Lemon Peel and Lemon Oil: Impressive Health Benefits, Side Effects

Lemon peel is the peel of lemon (Citrus limon) from the Rutaceae family. The citrus family includes lemon, lime, and oranges. Their juices are the most utilized part, but the peel is also useful. Lemon has constituents such as citric acid, quinic acid, malic acid, hesperidin, naringin, and coumarin, and high quantities of vitamin C, calcium, and potassium.

Citrus peel has antimicrobial, anti-diabetic, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antiviral activities.

Zest, a food ingredient is obtained from the outer skin of citrus like orange, or lemon, and are used to flavor candies, cakes, puddings, biscuits, and chocolates.

The essential oils from the lemon peel are used in the cosmetics, perfumes, and food industry. The peel, pulp, and seed of lemon are used to produce oils, pectin, and other products.


Nutritional Composition

A 100g of raw lemon peel contains 81.6 g of water, 1.5 g of proteins, 0.3 g of fats, 16 g of carbohydrates, 10.6 g of dietary fibers, 0.6 g of ash, 4.17 g of sugars, and 47 kcal of energy.

Minerals: It contains high quantities of calcium (134 mg), potassium (160 mg), and some quantities of iron, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and selenium.

Vitamins: There is high quantity of vitamin C (129 mg), and quantities of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, choline, vitamin A, vitamin E, Lutein + zeaxanthin, alpha carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin.

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Lemon Peel Essential Oils, and other Compounds

Lemon peel has two layers, the outer layer called zest. It contains essential oils, mostly the limonene, citral and a small quantity of cintronelene, alphaterpincol, linayl, β-pinene, and gernanyl acetate, with Bcomplex vitamin. Lemon oil has lower proportions of monoterpenes, compared to orange, and grapefruit oils.

The peel have more phenolic compounds and flavonoids than the pulp. Other constituents include tetrazene and coumarins.

Alkaloids, saponin, sterols, steroids, and terpenoids, β and γ-sitosterol, glycosides and volatile oils.

Health Benefits of Lemon Peel and Lemon Oil

Antimicrobial activity: Lemon peel contains essential oils such as limonene and γ-terpinene, which inhibits Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Micrococcus aureus, and fungus like C. albicans, and T. rubrum. It disrupts the bacterial membrane and damage the lipids and
proteins layer.

Anti-diabetic effect: Antioxidants prevent oxidative damage in the body and inflammation that increases the risk of diseases like diabetes.

Dietary fiber reduce the rate of glucose uptake following consumption of glycemic carbohydrate, and prevent increase in blood glucose levels.

Rich in dietary fiber: Lemon peel also called non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) is a complex carbohydrate that delays gastric emptying and slows digestion and absorption. It also promotes satiety. The main dietary fiber in citrus is pectin, followed by ellulose, hemicellulose and trace amounts of gums.

Cholesterol lowering: non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) interfere with the reabsorption of bile acids, preventing cholesterol build up in the plasma.

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Lemon peel also caused a slight reduction in body mass index, LDL-C and systolic blood pressure in treated individuals, suggesting antiobesity activity.

Anticancer property: Limonoids in lemon may prevent mouth, lung, skin, breast, stomach, and colon cancers.

Antidiarrheal activity: Lemon peel prevents secretion, and gastrointestinal motility in mice induced with diarrhea.

Anti-inflammatory ability: Lemon essential oils and peel have analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities. It could be useful in inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and asthma.

Prevents fatigue: Lemon peel extract removes LA, pyruvic acid, ammonia, and other metabolic wastes produced after exercise. It improves normal metabolism of skeletal muscle cells.

Antioxidant effect: Lemon peel contains pectin fibers, essential oils, and vitamin C. There are also biflavonoids. These compounds prevent free radical formation and prevent inflammation, diabetes, cancers.

Insect repellant effect: Lemon leaf extract, and essential oils repel mosquitoes, and other insects.

Adsorbent property: Carbonization method for both lemon and banana peels is found to be more effective in removal of organic substance. The lemon peel has more adsorption-capacity, as it contain

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Lemon essential oils for aromatherapy: The essential oils are used in aromatherapy for treatment of nausea and early morning sickness in pregnant women, Alzheimer’s disease, relieves anxiety and depression.

Side Effects

Lemon peel contains oxalates. Oxalates cause health issues when it becomes too concentrated, and can crystallize. They can combine with calcium to form calcium oxalate stones. It should be avoided in patients with kidney or gallbladder problems.

Lemon oil cause photosensitivity in treated skin, as it can cause redness and irritation when exposed to the sun.


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  • https://www.walshmedicalmedia.com/open-access/development-of-product-rich-in-dietary-fiber-and-antioxidant-prepared-from-lemon-peel.pdf
  • https://globalresearchonline.net/journalcontents/v46-1/22.pdf
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5307599/
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/lemon-peels
  • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338362305_Lemon_Peel_A_Natural_Medicine
  • https://applbiolchem.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s13765-020-00573-3
  • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319909279_ANTIMICROBIAL_ACTIVITY_OF_LEMON_PEEL_CITRUS_LIMON_EXTRACT
  • https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/167749/nutrients
  • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338362305_Lemon_Peel_A_Natural_Medicine

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