Last night, as I was peeling my Mandarin orange, I was greeted by the most amazing aroma of citrus bliss. I actually closed my eyes for a few seconds and embraced this uplifting fragrance. I always associate the smell of oranges with Christmas. This is a childhood memory for me. As an adult, it now awakens memories of essential oils, crisp fragrant air to breathe, and energized health possibilities.
The distinguishable tang of a lemon. The heavenly fragrance of a grapefruit. The uplifting smell of an orange. You have smelled each one of these aromas more times than you could possibly count. There is no confusing their bouquet. What some people believe, however, is the perfume from the citrus family is the extent of the offerings from these fruits. The health benefits associated with them, and thus the essential oils, go far beyond the aromatic fragrance we have all come to love.
Common Properties of the Citrus Fruits
Limonene is the common constituent of all citrus fruits. It is a clear liquid extracted from the rind of lemons (name derived from it), limes, oranges, grapefruits, bergamot, and other fruit sources. Limonene is extracted by a cold pressed method as a means for collecting the liquid. It is responsible for giving citrus fruits their fragrance. This however, is not its only function.
The properties contained within Limonene are significant antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antifungal constituents. This ingredient also carries antidepressant and digestive benefits. It assists the body to detoxify, actively reducing the unhealthy sludge in the body’s organs. Limonene has the ability to dissolve gallstones formed by cholesterol. Limonene is also an important preventative against certain types of cancer, according to Jidong Sun, PhD. The use and consumption of the essential oils from the citrus family is a compelling first step in reaching and maintaining a healthy body. Let us examine the top 5 citrus essential oils.
1) Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon Essential Oil is the most popular of all of the citrus essential oils. This EO has the ultimate anti-microbial properties of all the essential oils. It is well know for its varied uses, invigorating properties, and countless health benefits. Its versatility has quickly ranked it as one of the top must have oils in your home essential oil kit. Its main properties include antiseptic, antibacterial, antioxidant, disinfectant and degreaser benefits. Lemon EO’s distinct aroma is associated with purity and cleanliness. It has long been an addition to commercial household cleaners.
When afflicted by the common cold, Lemon EO can be inhaled deeply to alleviate symptoms of mucus buildup and congestion in the lungs. This oil works wonders against a runny nose, simply by applying topically to the bridge of the nose. By adding a drop or two in the palms of your hand and inhaling deeply, Lemon EO will clear nasal passages. You can also apply this essential oil to the chest as a decongestant. This oil is wonderful during allergy season as well.
Another common use is the addition of Lemon EO to your drinking water for added flavour. The health benefits however go beyond the flavour aspect. Consuming Lemon EO is a significant method of balancing the body’s pH levels, as well as detoxifying the lymphatic system. It creates an alkaline environment within the body, deterring the growth of many types of cancers. In oral health, Lemon EO helps to alleviate bad breath as well as whitening teeth.
As for household cleaning, Lemon Essential Oil is second to none. A powerful antibacterial component, this oil will clean any surface from harmful germs and bacteria. You can add several drops to your water as a cleaner for kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Its vigorous degreaser properties makes this essential oil useful in removing paint, glue and grease from any surface. The aromatic fragrance of Lemon Essential Oil will also elevate your mood and increase your concentration. So much power in only a few drops of this extremely potent essential oil.
2) Lime Essential Oil
Lime Essential Oil carries many of the same properties as other citrus fruits. One aspect that sets it apart from others, however, is its astringent qualities. This essential oil works wonders in constricting the blood vessels and speed up coagulation. This assists the body to reduce bleeding. For oral health, Lime EO helps with reducing the pain of toothaches. It actually helps constrict the gums to better hold onto the teeth inside the mouth. You can gargle with water and Lime EO to help alleviate a sore throat.
