It's that time of year, "Spring Cleaning" is upon us, but so is cold and flu season! So the perfect oil for this month is lemon! Lemon essential oil has an array of uses. Lemon essential oil has been tested in a lab setting with other oils for it's antibacterial and antifungal properties, and the oil has also been known to ease stress, elevate mood, boost brainpower, stimulate the immune system, alleviate pain, and promote weight loss. In addition, lemon essential oil may address conditions such as acne, athlete's foot, and warts. It's another all-around oil like last month's oil, Lavender.
Let's start with cleaning properties:
When diffused, lemon eliminates toxins in the air and can be used as a non-toxic cleaner and air freshener throughout your home as well as elevate your mood and revitalize you. When used as a household cleaner, lemon essential oil acts as a natural disinfectant for surfaces that also eliminates mold and achieves a streak-free shine. Lemon essential oil’s high vitamin content can boost immunity by stimulating the body’s ability to combat harmful bacteria.
Benefits on mood:
Though preliminary, research indicates lemon essential oil can act as a mood enhancer. A 2006 study performed on mice showed that lemon essential oil was a powerful calming and mood-improving agent during three stress test experiments. The same study concluded lemon essential oil was more effective at relieving stress than other essential oils, even more than lavender and rose. Researchers have found that inhaling the aroma of lemon essential oil improves mood and promotes relaxation, making it easier to be excited about spring cleaning. Lemon essential oil is known to be a natural stress reliever. Inhaling this aromatic oil has been shown to stimulate serotonin and dopamine production, which contributes to decreased anxiety. You can add a few drops to your bath to enhance your mood, and an additional benefit -- it also generally tones your body.
In a small 2014 study of fourth graders, students who attended language lessons in a classroom where lemon oil was diffused performed much better on their exams. Boosting brainpower and improving cognitive function. Another small study performed in 2008 concluded that aromatherapy with essential oils such as lemon could improve the cognitive function of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Lemon essential oil tightens and tones skin, reduces the amount of oil production in skin and hair, and leaves the complexion looking vibrant, healthy, and smooth. When lemon essential oil is used in a carrier oil and massaged into the skin it increases circulation, metabolism, and digestive function. It can relieve constipation and reduces blood pressure. The massage can also reduce cellulite. It can inhibit or soothe inflammation such as headaches and can ease the discomfort associated with arthritis. Lemon essential oil acts as a detoxifying agent that nourishes, cleanses, and exfoliates while clearing up oily skin and acne. Lemon essential oil was shown in a study to be effective against strains of bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli. making it a good choice for topically cleaning small wounds. It has astringent properties and can rejuvenate dull complexions. Though it is important to remember, lemon is photosensitive and should not to be applied to your skin that will be exposed to sunlight within 12 hours.
New Directions Aromatics Blog has some great recipes using lemon essential oil, a simple recipe from their blog is listed below (that includes an oil you already have if you're following along on our Oil of the Month)
LEMON BODY OIL BLEND FOR STRESS RELIEF
Use this blend to invoke a sense of calm and relaxation.
40 drops Lemon Essential Oil
40 drops Lavender Essential Oil
3 drops Vitamin E Liquid
8oz Carrier Oil (Sweet Almond, Grapeseed, or Fractionated Coconut Oil Suggested)
Add the essential oils to an 8 fl. oz. dark glass dropper bottle. Add the carrier oil to this blend. Cap the bottle and shake it to thoroughly blend all the ingredients. To use, add 3 droppers full of the blend into a warm running bath. Soak in the bath for as long as desired. Alternatively, 3 droppers full of this body oil can be applied to the body in the shower as a relaxing shower moisturizer. Store this blend in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
In summary, lemon essential oil is an incredible anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial oil that can help you boost your mood, find mental clarity, reduce stress, and much more. As natural as lemon essential oil is, it's important to remember there may be side effects and you should be cautious when adding new oils to your regimen and ask your medical care professional about safety, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or are especially sensitive to new environmental factors.