Lemon oil Health Benefits, Uses, Quality & Best Products Compared

Author: Dr. Michael Tyler
Date: 01.10.2020
Reading time: 12:48 min

Lemon oil is extracted from the peel of the common lemon. It has an intense citrus scent and is used in a wide variety of industries - from the household to medical uses.

Name Lemon
Lat. Name Citrus × limon
Origin China
Price per 10ml 2,99

The lemon is famous for its extremely high vitamin C content and this is very characteristic of the large group of citrus plants, to which it belongs.

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Psychological impact

The scent of lemon oil triggers refreshing feelings of natural purity that seem to originate from within us. That is why many cleaning agents have lemon scents. Their scent promotes concentration, attentiveness, and bestows a general feeling of wellbeing.

Lemon oil is able to boost noradrenaline and dopamine production. Noradrenaline is a neurotransmitter. A lack of noradrenaline leads to sluggishness, lack of motivation, drive and energy. Dopamine is also known as the 'happy hormone', which lifts the mood and generally makes us happy. A lack of dopamine leads to stress and a depressive mood.

Physical effect

The main ingredient in lemon oil is lime. Lime has strong antibacterial, antifungal properties and it promotes circulation. In addition, lemon oil has numerous other benefits that affect health. This broad spectrum of effects allows for numerous uses.


Lemon oil efficiently kills germs and is therefore an excellent natural remedy for colds and flu. Not only is the essential oil effective, but its natural juice is a famous traditional remedy. It helps cure colds and flu, and is also an immune stimulant that offers protection against further colds and flu. The citric acid it contains stimulates circulation and promotes thermogenesis, i.e. heat production within the body.


In several animal experiments, lemon oil has been able to demonstrate its ability to fight cancer cells effectively. Lemon oil can be particularly helpful in the treatment of colon and liver cancer by stimulating the production of powerful substances.

A study at the Ruhr University Bochum under the direction of Prof. Hanns, Dr Hatt was able to prove that lemon oil reduces the growth of cancerous growths. The OR1A2 fragrance receptor in the liver - stimulated by various terpenes - can cause the liver to withhold the calcium needed for growth of the cancer cells. As a result, the liver tumours stop growing.


Free radicals, such as those produced by cigarette smoke, sunshine and harmful car exhaust fumes, are obvious hazards to skin. They disrupt cell renewal, promote wrinkling and cause the skin to age faster. They also initiate cancer formation. The numerous bioflavonoids in lemon oil negate these free radicals.

Negation does not mean a reduction in their quantity, but rather a reduction biochemically. In layman's terms, this means that free radicals are being removed before they cause harm. For example, a 1992 study by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed that reducing free radicals significantly reduces the risk of developing skin cancer.


Billions of people each year are pestered and used as a food resource, while thousands are also killed by mosquitos. Lured by the human scent, mosquitoes were designed to be bothersome and deadly. The intense scent of lime in lemon oil is able to mask human vapours and smells, and thus offers effective protection against these sneaky pests.

Oral hygiene

Owing to lemon oil's strong antibacterial effect, it helps to keep the oral flora in check. Bad breath is caused, among other things, by the fact that bacteria in the mouth decompose the food remains caught between the teeth, thereby producing methane and sulphur gases. These gases are the cause of these unpleasant odours.

If these bacteria are reduced, bad breath is negated. By reducing the bacteria, inflammation of the gums is also prevented, and its healing is accelerated in cases of present inflammation. Thus, lemon oil is useful for healing for existing injuries and inflammation of the mouth. In addition, citric acid has a slight bleaching effect on the teeth.

Viruses, bacteria and fungi

Lemon oil has strong antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. As a result, lemon oil kills the pathogens directly in our body. This is very useful, for example, for colitis and diarrhoea caused by bacteria. These properties can also be used as preservatives for foods and give them a fresh zest. Some drops of lemon oil in drinking water, for example, give the water a certain freshness and at the same time kills any germs it may contain.

Nausea during pregnancy

The scent of lemon oil helps prevent morning sickness. In 2014, Iranian scientists published the results of a study of 100 pregnant women. Whenever the women felt nauseous, they inhaled lemon oil. The lemon oil significantly alleviated their symptoms and improved their well-being by effectively preventing vomiting.

