Lemons (Citrus × limon) are citrus fruits known for their vibrant yellow color, sour taste and aromatic fragrance. Lemons are produced on a small evergreen tree that is native to regions in Asia. They belong to the Rutaceae family, and are cultivated Worldwide in warm, temperate climates.

Lemon Fruits

Lemons are oval or elliptical in shape, with a textured peel that ranges from bright yellow to pale yellow. The pulp inside is juicy and divided into segments, containing numerous small seeds. Lemons are rich in vitamin C, citric acid and various antioxidants, making them a popular ingredient in culinary dishes, beverages and household products. They are commonly used to add flavor to foods, drinks and desserts, as well as for their acidic properties in cooking and baking.

History & Habitat of Lemons

Lemons are produced on a small evergreen tree that is native to regions in Asia. The lemon tree was introduced to Europe sometime around 1 A.D., but was not widely cultivated there until the 15th century. Christopher Columbus introduced lemon seeds to the Americas during his voyages of discovery. Lemons are mainly produced commercially in China and Mexico, as well as the South American countries of Brazil and Argentina.

Useful Parts of the Lemon Plant

When it comes to lemons, nearly the entire plant can be used for health benefits.

The juice of Lemons is often widely used to gain these health benefits as it is easily extracted from the fruit. Tonics are often made from the juice for a refreshing drink and for health purposes.

Lemon juice is an acid (pH 2-3) as it is made up of about 5% Citric Acid. The word Citric Acid is often confused with the scientific name of Vitamin C which is Ascorbic Acid, as Lemon Juice also contains lots of Vitamin C.

Lemons are one of the only foods that are anionic (alkaline) but this only applies to fresh lemons, as after about half an hour of reacting with the air (oxidation) lemon juice becomes cationic (acidic). It is interesting to note that the only other edible substance that is anionic is pure Calcium.

The fruit and grated peel are frequently used in the preparation of foods and beverages for flavor and aroma.

Leaves from the Lemon Tree can be used to make teas and for flavouring when cooking meats and sea foods.

Additionally, lemon essential oil is extracted from the peel and used in aromatherapy, cleaning products and personal care items.

The crisp and tangy aroma of lemon is unmistakable and it is therefore often used to scent many different household and beauty products.

Main Active Ingredients in Lemons

Vitamin C

Lemons are most known for their Vitamin C content. With 53 grams of Vitamin C, one lemon provides more than 60 percent of the daily recommended allowance for this nutrient. Lemons also contain a range of other vitamins and minerals.

Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil is extracted from the peel of the lemon fruit, the rind, which makes up about 45 percent of the lemon, through a cold-press or steam distillation process. It contains the aromatic compounds and therapeutic properties of lemon, including its refreshing citrus scent and potential health benefits.

Lemon peel contains over 200 compounds, both volatile and non-volatile. Lemon oil contains about 70 percent limonene and about 20 percent other monoterpenes. This oil also contains about 6 percent aldehydes, alcohols, and esters, such as citral and linalool, with less than 1 percent concentration of coumarins.

Lemon essential oil is commonly used in aromatherapy, personal care products, cleaning products, and as a flavoring agent in food and beverages.

Health Benefits of Lemons

The Lemon fruit has many health improvement properties. Lemons are known for their very high vitamin C content. Vitamin C, along with other vitamins and minerals in lemons have been shown to help fight infections, boost immune system, aiding digestion, promoting hydration, supporting skin health and even helping with weight loss efforts.

Lemon essential oil also has many health benefits, and coupled with its delightful and distinctive aroma, it is no wonder it is a highly desirable aromatherapy oil. It is a very versatile remedy for the whole body. The essential oils can be used in the following ways: they can be inhaled as aromas, taken internally if diluted, or applied topically for a variety of conditions.

Below are some of the most interesting health benefits of lemons and their essential oils:

Lemons Improve Mood

Studies performed by The Ohio State University showed that subjects exposed to lemon oil aroma were consistently affected with improved and more positive mood outcomes. In fact, levels of the feel-good chemical neurotransmitter called norepinephrine were actually increased upon inhalation of lemon, showing an actual physical and emotional effect within the brain.

