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Lemon Essential Oil: Drops of Sunshine

Lemon Essential Oil: Drops of Sunshine

Behold - one of the most used and most loved essential oils. What's not to love about lemon? Lemonade is great and all that, but if life handed me a lemon orchard, I would definitely make lemon oil.

Well, actually...probably not. I'd like to, but I don't have the expertise nor the capital to invest in all that it takes to do it right. And neither do most of the essential oil companies/rebottlers who sell you their "100% pure", lemon-scented "essential oil."


BUT - this Lemon oil is AMAZING at supporting our emotions, our skin, helping us clean, and more.  Lemon Vitality (the white bottle labeled for ingestion...same stuff as what's in the big bottle) is incredible at supporting our endocrine system, our excretory system, our digestive system, our respiratory system...pretty much everything.   More on that below!

As one of the most well-known essential oils, Lemon comes in Young Living's Premium Starter Kit, and for good reason.

It helps us stay ABOVE the wellness line in so many different ways.

The cold-pressed oil of 75 lemon rinds are in this yellow bottle, and 25 rinds are in the smaller white bottle. These are beyond organic, over-the-top-meticulously-cared-for lemons that are grown from non-GMO seeds, have never seen a pesticide or herbicide, whose soil has also been tested to ensure there is no trace of toxic junk there and that the soil has not been stripped of its nutrients, either. Those are just a few of the things that set this oil apart. That's just the Young Living standard. But that's just the beginning.

The efficacy of the oil in therapeutic uses matters most to Young Living! They use the same oil we do and expect awesome results! Those results can't happen if corners are cut in the process (like using sickly plants, the addition of pesticides into the mix, or using too high of temperatures are used to extract the oil).

Lemon Oil by Any Other Name Would Smell As...Lemony

Not all lemon oil is created equal.  It may smell equal. It may even show up on the GC-MS Analysis tests as containing all the components of real lemon oil. But that doesn't mean that the store-bought bottle I used for years was effective in all the ways that lemon oil should be.

There is a study on PubMed (that you may be able to find if you use key words such as: "The influence of chemical composition of commercial lemon essential oils on the growth of...")  which demonstrates that not all lemon essential oil is created equal. Quality matters. Just because it's high in certain lemon oil components does not ensure that the entire spectrum of chemical constituents is present, and that the oil will be effective for the health concerns we wish it to be. 

You Get What You Pay For!

NOW lemon essential oil - $4.99 for 150 lemon peels.

NOW lemon essential oil - $4.99 for 150 lemon peels.

For years before I bought my starter kit, which conveniently includes Lemon oil (that's actually safe to eat), I used a bottle that is double the size of Young Living's large bottle for just $4.99. I knew it wasn't organic, and I knew it wasn't safe to eat. But it was cheap.

The retail profit was probably about 30-50%.  If 30ml of lemon essential oil is made from 150 lemons, can those lemons possibly be grown the right way, the "hard" way? Or were they grown cheap and easy? With pesticide-laced sprays and preservative-packed waxes? Were they cold-pressed immediately, or left in warehouses for weeks while the bruised lemons started molding?

A bag of just 10 organic lemons at Costco costs $7.99 wholesale on a good day. That's not even including the tedious process of extracting the essential oil.

Did you know that the peel of the average citrus fruit sold in the US that was conventionally grown has a toxic chemical content that exceeds the daily limit for a 44lb. child?   Yep - carcinogenic preservatives and pesticides. And if you multiply that by 150 lemon peels, that's what's in your cheap bottle of essential oil.

$4.99 for 150 lemons and all the middle-men costs covering the grower's markup, extraction company's fees, advertising costs, labeling costs, and the grocery store's markup?

Smells like some corners got cut, and pesticides/preservatives are probably involved! 

In other words...even if the FDA recommended ingesting NOW's essential oil (which they don't), you couldn't pay me to do it!   But because Young Living's Seed to Seal standard has been their standard for decades, I drink Lemon Vitality every single day. The FDA has approved these oils for supplement/dietary use.

More on why quality matters to me here.

Here's a few reasons why I drink my Lemon oil (and breathe it, and wear it, and clean with it, and cook with it):

Chemical Makeup  & Physical Health Properties

From the Reference Guide for Essential Oils, p. 14. Blurrings mine. :)

From the Reference Guide for Essential Oils, p. 14. Blurrings mine. :)

Lemon essential oil is rich in terpenes, such as a- and b-pinene. It's especially high in d-limonene.

