· Natural Remedies · 22 Health Benefits of Lemons
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22 Health Benefits of Lemons

health benefits of lemons

It’s no secret….I sort of have a love affair with lemons!  I have done posts on 25 Uses For Lemon Peels…Including Lemon Vinegar;  10 Homemade Cleaners Made From Citrus Peels;  Make Your Own Citrus Enzyme Cleaner; & Make Your Own Lemon Dust Cloths….just to name a few! But I’ve always wanted to do a comprehensive list of the HEALTH BENEFITS of this little yellow fruit….because quite frankly it’s amazing how much good it can do!

Lemons have been used for their antiseptic properties for centuries. In 1593 Admiral Sir Richard Hawkins, a 17th-century English seaman and explorer, advocated drinking orange and lemon juice as a means of preventing scurvy!

No wonder! Lemons are PACKED with numerous health benefiting nutrients. From digestion aid to fatigue buster, lemons are a great natural remedy.

Here is a list I have compiled from numerous articles with ideas on how you can use this fruit to improve your health!

health benefits of lemons

Restores pH Balance

It is important to maintain a slightly positive alkaline state in order to fight off cancer and other illnesses. Although acidic to taste, lemons are one of the most alkaline of foods and help to push our bodies to the required pH alkaline state of around 7.4.

Detoxification

Fresh lemon juice added to a large glass of water in the morning is a great liver detoxifier and cleanses the kidneys and the digestive system. It helps the body in the removal of toxins and provides you with a great overall detox.

health benefits of lemons

Indigestion and Constipation

Lemon has been proven to aid in digestion as it keeps bad bacteria at bay. Add a few drops of fresh lemon juice on your food, and it will aid in digestion. Or drink the juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon in a glass of lukewarm water after each meal. The lemon acid stimulates the production of stomach acid.

Lemons also help with regularity. Add the juice of one lemon to warm water and drink first thing in the morning.

Weight Loss

Adding lemons to your water can make you feel fuller as well as reduce the development of Type 2 Diabetes. Lemons contain pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to help with weight loss. Also, lemons can literally slow down the absorption of sugar into the body. There is even a lemonade diet that stars like Beyonce have popularized!

health benefits of lemons

Acne

The vitamin C found in citrus fruits is vital for that healthy glowing skin while its alkaline nature kills some types of bacteria known to cause acne. In addition to drinking lemon juice with water first thing in the morning, you can also apply it topically and let it dry on acne, eczema and blackheads. Rinse off the residue with a mixture of olive oil and water.

Note: if acne is severe or there are open wounds, consult your doctor first.

Get Rid Of Parasites

Intestinal parasites thrive on an acidic digestive system so by changing the environment to alkaline naturally kills them off. Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar will help to slough off parasites.

Asthma

The vitamin C found in the lemon juice plays two important roles in combating breathing problems. First, it strengthens the immune system of the body, and second, it works as an anti-oxidant and fights the harmful oxidants the lungs produce in the form of allergens during bouts of asthma. Thus the intake of lemon juice regularly will help fight the disease

When there is insufficient oxygen and difficulty in breathing (such as when mountain climbing) lemons are very helpful. The first man to reach the top of Mt. Everest, Edmund Hillary, said that his success on Mt. Everest was greatly due to lemons.

health benefits of lemons

Anxiety

Update: This paragraph refers to the use of lemon balm essential oil, which is actually a perennial plant in the mint family. The leaves have a gentle lemon scent. 

Research has shown that lemon balm has a calming effect and therefore may be able to help remove fatigue, exhaustion, dizziness, anxiety, nervousness, and tension. It is also believed that inhaling lemon oil helps in increasing concentration and alertness. It can therefore be used as a room freshener in offices to increase the efficiency of the employees. If you’re feeling tense sprinkle a few drops of lemon balm essential oil on a handkerchief to inhale.

Canker Sores

Lemon juice is one remedy for healing canker sores. Apply the juice directly to the affected area three times a day.

The proven antibacterial and antiviral properties of lemons can accelerate the healing process in the case of cankers. Mix the juice of freshly squeezed lemon into a glass of lukewarm water and rinse your mouth with this solution; do this three times a day.

