Monday, August 9, 2010

Lemon Essential Oil......Healing Through the Ages

Lemon essential oil is a very diversified oil.   It can be used for healing, for improvements in skin and hair, and also for cleaning your house!  Lemon essential oil is also very affordable because a large amount of oil can be expressed from the peel of the lemon by using simple mechanical equipment in a relatively easy process. .  It doesn't have to go through the distillation process like many other oils.  Lemon essential oil is also an essential oil which should be kept in your medicine cabinet or first aid kit along with the other oils about which I have previously posted, lavender and tea tree oil.

food grade lemon oil
lemon essential oil
Lemon essential oil should not be confused with food grade lemon oil.  Food grade lemon oil can be bottled and used to make lemonade, used as a cooking additive, and also used as a cleaning agent.  As with other essential oils, lemon essential oil should never be consumed.  Some aromatherapists dispute this statement and have used lemon essential oil for stomach disorders and fevers.  I do not recommend that any essential oils be ingested and swallowed for safety sake.  It's better to be safe than sorry.

James Lind
Discovered treatment for scurvy\
with lemon essential oil
Historical information regarding lemon essential oil and its aroma and its benefits has been passed down through the ages.  Although the lemon never arrived in the United States until 1493, it was introduced to the Europeans during the Crusades where it gained popularity in the 16th century as a perfume and as a pesticide.  In 1747, experiments were performed on British sailors by Admiral James Lind.  These sailors were suffering from scurvy, and Lind concluded that diets containing lemon juice helped to fight off their scurvy.  This lemon juice was made from lemon essential oil, and not food grade lemon oil.  A rather dangerous experiment on a rather dangerous disease.  Because of the high content of Vitamin C, these sailors were cured.  Luckily we don't have to deal with scurvy in this day and age, and if we did, we could use Vitamin C supplements as our treatment.

Various cultures and regions in the world have used lemon essential oil as a treatment for ailments, as a fragrance, as a drink additive, and as a home cleaning agent.  Due to its powerful antiseptic properties, lemon essential oil is readily used in aromatherapy for both healing of the body and the mind.  It has tremendous capability of promoting mental wellness by:

1.  Improving concentration
2.  Enhancing awareness
3.  Improving mood
4.  Increasing energy
5.  Decreasing fatigue
6.  Reducing stress and anxiety
7.  Reducing negativity
8.  Restoring good sleep habits

Using lemon essential oil
This oil can be used in the bath by placing 4-5 drops in a hot tub.  This use can help poor circulation, fluid retention, premenstrual tension, aches and pains, neuralgia,  The oil will enter the blood stream through the skin and many ailments will be alleviated using this particular manner of absorption.

Lemon essential oil can be used on the skin only in the diluted form and never "neat" or in its pure form.  Mix 2-3 drops of the oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil such as olive, canola, walnut, jojoba, or any type of kitchen or spa oil.  Rub this oil on the area of skin which needs healing.  This can include acne, pimples, large pores, varicose veins, scabies, herpes, warts, wrinkles, and cellulite.  Also use this mixture on any type of skin cut or rash because of its antiseptic properties.  It's properties also include being antiviral, bactericidal, and fungicidal.

If your problem is in your mouth, use 3-4 drops of lemon essential oil in warm water or in a cup of lemon tea.  Swish around the mouth and/or gargle with the mixture and then spit it out.  Never swallow this oil or any oils.  This process is beneficial to gum infections, mouth and tongue inflammations, thrush, and herpes cold sores.

Using 3-4 drops in a vaporizer will fill the air with a moist version of the oil which can be inhaled.  This type of delivery will alleviate the symptoms of a cold, flu, bronchitis, and cough.  It disperses a fine mist of antiseptic which will clean the air and help your breathing at the same time.

Using 2-3 drops in the rinse water for your hair after washing will usually take care of dandruff and also leave your hair with a beautiful sheen.

For mental disorders, put 2-3 drops of lemon essential oil mixed with a tablespoon of carrier oil in an aromatherapy diffuser or in a candle tart burner.  As it heats up, it will fill the air with the crisp and fresh aroma of lemon.  Relaxing in a chair or in bed while inhaling this aroma can relieve anxiety and improve the mental qualities as mentioned above.  The same effect can be realized by using a lemon linen spray on your pillow or putting a drop or two of the oil on a handkerchief and bringing it to your nose to smell several times if you are out in public or at work.

Lastly, lemon essential oil can be used as a household cleanser.  Not only does it leave your house smelling fresh, it will also be clean.  Use 5-6 drops in a small pail of water and use it as you would use any other type of antiseptic disinfectant cleaner such as cleaning counters, refrigerators, toilets and sinks. 

During World War II, lemon essential oil was used to fumigate hospital wards, as a natural disinfectant, and to sterilize instruments!  That's a pretty good precursor to using it to disinfect in our homes!

