How the Chemistry of Citrus Essential Oils Works for Your Body


Citrus is a common ingredient in beverages and foods across the entire world. From the lemon and orange, to the lesser-known bergamot, there is a wide variety of citrus fruits available. Three of the more well-known fruits are grapefruits, lemons, and tangerines which create the doTERRA oils by the same name.

Grapefruit and Tangerine oils are almost entirely made up of a constituent called limonene—99 percent to be exact. Lemon also possesses a large amount of other terpene compounds in addition to limonene. Why does this high concentration of limonene matter? It plays a role in the detoxifying and purifying benefits of the oils. This is why all three of these oils are excellent in homemade cleaning products, because they both cleanse, and also help minimize exposure to potentially harmful toxins found in store-bought products.

But the benefits of limonene do not end there. According to experimental and clinical research, limonene may help support the function of a long list of bodily systems when taken internally. These include healthy cellular function, the immune system, the lung and respiratory systems, the gastrointestinal system, a healthy metabolism, and a healthy colon and liver. If you look at a diagram of each of these systems, you will quickly realize just how much of an impact citrus oils can have over a large portion of your body.

Let’s take a look at one system in particular: the gastrointestinal system. Our entire gastrointestinal tract is lined with a mucous membrane that form a barrier between the external world and the inside of the body. Using Grapefruit specifically may help support these mucosal surfaces, as well as help with normal peristalsis, the process that carries food through your digestive system as it is absorbed, because of the high levels of D-limonene in the oil.* The support is much needed as the digestive system, colon, liver, and the process of peristalsis are all highly important in minimizing the toxic load your body has to deal with.*

To take advantage of these internal benefits, add 1–3 drops of Lemon, Grapefruit, or Tangerine to a glass of water on a daily basis.

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