Lemon Benefits

Lemon
Latin Name

Citrus Limonum

Origin

India, South West America, South and Central America, West Indies, Mediterranean, Asia

Parts Used

Fresh fruit peel, whole

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

As one of the most widely used citrus fruits in the world, Lemons have many benefits whether it be from their pulp, peel or essential oil.

They have a long history of use as a culinary ingredient and as a folk remedy for many ailments. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is considered to have a cooling effect on the body, aiding digestion and replenishing fluids.

Known as the “Golden Apple” on the Indian subcontinent, Lemons – and in particular its essential oil – have been used in the ancient Indian healing system of Ayurveda for over 5,000 years.

Lemon Benefits

Liver Health

Rich in vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants, squeezing a fresh Lemon into mineral water has many benefits to the liver. In warm (not boiling) water, Lemon helps to prevent cellular oxidation of the liver and regulates the absorption of sugars and fats which prevents the liver from being overworked.

According to Jethro Kloss, in his excellent book “Back to Eden”, "The liver loves lemons.  It is a dissolvent of uric acid and other poisons, liquefies the bile.  Fresh lemon juice added to a large glass of water in the morning is a great liver detoxifier.”

In 2018 a study was published in the “World Journal of Gastroenterology” that looked at the beneficial effects of one of the powerful compounds found in abundance in Lemons – naringenin. Naringenin is a flavonoid with antioxidant, antifibrogenic and anti-inflammatory properties that is capable of preventing liver damage caused by different agents. The main protective effects of naringenin in liver diseases are the inhibition of oxidative stress, transforming growth factor (TGF-β) pathway and the prevention of the trans differentiation of hepatic stellate cells (HSC), leading to decreased collagen synthesis. The authors of the study concluded that, “naringenin should be considered in the future as an important candidate in the treatment of different liver diseases.”

Another 2014 study published in "Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology," states that naringenin calms liver inflammation. Yet another study (published in “Life Sciences”) found that eriocitrin, a flavonoid in lemons, protects the liver against exercise-induced oxidative stress.

Kidney Health

Much research has been done on the effect of Lemon water on kidney stones – a painful affliction that can leave the sufferer in agony.

Lemons are full of “citric acid”, an organic acid that inhibits stone formation and breaks up small stones that are beginning to form. Citric acid is protective; the more citric acid in the urine, the more protection there is against forming new kidney stones.

Citric acid also makes the urine less favourable for the formation of stones. In its natural form, citric acid does not alkalinise the urine as citrate (from medication) does, rather, it prevents small stones from becoming “problem stones” by coating them and preventing other material from attaching and building onto the stones.

The kidneys are the body’s natural filtration system. They remove waste products, filter the blood, balance electrolytes and stimulate the production of red blood cells. A good way to boost the function of these important organs is to drink a glass of Lemon water daily. The natural acidity in Lemon juice helps flush the kidneys.

Digestion

Contrary to popular belief, it is low stomach acid NOT too much stomach acid that can cause many digestive complaints. Stomach acid is crucial to healthy digestion and fighting off pathogens.

A glass of lemon water at the beginning of the day will boost a sluggish digestive system and provide rehydration. The minerals in this fruit will help to promote digestion, reduce heartburn and loosen trapped toxins. It aids in the production of stomach acid and contains pectin fibre which is beneficial to colon health. Pectin is also prebiotic, fibre that assists good gut health by feeding healthy gut bacteria.

Immune Boosting

Lemons are extremely rich in vitamin C. This important vitamin is crucial to the body in fighting off infections – both bacterial and viral. White blood cells contain twenty times the amount of vitamin C than other cells and require constant replenishment to keep the immune system working to its optimum capacity.

Lemons are also packed with immune boosting flavonoids that are antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal.

Lemon peel (which can be enjoyed in the form of a delicious Lemon peel herbal tea) has also been found to contain antibacterial properties. In a study published in the “British Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology”, the researchers found the peel contains coumarin and tetrazene. These compounds are known to be powerful anti-microbials.

Typical Use

Lemon Essential Oil

Use 6-8 drops of essential oil in a bath and 2-4 drops in an oil burner. Use 10 -18 drops of essential oil per 30ml of carrier oil or cream.

Lemon Peel Tea

1 - 2 tsp of lemon peel in 1 cup of boiling water, steep for 10 - 15 minutes, then strain and serve.

Folklore and History

Use of the lemon was recorded in Greece by 300 BC. By 20 BC cultivators were noted in Italy, and evidence of it has been discovered in the ruins of Pompeii. Lemon was the first citrus fruit known in the Mediterranean region.

 

It was specifically described in a 10th-century Arabic treatise on farming. The medicinal virtues of the lemon were documented in North Africa by the 12th century, and seeds were brought to the Caribbean and Florida by the Spanish before 1500 AD. It was cultivated in California beginning in 1750. By 1870, to supply growing demand in the United States and avoid their importation from Sicily, Floridians revived commercial cultivation of the lemon.

Lemon
Constituents

Terpenes as Limonene, a-pinene, b-pinene, y-terpinene, camphene, phellandrene, p-cymene, sabinene,myrcene,aldehydes as citral, citronellal, nonanol,octanol, decanal, sesquiterpenes as b-bisobolene, a-bergamotene, alcohols as linalool, geranoil, octanol, nonanol, a-terpineol, lactones, coumarins as bergaptene, bergamotttin, esters as neryl acetate, geranyl acetate, terpinyl acetate.

Precautions

None known. Can be used in safely in pregnancy. Avoid use with sensitive skin.