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Lemon oil is cold pressed from the rind of lemons, and a pound of the oil requires about 1,500 lemons. Extraction of lemon essential oil was once a home industry in which all the family members participated. The fruit is pressed with a sponge to absorb the oil released from the skin glands. On becoming saturated with the oil, the sponges are passed through a press to extract the oil. The pale greenish yellow oil thus obtained has a sharp, citrusy smell.
Here are 10 ways lemon oil can benefit your health:
1. Works as a natural disinfectant – Lemon oil has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that make it an excellent surface cleaner in the house. Being non-toxic, it is ideal for use on kitchen counter tops and door knobs. Rub a few drops of lemon oil between the hands in place of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Spray water containing a few drops of essential oil into the air to improve indoor air quality.
We know a squeeze of lemon or lemon zest can make even the blandest food palatable. But it can do more than adding flavor to our foods. The cuisines in tropical countries, where food can deteriorate fast in the humid heat, liberally use lemon for its antimicrobial activity.
International Journal of Food Microbiology recently published a study that found lemon oil to have the most potent antimicrobial effect among all essential oils tested. It was found to be particularly effective against E. coli and salmonella, two of the most common causes of food poisoning.
2. Improves oral health and hygiene – Lemon oil can greatly boost oral health by keeping the microbial population under check. This non-toxic, edible oil is a great alternative to chemical antiseptic solutions like Listerine.
Bacterial gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis can be prevented and treated with lemon oil. Regularly gargling with water containing a few drops of lemon oil can act as a preventive. To treat existing gum disease, make a paste with baking soda and lemon oil and massage the gums with it twice a day. It can help whiten the teeth and prevent bad breath, too.
3. Relieves cough and sore throat – A warm drink of lime juice and honey is often used to relieve coughing during the night. Adding one or two drops of lemon oil enhances the smoothening effect of this drink. Throat dryness and sore throat are relieved by gargling with warm salt water, to which a few drops of lemon oil are added.
Lemon oil is particularly useful during the cold and flu season. It helps in lymph drainage, relieving stuffy nose and sinuses. For a trouble-free sleep, dab some lemon oil on the pillow and massage the chest with a few drops of it mixed in a teaspoon of coconut oil just before bedtime.
4. Relieves nausea – Children with motion sickness are often offered lemons to take with them during long trips to avoid nausea and vomiting. Whenever they develop a queasy feeling, all they need to do is nick the skin of the lemon with the nails and sniff it.
The ability of lemon oil to prevent and relieve nausea in pregnant women has been tested and proven. It is useful in relieving post-surgical nausea, too.
5. Improves mood — Lemon oil can fight depression by lifting the mood. The citrusy aroma is extremely invigorating and quickly relieves mental fatigue. Use a few drops in a diffuser to stimulate the mind and to increase focus and accuracy.
Lemon oil has been successfully used in Japanese banks to reduce human error. To improve concentration and enhance cognitive abilities, dab a few drops on the neck and the wrists when children sit to study.
6. Works as a skin conditioner — Lemon essential oil acts as a skin clarificant, lightening blemishes and scars. It hydrates the skin and removes excess oil, making it an excellent skin-care solution for both dry skin and oily skin. People with acne problems find relief when they frequently wash their face with plain water to which a few drops of lemon oil are added.
Although the essential oil of lemon is safe on most skin types, it should be tested on a small area of the skin to rule out allergic reactions. Also, exposure to sun should be avoided post-application, as this essential oil is photo-toxic.
7. Improves digestion — Lemon oil can act as a digestive aid when a few drops are taken with a warm tea. This accelerates the digestive process. For small children, rub a few drops mixed with a teaspoon of coconut oil over the abdomen. Massaging this mixture in a clockwise direction relieves constipation and promotes regularity. Heartburn due to indigestion can also be relieved by the application of lemon oil on the chest and stomach and by taking a few drops internally with tea.
8. Relieves allergies – The essential oils of lemon, lavender and peppermint form the anti-allergy trio. This combination regulates the immune system, preventing overreaction to respiratory allergens such as pollen and smoke. Put a few drops on to a tissue and hold it to your nose frequently when you go out during the pollen season. Spray the mixture diluted with water into the air when at home.
9. Promotes weight loss – This surprising effect of lemon essential oil is being studied in earnest, and several positive results have been published. Experimental Biology and Medicine recently published a study which found that inhaling lemon oil is sufficient to trigger the neural pathway that promotes fat breakdown.
Lemon oil has the ability to cut through oil and grease, but it has also been found to be useful in treating atherosclerosis. Oral intake of the essential oil reduces cholesterol deposits on the walls of blood vessels.
10. Works as a detoxer – Freshly squeezed lemon juice is part of many detox diets for good reason. The essential oil from the skin of lemons cleanses toxins from the body by stimulating lymph drainage that facilitates their elimination.
Of course, there are non-health uses for lemon oil, too. It can be used as a laundry conditioner. Add a few drops of lemon oil to rinse cycle to both disinfect the clothes and make them smell fresh and clean. It also is useful as an insect repellent. Keep cotton balls dipped in lemon oil on the kitchen shelves. Apply a few drops to doorways and window frames to discourage the critters from entering your home. Use the oil in a diffuser to repel flying insects like mosquitoes and flies. It can be applied on the skin after diluting with a carrier oil.
As you can see, there is no shortage to what lemon oil can do for you. Before using any essential oil remedy, be sure and check with a qualified health practitioner.
What are other ways you’ve used lemon oil? Share your tips in the section below: