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!

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