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Health Benefits & Uses of Lemons and Lemon Water

By Heather Levin

This article is part of the Money Crashers Natural Medicine Cabinet Series, outlining 20 of the top natural home remedies and treatment.

lemonsMost of us use lemons regularly in the kitchen. Lemon is great spritzed over salmon, added to rice with dill, and mixed into lemonade. Delicious!

But what many people don’t know is that lemons have a ton of other uses outside of flavoring food which can also save you a significant amount of money.  In the book 1,801 Home Remedies: Trustworthy Treatments for Everyday Health Problems, Reader’s Digest classifies lemons as a “Top Household Healer.”

In fact, lemons are so useful that they made the cover of the book!

Health Benefits of Lemons

First of all, lemons are jam-packed with vitamin C. They also contain a hefty dose of vitamin B, as well as calcium, vitamin A, phosphorus, and vitamin E.

Reader’s Digest also reports that lemons are an incredibly rich source of healing chemical compounds that improve immunity, strengthen blood vessels, help skin heal, and block cell changes that can lead to cancer.

People have been using lemons medicinally for thousands of years, and with good reason. This bright little fruit has a myriad of uses that we should be harnessed in our own homes.

Home Remedies & Uses for Lemons

  1. Banish Kidney Stones. Kidney stones run in my family; I’ve had several in my life and they are awful. I still have a ton of stones in my kidneys, just waiting around to cause me future misery. As a result, I’ve started drinking hefty doses of lemon water every day. Why? Because lemons are loaded with citric acid, which is a chemical that reduces calcium excretion and helps prevent the formation of kidney stones. To dissolve the stones that are already there, I’m eating dandelion leaves and  parsley, both of which are known to aid in dissolving existing kidney stones.
  2. Cure a Cold. Again, lemons are loaded with vitamin C, which has been proven to boost your immune system and lowers the levels of histamine in your body. Histamine is what contributes to stuffy noses and runny eyes. Add lemons as one of your natural cold and flu remedies at home.
  3. Banish Age Spots. Putting fresh lemon juice on age spots will help reduce their appearance over time. You need to do it daily for this method to work effectively however.
  4. Help Lower Blood Pressure. Lemons are high in potassium, which means drinking lemon water can help reduce your blood pressure naturally. Drinking lemon water can also help reduce dizziness and nausea.
  5. Aid Digestion. Lemons have awesome digestive properties. Drinking lemon water can help you avoid constipation and relieve gas and belching.
  6. Strengthen Veins. Do you suffer from varicose veins? Add more lemon to your diet. Lemon zest is rich in a bioflavenoid called rutin, which strengthens the walls of the veins. It can even reduce the occurrence of varicose veins.
  7. Possibly Prevent Breast Cancer. Reader’s Digest reports that there’s a chemical, limonene, that’s found in the peel and white membrane of the lemon. Scientists have discovered that limonene has anti-tumor activity. They’re currently studying limonene’s effect on breast cancer for prevention and treatment.
  8. Relieve Heartburn. A teaspoon of lemon in half a glass of hot water can help relieve heartburn.
  9. Relieve a Sore Throat. Lemon juice can help relieve a sore throat. Simply gargle with fresh lemon juice and hot water. This will also help kill the throat infection completely.
  10. Improve Skin. Drinking lemon water can do wonders for your skin by enhancing it from within (thanks to its wonderful vitamin C content). It will help make your skin brighter, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and even remove blackheads.

How Much Lemon?

The easiest way to get more lemon in your diet is to spritz fresh lemon juice into your water.

I try to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day, and I usually end up using an entire lemon in all that water. For people weighing less than 150 lbs., this is an ideal amount. If you weigh more than that, then you might want to shoot for one and a half lemons per day.

Final Word

Do you know of any other uses for lemons I haven’t covered here? What’s your favorite way to slip more lemon into your diet?

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

Heather Levin
Heather Levin is a freelance writer based in Detroit, MI. She's passionately committed to living green, saving money, and helping others do the same in their life.

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  • Heather D

    Nice feature on lemons! Don’t forget….Don’t through away the peels and rinds without using them first. You can use a little baking soda on the leftover half to rub stains off the counterop, then throw it down the garbage disposal the freshen it!

  • Big Dave

    The acid in lemons makes it ideal for cleaning and disinfecting cutting boards. After you have squeezed out the juice, sprinkle some coarse salt in your cutting board and rub vigorously with the cut lemon. Cleans, kills germs, and it smells great. Speaking of smell, throw that squeezed peel in some water and microwave it a few minutes. your kitchen will smell wonderful for hours!

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