Fever

Lemon juice can treat a person who is suffering from cold, flu or fever. It helps to break fever by increasing perspiration. To ease the symptoms of fever and the chills: add the juice of 1 lemon to a cup of hot water with honey and drink every 2 hours until the fever or chill subsides.

Dental Care

Lemon juice is used in dental care also. If fresh lemon juice is applied on the areas of toothache, it can assist in getting rid of the pain. The massages of lemon juice on gums can stop gum bleeding. It gives relief from bad smell and other problems related to gums.

health benefits of lemons

Cold and Flu

Lemons are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids that work against infections like the flu and colds.

At the first indication of a cold, try to give your body as much immune-boosting vitamin C as you can so that the virus is eliminated before it gets a chance to take hold. Drink the freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon in a glass of lukewarm water every 2 hours.

If you have a sore throat, add the juice of 1 lemon and 1 teaspoon of sea salt to 1 cup lukewarm water. Gargle three times a day for 1 minute. You can swallow the juice when you have finished gargling thereby benefiting from an immune-boosting vitamin C shot.

Corns and Calluses

Lemon poultices applied overnight are a good home remedy for corns and calluses. Place a slice of lemon on to the corn, and secure it with a bandage. Dabbing the affected area with lemon essential oil also helps accelerate the healing process. Only use on callused skin. Undiluted lemon oil is too strong for un-callused skin.

Fight Fatigue

Forget Red Bull, try lemon. Studies have shown that the scent of lemon oil can actually create a greater sense of concentration, while increasing alertness. Try using a lemon diffuser in the home (an easy way to do this is by boiling lemon water on the stovetop).

Lemon also seems to be able to stimulate brain activity so whenever you feel tired for no reason or are finding it hard to focus or concentrate, drink a glass of lemon water every few hours.

health benefits of lemons

Halitosis

Ironically, lemons can help freshen breath that has gone “sour”. To keep breath fresh, thoroughly rinse your mouth with the freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon in a glass of lukewarm water.

High Cholesterol & High Blood Pressure

Don’t forget that the pectin power in lemons along with its other metabolism and circulation boosting nutrients can help lower cholesterol.

Blood vessels are strengthened by the vitamin P (bioflavinoids), making it useful in treating high blood pressure.

Bug Bites

To repel insects, add 20 drops of lemon oil to 1 cup of water and spray into the air. It smells great and repels insects at the same time. Another home remedy is to place a cotton ball soaked in lemon oil in your bedroom. If you are sitting outside in the evening, apply lemon scent to skin areas not covered in clothing. Or, add 10 drops of lemon oil to 1 ½ oz of sunflower oil and rub into the skin.

health benefits of lemons

Insomnia

Update: This paragraph refers to the use of lemon balm essential oil, which is actually a perennial plant in the mint family. The leaves have a gentle lemon scent. 

Several studies have found that lemon balm combined with other calming herbs (such as valerian, hops, and chamomile) helps reduce anxiety and promote sleep.

Pain Relief

It is believed that lemons have pain-relieving qualities. The fragrant volatile oils help relax blood vessels and produce an anti-inflammatory effect.

Tired of aches and pains associated with arthritis and inflammation? Try lemons for a great home remedy. Combine 1-2 oz. of lemon juice and 6 oz. of water. Drink several times a day, at least one hour prior to meals and before bed.

Or….try squeezing three to four lemons and mixing in two to three tablespoons of honey into a small bowl. Next, microwave the bowl for up to 30 second, or until the mixture is hot. Take a small towel and dip it into the bowl. Apply the towel to the sore area and enjoy its soothing relief

Osteoporosis

Lemon juice is rich in Vitamin C and helps the body to absorb calcium and fight osteoporosis. It also contains calcium and magnesium, as well as potassium. Potassium supports bone health by neutralizing metabolic acids, thus conserving the body’s calcium stores. It also reduces calcium loss through urine.

health benefits of lemons

Varicose Veins

Lemon oil has vessel-strengthening properties that can help fight varicose and spider veins.

