Lemon oil was not thought to be any more beneficial than the flesh and juice of the fruit for centuries. Many essential oils have a long history of medicinal uses but lemon oil is still in its infancy when it comes to treatments. The beneficial part about this is that science is not light years behind. Studies are keeping up with the oil’s claims and for the most part show very promising results. Here is a look at some recent studies regarding lemon oil and how the results match up.
Morning Sickness in Pregnant Women
A recent study focused on one hundred pregnant women who were experiencing bouts with morning sickness. Half of the group was told to drink one drop of lemon oil in a glass of water while the other half was given a placebo to add to their water. After just two days, many women reported a dramatic decrease in symptoms in the lemon oil group. After four days, there was an average of 33% decrease in nausea and vomiting. Results were minimal in the placebo group.
A study that was published in Psychogeriatrics in 2009 focused on lemon oil’s effect on individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. The study was conducted on a group of 28 people, 17 of whom were diagnosed with the condition. They were given aromatherapy treatments with lemon, rosemary, lavender and orange essential oils for 28 days. The results showed that in the participants with Alzheimer’s Disease, cognitive function was significantly improved.
A study that was published in Brain Research revealed that lemon oil may possess anxiety reducing and pain relieving properties. The study was conducted on lab rats and when they were exposed to the odor of lemon oil, their corticosterone levels dropped, relieving stress.
Candida albicans is a yeast infection that normally resides in the digestive system. It is necessary in the human body but sometimes the yeast can grow out of control, usually with the introduction of antibiotics for other issues. When this happens, ear and sinus irritation can occur along with bowel disorders, canker sores and ringworm.
A study published in Mycopathologia showed that lemon oil may be an effective natural remedy against candidiasis. The study was conducted by the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Opole in Poland. Six commercial lemon oils were tested against five different types of yeast strains. The tests showed that lemon oil displayed a strong anti-fungal potential against Candida yeast strains.
A similar study conducted in 2013 found nearly identical results. Researchers at the Faculty of Pharmacy at Zagazig University in Egypt studied the effects of lemon oil against several different bacteria and yeasts, including Stapylococcus capitis and Candida parapsilosis. Results showed that the naturally occurring limonene in lemon peels, present in the oil, is an effective treatment against the bacteria and yeast.
Lemon oil is often used to treat mental fatigue, depression and general negative outlooks. A 2009 randomized controlled trial investigated the truth behind this treatment. 56 men and women were chosen for the trial where they inhaled 2 different scents on 3 separate occasions. One was lavender oil and the second was lemon oil. They inhaled the odors before and after a stressor. The trial showed that the lemon oil “reliably enhances positive mood compared to water and lavender regardless of expectancies or previous use of aromatherapy.”
A study published by the Brazilian Journal of Microbiology focused on the antibacterial effects of lemon oil. The study primarily focused on A. acidoterrestris, a rod-shaped, spore-forming bacteria that is typically able to survive pasteurization procedures, making it a dangerous problem for canned foods. The testing showed that lemon oil showed complete inhibition of A. acidoterrestris, which has helped to increase the safety of canned foods.
Studies have been conducted on lemon oil that focused on other ailments but yielded inconsistent results and therefore the oil is not currently listed as a possible treatment to the following conditions. It should be noted though that many people still benefit from lemon oil while suffering from these ailments.
- Weight Loss
Early studies have shown that when lab rats were exposed to the scent of lemon oil, their nervous system activity was altered in a way that may promote a healthy and efficient breakdown of body fat. More clinical trials are needed before lemon oil can be endorsed as a weight loss aid.
Several studies have shown that lemon oil may be a natural treatment for cancer, mainly due to d-limonene. Lemon oil can have as much as 70% d-limonene so the claims seem to follow suit. A European study focused on participants with several different types of cancer who were instructed to consume 5 ounces of citrus (most citrus contain limonene), 4 or more times a week. Results seemed to show that the cancers did not develop further, with the exception of breast cancer. However, a similar study in America showed breast cancer risks could be decreased with similar treatment. While plenty of scientific research is needed, many hope that one day lemon oil and other citrus oils may be a natural alternative to current cancer treatments.
Lemon oil is listed as most likely safe for most conditions and individuals. It may be used with infants and children but must be diluted first. It is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women as well. If there are any concerns over the use of lemon oil, consult with a medical professional first.
While the oil is generally safe to be applied to the skin in a pure form on healthy adults, it should be avoided if the skin will be exposed to the sun for long periods of time immediately following the application. The sun’s rays can have a negative affect on the oil, causing serious burns or blisters to occur. Try to avoid using the oil between twelve and twenty-four hours before excessive sun exposure.
There are no known drug interactions with lemon oil at this time and no reports of serious injuries or incidences. As with all medication, keep out of reach of children and pets and use responsibly.