As I close, I must list the potential dangers with lemon essential oil:
  •  1.  Always avoid contact with the eyes.
  •  2.  Lemon essential oil should never be used on the skin without being adequately diluted.  This is because it is a very volatile oil and can be very irritating to skin if used undiluted.
  •  3.  Lemon essential oil should never be used on the skin without being adequately diluted also because it may cause the skin to be overly sensitive to the sun.  It contains compounds that cause it to work as a photosensitizing agent.  These compounds actually accelerate damage to the skin when outside in the sun.
  •  4.  As with all essential oils, keep away from children.
  •  5.  Do not confuse lemon essential oil with food grade lemon oil.
  •  6.  Keep away from any flammable chemicals or objects.
  •  7.  Do not use during chemotherapy treatments.
  • 8.  Avoid sunlight after application.  Use a cover up if you must go out in the sun.
So there you have it.  Age old lemon essential oil which has been used for centuries as a beauty treatment, a health remedy, a fragrance, a cleaning agent, and even as a sterilizing agent for surgical tools during World War II!  So very many benefits and uses.  It is affordable and useful, and should definitely have a place in everyone's medicine cabinet and/or first aid kit.  Just remember to always dilute it, and it will be a big help to you in your life and in your home.

Until next time...........hint....our next discussion will be about my favorite essential oil...Eucalyptus!

Monday, August 2, 2010

A List of Essential Oils to Avoid

Welcome back to all my followers and to my new visitors.  I really hope you will continue to follow this blog because it does offer really interesting information and useful healing tips and suggestions.

Today I want to talk about which essential oils you DO NOT want to use! 

There are huge benefits to using essential oils for healing, for balancing your emotions, for improving your skin, for relaxing, for energizing, and for all the positive effects which I have already mentioned in previous posts.  But there are certain essential oils that can be hazardous to your health.  Remember the old adage, "Just because something is natural doesn't mean it's safe."

Some oils are considered toxic.  Some oils have not been tested to the extent that measures if the side effects are significantly less than the benefits.  This list is on the conservative side whenever questionable....You can't be too careful when dealing with the health of yourself and your family.

Do not use or experiment with the following essential oils:

1.    Ajowan
2.    Arnica
3.    Bitter Almond
4.    Boldo Leaf
5.    Calamus
6.    Camphor  (Yellow or Brown)
7.    Caraway
8.    Cassia
9.    Cinnamon
10.  Clove
11.  Elecampane root
12.  Horseradish
13.  Jaborandi
14.  Mugwort
15.  Mustard
16.  Parsley Seed
17.  Pennyroyal
18. Peru Balsam
19.  Rue
10.  Sage
11.  Sassafras
12.  Savin
13.  Savory
14.  Santolina
15.  Southernwood
16.  Tansy
17.  Thuja
18.  Tonka Bean
19.  Wintergreen
20.  Wormseed
21.  Wormswood

mustard plant...completely safe
* As a precaution, you should not use any aromatherapy products during the first trimester of pregnancy.  This is being overly cautious.  But it is better not to  use anything medicinal during this time, natural or not.

Now, remember, these are the toxic essential oils and nothing else.  Don't think that the herb Sage or the spices Mustard, Clove, or Cinnamon are toxic.  Only the essential oils of these particular items are toxic.  Don't be afraid to eat Caraway seeds.  The originating plant is not toxic, only the essential oil.  It takes many, many, many plants to distill to produce one ounce of essential oil.  The essential oils are the very concentrated by-products of a scientific distillation process using the original plants.  Essential oils do not appear in nature in large quantities or as being able to be seen by the naked eye.  They are microscopic!

cinnamon stick & spice...very safe
Because essential oils are so highly concentrated, it is best to use oils in a very diluted form.  The exceptions to this rule are lavender and tea tree oil which can be used directly on the skin with no irritation.  I have discussed the beauty of the healing properties of both of these oils in previous posts.  These oils are considered safe to be used "straight" or "neat" which means without dilution.  But as a general rule of thumb, always dilute your essential oils with water or a carrier oil such as sunflower oil, olive oil, canola oil, or jojoba oil. Also do not overuse the oils.  Oil recipes and mixtures will only call for a small amount of drops.  Large amounts sometimes cause the opposite effect.  As an example, even a very safe oil such as lavender when used in a high concentration can cause the opposite effect of its intended use of relaxation and restfulness
Using essential oils in small quantities and in a diluted form will bring about many, many treatment for known conditions and ailments.  Aromatherapy is a beautiful science of health and perfumery.  As with any other science, there are certain essential oils to avoid when taking your stroll into the world of aromatherapy.  With this knowledge you will be able to go forward and start your experimentation the benefits of essential oils.

Feel free to ask me any questions you may have on this topic or any other aromatherapy topic.  I will be glad to answer any questions which you may have.

Thanks for clicking in, and please come back.  I've got lots more interesting topics to discuss!  See you soon!