Lemon Essential Oil

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Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon Essential Oil – Uses And Benefits – image to repin / share
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Essential oil pic – amazon.com (click here to buy)

Lemon Essential Oil – General Description

Treasured and valued for its sweetly mild, citrusy, purifying scent and healing properties, lemon essential oil is derived from the cold-pressed rinds of ripe lemons and has long held a notable spot in aromatherapy.

Lemons (Citrus limon) are among the most cherished Citrus fruits worldwide, as evidenced by their omnipresence in the food industry – and utility in health care (especially in nutrition as a health-promoting fruit). The fruit is an important nutritional source of phenolic compounds, vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, essential oil, and carotenoids, primarily from the pulp, juice, and rind. [1]

Lemon Essential Oil – Uses and Reported Benefits

A few drops of lemon essential oil are usually added into a lotion, massage oil, or aromatherapy diffuser, sometimes with lavender (Lavandula officinalis) essential oil for added fragrance. Lemon essential oil complements well with other oils or creams; for example, to create a cooling body mist, 9 drops of lemon essential oil may be combined with 7 drops of peppermint essential oil, 2 drops of lavender essential oil, and an ounce of water in a mister. [2] Lemon essential oil diffused in a room is thought to purify the air and enhance one’s mood, and it can be used as well on home surfaces as a non-toxic cleaning booster. [3]

Various biological functions such as anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, antiviral, antimutagenic, and anticarcinogenic activities have been reported for lemon essential oil. [4] Lemon essential oil appears to stimulate the senses and help to maintain a healthy circulation and immune system and has been used in aromatherapy for many dermal conditions, such as oily skin, spots, acne, corns, and ulcers. [5]

Lemon intake has also been linked to the reduction in risk of several conditions and diseases. [6] Moreover, the “revitalizing and uplifting” scent from the lemon essential oil can also enhance one’s concentration and somehow ease one’s pain or discomfort when with painful cold sores and herpes sores. [7]

Lemon Essential Oil – Contraindications and Safety

No contraindications have been identified for both lemon intake and the use of lemon essential oil, [6] although lemon essential oil may, by some means, cause temporary photosensitivity and its overuse can irritate the skin. [5] Like any other essential oil, it is best to keep lemon essential oil from the reach of children for safety’s sake and to never use it in undiluted form on skin. [7]

Lemon Essential Oil – Scientific Studies And Research

Lemon essential oil as mood enhancer: A 2009 randomized controlled trial explored the effects of lavender (relaxant odor)and lemon (stimulant odor) before and after a stressor (cold pressor) on the psychological, autonomic, endocrine, and immune aspects of 56 healthy men and women exposed to each odor during three separate visits. The trial showed that “lemon oil reliably enhances positive mood compared to water and lavender regardless of expectancies or previous use of aromatherapy,” as revealed by self-report and unobtrusive mood measures. [8] Moreover, lemon essential oil is associated with increased heart rate and enhanced mental and physical task performance. [9]

Lemon essential oil vs. neurodegeneration: Oxidative stress, sometimes associated with damage to the hippocampus (a limbic system organ shown to be responsible for memory forming and spatial navigation and one of the first to be affected in Alzheimer’s disease [10]), is frequently seen occurring in neurodegenerative diseases. In the study of Campêlo, Gonçalves, Feitosa, and de Freitas (2011), lemon essential oil was shown to manifest strong protective effects as an antioxidant, as reflected in the results of this study wherein the lemon essential oil treatment significantly lowered the lipid peroxidation level and nitrite content but enhanced the reduced glutathione concentration levels and the activities of enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase in the hippocampus of mice. [11]

According to Valgimigli, Gabbanini, Berlini, Lucchi, Beltramini, and Bertarelli (2012), lemon essential oil is a “safe and effective penetration enhancer for topical administration of lipid- and water-soluble vitamins,” particularly vitamins A, E, B6, and C, and hence it can be of use in anti-aging formulations. [12]