For spider veins, mix 2 to 3 drops of lemon essential oil with jojoba, avocado or almond oil and massage the affected area.

For a vein and vessel-rejuvenating bath add 8 drops of lemon oil, 4 drops of cypress essential oil and 1 Tablespoon of honey to a warm bath. Soak for 15  to 30 minutes. Pat skin dry – don’t rub.

Nausea, Vomiting and Travel Sickness

Take a glass of lemon juice diluted with some water to help with travel sickness and nausea. Or suck on the lemon wedge for a minute or two, or until the nausea subsides. Throw the used lemon away and rinse your mouth out with water. Lemon contains acid that can corrode tooth enamel, so it is very important to rinse with water after sucking on or eating a lemon.

health benefits of lemons

A few notes of caution:
If you suffer from heartburn, kidney or gall bladder problems or have a citrus allergy consult your doctor before using these remedies or drinking lemon juice. To protect your teeth enamel, wait at least half an hour before brushing your teeth after chewing, drinking or rinsing with lemon juice. Rubbing lemon juice or oil and drinking lemon juice is not suitable for children under the age of 10. Lemons are effective home remedies for a variety of health concerns but in the case of serious illness always consult your doctor first.

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  • Great article until, it mentioned whore beyonce wtf kind of crap is that?I want to know about detox issues not some make up fake trashy idol!

  • […] in Weight Loss Lemons contain a soluble fiber called pectin that has been shown to help with weight loss. Another great benefit of lemons aiding in weight loss comes by adding lemon to your water. This […]

  • I love lemon and all of its uses too! I thought I read about you putting a drop or 2 of lemon essential oil in drinking water? My oil bottle says not for internal use. :( Is there a particular kind I should use for drinking?
    Thanks, I enjoy your blog so much!

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  • This is the first time I have seen any of your posts Jillee. I have really enjoyed it and found it very full of great info. I have been craving lemons for at least 6 months never happened before. Can anyone tell me why? It is not a bad thing from what I have just read but would love to know what anyone could tell me about it. Looking forward to more great articles Jillee thank you.

  • There are so many benefits to using natural foods for what ails us. Great post, and I love the examples. The best drink to have on a cold morning is hot water with lemon. So refreshing!

  • I can’t remember which website I was looking at (probably Organic Gardening), but there was an article about how chefs in restaurants are using lemon zest in everything they can incorporate it into – not only for its flavor boost, but also health benefits. They freeze the lemons, then zest them; the zest tastes wonderful and lasts longer than if unfrozen. The article quoted scientific studies indicating that the compounds in lemon zest was just as effective in destroying tumors as chemotheraphy – without the side effects. And it only attacks the cancer cells, leaving healthy cells to flourish.

  • In addition to cleansing the kidneys, it actually helps with kidney stones. The citric acid in lemon juice keeps the stones from congealing in the kidneys. I was ordered by my Urologist to drink 8 ounces of real lemonade a day. Very simple, lemon juice, water and stevia. Best “prescription” I’ve ever had to do. :)
    I had 4 kidney stone “attacks” in 1 year’s time before I found out about lemonade. (Anyone that gets stones knows that once you have one, you will continue to get them the rest of your life.)
    Over 2 years of doing this and not a single kidney stone has reared up.
    Further, I’m a pilot and have to actually get sonograms of my kidneys to prove that there are no stones in the actual kidneys. None are ever present! Real lemonade really works.

  • To add to the dental comments—

    I am someone who learned first hand that continous eating of limes will indeed do terrible things to your teeth. No one really knew how many I was eating–must be some sort of deficiency we think now—as I lived on an island and could pick all I wanted. Wasn’t til I got back to the States and saw a dentist that the damage was revealed but too late. Still paying the price many years later. I still love them but do not eat them every day all day long!

    AS to the toothpaste and not brushing right away—as I understand it if you brush right after eating anything “harmful” to your teeth–citrus; candy; cake. etc—if you brush right away it scrubs off the “protective coating” your teeth naturally have on them during the day and night. BY taking this away right after eating these sorts of things it lets the acid or sugar get into the channels of the enamel faster than it otherwise would. By waiting it lets the normal environment of your mouth recover and then the scrubbing and abrasive of the toothpaste won’t be exposing the enamel to these chemicals.

