Top 12 Benefits And Uses Of Lemon Essential Oil Explained

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As with many essential oils, I’m most familiar with the use of lemons in cooking more than anything else. I’m a sucker for some hot lemon water in the morning to start my day off on the right foot. The truth is that there’s so much more to this yellow citrus fruit than just added flavor. In fact, the next best place you’ll find this sour fruit is in your cleaning products! I’ve never really thought much of this but after extensive research, I can see why!

Another common use of lemons (and the essential oil in particular!) is in aromatherapy. While lavender essential oil often steals the aromatherapy show, lemon has a lot to offer on the other end of the psychological-benefit spectrum. If lavender oil is on the “relaxation” end of the line, lemon essential oil is right on the other side, touting energizing and revitalizing properties. When harnessed in the right way (and we’ll get into that soon), lemon oil can help you to feel stimulated and refocused. This can improve productivity and your general mood.

The best part about lemons is that they’re so accessible. They’re easily available wherever you are in the world, they’re very cheap, and can be used for a variety of issues. With such easy accessibility, there really is no excuse for not using this citrusy essential oil. Keep reading to find out more, but before we dive into anything else we should start with the basics. What exactly is lemon essential oil?

What Is Lemon Essential Oil? Where Does It Come From?

bergmot oil

Lemon essential oil.

The lemon tree is an evergreen tree that is native to Asia, yet is currently cultivated in most parts of the world. Lemons are easy to grow, produce a big yield, and because they (including their products) are almost always in demand, they tend to generate a good income for farmers – depending on the markets of course.

Lemons contain high amounts of Vitamin C (roughly 64% of our daily 100g dose) as well as a high amount of citric acid. Citric acid is an ingredient that is commonly utilized in the industrial processing of the lemon fruit for a wide variety of products. These products include cleaning agents/detergents, food and drink products, and many more. Some of the biggest producers of commercially viable lemons at the moment are India, Mexico, and China.

Like most other oils produced from citrus fruits, the lemon essential oil is cold-pressed or steam distilled from the rinds (skin) of the lemon fruit. On an industrial scale, cold-pressing will usually be the most viable method of extracting the oil from the fruit. Essentially, this means that the skins are subjected to huge amounts of pressure in a large, industrial press. The oil is basically squeezed from the rind. Steam distillation is a much slower and more meticulous process.

In this scenario, the essential vitamins and minerals evaporate from the rinds of the fruit via exposure to steam. Then, the steam moves down a series of glass tubes and collects in a cooling chamber, where they form droplets that constitute the basis of the essential oil. Due to the lemon fruits wide popularity and easy availability, the lemon essential oil is quite easy to get a hold of and can help you in numerous ways.  So, I recommend that you always have a vial of it in your home.

Top 12 Benefits And Uses Of Lemon Essential Oil:

1. Lemon Essential Oil For Dandruff

Woman with wavy hair smiling in the mirror.

Woman with healthy hair.

Lemon essential oil helps keep your hair healthy, nourished and shimmering. It restores your hair’s glistening flair that might decrease over time due to sun overexposure, or from over-using chemical treatments.  Most hair care products and shampoos use the citric acid from the juice of the fruit since it has strong antibacterial qualities. Lemon essential oil is commonly used as a natural remedy for dandruff and can effectively treat the problem from the root of the issue (no pun intended!).

Along with the oils’ natural antibacterial qualities, it also acts as a natural astringent – which means that it helps to contract the tissue cells in your scalp. These qualities are provided by the lemon’s high content of tannins (also found in red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon).

The oil itself clings to and removes the dead skin cells that form the most obvious symptom of dandruff. The astringent nature of the oil seeps into your scalp and slows the production of excess sebum oil and the rate of skin cell death. It does so by contracting the pores on your scalp and moisturizing the skin at the same time. The skin is less irritable and itchy after you place moisturizer on it. This lowers the chances of you constant scratching – another reason for the formation of the dandruff flakes.

2. Stimulates Hair Growth

By regularly applying a mixture of lemon essential oil and almond oil to your head via a warm oil treatment, you can also stimulate hair growth and slow hair loss (this works for both men and women). Both lemon and almond oils act as inhibitors of a chemical that forms at the roots of your hair follicles known as 5 alpha-reductase. This compound essentially blocks your pores and ultimately slows hair growth. This compound can even lead to fallout – the most common cause of hair pattern baldness in men.

