Lemon – Citrus limon
The popular lemon originally comes from Asia, but has been particularly cultivated in Italy since at least the 4th century. Today, the lemon tree can be found in warm climates throughout the Mediterranean, Australia, Central and South America as well as Florida and California in the United States. The lemon grows on a tall evergreen tree with fragrant oval leaves. The blossoms of this tree are pink and white and highly fragrant. The lemon itself is oval and bright yellow when ripe. Lemon has long been prized for its clean-smelling aroma as well as its health benefits.
The name lemon was originally derived from the Persian word limun or the Arabic word laimun. The first record of this fruit appears in a 10th century Arabic treatise on farming. It was also well known in Islamic gardens as an ornamental plant. Between 1000 and 1150, it was distributed throughout the Mediterranean and Arab regions.
The tree was originally brought to Europe in the Middle Ages by the Crusaders and because of its vitamin A, B and C content, the lemon was eventually portioned out to sailors at an ounce a day to prevent vitamin deficiencies and scurvy while at sea. Christopher Columbus later introduced the lemon to the Americas in 1493. Multiple cultures also used lemon for both its aromatic and culinary benefits.
Lemon oil has a sharp, fresh, clean smell and is a pale yellow-green with a watery viscosity. Cold compression is used to extract the oil from the fresh peels. Lemon blends well with lavender, rose, sandalwood, benzoin, eucalyptus, geranium, fennel, juniper, neroli and elemi.
Lemon is a powerful aromatic and can be diffused to both cleanse the air as well as uplift the mood. Lemon has long been a household cleaning favorite because of its fresh, clean scent. Aromatherapists use the scent of lemon to help people purge feelings of impurity, inadequacy and as a confidence booster. The aroma of lemon can also increase alertness and concentration and is often used in offices to increase employee efficiency.
Lemon oil is good for the body’s immune system by stimulating white blood cells and improving overall circulation. Lemon oil is carminative and can be used to ease the symptoms of indigestion, acidity and cramps. Additionally, the use of lemon is thought to help with weight loss by satisfying the appetite and reducing cravings. Inhaling lemon can also promote air flow and steady breathing by clearing the sinuses and nasal passages.
The use of lemon oil will help curb dandruff and promote clean, shiny hair. It can also increase the luster of dull skin and can help rejuvenate mature skin. It has antiseptic properties that may treat acne and fight excess oil. Lemon oil is a very effective cleaner. It can be used as a natural disinfectant for any surface that is easily contaminated. Its antiseptic quality also makes it a valuable component in soaps, face washes and skin care cosmetics.
Lemon oil can cause skin sensitivity in some individuals. It should not be used before exposing skin to strong sun. When cooking with lemon oil, use only glass, ceramic or stainless steel containers as the potency of the oil can pull petrochemicals from plastic.