The small evergreen lemon tree has serrated oval leaves, stiff thorny branches and fragrant white or pale pink flowers. The round or oval green fruits of Citrus limon or Citrus limonum turn sunshine yellow when ripe. A native of India and Asia, this member of the Rutaceae family grows about eighteen feet tall. Lemon trees grow wild in Mediterranean climates and are cultivated in Guinea, Israel, Italy, and North and South America.
Cold expression of the fresh peels of the fruit renders a pale greenish yellow oil. Its scent is fresh and light, slightly sharp but sweet, with the tart and tangy smell of fresh lemons. About 1,000 lemons will yield one pound of oil.
Lemon oil balances overactive sebaceous glands that lead to oily or blemished skin, helps clear acne and controls oily hair and dandruff. It revitalizes underactive and mature skin and helps with cellulite by improving circulation and encouraging the elimination of wastes. Lemon oil encourages the exfoliation of dead skin and enlivens the complexion. Long-term treatment with lemon oil reduces broken capillaries and varicose veins, softens scar tissue and minimizes warts and corns. Lemon oil can also strengthen brittle nails.
Lemon oil is cooling, refreshing and uplifting. It encourages clarity, concentration and recall. It can calm or prevent emotional outbursts. It fights depression, eases fear, strengthens resolve and assists in communication and decision-making.
Reprinted from Aromatherapy for Vibrant Health and Beauty by Roberta Wilson with permission of Avery Books, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 1995 by Roberta Wilson.