This is a very powerful component of lemon oil (though, as we saw above in that study, d-limonene alone does not a good lemon oil make. In fact, d-limonene by itself, when removed from the other spectrum of constituents in lemon, can be toxic. There are also a whole bunch of other factors, such as whether the monoterpenes are oxygenated **geek glasses emoji** that are responsible for the therapeutic benefits of lemon oil.)

But what does Lemon Oil do?

Due to compliance with the FDA's regulations, we cannot make any claims here regarding prevention/cure/treatment/diagnoses/diseases.

So - if you want some hard facts and citations, then put on your smart kid glasses, and either open up your Reference Guide for EO's app, or look up lemon essential oil effects on PubMed. Dr. Axe and Dr. Mercola have plenty to say as well!

How I Use Lemon Essential Oil

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In this "profile" blog post, I'll show you the tens of ways I use Lemon every day. For all these things and more...

For Cleaning

  • Glass Cleaner

  • Gummy Residues

  • Grease

  • Wood Polish

For Health

  • In supplements (enhances nutrient absorption!)

  • Antioxidants

  • For detoxing (liver, kidneys, lymph)

  • Respiratory support

For Emotions

  • Diffusing

  • Feeling "Stuck"?

For Cooking

  • Savory/Sweet Dishes

  • Baked Goods

  • Produce Wash

  • Fruit Dip

  • Drinks

For Skin/Beauty

  • (safety note - sun exposure)

  • Deodorant

  • Fine Lines/Wrinkles

  • Annoying, tough skin issues

For Cleaning

409 and Windex not your fave aromatherapy treatments? Then switch over to non-toxic DIY recipes and get your emotions uplifted and lungs invigorated while you get to work!

Streak-Free Glass Cleaner

In an 16oz spray bottle (old Bragg's apple cider vinegar bottles work well) add:

  • 15 drops Lemon oil

  • 1/2 c rubbing alcohol or vodka

  • 1/2 c white vinegar

  • 1 c distilled water

Shake well and use in place of Windex! An old fashioned trick is to use newspaper rather than paper towels for perfectly dust- and fiber-free windows and mirrors.


Adhesives/Latex Paint Splatters/Labels

Lemon essential oil is incredibly effective at removing gummy residue, labels, and adhesives from hard surfaces.


Replace your toxic gunk removers!  You know that "Goof-Off" or "Goo-Gone" stuff? I used to use tons of it to remove labels, using my bare hands to rub and rub.   Turns out those removers are made of petroleum distillates, just like mineral spirits and gasoline. (Read: highly toxic, and absorbed rapidly through the skin.)

I never bought another bottle of those toxic removers after I experienced how effective  (and SAFE) Lemon oil was instead!

Labels: Repurpose those old bottles and jars, or remove the annoying price tag stickers easily with a few drops of Lemon oil. Use water to get off the most of the paper, then soak the adhesive with Lemon and rub firmly with your fingers or a paper towel.

Paint:  Lemon oil was the only thing that loosened the years-old paint splatters and old Scotch tape from our floors from our old rental home! Just some Lemon oil and a scraper removed it better than any cleaner or paint thinner we'd tried.

Quality matters...even in cleaning! What used to take 3-4-5-6 drops of the NOW brand lemon essential oil, only takes 1-2 drops of Young Living's Lemon essential oil.  Once I experienced the difference in Young Living's oils, I told myself I would only buy the cheap NOW brand if I were making cleaning supplies. (I mean, it's not like I'm ingesting them when I'm cleaning, and, I didn't want to flush my precious therapeutic oils down the toilet!).    But I found that even for CLEANING...Young Living's oils are simply stronger. Who would have thought that quality matters even there?


Furniture Polish

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1/4 c white vinegar

  • 20 drops Lemon oil

Combine in glass spray bottle. Shake well.  Use a soft cloth and rub it in. If it's sticky or wet, buff again. May help remove water rings off wood furniture.



Lemon oil is the secret de-greasing ingredient in the toxin-free, plant-based Thieves dish soap.

When we moved into our rental home, I was utterly disgusted by the hood over the stove.  Literally... a 1/8 inch thick layer of caked grease and dust...it was like concrete on that stove hood!! NASTY!   409 wasn't working to remove it. Dawn dish soap, and all its grease-busting glory wasn't working either.   But what did? 