    My dentist told me that using a Sensitive ToothPaste–I use Aquafresh on his say-so–and taking a bit on your finger and rubbing it on the sensitive spot on a tooth or your gum–twice a day–will help “block” the “channel” that lets the sugar or acid get to the nerve. This is not used to avoid a dental visit but some people no matter how “good” their teeth are have sensitivity issues and this REALLY helps. Let it sit for a minute and then spit out any excess and don’t rinse right away if you can avoid it to keep it on there as long as possible. For in between teeth you can put a dab on the outside of the tooth and use a wide piece of floss to work the paste in between.

    For the same reasons if you decide to have the lemon juice with water first thing in the AM–or anytime really!–do it BEFORE you brush and floss and give it a half hour or so before you brush. Or use a straw!

    Ever wonder why the British Navy guys are called LIMEYS? Because they took barrels of LIMES (dunno about lemons!) on voyages and ate them–they were forced to eat them!–to prevent tooth loss and scurvy! They also got daily rations of rum! Mmmmm–Lime and rum!!!!!

  • It’s just plain wrong to say that lemons are alkaline. They have a pH of 2.3 (for bottled, fresh can vary) That is not alkaline.

    However you are correct in saying that they are alkalizing to the body, but that is because of how they are processed not because they are inherently high in pH.

  • Just wondering…. can I replace the fresh lemons with ingestible pure lemon essential oil for the same effect? It isn’t always convenient to have a fresh lemon on hand… but I always have my lemon EO with me. I drink it in my water every day.

    BTW, would you mind sharing where you obtained the information regarding osteoporosis? I have someone I would like to pass the information along to.

    Thanks so much, Jillee!!

  • Jillee,
    Some of the information you’ve given is contradictory. You’ve said that lemons are alkaline (a base) and akso that they are an acid. And I’m fairly certain that being both of these things is quite impossible. Could you please clear that up for me?
    Thanks for all your wonderful posts!

  • What an excellent article, Jillee! I have used lemon water in the past to aid in digestion (without knowing the research; I sort of “discovered” the benefit in that area on my own!). Thank you!

    • Hi Judy, I do send out an email everyday but it only contains part of the post. If you want to print any of my posts just lick the little “Clean Print” button at the bottom of the post. You’ll be able to delete anything you don’t want to print.

  • Just brought home some fresh-picked lemons from our AZ trip. It feels like a luxury to have so many. I love lemon water, but lemon pie is even better! (tho there are more calories). Good list.

  • I drink lemon juice & water each day. Also eat dry honey nut Cheerios for breakfast. (Milk allergy) But it has reduced my sinus problems drastically. And the bottled juice or fresh lemon helps flush my fluids. Thanks for the information on your posts. Have started with your cleaning solution receipes & loving all I read from your posts.

  • Hi, Jillee… I read your article & enjoyed… but you must know that Lemon (a citrus fruit) and Lemon Balm (an awesome herb used for many maladies) are 2 entirely separate substances. If you group them together, many will be confused. Just saying… :)

  • As always, Jillee …. This is a winner. Thanks so much for all your work in getting information and ideas to us. I’m looking forward to the release of your book.

  • Also, afraid to add another word of caution here, but remember any time you use a citrus based oil on your skin (even when blended with other oils) that they can cause photosensitivity. So if you do use it as a direct skin bug repellent or for varicose veins, etc. please make sure you cover those areas as they will become more sensitive to the sun.

  • Jillee, thank you! I knew lemons were beneficial but knowing the specifics will really be helpful! I’m drinking my lemon water now! Also thank you to the dental hygienist who warned about the teeth enamel. That was good to know as well :)

  • Wow–lots of great info here. Nicely done. Didn’t know about using lemons to combat parasites or for aiding with digestion. I can attest to speeding up recovery/relieving symptoms of sore throat. At first sign of sore throat I squeeze a wedge of lemon and toss the wedge in the cup with honey–add hot water. I inhale the steam until cool enough to drink. At the end I eat the “cooked” peel. All I know is that works–I have been told that the oils from the peel help coat the throat.

