Lemons have been used for their medicinal properties for centuries, and their health benefits are well-documented. Many centuries ago, the ancient Egyptians would drink lemon juice to clear their bodies of toxins and poisons. Modern science tells us that the Egyptians were on to something – lemons have strong antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Science has further discovered that lemons are also good immune system boosters, help aid in digestion, and can help detoxify and purify the liver.
Lemons are powerhouses of germ-fighting and toxin-fighting substances that promote immunity and fight infection. They contain citric acid, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin C and bioflavonoids, just to name a few. The easiest way to reap all the wonderful benefits of lemon is to use lemon essential oil liberally in your life.
Lemon essential oil is readily available, easier to carry than a lemon tree, and best of all, the oil doesn’t go bad when you can’t use it all right away. Even better, lemon oil is inexpensive. I keep a bottle of it in my home and one in my purse for on-the-go use. A small $10 bottle will last me several months and I use it quite regularly.
So, how do I get started using lemon essential oil?
There are many easy and practical uses for lemon oil. These are just a few ways you can incorporate lemon oil into your daily routines. There are, quite literally, hundreds of uses of lemon oil. Before purchasing, make sure the lemon oil you buy is safe for ingestion. Most brands of lemon essential oil are safe, but you will want to double check before you purchase.
Health & Body Uses
Lemon oil helps fight off bacteria and viruses, so it’s a great addition to your medicine cabinet. Instead of reaching for a commercial over-the-counter remedy, try these various uses for lemon oil first:
- Use it for coughs, colds and general congestion. Rub a few drops of lemon oil on your chest and/or throat when you feel congested. Repeat several times daily. (You can’t really overdose on lemon oil – another great reason to use it!) You can also diffuse lemon oil into the air for help with respiratory problems.
- Add 2-3 drops of lemon oil to your hot tea, or drink it with warm water and honey to help soothe a sore throat.
- Got nail fungus? Apply a few drops of lemon oil to the affected nail several times a day.
- Feeling anxious? Instead of asking your doctor for a prescription, try inhaling the scent of lemon oil regularly. Apply a drop of lemon oil behind your ears and on your wrists. Inhale the scent deeply. This is a great way to lift your mood and calm your anxiety … naturally. You can even add a few drops of lemon oil to a nice hot bath for a calming effect.
- Cold sores or blisters? Corns or calluses? Add a drop of lemon oil to the affected area 2-3 times a day and watch it disappear quickly. (Be sure and wash your hands after applying, or use a Q-tip to apply.)
- Drink 2-3 drops of lemon oil in your water for aid with digestion, to boost weight-loss efforts, and to boost your mood and metabolism. Water flavored with lemon essential oil has a refreshing, pleasing taste that is easy to swallow.
- Feeling like you might be coming down with something? Place a drop of lemon oil directly on your tongue, or on the roof of your mouth. The antibacterial and antiviral properties of the lemon oil may ward off symptoms just in time.
- Add a drop of lemon oil to your toothbrush about once a week. Your mouth will feel fresher and your toothbrush will remain germ-free.
- Allergies or hay fever? Apply a drop of lemon oil behind the ear or even under the nose 2-3 times a day for help fighting seasonal allergies. If the lemon smell bothers your already-sensitive nose, apply the oil to the bottoms of your feet instead.
- Place 4 drops of lemon oil with approximately 4 ounces of warm water and gargle for bad breath, mouth ulcers and other mouth ailments.
Word of caution: Lemon oil can make your skin more sensitive to the sunlight. So, if you apply lemon oil directly to your skin, take caution out in the sun for approximately 72 hours.
Other Practical Uses for Lemon Oil Around the House
In addition to the many health benefits, lemon-essential oil has plenty of practical uses, too. From freshening your laundry to natural cleaning abilities, the possibilities are nearly endless:
- Lemon oil will freshen your laundry. Add a few drops to homemade laundry soap to give it a pleasant scent, or add a drop directly to the wash/rinse cycle to freshen up any load. Lemon oil will also take away the musty smell of a load of laundry that’s been left too long in the washer.
- Use lemon oil as a degreaser. It will cut through the muck and grime with ease. It will also help do away with residue from glues and adhesives.
- Make a powerful natural cleaner. In a spray bottle, mix equal parts white vinegar with water. Add in 5 drops of lemon oil and shake well. Use this mixture to clean all your countertops, sinks, and so on. It will kill germs and leave a pleasant fresh smell behind. You may want to store this mixture in a glass spray bottle as the lemon oil can eat away at the plastic over time.
- Use a little bit of lemon oil to clean your leather and polish your silver. Spot-test a small area first before applying all over.
- Add a few drops of lemon oil to a half-cup of olive oil to make a nice natural furniture polish for wood furniture. Again, apply a small spot-test first.
- Use lemon oil cut with water to clean your stainless appliances. No need to buy specialty cleaners for this single purpose.
- Stinky smells? Use lemon oil to get the stink out. A few drops in the baby’s diaper pail, the husband’s old shoes, or wherever you need it will help freshen the air. You can even mix lemon oil in a glass spray bottle with witch hazel or water and spray around the house as an all-natural air freshener.
- Add a drop to your dishwasher for spot-free dishes. You can add lemon oil to hand-washed dishes for the same effect, too.
- Make refreshing homemade lemonade. Mix 2 drops of lemon oil with 2 tablespoons honey and 2 cups of pure water. You can adjust the taste as you wish.
- You can use lemon essential oil as a substitute in the kitchen when recipes call for fresh lemons. Just use it in smaller doses. A drop or two is usually plenty.
Once you start using lemon oil around the house for health and everyday use, you’ll become hooked. Stay tuned, as we will be discussing the uses and benefits of other common essential oils in future columns.