The high amounts of limonene and linalool found in both oils actively suppresses the 5 alpha-reductase compound, which allows the hair follicles to grow more freely, and then nourishes your hair from the roots. This leaves your hair looking healthy and rejuvenated, in addition to smelling great too!

3. Lemon Essential Oil For Skin And Acne Treatment

African American woman with clear skin.

Woman with clear skin.

The antibacterial and antioxidant qualities of the lemon essential oil also make it an amazing natural toner for treating facial blemishes, soothing skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis, as well as moisturizing your complexion. The natural astringent qualities of the essential oil help to heal cuts, wounds and acne sores by speeding up cell regeneration and contracting skin tissue – essentially encouraging coagulation.

Therefore, apply a lemon essential oil topically as an antiseptic to treat open wounds and kill off any germs that may lead to infection. It can also help speed up the healing process.

Blackheads and blemishes are caused by a buildup of excess sebum oil and other impurities (from pollutants found in the air or as a result of the application of comedogenic make-up, usually of the cheaper variety). By wiping away the sebum oil, germs, and other bacteria with a natural, non-chemical treatment, like lemon essential oil, you help rejuvenate your skin’s moisture and balance the oil levels. In addition, your pores will be clean and clear, without any risk of additional harm or damage to your skin.

4. Household Cleaner

Woman cleaning surface.

Woman cleaning with spray.

Consider adding lemon essential oil to your cabinet of cleaning products, thanks to its antiseptic, antifungal, and antiviral properties. This cleansing oil serves as an all-purpose natural cleaner and disinfectant. It’s effective in cleaning countertops, floors, carpets, and windows. Not only does lemon essential oil serve as a cleaning solution, but it also adds a refreshing scent, making it a natural air freshener. Simply add 10-15 drops of lemon essential oil to a glass spray bottle with distilled water for a DIY air freshener. You can also combine drops of lemon oil, tea tree oil, water, and vinegar to form a cleaning spray.

5. Antifungal Properties

With its antifungal properties, just a drop of lemon essential oil can do wonders for both cleaning your house and improving your health. Studies suggest that the essential oils of lemon, mandarin, grapefruit, and orange exhibit antifungal activity against different types of molds. In addition, lemon essential oil helps fight drug-resistant strains of various bacteria and fungi, such as MRSA and candida. Geranium, another essential oil, also has antifungal properties, as it helps combat vaginal candidiasis when combined with a carrier oil.

6. Lowers Blood Pressure

Woman with energy dancing on bed.

Woman with energy.

As the lemon essential oil uses are vast, it comes as no surprise that this magical oil can help lower blood pressure. With just a couple drops of lemon oil, it appears to reduce stress and depression. These effects can help naturally lower blood pressure.

Other essential oils that help to reduce high blood pressure include frankincense and lavender essential oil. Although essential oils may be effective for reducing high blood pressure, they should not be used alone. Be sure to consult your doctor before using them as treatment.

7. Assists In Digestion

Among its health care qualities, lemon essential oil can support your digestive system when used topically. Research shows that abdominal massages with rosemary, lemon, and peppermint essential oils were seen to relieve constipation symptoms. Some ways to reap the benefits of lemon essential oil include mixing it with coconut oil or jojoba oil and massaging it into your skin. You can also add drops of lemon essential oil to an air diffuser and inhale the aroma to reap the benefits.

8. Treats A Sore Throat

Tea being poured into a mug.

Person pouring tea.

For a natural remedy for treating a sore throat, whip out your lemon essential oil. You can use an oil blend as part of a diffuser to experience the sweet, citrus lemon aroma in your room as you sleep or blend in a bedtime tea. As these smells are diffusing through your room, they will help your body, mind, and throat muscles relax. As research suggests, citrus lemon, or lemon essential oil, is seen to be used in the pharmaceutical industry due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant qualities, which can help relieve a sore throat and inhibit infections.

9. Helps Relieve Cancer Side Effects

Along with its other health benefits, lemon essential oil helps relieve cancer side effects. According to Cancer Research UK , aromatherapy may help with overall health, anxiety, and certain side effects of cancer treatments. Aromatherapy boasts the ability to boost wellbeing, reduce stress, and refresh your body. Individuals with cancer report that using essential oils makes them feel good and enhances their mood. For an easy, at-home remedy, simply add a couple of drops to a warm bath. This will help lower anxiety and alleviate sleeping problems.

