Lemons and the Essential Oil Extracted from them.
Lemon is a mysterious little fruit that has an unknown origin but a widely known set of uses around the home, kitchen and the aroma-therapeutic world.
Lemons, as I'm sure you know, are small, yellow fruit produced by the Lemon Tree (Citrus Limon). The lemon tree's origins have been widely debated as some claim the fruit was discovered by our ancestors living in north Africa and Spain around 1000-1200ad. Others believe it first surfaced in Northeast India and China and still others have debated other origin locations.
Regardless of where they first surfaced, what we do know is that most people are very accustomed to using them. In fact, according to agmrc.org, the average consumption of lemons per person in the United States in 2011 was 3.5lbs!
Of the total 22.8 million boxes of lemons produced in the United States in 2012 (agmrc.org), California was accredited for 92%, sharing the overall production with Texas, Florida and Arizona. Lemons are also produced in large quantities in Italy.
Lemon is cultivated for culinary and non-culinary uses.
Lemons are extremely useful for many culinary purposes. Lemons are used as the showcase ingredient in America's favorite summertime drink, lemonade and used as a garnish for many dishes -- most notably seafood.
Traditional medicine notes that the juice from a fresh squeezed lemon in warm water first thing in the morning will jump-start the liver's detox function and prepare the digestive system for the day's intake.
Because of lemon juice's high citric acid content, companies use them in the production of powdered citric acid.
Even the white sponge part of the lemon is useful. Named the "mesocarp", it is used to produce most commercially available pectin for use in things such as jelly and jam. What a useful fruit!
Around the home, Lemon's uses are wide and exciting!
A lemon cut in half and dipped in salt or baking soda can be used to scrub and shine copper cookware. Used in this same fashion, it can also remove stains from plastic food containers (those pesky spaghetti sauce rings).
Lemon juice can also be used to remove grease from kitchen areas, pre-treat stains on clothes, deodorize and sanitize surfaces. Because the ph level of lemon juice is so low, it is an effective antibacterial agent, therefore, can be used throughout the home to disinfect safely.
Lemon juice can also be added to your washing machine's cycle to brighten and disinfect your clothes, but also to add a nice, natural scent.
The oil from the rind of the lemon (whether expressed by squeezing the rind yourself or through the use of essential oil) can be applied to a rag and used to remove old wax from wood surfaces. This oil will also remove grime, grease and fingerprints.
Lemon Essential Oil is just as exciting!
Lemon rind is used to produce lemon essential oil which is prized by most aromatherapists and soap enthusiasts. Lemon essential oil is known for stimulating the immune system, improving one's mood and providing clarity of the mind.
Lemon essential oil is produced by the cold-pressing of the rind to extract the oil from the little pockets found throughout the lemon's surface. Lemon essential oil is highly concentrated and very potent, so a little goes a long way.
As an example of the potency of this oil, it takes about 1500 lemons to produce 16 ounces of essential oil, thus the reason to respect oils as one drop contains a whole lot of nature's power!
Studies have shown lemon essential oil to have an uplifting, anti-depressant effect on one's mood and an improvement on mental accuracy and concentration. Need proof?
University researchers in Japan explored the use of Lemon Essential Oil in an office environment. They found there were 54% fewer errors while lemon essential oil was diffused in the air. In another study done in a school setting, by the same researchers, test scores improved by up to 50%!
In aromatherapy, lemon oil is a delicate top note and one of the lightest, brightest scents. To be a "top note" in aromatherapy means to be highly volatile (airborne) and as such, is a scent that quickly dissipates. Lemon oil is one that must be kept tightly closed in order to prevent the scent from evaporating.
From all of us here at Nefertem Naturals, we wish you all the best on your journey of exploration of the uses of essential oils. Always remember to take precautions while using oils and remember, even a little bit of nature's gifts can pack a powerful punch, so use sparingly.