Citrus Juice: Essential Oil Constituents in Citrus Juice


Did you know that citrus juices and citrus essential oils contain very similar volatile compounds? But in citrus juices, they are already dissolved in “water”, similarly to volatile compounds in hydrosols.

Drinking Lemon essential oil in water has been heavily promoted as detoxifying or liver cleansing. This is mostly nonsense. It is suggested as a safer alternative to Lemon juice, as the essential oil has no citric acid. Long-term or repeated use of Lemon juice can erode tooth enamel or irritate the stomach because of its citric acid content. However, the principal “cleansing” ingredient in citrus juice is in fact citric acid, which is a chelating agent. And, drinking essential oils in water comes with very real risks of gastric irritation. Droplets of undiluted essential oils in water also makes proper absorption a real challenge for the body.

On the other hand, the 0.01% dilution of volatile components in citrus juice are already naturally dissolved. Plus you get the benefits of citric acid, and a decent dose of vitamin C! Perhaps fresh Orange juice is an ideal compromise.

Links to the papers:


  1. Hi, thanks for the article. Does lemon essential oil contain any citric acid?

    • No, it doesn’t contain any.

  2. Can Lemongrass essential oil reduce uric acid thereby lowering the risk of kidney stones?

    • There’s no evidence that Lemongrass oil would reduce uric acid in the body.

  3. Hi, Robert. Thank you for the article. Does lemon essential oil (from peel or juice, cold pressed or distilled) contain vitamin C (or its predecessor)?

    • No, not at all. Vitamin C is much too water-soluble, and unstable, to be present in any essential oil.

  4. Hi RoberT, is there essentially no work around for avoiding the enamel damaging effects of the lemon juice other than to dilute it very heavily? Similarly, what if the essential oil is just diluted in water?

    • Hi Gina, Adding concentrated essential oil to water can be quite damaging. It is much safer to use a slice of citrus or citrus juice. One would have to weigh the effects on tooth enamel and use at appropriate amounts. ~Shane Carper


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