You guessed it!! Just a drop of Lemon oil and my finger swiped right through that caked-on grease/dust like a hot knife through butta'. And our stove hood has never been gross again.


Thieves Household Cleaner Concentrate


Speaking of de-greasing, this stuff is the bomb.  I am in love with this concentrate. It's powered by Lemon oil and Thieves, and is completely non-toxic & plant based. Totally cuts grease, lasts me months and months, and has replaced every single cleaner in my house. You can even use it for making homemade laundry detergent! 

For Health


Lemon Oil in Supplements: Did you know that combining certain essential oils with food or with supplements enhances their absorption and their bioavailability?  This means you get more out of what you're eating when it's paired with essential oils! There are numerous animal studies and several human studies on the enhanced absorption of nutrients with the addition of essential oils to food or supplements.

Young Living has known this for decades and most of their supplements are combined with essential oils. Here are just a few that contain Lemon essential oil in particular.

Antioxidants: We all know that antioxidants are SUPER important for our health. They prohibit and prevent the oxidation of free radicals in our cells. We simply don't get enough of them if we eat the average, or even better than average American diet. So eat your lemon peels...or just drink a drop of your Lemon Vitality oil!

Endocrine System/Liver/Kidney/Lymph/Metabolism Support: Whatever your detox/support goals are, drink a drop or two of Lemon Vitality daily in your glass, stainless steel, or ceramic cup or bottle. It's amazingly refreshing and the benefits are vast:

  • Drink a drop of Lemon Vitality in a glass of water first thing when you wake up, because Lemon helps to detox your liver, which works hard all night long and needs a little love in the morning!

  • It also supports healthy kidney function.

  • Its high levels of bioflavanoids help support and protect the body in times when stress and cortisol are high.

  • Since Lemon oil breaks down petrochemicals from plastics, rinking Lemon Vitality may help to get rid of the stubborn fat deposits where our body is enclosing those stored toxins to protect our system.

Lymph/Circulatory System: Applied topically, Lemon oil is helpful for cleansing and supporting proper drainage of the lymph system.

Respiratory Support: For seasonal sensitivities during the spring and fall, I like to use Lemon with Lavender and Peppermint. See how here.

For Emotions

Courtesy - Essential Families

Courtesy - Essential Families

Lemon essential oil has a bright and uplifting fragrance, and is being studied in the clinical world for its powerful effects on negative mental states.  Don't believe me? Visit PubMed database and search away!

  • Diffuse Lemon essential oil when beginning your morning to start on a cheerful, upbeat note.

  • Diffuse in your kitchen for a fresh, clean smell.

Using Lemon Oil for Specific Emotions

Just like so many essential oils, Lemon works with the limbic system of our brain to assist in the un-doing patterns of thinking that have been established by negativity or trauma.

Lemon is specifically helpful for releasing feelings of frustration, sadness, regret, and feeling stuck.

Try this exercise with Lemon for feeling "stuck," from Releasing Emotional Patterns with Essential Oils by Dr. Caroline Mein:  

  • Apply a drop of Lemon to the center of your forehead and over your heart (emotion-based acupuncture points)

  • Inhale the scent, and focus on releasing the feeling of being "stuck", and instead focus on what it feels like to experience change and growth.

  • Breathe deeply 3 times focusing on this feeling. Repeat several times a day.


For Cooking

Save your $$ with Lemon Vitality!! Am I the only one who will buy a bag of lemons, and then after a few weeks of sitting on the counter or in the fridge neglected, find them shriveled up beyond the point of use?  With pure, therapeutic grade essential oils, this never happens. Keep them undiluted, and out of direct sunlight and they'll last forever.


Use Lemon Vitality to add flavor to savory foods like fish and chicken, beverages like hot or iced tea, or sweet foods like pastries, icings and cakes rather than zesting. Start with just one drop!

  • Creamy Pasta Sauces: One drop to the finished sauce. AMAZING. So easy.

  • Marinades: For any chicken marinades that use lemon juice, add a drop of Lemon oil as well for a burst of fresh flavor! Use a glass container to rather than plastic.

  • Vinaigrettes/Dressings: So fresh tasting! Add 1 drop to a 1/2 cup of dressing.

  • Baked Goods: Use 2 drops in place of a tsp of zest for the most delicious tasting muffins of your life.

  • Pancakes: Add a drop to the batter.

  • Icings: Add a drop or two to any frosting, icing, or glaze.

