentrated only a small amount is required to produce huge benefits!
What Are the Main Healing Components of Lemon Oil?
Like other essential oils in the citrus fruits family, lemon oil contains active chemical constituents in the form of volatile oils, which contribute to its many therapeutic benefits.
Some of the main components of lemon oil include:
Limonene: Responsible for the fresh, distinct scent of lemon oil, it also has antiseptic and anti-oxidant effects in the body.
Neral: Can have apoptotic (part of the process of programmed cell death that protects multicellular organisms such as humans) and anti-inflammatory effects in the body. (1)
Nerol: Another anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that was first found in neroli and is often used in perfumery. (2)
a-Pinene: This compound can have great effects on the respiratory system as a bronchodilator and expectorant (helps expel mucus from the lungs), which is why lemon oil is such a great oil to diffuse during illness. It also possess anti-septic and anti-inflammatory benefits—have you noticed a theme yet?
Camphene: Another powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that can also be soothing to the cells in the body.
Sabinene: This compound has great anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant benefits, which can help with lemon oil’s topical and cleaning usage!
Myrcene: Another anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial compound that also has pain relieving and sedative properties.
Linalool: This compound may help ease anxiety symptoms and have sedative and pain-relieving benefits as well.
Top 12 Lemon Essential Oil Uses and Health Benefits
1. Household Cleaner
One of my favorite ways to use lemon oil is to create my own home cleaning products.
It’s super easy and can help keep the surfaces of your home free from bacteria while also getting the aromatherapy benefits of the lemon oil.
How to use:
Fill a spray bottle of water with a couple splashes of vinegar, add a few drops of lemon oil and top with water to help keep your home clean, fresh, and free of bacteria and molds.
I spray it in the shower and use it to clean my countertops, bathroom, and floors.
If I used my cutting board to chop up meat I give it a quick little spray with this mixture after cleaning to kill off any bacteria that could spread and cause illness.
2. Lemon Oil for Fresh Laundry
Just as lemon oil works wonders as a natural cleaning remedy, you can also add a couple of drops to your laundry cycle to help keep your clothes smelling fresh and clean by killing off bacteria that can cause unpleasant smells, especially in workout clothes!
How to use:
Add a few drops of lemon oil to a small cup of water and pour into your washing machine as it fills up—aim for the stream of water filling you machine. I like to add it to the water first to prevent it from landing on my clothes and causing stains.
3. Healing Tooth Oil
Thanks to the anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-septic benefits of lemon oil, it makes an incredible addition to a tooth-healing dental routine.
I love creating an oil blend with lemon, eucalyptus, cinnamon, peppermint, clove, and rosemary essential oils to keep the bacteria in my mouth balanced and healthy, which means fresher smelling breath!
The anti-inflammatory benefits of this oil blend can also help with tooth pain and inflammation in the gums.
How to use:
Just apply a few drops to your toothbrush after your regular brushing and very gently massage into the gums and teeth.
4. Use as a Mouthwash
If you’re not totally sold on the idea of creating your own tooth oil blend, then you may want to start with something more simple such as a mouthwash.
One study found that using a diluted essential oil blend of peppermint, tea tree, and lemon oil helped manage bad breath in patients in the intensive care unit. (3)
How to use:
You don’t need to be in the hospital to take advantage of these benefits, just mix 1-2 drops of each oil in ¼ cup of water and swish for 1-3 minutes.
5. Skin Care
There are so many ways to use lemon oil to support your skin health in topical applications.
You can try mixing a couple of drops with coconut oil to make a skin brightening balm to help make you complexion shine.
You can also add a few drops to the tub with a splash of olive oil to help with any dry, cracked skin on your body.
The smell of lemon oil is also incredibly soothing, which makes it a great addition to any relaxing Epsom salt bath.
6. Respiratory Supporting Aromatherapy
The volatile aromatic compounds found in lemon oil can help support the immune system in several ways.