As a result of its antiseptic properties, Lime EO helps the body fight off viral infections, and help form a protection against them. You can apply a drop to a cold sore to help with their elimination. You can also apply to chicken pox spots to heal faster as well. By combining Melaleuca and Lime EO together, this partnership helps treat and prevent head lice. As with Lemon EO, you can add a drop or two to your drinking water to assist and help guard against digestive and urinary issues. You can also inhale Lime EO to promote clarity and aid with memory issues. Another formidable citrus essential oil indeed.
3) Bergamot Essential Oil
The bergamot orange is the least known of the citrus fruits. This edible fruit, yellow in colour, is about the size of a lemon, and tastes somewhere between a grapefruit and a lemon. The essential oil, like other citrus essential oils, is extracted from the rind of the bergamot fruit using a cold press method. Although not as common as the other members of the citrus family, it is as much an important contributor to your health. Diffusing this essential oil in your home will help uplift your mood and increase your outlook on life. You can also inhale or apply topically to the pulse points for an invigorating and uplifting effect.
Bergamot Essential Oil is also effective in treating colds and respiratory issues. It contains antibacterial properties that help to boost the immune system. It will also assist in fighting off both viral and bacterial infections. Applying Bergamot EO topically to areas affected by a fungal infection will help reduce healing time. Bergamot EO is a common ingredient in deodorants. It helps to keep control of the bacteria that causes foul body odor. Also, very effective as a mouthwash to help freshen your breath.
One of the biggest benefits related to Bergamot Essential Oil is its effect on controlling the body’s blood sugar levels. The antioxidant benefits found in this essential oil is a result of the elevation of polyphenol compounds within the rind. Polyphenols play a significant role in protecting the body from cardiovascular disease and controlling elevated blood sugar levels. Another significant benefit is Bergamot EO’s ability to lower cholesterol in the body, making this essential oil an important one for your heart health.
4) Grapefruit Essential Oil
One of the most common benefits of Grapefruit Essential Oil is its ability to assist in weight loss. Adding a few drops to your drinking water helps to curb your appetite and sugar cravings. Its strong diuretic properties helps to flush excess sodium, fats, and other toxins from the body. Grapefruit EO is also a big contributor to a healthy lymphatic and kidney system. These systems are crucial for the removal of toxins and unwanted substances in the body. This would explain the advantage of ingesting Grapefruit EO after a night of alcohol consumption to treat that nasty hangover.
Grapefruit EO also has strong antifungal properties. Ingesting a drop or two in your drinking water or rubbing on the soles of your feet will help to remove the bacteria responsible for the Candida Virus. It also helps to promote a healthy uterine system by clearing waste and bacteria causing infections.
When taking certain man-made pharmaceuticals, you are not able to eat grapefruits. The fruit contains enzymes that break down the medication either too quickly or too slowly. Grapefruit Essential Oil, however, does not contain the same enzymes, making this essential oil safe to use.
5) Wild Orange Essential Oil
I use Wild Orange Essential Oil every day. Coupled with Peppermint EO, I place a drop of each in the palm of my hand and inhale deeply. The uplifting energy this brings, especially in the morning, is the perfect way to jump start any day. Wild Orange EO has a beautiful aroma that carries you to a state of calm and reduces the anxiety that sometimes builds up. But this is just one of the many benefits associated with this essential oil.
Wild Orange EO possesses antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, and energizing properties, to name a few. This essential oil will boost the immune system, recharge the metabolic system, and help to balance your emotions. You can diffuse this essential oil to create an uplifting and energized environment in your home or office. You can also apply a drop or two on aromatherapy jewelry to provide relief of stress and anxiety throughout your day. Another wonderful and versatile essential oil in this grouping of citrus oils.
One Final Property Common to Citrus Essential Oils
There is one final property associated with the use of all Citrus Essential Oils. The oils in this list are sensitive to sunlight when used topically. You may experience skin sensitivity when exposed to sunlight or UV rays within 12 hours of applying these oils to the skin. You should avoid being exposed to the sun if you have used these oils topically.
The Citrus Group of essential oils all boast an amazing and fragrant aroma. They all have similar constituents. Yet, they are all unique in their uses and benefits. What is your favorite citrus essential oil? Try and choose just one.