The mighty lemon. Pretty, sour, strong, versatile, and a great benefit to humankind. From lemonade to piccata, we use it in recipes for its distinct flavor; from furniture polish to air freshener, we use it for its cleaning and deodorizing. But do we know all the wonderful things this little fruit does for us?
Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a big bag of these yellow pearls of health—or grow your own indoor lemon tree—and use them with abandon; every bit of the fruit can be applied in one way or another. Some real-life practical examples follow.
Juice Inside – Antibacterial, Antiviral, Antioxidant, and Cancer-fighting
- Mix lemon juice and warm water in a gargle to kill bacteria causing sore throat. Add some salt water to fight tonsillitis.
- Prevent and dissolve kidney and gallstones – the citric acid does the trick, breaking up calcium clumps.
- Mix lemon juice and honey with warm water to support the immune system, kill viruses, calm aches and pains, and provide vital nutrients necessary to treat colds and flu.
- Reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol from lemon’s vitamin C and antioxidant limonene. (1) Chronically high LDL levels are associated with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, liver disease, and a slew of other illnesses. (2)
- Aid digestion and ease constipation with lemon juice mixed with warm water. Citric acid breaks down food and clears toxins from the digestive tract. (3)
- Daily consumption of lemon peels has been found to prevent skin cancer due to their limonene content. (4) Lemon extract has been found to cause apoptosis (death) in breast cancer cells. (5)
- A potent anti-inflammatory, lemons reduce edema and are a natural diuretic. (6)
- The phytochemicals in lemon have been found to suppress weight gain and body fat accumulation by increasing the metabolism of fats. (7) Its juice, pith, and rind contain pectin, which is a natural dietary fiber that makes you feel full, to avoid overeating. The fiber also attaches to toxins and heavy metals in the blood, aiding in their elimination from the body.
- Lower blood glucose levels naturally: a squirt of lemon juice on anything you’re eating will reduce its glycemic index on contact by slowing the conversion of complex carbohydrates to sugars. (8)
- Lemon balm—especially when combined with valerian—has a calming, anti-stress, anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effect. (9)
Juice Outside – Astringent, Cleansing, Antibacterial, and Nutritious
- Nose bleeds – by placing a cotton ball moistened with lemon juice inside the nostril, the astringent action will constrict blood vessels to stop the bleeding.
- Citric acid in lemon is pretty powerful stuff. It will loosen the bonds of dead skin on your feet so cracked heels are a thing of the past—just put a lemon peel on your heels while you sleep and slough in the morning. It also works on corns and calluses. Wear those summer sandals with pride.
- Lemon juice will kill the bacteria that cause acne and clean your pores. It can fade scars and eliminate wrinkles through its hydrating effects, vitamins, minerals, and gentle astringents.
- Lemon juice mixed with honey is a natural antibacterial and moisturizing bleach for your face and body. The same mixture will also take the sting and itch out of insect bites and repel bugs from biting you to begin with.
- Lemon essential oil mixed with equal amounts of lavender and cypress oils, combined with a carrier oil (jojoba, coconut, almond, avocado), and massaged into the skin where spider or varicose veins are present will strengthen and tighten cell walls, reducing inflammation and vein appearance. (10)
In the Home
- Lemon juice can effectively clean a wood cutting board, cutting through food gunk and disinfecting.
- Citric acid from lemon will cut through grease and grime and can be used on any non-porous surface for streak-free cleaning, like mirrors, windows, kitchen and bathroom counters, sinks and toilets.
- Lemon juice is a natural bleach that can be used to clean food stains on clothes and hard surfaces. Adding baking soda adds a mild abrasive and cleaning power for tough stuff like stovetops and food containers.
- Got mildew and lime scale in the bathroom? Lemon juice will clean, disinfect, and deodorize without the strong smell and health hazards of harsh chemicals. Apply lemon juice and let sit for ten minutes before scrubbing to get rid of the unsightly goo. For grout, mix a teaspoon of cream of tartar with enough lemon juice to make a paste, apply to grout and scrub with a hard toothbrush, then rinse clean.
- One teaspoon of lemon juice mixed with sixteen ounces of vegetable oil makes a nourishing wood furniture polish.
- The brown mineral deposits on stainless steel pots and kettles can be removed by boiling two lemon slices. Turn off the heat, let it sit for two hours, then rinse and allow to dry.
Use your imagination and let lemons into your life in a big way.