Native to Asia, the lemon tree is a small evergreen whose genetic origins have been traced back to a cross between bitter orange and citron. The exact details of its journey from the wilds to civilization are not precisely known but it is believed that lemon trees were first introduced in Europe around 200 A.D. The dimpled, yellow fruit took another 1,300 years to spread across the globe, from the Middle East to Northern Africa, then eventually to the Americas with Christopher Columbus in 1493.
Originally cultivated as an ornamental plant, in time Citrus limon became so much more than something pretty to look at. Lemons are antioxidant powerhouses, containing twice as much Vitamin C as the average orange as well as several unique citrus phytochemicals which have been studied for their potential to prevent cancer and other chronic diseases. As a flavoring for food and drink, lemon’s pucker-inducing tartness and sweet-sour flavor profile have made it a favourite ingredient in the culinary arts. Chock-full of limonene and citric acid, its juice is an excellent anti-bacterial, de-greasing, deodorizing, and disinfecting household cleanser.
Without a doubt, lemons have a lot going for them. But the saga of the little fruit that could doesn’t end there. As an essential oil, lemon is a popular choice due to its citrusy, uplifting scent that just makes things smell clean. Cold-pressed from the peel, lemon oil has antifungal, astringent, and antiseptic properties, making it an exceptionally practical oil that would be well-placed in any essential oil collection. Read on to learn more about lemon oil’s suite of benefits, from the ways it can promote health and wellness to how it can be used to naturally clean and freshen the home.