Lemon Essential Oil

I am new to essential oils, but not new to home remedies. I grew up with a mother who was a Mother Earth News type (love you mom!). We had huge gardens. We canned. We made jams. We froze the fruits and vegetables that didn’t get canned. We lived on 35 acres of woods with 12″ thick walls for insulation and a wood stove. We used lanolin as moisturizer and apple cider vinegar for tummy upset. Whole wheat flour and brown rice were staples in the grocery cart. I grew up in a wonderful world and I think I have been trying to recreate it in my own way ever since.

A good friend introduced me to essential oils. I was intrigued and skeptical at the same time. I liked that it was a natural product, that it was presented as something I could explore on my own, and that not every oil works the same for everyone. I waited for a special project to be paid and was able to get my starter kit. Then I started doing what I love to do – link-clicking, experimenting, and jumping all-in (I’m a distributor now). Since I have gotten the kit I have had to reorder lemon, peppermint, lavender, and frankincense. We use a lot of lemon around our house. Girl-child loves it with peppermint in her diffuser. Boy-child and I love it in our bubbly water and bread.

Now that you’ve got my history – I can get to the good stuff. Everything I have discovered so far about Lemon Essential Oil. This post is information I have gleaned from various sources, from fellow oilers, and through observation. I should also tell you that I am not a medical professional and results will vary. Essential Oils are designed to support your journey to health and wellness. I hope you find something helpful below.

fresh-lemon-drop-juice-isolated-white-35838806Lemons. I have loved lemons for a long time. A wedge of lemon in my tea or water – yes please! Lemonade fresh squeezed at the fair – absolutely! Lemon drop candy. Lemon bars, lemon cake, lemon cookies. Sigh. All this talk of lemony goodness – I must go bake – you’re on your own for this one.

(Cue elevator music)

Lemons are grown on an evergreen tree, Wikipedia told me so. The lemon (Citrus × limon*) is a species of small evergreen tree native to Asia. They grow to be about 20 feet tall and have pink/white flowers that smell amazing. The trees do have thorns. You can grow lemon trees in Minnesota, however, they must either be in a heated green house, or a planter that is brought in during the winter – they are not frost tolerant or suitable beyond zone 7. They prefer temperatures 55-70 degrees. When I was a kid we grew a lemon tree from seed – it was so cool to watch the rich green leaves sprout from its tiny branches. It did not live long enough to bear fruit, but was lovely. This summer I almost bought a citrus tree from the local greenhouse, but my ability to keep houseplants alive has only reached the level of succulents.

*It is important to pay attention to the species names of plants (Latin words giving official names to plants) of your essential oils. It gives a better idea of what is in the bottle and where it came from – and whether it will support what you want it to.

Lemon essential oil is cold pressed from the rind. It takes about 75 lemons to make one 15ml bottle of oil – that is a lot of lemonade leftover – send some my way please. The smell of lemon oil is intensely wonderful to me, citrusy, refreshing, reminiscent of baked goods (I better go check the oven).  Lemon oil is considered GRAS (generally regarded as safe for internal consumption – please note that not all oils are created equal, not all oils are pure, Young Living has a special label for oils that are considered by the FDA as GRAS). One of lemon’s most powerful tools is limonene.

This is a list I found of lemon oil’s chemical constituents. It contains terpenes specifically a-pinene, camphene, b-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, a-terpinene, alcohols specifically linalool, Oxides, b-bisabolene, more terpenes like limonene, trans-a-bergamotene, as well such as nerol and neral. Did that just hurt anyone else’s brain? I easily found the list of chemicals. I also easily found a description of those chemicals. What I didn’t find was a list that combined the two. Most of the time I found statements about 1 chemical and its benefits, but the rest were absent.

*It is important to pay attention to the chemical constituents (little-bitty pieces making up everything-we’ll talk about this later) of your essential oils. It gives a better idea of what is in the bottle – and whether it will do what you want it to.

In other words, lemon is good for immune support, cleaning, digestive support, and supporting mood. Its tasty, smells like summer, and happens to be inexpensive (you can buy a 15ml bottle retail for $15 at young living – or become a member and save 24%).

About immune support: I enjoy cups of tea with lemon and honey when I am sick, and I give it to my kids too. When you are first starting out with oils you really don’t want to ingest any more than 1 drop per day of a pure oil – young living has their vitality line specifically labeled for ingestion. I am a lightweight when it comes to oils so I am very careful to only have 1 drop at first, and even now most days I stick with only 1 drop with the occasional mixture of 2-3 drops if I feel I really need it. Diffusing lemon oil adds such a summer smell to my house that I forget the gray sky, and start to feel better. It is amazing how much scent memory can improve a bad day.

I’m looking forward to perfecting a homemade honey lemon candy to use as cough drops.

About cleaning: Have you ever stopped to look at home many cleaning products include lemon? While they may have synthesized it down to a synthetic chemical compound, the idea is still there that lemon is what we think of when we are cleaning. In our house we use what we call volcano cleaner. Vinegar and baking/washing soda! While I know the chemical reaction between the two can cancel out its individual cleaning power we still love to use it, it is these two products plus lemon that comprises most of the information out there for home cleaning. Do you use baking soda when scrubbing grungy surfaces – add a drop of lemon to help cut the grease and sticky stuff. Add it to a spray bottle with vinegar and water to clean counters, tables, and other smooth surfaces. Make wood polish with a few drops in olive oil. Give your homemade laundry a summer fresh scent with a few drops.
I read a warning not to use Lemon oil on granite or stone, as it may etch the surface.

