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Lemon oil and lemongrass oils are essential oils extracted from plants for their healing benefits. Although both types include the word "lemon," they come from completely different plants. Nonetheless, these oils have a number of similar properties and benefits, as well as some differences. See a certified aromatherapist to learn how to use essential oils properly and consult your physician before using the oils to treat any medical condition.


Lemon oil comes from the Citrus limon tree, from the rind of the same lemon fruit that we eat. Citrus limon trees grow to 15 feet high and are thought to have originated in China and spread to Mediterranean regions. Lemongrass oil, on the other hand, is extracted from the leaves of the Cymbopogon citratus plant, a grass that recorded history traces to India.


Although they are from different plants, lemon and lemongrass oils have many similar properties and uses. They contain a few of the same constituent ingredients: citral and citronellal aldehydes and limonene terpenes. Lemon and lemongrass both have antibacterial and antiseptic properties, making them useful for cleaning and fighting infections. Both types are believed to improve the immune system, although research is needed to back up this claim. Lemon oil is commonly used in cosmetics for its supposed benefits for the skin. It is thought to improve all skin types but especially oily skin with its astringent qualities. Lemongrass oil is also thought to improve oily skin specifically. Both oils complement lavender and rosemary essential oils.


Lemon and lemongrass oils differ in a few ways as well. Lemon oil is used for bug bites, while lemongrass is used to repel insects. Like lemon juice, lemon essential oil is commonly used to overcome common illnesses, although you should see your doctor before using an essential oil. Lemon is used for sore throats, coughs and bronchitis, colds and the flu, as well as digestive concerns like indigestion and gas. Lemongrass is used for sore muscles. Though both types are thought to give you a mental boost, they do so in differing ways. Lemon boosts your mood and mental clarity and helps you feel refreshed, while lemongrass helps to liven your spirits if you have a headache or are stressed. Lemongrass is also used to add shine to hair.

Side Effects

All essential oils can cause side effects. Do not ingest them and dilute them in water or a carrier oil such as grapeseed oil before applying them to your skin. Put a small amount of diluted oil on your skin to test for a reaction before you apply it to a large area. Specifically, both lemon and lemongrass oils can cause irritation to your skin. Lemon oil can make your skin sensitive to the sun. You should avoid lemongrass oil if you are pregnant and do not use it on babies or small children.