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Personal hygiene

Lemon oil is known to strengthen fingernails and hair. It is particularly suitable for thin and brittle hair, by making it even and smooth again. For blonde hair, lemon oil is also a good natural lightener. You can use the lemon oil directly for shampooing. The citric acid now active in the hair both degreases it and nourishes it. Lemon oil is also a beneficial for a dry, irritated scalp, which causes dandruff production and excessively greasy hair.


Flatulence is often due to imbalanced intestinal flora. When food is digested, some bacteria in the intestines produce malodorous gases, which are undesirable and felt and known as bloating. The germicidal effect of lemon oil inhibits the formation of these bacteria, which also lowers gas production.


Lemon oil stimulates activity of the liver and the production of bile acids. Since the liver, along with the kidneys, plays the main role in detoxifying the body, lemon oil is very effective for complete detoxification. Lemon oil is also a diuretic, and therefore it has a direct effect on the detoxification process, and also promotes the elimination of toxins from the body.

Varicose veins

Lemon oil promotes blood circulation and dilates blood vessels. This property can effectively combat unsightly skin, such as varicose veins and spider veins.


Lemon oil can be used in a variety of ways, and not only in medical and cosmetic fields. For example, a few drops of lemon oil in the water intened for cleaning can replace household chemical cleaning agents. And the oil naturally provides the same scent that the chemical agents artificially mimic.

If you use the oil directly on your skin, please do so in a diluted form - lemon oil can be irritating to the skin! Simply add 3-4 drops of lemon oil to 10 ml of a high-quality carrier oil such as olive or safflower oil and then apply it.

For injuries in the mouth and throat and periodontitis, you can add a few drops of lemon oil to a glass of warm salt water and gargle with it. You can also dab the wounds with a cotton swab soaked in diluted lemon oil. Insect bites can also be treated in this way.

Mix with cream or curd cheese

To combat spider veins, freckles or varicose veins, you can mix 3-4 drops of lemon oil in a tablespoon of face cream. Massage the affected region several times a day.

A cooling pack helps with sunburn. Mix 200 g of cold curd with 10 drops of lemon oil, apply to the region as needed, and let the cooling pack work for a quarter of an hour. To strengthen the skin, you can take a bath with lemon oil. To do this, stir in a tablespoon of lemon oil in 100 ml of cream - emulsifier - and dissolve this mixture in the bath water.

As a fragrance oil

If you want to use the oil as a classic fragrance oil, you can simply heat it up in a fragrance lamp to enjoy the fresh citrus fragrance. In addition, lemon oil can be combined with all fruity scents. Strong notes such as rosemary and juniper also go well with the fresh lemon scent. If you use the lemon oil for washing your hair, add a few drops of the oil to your commercially available shampoo. Add just enough until the desired intensity of citrus fragrance has set in.

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Lemon oil is also particularly suitable for cooking and baking - especially for poultry dishes and desserts. Ensure you always use pure, high-quality lemon oil without chemical additives to give your dishes that fine natural touch.


Lemon oil is extracted from the peel of lemons through cold pressing. For the production of 1L of high-quality lemon oil you need the peels of approx. 4000 lemons. The world's largest consumer of lemon oil is the Coca-Cola Company. Germany imports most of its lemon oil from Italy, followed by Spain and Argentina.

Make lemon oil yourself

Lemon oil can be produced very easily at home. Simply place the lemon peel with a high-quality cooking oil in a mason jar. Sesame oil is best suited for this, since it is relatively tasteless. Now place the mason jar in a warm and dark place. After about 4 weeks, the sesame oil will have absorbed all of the ingredients in the lemon peel and will smell intensely of lemon. You can now separate the lemon peel from the oil and pour the oil into a container of your choice. Home-made oil is particularly suitable for preparing your favourite dishes.

Chemical composition

A large number of active components are found in natural lemon oil. The most important are:

  • Lime (59-73%)

  • Gamma terpinene (6-12%)

  • Beta-pinene (7-16%)

  • Alpha pinene (1.5-3%)

  • Sabinen (1.5-3%)

  • Citral (3-5%)


This monoterpene gives the citrus fruits their typical fragrance. It is now scientifically proven that this fragrance can hinder the growth of numerous types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer. Limonene also combines with cholesterol and can dissolve gallstones that contain cholesterol. In addition, limonene improves mood, relieves anxiety and supports digestion.