10. Helps The Immune System

Among the many lemon essential oil benefits, it is helpful in supporting your immune system. As a strong antioxidant, lemon essential oil assists in managing the many toxins and stressors that your body regularly encounters. With its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, this oil is ideal for fighting viruses, decreasing colds, and relieving flu symptoms. Lemon essential oil’s energizing properties aids in enhancing your mood and allowing you to feel refreshed and energized.

11. Useful For Pregnant Women


Lemon essential oil is beneficial for pregnant women.

Similar to all citrus oils, the lemon essential oil can be an excellent addition to diffuser blends. As it adds a boost of energy and relieves nausea, pregnant women can particularly benefit from the oil. From just a few drops of the invigorating, citrusy flair of lemon essential oil, pregnant women feel less nauseous from morning sickness.

In the first trimester of pregnancy, avoid essential oils since they can negatively impact fetal development. It appears to be safe to use lemon essential oils externally once you enter your second and third trimesters.

12. Stimulates Weight Loss

In addition to hitting the gym and munching on kale chips, consider adding lemon essential oil to your weight loss regimen. Similar to lemon water, lemon essential oil plays a role in weight loss. It assists with removing toxins from the body, raises your energy levels, and promotes healthy digestion. Just smelling lemon essential oil can improve your mood and stimulate the breakdown of body fat. For an easy  (and aromatic) way to reap the benefits of lemon essential oil, diffuse 2-3 drops into a humidifier. Take note- lemon essential is not food; for lemon’s detoxifying benefits, consider adding fresh lemon juice to warm water or tea.

What Is Lemon Verbena Essential Oil?

hydrating lemons

Sliced lemons.

Lemon Verbena essential oil comes from the natural chemicals and nutrients found in the leaves of the Verbena plant. The Verbena plant is native to South America, but since the late 19th century, it has been cultivated around Europe and North Africa (as well as some South-East Asian countries) for its use in culinary dishes.

People often substitute lemon verbena essential oil for lemongrass in both cooking dishes and for blending essential oils. It also shares many of the same properties as lemons. These include high geraniol content, loads of limonene and linalool compounds, among other citrus properties).

Individuals use lemon verbena essential oil in aromatherapy to help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Lemon verbena essential oil appears in hair and skin care products as a natural fragrance and antimicrobial agent. It is easy to cultivate, and it is therefore often part of adultering other essential oils, including lemongrass and sandalwood.

How To Make DIY Lemon Essential Oil

Womans hands pouring essential oil on cotton pad.

DIY lemon essential oil.

Making your own lemon essential oil at home is really easy. However, it’s important to note that it is not a pure extract! That stuff contains all the goodness, and in high concentration too. However, it is easy enough to make your own substitute for cooking or basic aromatherapy uses. It can even work mildly as a hair-care treatment. Although, for best results, I recommend an organically produced pure extract (preferably through steam distillation). To make your own homemade lemon oil:

  • 2-3 lemons (or more, depending on the quantity you would like to make)
  • 1 bottle of carrier oil (almond oil, sandalwood or extra virgin olive oil for cooking purposes)
  • 1 glass jar with a sealable lid

Firstly, grate the outside of the lemon into a bowl until it fills roughly half of the bowl. You’ll want a little pile of zest here, so be sure to grate vigorously. Now, add the zest to your glass jar. Then add the carrier oil and make sure that it fills the rest of the jar. Leave the glass jar on a windowsill with lots of direct sunlight. Once a day, shake the jar well for a few minutes. Leave the glass there for at least 3-4 days. After that, store in a cool, dry place and shake well before use.


Lemons have been used in our society for well over 200 years for their incredible healing properties and unique citrus odor. Whether lemons are in food, drinks, aromatherapy, or wellness products, they certainly provide a real bang for their buck. Unlike most other fruits, lemons are easy to cultivate and have a wide variety of ways to utilize them. Lemons are already a part of your everyday life – you might not even know it yet!

Your shampoo, the deodorant, the marinades, and detergents all can contain lemons. So why not go straight to the source and see what some pure, lemon essential oil can do for you? Your home already contains a long list of other products with versions of it in them. So, don’t just take my word for it!