Lemons Don't Always Lead to Lemonade: Lemon Essential Oil

Honestly, the title is a bit misleading. I happen to like the essential oil of lemon. At the same time, there is a time and place for everything. Ironically, the more I familiar I become with pharmacological studies of plant constituents, I greater my respect for all essential oils. I’m also discovering that after 30 years of use and practice, it’s time to increase our level of understanding of them in order to gain notable results. Which is the reason for this post …

Right before the Christmas holiday, someone close to me asked for my thoughts regarding the essential oil of lemon and its effects on the neurochemistry. For a number of years now, I’ve been telling people to avoid using it on a regular basis, especially if Parkinson’s disease is a part of the family history; although, I never fully elaborated on ‘why’. As it is, we unquestionably view manmade chemicals as ‘bad’ and natural ones like essential oils as wholesome and good. Nothing could be further from the truth; therefore, over the holiday, I recorded a video disclosing a little bit on why I say what I do. However, there is definitely more to the story ……

Technically, my greatest muse is consistently every client I am honored to serve. Each one presents with their own unique set of concerns and diagnoses which then inspires me to find some sort of common denominator. With that in mind, we already know that the brain regulates systemic function through the nervous system. it does this with neurotransmitters and hormones a.k.a. chemical messengers. These chemicals are constantly changing depending on the body’s needs which includes its responses to the environment. Essentially, the work of the brain is never done; therefore, the chemistry is in a constant state of flux. How this plays out depends on the ‘genetic wiring’. This alone is good reason to use caution and variability with the chemicals we select whether they’re natural or manmade. You see, the body is not defective …. It is reacting to the world around and doing what it’s designed to do …. Help us survive. By now, many people will argue that dis-ease is not surviving. Yes it is …. It’s our perspective of dis-ease or put another way, our misinterpretation of dis-ease that is causing it to look like a problem. I do realize there are a lot of people facing some type of dis-ease or dis-order and maybe it’s going to take a shift in thinking to actually get ahead of our dilemmas. Nonetheless, the bottom line is the body is STRESSED … TAXED ….. in a state of PROTECTION ….. and when it’s in this condition, the chemistry is different than when it’s thriving and loving the moment. In other words, the human body has the ability to produce chemicals needed to get us from point A to point B while in the ‘fight or flight’ mode or even out of sticky situations. Truthfully, I ‘m in awe of what our bodies can do. And, just like it ‘flips a switch’ to produce the chemistry, it has the ability to ‘turn that switch off’ and deactivate the entire process. Did someone say … FASCINATING?!?!?! Here’s the dilemma, we’re chronically stressed and taxed which means the body is not getting the message to turn off the temporary chemistry; HENCE, oxidative stress. Again, how this unfolds in the individual depends on their wiring…..

Enter, more information than any of us can swallow at one time regarding antioxidants and while it makes sense and equally beneficial, the suggested remedies and ideas do nothing more than provide symptom relief which is why we’re really not getting better. Lemon is a rather common suggestion; both the essential oil and juice. Why? Because of the antiseptic and antioxidant properties. What’s more, it’s now becoming an increasingly common anti-aging remedy for brightening skin and teeth. That said, I want to keep our focus on the fact that lemon, like every other plant, is full of chemicals from vitamins and minerals to phytonutrients and essential constituents that are not unlike our own chemical messengers .. offering protection, cell signaling, attraction for pollination and reproduction. However, how these constituents affect the human body differs from the plant / tree. Nonetheless, the plant takes in nutrients from the soil and water and it collects light all of which go through a metabolism process. What this involves is a chemical breakdown and either the assimilation and uptake for use, further metabolism to produce yet another chemical which either gets used or eventually eliminated. The human body does the very same thing. This is how neurotransmitters become hormones, how some hormones are changed for a slightly different use or why we produce both oxidative stress and its antidote. Please understand, I’m not saying all of this to dissuade anyone from consuming foods or products rich in antioxidants. Until we’re able to relieve the deeper issues, an anti-inflammatory lifestyle is encouraged.

Regardless, the ever famous motivation and reward neurotransmitter, dopamine, happens to be one of the chemicals that gets broken down, as is serotonin. This is significant in the sense that the body is already doing what it ‘knows’ to do without our intervention. Add lemon oil to the mix and we’ve just influenced the activation of serotonin receptors as well as increased the rate of dopamine metabolism in the substantia nigra, an area of the brain where dopamine is produced and released. This very region is said to deteriorate and lead to disorders associated with reduced motor movements i.e. Parkinson’s Disease; yet, it’s also involved with other conditions like addiction and schizophrenia. Believe it or not, there is substantial involvement with restless leg syndrome and adhd; although, not for reasons you might expect. I must admit the link to schizophrenia surprised me because at one time it was believed that elevated dopamine levels were the reason for the ‘negative symptoms’ of schizophrenia. Now, we’re discovering that it’s a dysregulation of dopamine that is creating higher than necessary levels of glutamate. It’s also believed that serotonin levels are unreasonably high with schizophrenia. Combine this information with the fact that lemon essential oil has a direct effect on the activation and metabolism of brain chemistry and lemon oil is by all rights a big ‘NO’ for many people.

I realize the short-term effects of lemon juice and essential oil sound ideal given the degree of inflammation many of us face; yet, the silent long-term effects actually raise more questions and red flags than should be ignored. Honestly, this isn’t an easy point to make because it is basically a staple food, scent, and remedy; however, my desire to help improve the overall quality of our health has become larger than my love for essential oils. And, if you know me at all, you know that this is a BIG claim.

