Lemon trees are evergreen, growing to a modest height of approximately 20 feet (6 meters). The tree is native to Asia but is now grown extensively in Europe, especially around the Mediterranean. The lemon tree belongs to the family Rutaceae. The fruits are bright yellow in color when ripe, and both the flowers and fruit of the tree are highly fragrant. Lemons are rich in vitamins A, B and C and have for centuries been used as ingredients in cookery. Roman women in ancient times would take a drink made with lemon juice to relieve the nausea of morning sickness in the early months of pregnancy. The flavor of the fruit is sharp and the smell is sweet and fresh. Lemon juice used to be given to sailors as a treatment for or preventative measure against scurvy and has for many years been a favorite component of homemade cold ‘cures’. Lemon is an ingredient in many commercially produced sweets and other confections and is used widely by the pharmaceutical industry, the perfume industry and the cosmetics industry. Lemon is also used as a fragrance in many proprietary household cleaning agents.
Essential oil of lemon is extracted from the rind and skin of the fruit when ripe by expression. The oil is clear and has a light, fresh scent. It has a stimulating effect on the circulation and is beneficial to those who suffer from cold hands and feet and chilblains, either used in baths, footbaths or in massage blends. It has a cleansing and toning effect on the skin. The oil has antiseptic properties and is astringent, and it works well in the treatment of greasy, spot-prone skin and minor skin ailments such as boils and pimples.
In massage or inhalation, lemon oil’s antiseptic properties will help combat respiratory infections such as colds, influenza, and bronchitis. In addition to this, it will also help strengthen the body’s immune system.
Used in a vaporizer or spray, lemon oil is an effective insect repellent and will also help to disinfect the room of a sick person, at the same time refreshing the atmosphere and lifting the spirits.
Lemon oil is perfect for times when too many late nights and poor eating habits have given you a feeling of sluggishness or when a hard day’s work or a long journey have left you feeling weary, sweaty and grubby. It is very much a ‘fresh start’ oil and gives an invaluable boost to the body and the morale.
Suitable methods of use
- Skin care
Lemon oil is photo-toxic so should not be used prior to exposure to the sun. Apply in moderation and in low dilution as occasionally sensitization can occur.