Lemon essential oil as anti-fungal: Lemon essential oil also manifests commendable anti-yeast activities, especially at the highest essential oil concentration where it was shown to reduce the growth rates of wild-type isolates of food-related yeasts along with other essentials from clary sage, juniper, and marjoram. [13]

Lemon essential oil as mosquito repellant: The study of Giatropoulos et al. (2012) had reported that lemon essential oil is a powerful repellant against dengue vector mosquitoes. As revealed by chiral gas chromatography analysis used in this study, lemon essential oil contains R-(+)-limonene, (-)-β-pinene, γ-terpinene, neral, and geranial. Results had showed that lemon essential oil is toxic against mosquito larvae, γ-terpinene being the most toxic component, and against adult mosquitoes. [14]

Lemon Essential Oil – Molecular Components and Chemistry

Lemon contains a rich variety of flavonoids, including eriocitrin, diosmin, hesperidin, narirutin, and particularly two antioxidative C-glucosyl flavones that can be isolated from the peel of lemon fruit, namely, 6,8-di-C-β-glucosyldiosmin and 6-C-β-glucosyldiosmin. The two C-glucosyl flavones exert antioxidative activity (although a relatively weaker activity than that of eriocitrin), as seen in the linoleic acid autoxidation, liposome oxidation system, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation system used by Miyake, Yamamoto, Morimitsu, and Osawa (1997). Eriocitrin and its metabolites are potent and powerful antioxidants, its antioxidative activity being stronger than that of α-tocopherol (i.e., vitamin E) in the LDL oxidation system. [15] Eriocitrin has also been reported to play a role in the prevention of oxidative damage. [16] On the other hand, diosmin and hesperidin, both alone and in combination, have been determined to act as chemopreventive agents against colon carcinogenesis, possibly suppressing cell proliferation in the colonic crypts. [17] Hesperidin notably also possesses anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. [18] Lastly, narirutin fraction seems to have a regulatory function on the production of inflammatory mediators and an inhibiting effect on the expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2, deterring as a result the release of nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2, respectively. This finding makes narirutin an efficacious anti-inflammatory agent. [19]

Three coumarins, namely, 8-geranyloxypsolaren, 5-geranyloxypsolaren, and 5-geranyloxy-7-methoxycoumarin, were identified in the peel of lemon fruits through spectroscopic analysis and were considered as important chemopreventive agents that work by inhibiting radical generation. These coumarins are inhibitors of tumor promoter 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)–induced Epstein-Barr virus activation in Raji cells and are inhibitors of nitric oxide generation. [20]

δ-Limonene, a natural monoterpene, is also present in lemons and is favored among patients with advanced cancer due to its pronounced chemotherapeutic activity and minimal toxicity. [21] δ-Limonene can also dissolve cholesterol-containing gallstones and can relieve heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux because of its gastric acid–neutralizing effect and its support of normal peristalsis. [22]


[1] González-Molina E., Dom’nguez-Perles R., Moreno D. A., & Garc’a-Viguera C. (2010). Natural bioactive compounds of Citrus limon for food and health. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, 51(2): 327–345. doi: 10.1016/j.jpba.2009.07.027. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19748198

[2] Essential Oil Lemon 0.50 Ounces. Aura Cacia. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Oil-Lemon-0-50-Ounces/dp/B0002JGDX2

[3] doTerra Lemon Essential Oil 15 ml. doTERRA Single Oils. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.amazon.com/doTerra-Lemon-Essential-Oil-15/dp/B004O22328

[4] Campêlo L. M., Gonçalves F. C., Feitosa C. M., & de Freitas R. M. (2011). Antioxidant activity of Citrus limon essential oil in mouse hippocampus. Pharmaceutical Biology, 49(7): 709–715. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2010.541924. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21639684

[5] 10ml Lemon Essential Oil. Naissance. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Naissance-10ml-Lemon-Essential-Oil/dp/B004RGMOFC

[6] Lemon. Drugs.com. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.drugs.com/npp/lemon.html