About digestion: My favorite home remedy for tummy troubles is apple cider vinegar. Now it may seem counter intuitive to take an acid when your stomach feels acidy – but I have found (learned from mom) that for me it evens me out. I usually have a teaspoon to a tablespoon in warm water with a titch of honey. I have also found that a drop of lemon in my bubbly water helps immensely. A great relief after Friday pizza night! This is not for everyone. Some people find they crave the milk/yogurt solution to stomach upset – it’s all about knowing yourself.

About lifting your mood: Summer, bright first thing in the morning. In the diffuser to get everyone going. In the afternoon when your flagging because it has been a long day and there is still homework to do. A drop in my water helps me wake up, and keep going – especially during a workout.

I find essential oils to be about experimentation – but that is who I am. I am a creative experimenter with an obsessive pursuit of information and ideas to try.

I’d love to have you join me on my oily adventure by clicking here and becoming a member.

Here are a few more tips I read online about the uses of lemon:

  • Mix lemon essential oil, baking soda and coconut oil and rub on your teeth for 2 minutes
  • Add it to your soap as you wash your hands to help with grease or sticky residue
  • Great for removing sticker residue and pine sap
  • Add it to your homemade bug spray
  • Add a drop to your evening moisturizer to reduce the appearance of blemishes
  • Add it to your conditioner for an aromatic treat that smoothes and shines your hair
  • A drop or 2 of lemon oil on a cloth during your rinse cycle to get rid of the stink that happens when you forget about laundry in the washer (never happens in my house wink wink) or put that same cloth in your dryer for a wonderful smell of warm summer when you take it out
  • Lemon will help soften callouses
  • Use your home cleaning spray to clean stinky dinner dishes (like onion and garlic residue)
  • Use lemon oil to polish up leather furniture
  • Helps remove tarnish
    Because some citrus oils like Lemon can cause photosensitivity, avoid applying to exposed skin before spending time outside.

Diffuse or take internally with Peppermint and Lavender to assist with seasonal respiratory discomfort.

 

in praise of fruit cake

Sorry I haven’t written lately. Been working hard on creating a plan for our future!

When you read the title you cringed – admit it. Perhaps the joke about using it as a door stop was recalled. Maybe you even remember seeing it on the Christmas table at your grandmother’s house, dreading the moment she would ask if you had tried some.

I love fruit cake! Let me rephrase that, I love the fruit cake my mother makes, and since then, my sister and I have learned to make (although my hubby still says ick because he’s a ninny). There is a disconnect between the reality of great fruit cake and its legend.

I have had some of the fruit cakes that have the candied fruit peels or other candied fruits. I have had some of the fruit cakes that are buried beneath brandy or rum. I have had the strange tasting fruit cake that comes in a box from the rack at the grocery stores that has barely enough fruit to call it fruit cake. Given this rundown of the average fruit cake, I understand your trepidation about fruit cake.

My favorite cookbook “Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook” has a recipe for fruit cake that when you separate the name from it, doesn’t look that bad if you like candied fruit. It even has a option of “or snipped mixed dried fruit”. That is the main key – dried fruit instead of candied fruit. Another problem is the spices – not everyone enjoys the Christmas combo of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.

How many of you like Lara Bars? How many of you love a chewy granola fruit and nut bar? How many of you adore trail mix? Let me introduce you to the real fruit cake. Its calorie content just about matches the Lara Bar. I’m baking some now to add into my healthy eating as a daily snack because it is a great mix of fruit and nuts.

img_4902This recipe I got from my sister, who modified it slightly from my mother, has dates, almonds, walnuts, raisin, cherries, whole wheat flour, honey, eggs, orange juice, orange zest, baking powder, and salt. Sounds good doesn’t it? Today I enhanced it even more. I added in oats, sunflower seeds, apricots, and prunes – I left out the cherries because I didn’t have any. Look at it! It looks like trail mix or granola before you bake it. I bake it in loaves, but I wonder if I could do it like bars, then cut them into portion sizes – just like a granola bar. Portion sized ready to eat!

I asked my mom about the recipe at an inconvenient moment. They were out RVing across the country. No recipe because who makes fruit cake in an RV. She is not sure where she got the original recipe – maybe a magazine, but she altered it and played with the recipe. She switched it to whole wheat flour and dried fruit instead of candied. She also prefers orange juice to brandy or rum. I come by my desire to alter recipes naturally. She also pointed out that it should really sit in the fridge wrapped in orange juice soaked cheesecloth at least 1 month to help it truly come together.

So here is the recipe for those of you who are now dying to enter the realm of Fruit Cake aka a wholesome fruit and nut bar.

1.5 cups almonds (mom prefers whole – I used sliced)
1.5 cups walnuts
(substitute 3 cups nuts of your choice – I added sunflower seeds to the other nuts)
2 cups dates
1 cup raisins
1 jar cherries (mom like adding maraschino for color and moisture)
(substitute 3.5 cups dried fruit of your choice – I added prunes and apricots to the other fruit)
1 teaspoon orange zest (I used 5 drops orange essential oil)
3/4 cup flour (we prefer whole wheat – I’ve never had this recipe any other way)
(not in the recipe but I added 1/2 cup old fashioned oats)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix together the above ingredients then add

3/4 cup sugar or honey (I prefer honey)
3 beaten eggs
2 teaspoons brandy, rum, or orange juice (mom prefers orange juice)

Mix together well.

Line 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper. Press into pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1.75 hours. Once cool, remove from pan. Soak cheesecloth in orange juice, brandy, or rum. Wrap around bread, then wrap in tin foil. Age in fridge 2-4 weeks. My sister and I can never wait for it to age.

Welcome to the world that is what I call fruit cake – or fruit and nut bars.