  • Hi!
    I’m curious, when you say a glass of water with some lemon each morning, about how much lemon to how much water? Very interesting and helpful…thank you!! :)

    • One cup of warm water to 1/2 a fresh squeezed lemon. Use organic and drink within the first 15 mins to retain the enzymes. Use a straw if you would like to save tooth enamel but for heaven’s sake do not use commercial toothpaste.

  • Great article, just one bit of cautionary advice to readers. I’m a registered dental hygienist and I have seen the detremental effects of lemon juice on the enamel.

    If you have a tooth ache, see your dentist. Ibuprophen is a great analgesic until you can get in to the dental office.

    While lemon juice has so many favorable advantages, if you are not cautious it can cause tooth sensitivity and acid erosion of the enamel. You’re lost enamel will not grow back and long term consistent acid erosion will thin the enamel, weaken the teeth, especially the front ones, and cause them to have a transluscent appearance.

    I have seen several patients with these sequellae and my best advice is to drink the lemon juice through a straw and use something like Pro-enamel tooth paste consistently. For immediate releif, Sensodyne rapid releif is just great!

    • Ah! Exactly what I was going to recommend. My mother LOVED lemons when she was a little girl. She would cut a wedge, sprinkle it with sugar and suck on it. Unfortunately back then, nobody paid much attention to the harm it did to teeth. She had full dentures by the time she was 25.

    • Yes! This is so true! I went to the dentist and had 9 small cavities! I brush twice a day and floss religiously– the culprit? I eat lemons all week long! I love them and peel them like an orange. The citric acid did a number on my teeth and caused many small cavities. Although good for many other ailments, be careful with lemons and your teeth enamel!

  • Great as always! Have already been drinking warm water and lemon and truly believe in it’s benefits.
    Thanks for all your great info~~really enjoy all your postings.

  • I have the lemon Mint plant and do use it just as you would the mint plant. Fresh, dried, mulled. Jillee refers in the last line on Anxiety to lemon balm essential oil. This may easily be the mix-up several ask about. It simply contains the word, balm. I’ve not seen Lemon Balm oils, and therefore I’m sure she is referring to Lemon essential oil.
    When buying or using lemon Essential oil remember that there is an ingestible and non indigestible, and lemon flavoring you purchase in the store is not an oil but an alcohol based lemon flavor. Works in cookies, cakes and food flavorings, but not strong enough to work in the above mentioned uses.

  • Under the anxiety section, you’ve noted lemon balm (Species: Melissa officinalis). Lemon balm is a perennial herb in the mint family Lamiaceae, a native herb to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region. Hence, Lemon Balm is not Lemon (Species: citrus × limon) a small evergreen tree native to Asia. The tree’s ellipsoidal yellow fruit is what you are referring to in the of the article.

  • Interesting – as always! – and informative. But I’m a little confused. You mention lemon balm several times. Are you talking about some lemon-infused preparation, or are you referring to the plant lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) which is an herb of the mint family? It certainly has lemon-scented leaves but is not related to the lemon plant at all.

  • Dumb question here. What is lemon balm and where do i get it? This may be my favorite past ever that you’ve done. I’m so glad my love of lemons is good for me in so many ways! :)

    • Elaine – Lemon balm is an herb. You can find it in the Spring at HD or Loews or Ace Hardware and any gardening store. Plant it, water and love it, pick the leaves for tea all summer long. In the fall, pick all the leaves, dry them in a brown paper bag and use in tea or potpourri. You can Google it or search Pinterest and find other uses too. Jillee also has written about it. You can also find lemon balm essential oil.

  • This is great to know Jillee :) Thanks for the post.
    I love lemons. I add the juice to tea and most drinks because of its refreshing quality’s. Also i have a great tip for used lemon half’s and skins, toss them in the washing bowl as plates soak to help remove tough food and help fight off bacteria in the water.
    Thanks again :)

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