Lemon essential oil is one of the most versatile essential oils on the market. It is great as a natural disinfectant and has a never ending list of internal, external and mental conditions that it can help battle or cure completely. But as with any form of medication, there are precautions that should be taken with lemon essential oil. Let’s explore the safety concerns relative to lemon oil.
Can you consume lemon oil?
Yes, lemon oil may be consumed. It has actually been found that when added to food, it protects against human pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella. The oil is often added to water or herbal teas for a variety of reasons. It has been shown to treat nausea in pregnant women and is also rumored to help with kidney stones. Lemon oil can also be used to purify water. Simply add a drop to a questionable glass of water and wait five minutes before consuming.
Can you inhale lemon oil?
Yes, lemon oil can safely be inhaled. It can be added to a diffuser over long periods of time for subtle effects or may be rubbed onto the hands and inhaled for faster results. The oil can also be ran through your hair or added to wet clothes before drying them to keep the scent with you all day.
Can you put lemon oil on your skin?
Yes, lemon oil may be placed on the skin and in some cases it is acceptable to do so without diluting the oil. It is antibacterial and anti-fungal and can be used on bites, stings or fungal infections. It is also great for stopping the development of acne and can tighten skin and pores, leaving behind a more youthful glow. Lemon oil is non-toxic but can still cause an allergic reaction. If any redness or irritation develops after the use of the oil, stop use immediately.
There is one precaution that needs to always be taken with lemon oil because it is categorized as a photo-toxic oil. If the oil is exposed to Ultraviolet UVA light from the sun, inflammation, blistering and burning of the skin can occur. It is therefore recommended that the oil not be placed on the skin less than twelve hours before long periods of sun exposure may occur. So while it is most likely safe to use the oil and then go to work, it might be dangerous to use the oil before heading to the beach. Use your best judgment and take extra precautions if your skin is sensitive.
Can lemon oil be used on children or infants?
Lemon oil is considered safe for children and infants. It should always be diluted and avoided on days where sun exposure will be likely. There are recipes for infants that include lemon oil for colds, cradle cap and digestion issues. If there are any concerns before administering lemon oil for your child or infant, consult with their doctor.
Lemon oil is also an effective household cleaner. When used to clean around the house, it is safe to use around children and pets. The cleaners should still be kept out of reach of children.
Should pregnant women use lemon oil?
There are very limited studies regarding essential oils and pregnancy so most oils are not recommended for use. However, lemon oil is an exception. It is important to know that low-grade oils should never be used during pregnancy. Look for 100% pure therapeutic grade oils. Lemon oil may be able to help pregnant women fight morning sickness during the first trimester. It may also help with swelling and water retention. After delivery, diffusing the oil may help with symptoms of postpartum depression should they appear.
Should lemon oil be diluted?
In most cases, essential oils should always be diluted. They are incredibly potent and irritation may occur if they are applied directly to the skin, however lemon oil is not required to be diluted in every case. Apply a drop of the oil to the inside of your arm and wait for twenty four hours. If there is no redness or irritation, you can continue to use the oil undiluted if needed. Many treatments will require that the oil be diluted just so that it’s easier to spread and cover a larger area.
Can pets be given lemon oil?
Lemon oil can be used safely around dogs if it is administered correctly. An effective odor eliminating spray for dogs can be made from lemon oil and water. You can spray this on bedding and in areas where they tend to spend a lot of time. The oil should not be used around cats as there is evidence that lemon oil can be potentially toxic.
Precautions to take with lemon oil
It is worth mentioning again to not use lemon oil if you are going to be out in the sun. Serious burns can occur and the skin may become more susceptible to skin cancer. When adding to beverages, one drop is usually plenty and it should never be consumed alone. If using in any type of mouth product, like toothpaste or whitener, always rinse well afterwards.
While safe for infants, children and pregnant and breastfeeding women, skin should be monitored closely when using topically. If any type of irritation or redness develops, remove the oil using vegetable oil. Water will not remove the oil. Always keep the oil away from eyes and other overly sensitive areas of the body.
The oil should be stored in a cool environment to prevent spoilage. Because the peel of the fruit is used, look for oil producers who do not use lemons that have been treated with pesticides or herbicides.
There are no known drug interactions with lemon oil. If you are on any prescribed medication, discuss using lemon oil with your doctor before making it a part of your daily regimen. While the oil is non-toxic and does not pose a risk for overdose, if any strange side effects occur after using the oil, contact medical help immediately.