Thanks to its active components such as kaempferol and a-Pinene, it can support the respiratory system during cold and flu season. (4)
How to use:
Simply add a few drops to a diffuser and let it work its magic!
7. Lower Blood-Pressure and Calm the Nervous System
High blood pressure can be a predictor of heart disease and keeping your blood pressure under control can be a great way to protect your heart and health.
One study compared the inhalation of an essential oil blend of lemon, lavender, and ylang ylang to the inhalation of artificial compounds found in lemon oil.
The results demonstrated that inhaling the true essential oil blend was not only effective in lower systolic blood pressure but also in lowering sympathetic nervous system activity (5), helping to keep you calm, cool, and collected!
How to use:
Simply combine a couple drops of each oil in a diffuser and breathe in the magic while you go about your daily tasks.
8. Help Digestive Function
Digestive complaints are one of the biggest reasons for doctor’s visits in the US and constipation is high on that list.
A study that used an essential oil blend of peppermint, rosemary, and lemon in a carrier oil as an abdominal massage showed promising results when it came to alleviating constipation, even up to two weeks after treatment! (6)
How to use:
Simply combine 5 drops of each oil in ¼ cup of a carrier oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, or sweet almond oil.
Place a small amount in the palm of your hands, rub together, and massage in a clockwise motion around the abdomen once a day until symptoms subside.
9. Chemo-Protective Agent
You would be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t had their life or the life of their loved one impacted by cancer in some form.
This disease is incredibly complex and I would never claim that one specific thing would help prevent or cause the disease; however there is promising research that shows several of the constituents in lemon oil, such as coumarins, can help protect cells from cancer, thanks to inhibition of free-radical formation. (7)
This study also demonstrated that lemon oil may help prevent the formation of pulmonary adenomas,(8) giving you another reason to give this oil a try.
How to use:
Diffuse just a few drops of lemon essential oil in your home or office on a regular basis!
10. Pain Reliever
Aches and pains in the body are a common complaint and topical applications of several essential oils, including lemon oil, can help with pain relief in the body.
This patent combines eucalyptus, lemon, orange, peppermint, and rosemary oil with aloe vera to produce a pain-relieving composition.
This combination has been found to help with PMS pain and is “also useful in treating other physical ailments, such as muscle strains, muscle sprains, muscle aches, headaches, bruises, arthritis, and joint pain. Additionally, the pain relief composition reduces swelling when applied topically in areas of a body where swelling is found”. (9)
How to use:
To make your own at home remedy, combine the above essential oil blend of eucalyptus, lemon, orange, peppermint, and rosemary (5-10 drops each) in a half cup of a carrier oil and apply to the affected area.
11. Help Manage Stress and Anxiety
Stress is a major contributing factor to a variety of diseases. Even if you’re eating the perfect diet, if your stress levels are through the roof it’s hard to keep your body healthy and your hormones balanced.
Luckily some very promising animal studies have shown that diffusing lemon essential oil(10), alone or as a blend (11), can help lower physiological markers of stress in the body.
Some great oils to combine lemon with to increase the benefits include lavender and rose.
Not only will your house smell great, but your body will thank you!
12. Boost Overall Immunity
Lemon oil contains many antioxidants to help manage inflammation in the body, which can take a lot of pressure off your immune system.
It is also a great source of vitamin C, which can help boost immune function in the body.
It’s crucial for boosting the absorption of iron, which can have downstream effects when it comes to energy and circulation of blood in the body. You need to have good circulation in order to bring all the required white blood cells to sites of illness and infection.
How to use:
Simply add a few drops to your diffuser, and breathe in the goodness.
As you can see, including affordable, beautiful-smelling lemon essential oil into your cleaning, body care, and aromatherapy routines can have a huge impact on your health and well-being.
Make sure you look for high quality, cold-pressed or steam-distilled versions to get the best health benefits and prevent contaminants that can cause more harm than good.
Let us know in the comments below how you plan to use lemon oil!