[7] Lemon Essential Oil 100% Pure Extremely High Quality Essential Oil Therapeutic Grade. Nature’s Kiss. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.amazon.com/Lemon-Essential-Drops-Natures-Kiss/dp/B006STBNEO

[8] Kiecolt-Glaser J. K., Graham J. E., Malarkey W. B., Porter K., Lemeshow S., & Glaser R. (2008). Olfactory influences on mood and autonomic, endocrine, and immune function. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 33(3): 328–339. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2007.11.015. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2278291/

[9] Jellinek J. S. (1997). Psychodynamic odor effects and their mechanisms. Cosmetics and Toiletries, 112: 61–71. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/xqf33e00/pdf

[10] Hippocampus. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocampus

[11] Campêlo L. M., Gonçalves F. C., Feitosa C. M., & de Freitas R. M. (2011). Antioxidant activity of Citrus limon essential oil in mouse hippocampus. Pharmaceutical Biology, 49(7): 709–715. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2010.541924. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21639684

[12] Valgimigli L., Gabbanini S., Berlini E., Lucchi E., Beltramini C., & Bertarelli Y. L. (2012). Lemon (Citrus limon, Burm.f.) essential oil enhances the trans-epidermal release of lipid-(A, E) and water-(B6, C) soluble vitamins from topical emulsions in reconstructed human epidermis. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 34(4): 347–356. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2012.00725.x. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22515469

[13] Tserennadmid R. et al. (2011). Anti yeast activities of some essential oils in growth medium, fruit juices and milk. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 144(3): 480–486. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2010.11.004. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21131081

[14] Giatropoulos A. et al. (2012). Evaluation of bioefficacy of three Citrus essential oils against the dengue vector Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) in correlation to their components enantiomeric distribution. Parasitology Research, 111(6): 2253–2263. doi:
10.1007/s00436-012-3074-8. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22903418

[15] Miyake Y., Yamamoto K., Morimitsu Y., & Osawa T. (1997). Isolation of C-glucosylflavone from lemon peel and antioxidative activity of flavonoid compounds in lemon fruit. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 45(12): 4619–4623. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf970498x

[16] Minato K. et al. (2003). Lemon flavonoid, eriocitrin, suppresses exercise-induced oxidative damage in rat liver. Life Sciences, 72(14): 1609–1616. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12551749

Related:  Rosewood Essential Oil

[17] Tanaka T. et al. (1997). Chemoprevention of azoxymethane-induced rat colon carcinogenesis by the naturally occurring flavonoids, diosmin and hesperidin. Carcinogenesis, 18(5): 957–965. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9163681

[18] Galati E. M., Monforte M. T., Kirjavainen S., Forestieri A. M., Trovato A., & Tripodo M. M. (1994). Biological effects of hesperidin, a citrus flavonoid. (Note I): antiinflammatory and analgesic activity. Farmaco, 40(11): 709–712. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7832973

[19] Ha S. K., Park H. Y., Eom H., Kim Y., & Choi I. (2012).Narirutin fraction from citrus peels attenuates LPS-stimulated inflammatory response through inhibition of NF-κB and MAPKs activation. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 50(10): 3498–3504. doi:
10.1016/j.fct.2012.07.007. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22813871

[20] Miyake Y., Murakami A., Sugiyama Y., Isobe M., Koshimizu K., & Ohigashi H. Identification of coumarins from lemon fruit (Citrus limon) as inhibitors of in vitro tumor promotion and superoxide and nitric oxide generation. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 47(8): 3151–3157. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10552623

[21] Vigushin D. M. et al. (1998). Phase I and pharmacokinetic study of D-limonene in patients with advanced cancer. Cancer Research Campaign Phase I/II Clinical Trials Committee. Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology, 42(2): 111–1117. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9654110/

[22] Sun J. (2007). D-Limonene: safety and clinical applications. Alternative Medicine Review, 12(3): 259–264. Retrieved 19 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18072821

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