Gamma terpinene

This hydrocarbon has an anti-inflammatory effect and destroys numerous microbes. In addition, this monoterpene has a property important for diabetics - to reduce aldose reductase. This enzyme reaction converts glucose to sorbitol, a precursor of fructose that the body can use. In diabetics, sorbitol accumulates in tissue cells and can cause damage in many organ systems, including to the kidneys and eyes.


This terpene gives conifers their typical scent. It can expand the bronchi and help people with asthma. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect.


This substance is found in numerous medications that are used for biliary illnesses, urinary tract problems and maldigestion. Alpha-pinene promotes blood flow to organs and tissues. The warming sensation associated with it promotes relaxation and pain relief, for example with kidney pain. In addition, increased blood circulation accelerates the healing of urinary tract infections and has a beneficial effect on indigestion.


The cosmetic industry uses this fragrance in large quantities. It has an anti-inflammatory effect, helps with fungal infections and is considered a powerful antioxidant.


This fragrance consists of the monoterpenes neral and geranial, which give the lemon balm its typical citrus scent. It inhibits inflammation and has a calming effect.


The scientific name of the lemon tree is Citrus limon. It originated from a cross between the bitter orange, Citrus x aurantium, and the lemon lemon, Citrus medica. This cross probably took place in the north of India and thereafter spread throughout Southeast Asia.

Lemon trees are relatively large compared to other citrus plants. They reach a height of approx. 15 m. Even the young shoots of the tree are covered with small thorns. The flowers of the lemon tree are white and exude a slightly unpleasant smell. They consist of five petals and have a diameter of approximately 20-30 mm.

The lemon tree is pollinated by insects, but direct pollination by wind and by direct contact of the flowers has also been documented. The fruit of the lemon tree is - like most citrus plants - segmented and consists of 6-8 parts, which are separated by fine cuticles.


We probably owe the existence of the lemon to Alexander the Great, who took herbalists to his military operations. In the fourth century BCE he brought citrus fruits from Asia to Greece. Lemon cultivation has a long tradition in Europe. The Romans probably used these citrus fruits in ancient times. Lemons can be seen on murals in Pompeii. However, it is not certain whether these are limon limons or normal lemons.

Lemons from Spain and Sicily

Lemons have been grown in Europe since the 13th century, initially in Spain and Sicily. On the Mediterranean island, the ancient irrigation system from the Roman Empire was used to grow lemons. Initially, the lemon was only used in the kitchen in southern Europe.

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During the Renaissance in the 16th century, wealthy Italian families acquired collections of citrus trees that were cared for like rare objects. This is how unusual varieties and mutations came about. The Medici family's citrus trees were famous in Florence.

Symbols of immortality

During the Baroque period, lemons were considered the symbolic apples of the Hesperides. Heracles brought these apples out of the garden of these nymphs as a sign of immortality. In the 17th century the Jesuit Giovanni Baptista tried to correctly scientifically categorise lemons. He sent out questionnaires to all Italians who grew citrus fruits. Based on the answers, he divided citrus plants into three categories: oranges, lemons and limon limons.

Over time, lemons found their way into the kitchen and into art. Numerous still-lifes depict citrus fruits. In the 17th century it was discovered that citrus fruits offered a cure for scurvy. Seafarers suffered from this condition, which results from a deficiency of vitamin C, during longer sea voyages. The world's first clinical examination, and treatment with lemons was carried out by the Scottish ship doctor James Lind in 1747. It is thanks to his study that all British seafarers received lemon juice. Lemons from Malta and Sicily were preserved in salt water for this purpose.

Mafia and lemon farming

In the 19th century, Sicily became the largest producer of lemons in Europe. In the 100 square kilometre plain around Palermo. Large lemon growers began to demand protection from weaker neighbours. They had to pay to get water for their lemon trees and load their crops onto ships. Lemons from Sicily were also shipped to North America from 1807.

In contrast to other citrus plants, the lemon tree is very sensitive to drought and cold. The propagation mostly takes place via cuttings, since the seeds have an extremely long germination time. To achieve a good harvest, the trees are often exposed to a stressful period without irrigation. Famous cultivation areas for lemon trees are located in Sicily and the Italian Amalfi Coast. A world-famous lemon liqueur - called limoncello - also comes from here.

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