  • Smoothies: Add a drop per serving to any berry or green smoothie. (Drink from glass only.)

Produce Wash

Courtesy - instagram @oilcollective

Courtesy - instagram @oilcollective

Use a few drops of Lemon to clean off the dirt, pesticides, and other unsanitary gunk that is on your produce! My water usually turns brown and gritty when I do this...gross.  #necessary!

  • Add a drop of Lemon to your washing bowl (add a drop of castile soap or Thieves cleaner for extra dirty jobs)

  • Fill with produce and water

  • Swirl around and let sit for a few minutes

  • Lift out the produce and rinse!


2 Ingredient Lemon Fruit Dip

Courtesy - Essential Families

Courtesy - Essential Families

Put 6 oz of Greek vanilla yogurt in a non-plastic bowl. Mix in 2 drops of Lemon Vitality, and serve with fruit for a simple snack!




Sparkling Water: Make your own La Croix... with an antioxidant-packed punch! (And far less mysterious of an ingredient than the term "natural flavorings")!

Kidney/Liver/Metabolism/Stress/Immune Support: Whatever your detox/support goals are, drink a drop or two daily in your glass, stainless steel, or ceramic cup or bottle. It's amazingly refreshing and the benefits are vast.  

No, it won't hurt your tooth enamel like acidic lemon juice does.

Drink a drop of Lemon Vitality in a glass of water first thing in the morning, because Lemon helps to detox your liver.  It also supports healthy kidney function, and its high levels of bioflavanoids help the body in times when stress and cortisol are high.

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Iced Tea: Add a drop per serving to your glass pitcher after cooling to room temperature. (To keep the oil from sitting on the top, mix the oil in a bit of honey first, then stir them both into the warm-ish tea.)

Skin/Body Care

***Safety Note***

Lemon peels contain compounds which help attract and intensify the sun's rays, because lemons need lots of sun.  Since we aren't lemons (...well, anyway) putting the concentrated oil on exposed skin like your face, neck, or tank-topped shoulders isn't a good idea if you're headed out into the sun, whether it's diluted or not. You just might find a sunburn in the shape of your fingers directly where you swiped!

Apply Lemon oil (or any citrus oil) to your skin at night, or just apply it in areas that won't be sunbathing.  Waiting 12 hrs after applying lemon oil to exposed skin is a good rule of thumb if you're going to be in the sun for more than a few minutes.  If you're super sensitive or are applying citrus oils to kids' skin, then wait 18 hrs.



Lemon oil is an awesome deodorant. Meaning, it kills off the bacteria that cause odor, but even beyond that - it actually cleanses you from the outside in (and, even from the inside out, if you're drinking it!).

A huge reason why we should be making our own deodorant is the aluminum content in the regular stuff. And another reason is - the all-natural stuff doesn't always work! Click here for my blog post on how to make your own deodorant using Lemon and Lemongrass essential oils.

Fine Lines/Wrinkles

One of the most powerful, and most talked-about chemical constituents of lemon essential oil is d-limonene. Google it. Not only is it POWERFUL for skin protection, in really important ways I can't discuss here, it also helps to prevent wrinkles.  Add a drop to your nightly moisturizer, but note that it should be at least 12 hours before you go sit in the sun.

Lemon oil helps your skin absorb anti-aging nutrients!  What's also interesting is that lemon oil enhances the absorption of those topical anti-aging skin vitamins like Vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate) and Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) and Vitamin C that are often added to intensive, wrinkle-preventing creams.  Check out this study here. The absorption of Vitamin E increased ninefold when combined with lemon oil! Add a drop to your nightly wrinkle-preventing creams.

Young Living has a Sandalwood Moisture Cream that combines the power of Vitamin E and A with Lemon essential oil. Besides that wrinkle-busting, supple-skin supporting trio, it just so happens to contain wolfberry extract, and one of the most powerful, skin-protective, wrinkle-smoothing, cell-supporting essential oils of all time - Sandalwood!   

Annoying Skin Items

Many people find relief from several varieties of tough little skin items that appear on our hands, feet, and mouth and face areas. Apply a drop nightly (or twice a day for areas not exposed to the sun)! Use your Reference Guide app or Desk Reference book to find out more.

So there you have it. All the ways off the top of my head that I use Young Living's Lemon oil. There are SO many more uses... so get yourself a 15ml! I know I'll never run out of ways to use this amazingly bright and cheerful, powerful and versatile oil.




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