Lemons Improve Energy and Alertness

The scent of lemons can improve brain functioning, increasing alertness, mental focus, and clarity. The revitalizing effects of lemon oil are due to its uplifting and energizing scent. Lemon oil may also be taken internally for an energy boost.

Antimicrobial Properties of Lemons

Lemon oil has antimicrobial properties, making it excellent at reducing many types of bacteria, viruses and fungus. It can be used internally to help with cold and flu symptoms, and to help gastrointestinal disturbances. Lemon oil makes an excellent mouthwash, and can also be applied to affected skin areas to reduce inflammation and microbial activity.

Lemon Oil for Skin and Hair

Lemon oil helps to dissolve oils and reduce oil production on the skin and hair, making it a good choice for the treatment of acne. Lemon oil also has lightening effects that can be used on the skin or in the hair.

Lemons Help with Acne

The citric acid and vitamin C contained in lemons have been shown to work wonders for acne patients. As an alkaline fruit, lemons also kill many forms of bacteria that are known to cause acne. Drinking lemon juice with water every morning is the easiest way to tap into these healing properties, but there are some more powerful solutions for those suffering with worse cases of acne.

Mixing one part of lemon juice with one part of rose or honey water and placing it on areas of the skin affected by acne has been shown to be an effective solution. The solution is to be left on the skin for a half hour and then washed off with water. This procedure is to be repeated twice daily.

Another treatment is to apply fresh lemon juice directly to affected areas with a cotton ball or swab and leave it overnight. The solution should then be cleaned off in the morning. As this is the least diluted of all the above solutions, it has a tendency to burn at first, but is considered the most effective way to use lemons to treat acne.

Lemons Reduce Negative Emotions

Not only are lemons good for the skin, but seemingly for the psyche as well. Consumption of lemons, or even just inhaling the aroma (aromatherapy) has been shown to improve mood and lessen or even remove tension, nervousness, anxiety, exhaustion, dizziness and fatigue.

Lemons are also thought to improve concentration, which is why so many room fresheners and air sprays are lemon scented. Some people even squeeze a few lemon drops on a handkerchief and inhale it to help with focus.

Lemons Can Treat Canker Sores (Mouth Ulcers)

Using lemon juice to treat cancer sores (also known as mouth ulcers) is a common home remedy due to its antibacterial properties and ability to promote healing. Lemons have scientifically proven antiviral and antibacterial qualities.

A glass of lukewarm lemon juice mixed with water swished around the mouth, three times a day, has been shown to cure canker sores. As canker sores are open wounds, there may be some burning at first, but this is to be expected until the wounds become sterilized. Note that it’s essential to dilute the lemon juice with water to reduce acidity and minimize the risk of irritation.

Alternatively, you can apply the diluted lemon juice directly to the ulcer with a cotton swab, but make sure to rinse afterwards, and limit frequency to avoid potential irritation. Discontinue use if any discomfort occurs.

If mouth ulcers persist or worsen, consult a healthcare professional for further guidance.

Lemons Can Reduce Fever

Hot water, lemon juice and honey mixed together is a great solution to a fever. Consume every two hours until the fever subsides.

Lemon itself does not directly reduce the fever, but it can help alleviate symptoms associated with fever and support the body’s natural immune response. Here’s how lemon may be beneficial during a fever:

Hydration: Drinking lemon water or lemon juice mixed with water can help keep the body hydrated, which is essential during a fever. Proper hydration supports the body’s ability to regulate temperature and facilitates the elimination of toxins through urine.

Vitamin C: Lemons are a good source of vitamin C, which is known to support the immune system. Vitamin C helps the body produce white blood cells, which are crucial for fighting off infections. While vitamin C itself does not directly lower fever, it supports overall immune function, which can aid in recovery from illness.

Antioxidants: Lemon contains antioxidants, such as flavonoids, which may help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. While inflammation is a natural response to infection, excessive inflammation can worsen symptoms of fever. Antioxidants in lemon may help mitigate inflammation and support the body’s healing process.

Comfort: Drinking warm lemon water or lemon tea can provide soothing relief for a sore throat or congestion, which are common symptoms associated with fever and respiratory infections. The warmth and citrus aroma can also provide a comforting sensation.