Our world is at a tipping point with each of us trying to manage life through extreme hormonal | chemical 'imbalances'. If nothing else, it’s evidenced by the metabolic changes occurring within the substania nigra. Besides motivation and reward, dopamine has a number of roles including the release of certain hormones, motor control as well as the management of metals. That’s not a typo, we are wired to take that very important compound and convert it into a number of other chemicals through an oxidative process that actually benefits us when ‘kept in check’. You see, the resulting chemicals are required in a number of crucial processes like blood coagulation, bone formation, protection from assorted microbes as well as metal homeostasis. Clearly, we have health issues involving thickening of the blood in addition to excessive tissue growth i.e. tumors; however, if we take an objective perspective, we can easily admit clotting is helpful during times of need (stress) as well as agree on the importance of producing bone after a fracture whether its a micro or major break (stress) … ... holding this thought, we can probably align with the idea that these are beneficial emergency mechanisms that are not being deactivated | relieved due to the chronic stress load. As a matter of fact, one such substance called ‘neuromelanin’ is recognized for its role in metal homeostasis….. a process whereby ‘we’ store the metals ….. in-the-brain. In all honesty, scientists are only in the early stages of getting to really understand all the nuances of neuromelanin; however, they do know enough to confirm the fact that iron, selenium, manganese, and sulfur are all stored here. While the bulk of buildup occurs early in life, metals continue to accumulate over the years. To me, this information is significant given the frequency with which we are exposed to these elements on a daily basis. AND, it explains SO much with regards to behavioral and mental health issues. The chemical we need for everyday function is being rapidly autoxidized as a result of the metals in the environment.  Please know, I’m not ‘bashing’ anyone or anything. The world is as it is. Our job is to learn how to live in it which is a big reason I’m writing this and discussing essential oils in ways we’ve never considered.

In the case of the metals, the human body does not have a well-defined elimination system. That said, dopamine is an important factor in the production of neuromelanin. If you decide to read up on it, the consensus is that this leads to Parkinson’s Disease. Quite frankly, I understand this thought process but there is no way anyone is going to convince me that the body is deliberately causing itself to get sick. On the contrary, I believe the body is doing EVERYTHING it can to survive the world we’ve created. Instinctually and sadly, it’s taking the chemistry that's meant to keep us uplifted and motivated and redirecting it for the sake of protection. In other words, the system is aggravated by the irritants and having an inflamed response. Let's face it, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The problem is we're not getting the break we need. I think about the number of people living with arthritis and/or cardiovascular problems ….. you know, clot and bone formation. Can you say … dopamine gone wild? Dopamine is a very important signaling molecule that is simply responding to the alert notifications coming in. It’s no wonder low dopamine in the substania nigra is an issue in Parkinson’s Disease or why we’re seeing greater incidences of ADHD, restless leg, schizophrenia, AND addiction. We're not getting FULL use of our dopamine and with one change comes more... a.k.a. the ripple effect. In this case, our stress level alters our hormonal systems … again, not because the body is dysfunctional but because it’s working overtime to keep us as safe as possible.  Nevertheless, the dysregulation of hormones affects the rest of our chemistry which is why so many sleep cycles are off, and why fatigue levels are up as well as why we’re seeing an increase in agitation and hypersensitivity …..

So, what does any of this have to do with lemon essential oil? Plenty! Lemon essential oil has been found to increase the rate of dopamine breakdown. While this may prove helpful for some, it’s certainly not advisable for long-term use, especially if any of the above-mentioned conditions or symptoms are already an issue. Yes, I understand that it’s a great anti-inflammatory AND equally uplifting BUT relieving the inflammation without addressing systemic cellular stress is futile. Not to mention, regular use of lemon essential oil accelerates the inflammation process since we’ve been able to establish that it actually increases the rate at which dopamine is broken down and oxidized. And above all, it clearly influences the brain chemistry and in all honesty, I’m not convinced that that’s such a great idea. Granted, this is a practice we've become familiar with (pharmaceuticals); however, to be doing virtually the SAME thing with natural remedies is too much of one thing and not enough of the other. Therefore, it makes sense to rethink our approach to healthcare and wellness by supporting full systemic function through stabilization. Believe it or not, there are plenty of essential oils that fill this order … it simply depends on the individual and whether or not there are medications involved. With over half the U.S. population taking some type of psychotropic, we need to be particular. And no matter what, eliminate lemon from your daily use .. you might be pleasantly surprised.

Regardless, I like lemon ... I just use it sparingly because of the aforementioned conditions and symptoms; they are unfortunately a part of my life. Do I worry about heavy metals… well, yes and no; however, I would never choose to use a chelating agent to clear my brain. First of all, there’s no guarantee they even cross the blood-brain barrier and if they did, I don’t know that I’d want to deal with the fallout. I realize the metals in our environment are stimulating the process of neuromelanin production and at the same time, I'd rather invest my time and trust in various essential oils because they DO cross that barrier and a far safer choice for helping a girl out! In all honesty, we're not facing chemical imbalances, our bodies are actually doing their best to manage the necessary chemical adjustments required for maintaining balance in an out-of-balance world!

Please note, I have always been a need to know kind of girl and when I write posts like this, it takes me DAYS because I research and cross-reference every fact I share. I like thinking outside the box and absolutely enjoy a mystery. When I see so many theories regarding mental health and degenerative dis-eases, I make it my mission to look at it from a bolder perspective. When it comes to the oils, I keep up with the pharmacological studies being conducted on plant constituents for drug development. Between that and nearly 30 years of practical application, I've come to understand them beyond the popular scope of recognition.