The Science of Lemon Eucalyptus

Contributed by Dr. Damian Rodriguez, DHSc, MS

How Do You Use Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil?

Commonly referred to as lemon eucalyptus (or lemon-scented gum), Eucalyptus citriodora is a tall tree native to Australia characterized by smooth bark and narrow leaves. When steam distilled, the dried leaves and twigs emit volatile aromatic compounds that have a heavy citrusy scent and some unique properties. Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil is a perfect example of why the power of essential oils lies in their unique and diverse chemistry.

Not Just Another Repellant

Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil is commonly associated with Citronella, and for good reason—they both are rich in citronellal and contain citronellol—but there are some key differences that make these essential oils distinct. The chemical composition of Lemon Eucalyptus is dominated by citronellal, but it also contains measurable amounts of other volatile aromatic compounds. In fact, GC/MS data suggests that Lemon Eucalyptus contains over three dozen volatile aromatic compounds in easily measurable concentrations. While that high concentration of citronellal and citronellol suggests that Lemon Eucalyptus has skin, hair, and surface cleansing and repellant properties, that is just a small part of the picture1.

doTERRA’s source of Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil contains concentrations of a terpene compound that you may have little familiarity with: isopulegol. Also found in Geranium and Lemongrass, isopulegol is a chemical precursor to menthol, and has shown some similar benefits in experimental research. Experimental research suggests that isopulegol, like menthol, may have surface cleansing properties2. Other experimental studies suggest that isopulegol may also be highly antioxidant and have mood-modulating properties3,4.

Ways To Use Lemon Eucalyptus

  1. Put a few drops of Lemon Eucalyptus into your personal essential oil inhaler to brighten your mood throughout the day.
  2. Combine 2–3 drops of Lemon Eucalyptus and 2–3 drops of Citronella essential oil with water in a spray bottle. Spray on the skin before going outside to protect against environmental threats or simply to keep skin clean and healthy-looking.
  3. Add 1 drop to your toothpaste to promote clean teeth.
  4. Add 1 drop to your shampoo to increase the cleansing power and help keep your scalp moisturized and healthy5.
  5. Diffuse at home to purify the air6.


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