Lemons Can Treat Colds and the Flu

Lemons have a twofold positive effect on colds and the flu. The vitamin C helps with the internal infection, whilst the antiviral properties of the lemon will help with the mucous membranes of your throat and mouth.

It is best to treat a cold or a flu at the very beginning and flood your system with as much vitamin C from lemons as you can find. Squeeze lemon juice fresh and mix with lukewarm water. Consume every two hours.

You can also combine lemon juice in water with a little sea salt, and use as a gargle to help with the sore throat that colds and the flu cause.

Lemons as a Topical Treatment for Corns

Slices of lemon placed between a bandage and a corn provide much needed nutrients to the callous part of the injury. The use of lemon essential oil is also proven to work wonders for callused areas.

Lemons Help Relieve Eczema

Eczema sufferers have found relief from lemon wraps. Dilute a small amount of lemon essential oil combined with honey in lukewarm water. Soak a cloth made of linen in this solution, squeeze out the extra solution, and place the cloth on the area of the body affected by eczema for 15 minutes at a time, 3 times a day.

Lemons Help Fight Fatigue

Long distance runners and hikers are known to simply stick a straw in the top of a lemon for a much needed boost of energy. Lemon juice seems to quench thirst much more effectively than water alone, and the taste and aroma seem to stimulate the brain, giving a much needed mental boost as well, that also helps fight fatigue.

Lemon Peel Can Reduce Cholesterol

A recent study has shown that eating Lemon Peel can be effective in lowering cholesterol. It’s thought this is not just due to the pectin concentration of lemon peel, but to a variety of active ingredients in the peel.

Lemon peel contains compounds such as flavonoids, polyphenols, and fiber, which are believed to contribute to its potential cholesterol-lowering effects.

Here’s how lemon peel may help reduce cholesterol levels:

Flavonoids: Lemon peel contains flavonoids, such as hesperidin and diosmin, which have been studied for their potential to lower cholesterol levels. Flavonoids are antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which are associated with high cholesterol levels.

Polysaccharides: Lemon peel contains soluble fibers known as polysaccharides, including pectin. Soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol levels by binding to cholesterol in the digestive tract and preventing its absorption into the bloodstream. This process reduces the amount of cholesterol that reaches the bloodstream, leading to lower total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.

Limonene: Limonene is a compound found in the essential oil of lemon peel, which has been studied for its potential cholesterol-lowering effects. Limonene may help inhibit the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which is involved in cholesterol synthesis in the liver. By blocking this enzyme, limonene may help lower cholesterol production in the body.

Antioxidant properties: The antioxidants present in lemon peel may help protect LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, which is a crucial step in the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). By reducing LDL oxidation, lemon peel antioxidants may help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with high cholesterol levels.

Lemons and the Alkaline Diet Method

The concept of “alkaline lemons” is related to the alkaline diet trend, which suggests that consuming foods that are alkaline-forming in the body can promote better health and prevent diseases. Lemons, despite being acidic in nature, are often considered alkaline-forming due to their mineral content and the way they are metabolized in the body.

Advocates of alkaline diets claim that consuming alkaline foods can help balance the body’s pH levels, which in turn may have various health benefits such as improved digestion, increased energy levels, and reduced risk of chronic diseases.

However, it’s essential to note that the alkaline diet concept is controversial, and scientific evidence supporting its health claims is limited. While lemons are indeed rich in alkaline minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium, their overall impact on the body’s pH balance is minimal. The body has sophisticated mechanisms to regulate its pH levels, and dietary changes are unlikely to significantly alter this balance.

Nevertheless, lemons are a nutritious fruit packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds. Including them in your diet can contribute to overall health and well-being, but their alkalinity should not be the primary focus of their health benefits.

How To Consume Lemons

Incorporating lemons into a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, along with regular exercise and other healthy lifestyle choices, is essential for overall health.

Lemons can serve as a health aid in many forms, including as an essential oil to be inhaled or applied topically, as a juice, a tea, as a bath water or facial and body wash.

Lemons can also be used as a natural antibacterial cleaning agent.

Always take care when taking herbs and Read Our Disclaimer.

Lemons Herb Notes / Side Effects

Whilst the Lemon fruit and leaves are very safe to use, when it comes to the essential oil, as with most essential oils it should be diluted before taking internally or applying topically.






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