Lemons are thought to have originated in the Himalayan foothills of North-East India, and from where they spread all across the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and as far as Americas. Limes are smaller in size and less sour in taste than lemons. Put together, both of these tiny fruits perhaps now the largest consumable among fruits all over the world.
Likewise to other citrus plants, lemons too are small, spreading, evergreen trees, growing up to 10-12 feet in most cultivated plantations. They flourish well in temperate and tropical environments, whereas, cold and frosty conditions would affect their growth adversely. Stems and branches are often armed with sharp, stout thorns. Fully-grown plant bears fragrant, white flowers in short cymes.
There are many health benefits of lemons that have been known for centuries. The two biggest are lemons’ strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers and their use as a weight loss aid because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain many substances–notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene–that promote immunity and fight infection.
Lemon juice, especially, has several health benefits associated with it. It is well known as a useful treatment for kidney stones, reducing strokes and lowering body temperature. As a refreshing drink, lemonade helps you to stay calm and cool. Read on to learn the health benefits of lemon.
1. Reduces the Appearance of Varicose Veins
Tired of unsightly varicose veins and spider veins? Use the blood-vessel strengthening properties of lemon to make your legs look younger and more beautiful. Mix several drops of lemon essential oil with a moisturizing oil of your choice, such as jojoba or avocado oil. Massage the mixture into the affected area on a regular basis and watch your unsightly varicose veins slowly disappear.
2. Anti-Cancer Benefits
Lemons contain 22 anti-cancer compounds, including naturally occurring limonene; oil which slows or halts the growth of cancer tumors in animals and flavonol glycosides which stop cell division in cancer cells.
3. Fights Osteoporosis
Lemon juice is rich in Vitamin C and helps the body to absorb calcium and fight osteoporosis. Two tablespoons of raw lemon juice diluted in a glass of warm water is good for pregnant women, as it helps build the bones in the unborn child.
4. Digestive Health Benefits
Lemons are little antibacterial powerhouses. Their bacteria-fighting properties destroy bad bacteria and allow good bacteria to flourish in the body, which can relieve indigestion and constipation. Add a few drops of lemon on your dish, and it will aid in digestion. Lemon acts as a blood purifier and a cleansing agent, so a good drink after lunch or dinner is fresh lemon soda. The recipe is lemon juice, cold water, soda, salts (common salt or rock salt) and sugar/honey for sweetness. You can also add some mint leaves or crushed fennel seeds for added flavor. Drink this whenever you have a heavy lunch or dinner.
5. Weight Loss Benefits
Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. Studies have shown people who maintain a more alkaline diet, do in fact lose weight faster.
6. Prevents Kidney Stones
Drinking one half-cup of lemon juice every day raises citrate levels in the urine. Studies have shown that this could protect against calcium stones in the kidney.
7. Treats High Blood Pressure
Pectin found in lemons can help lower cholesterol which causes high blood pressure. Flavonoids in lemons as well as vitamin P help strengthen the blood vessels. Lemons are also rich in potassium which helps prevent high blood pressure.
8. Skin Care Benefits
The vitamin C found in lemons is great for your skin. Vitamin C is a key ingredient in many skincare products because it neutralizes free radicals and stimulates cell renewal by exfoliating your skin. Try slicing a lemon in half and using it as a facial scrub at least once a week. This removes stubborn dirt and dead skin cells that build up on the surface of your skin and reveals a fresher layer of skin underneath. Lemon juice, being a natural antiseptic medicine, can also cure problems related to the skin. Lemon juice can be applied to reduce the pain of sun burn, and it helps to ease the pain from bee stings as well. Lemon juice can be applied on the skin for the treatment of acne and eczema. It acts as an anti-aging remedy and can remove wrinkles and blackheads. Drinking lemon juice mixed with water and honey brings a healthy glow to the skin, and if you thoroughly search the cosmetic market, you will find some soaps containing lemon juice, but they aren’t too easy to find!
9. Detoxifies Your Liver
According to herbalists and naturopaths, the sourness of lemons signals the nerves and hormones of the body to activate the liver and kidneys. The antioxidants in lemons also help enhance your kidney and liver function, enabling them to detoxify your body. As previously mentioned, lemon juice is also a mild diuretic which encourages your body to let go of stored water weight and flush out accumulated waste products. You will feel cleaner, lighter and more energetic than ever before. Detoxify your liver with a glass of lemon-water each morning. Simply add freshly-squeezed lemon juice to the first glass of water you drink each day.
10. Freshens Your Breath
Besides fresher breath, lemons have been known to help relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. Be aware that citric acid can erode tooth enamel, so you should be mindful of this. No not brush your teeth just after drinking your lemon water. It is best to brush your teeth first, then drink your lemon water, or wait a significant amount of time after to brush your teeth. Additionally, you can rinse your mouth with purified water after you finish your lemon water.
11. Lemon Juice Boosts Mineral Absorption
The vitamin C found in lemon juice has been shown to enhance mineral absorption, but you don’t need warm lemon juice to get this effect. Vitamin C is one of the most ubiquitous vitamins in fruits and vegetables. We often think of citrus fruits as being the major or even only source of C, but non-yellow and orange fruits and vegetables such as bell peppers, kale, strawberries, broccoli, and spinach all contain robust amounts of vitamin C. As long as you are having a fruit or vegetable with your morning meal, then you can expect to reap the enhanced absorption of minerals at that meal.
12. Boosts Your Immune System
Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds. They’re high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also helps control blood pressure. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) found in lemons demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects, and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms plus it enhances iron absorption in the body; iron plays an important role in immune function. Lemons also contain saponins, which show antimicrobial properties that may help keep cold and flu at bay. Lemons also reduce the amount of phlegm produced by the body.
13. Hair Care Benefits
Lemon juice has proven itself in the treatment of hair care on a wide scale. Lemon juice applied to the scalp can treat problems like dandruff, hair loss and other problems related to the hair and scalp. If you apply lemon juice directly on the hair, it can give your hair a natural shine.
14. Erases Eczema
If you suffer from skin infection such as eczema, a lemon wrap may offer relief. Add 8 drops of lemon essential oil to 1 cup (250ml) lukewarm water and 1 tablespoon (15ml) of liquid honey. Honey also has anti-inflammatory effect and strengthens the healing power of lemon.
Soak a linen cloth in the liquid, squeeze out the excess, and gently place the cloth on the affected area for 15 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day. Not only will this ease the infection, it will counter the overwhelming urge to scratch.
15. Alleviates Pain
Lemon essential oils create an aroma that relaxes blood vessels and reduces inflammation, which are key factors in pain relief. If you’re suffering from sore joints due to arthritis, rheuma or other inflammatory diseases, drinking a glass of lemon water each day could help ease your symptoms. Lemon extract can also help alleviate pain associated with sunburn if applied to the skin with water. Got PMS or premenstrual syndrome? Believe it or not, drinking the juice of a few lemons each day could help relieve your symptoms.
16. Helps Relieve Your Anxiety
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.