I’m sure many of you are thinking it’s time to detox after the holidays. But did you know that lemons help the body detox naturally? There’s no reason to spend money on costly cleanses. All you need is water and some lemon juice.
Drink water and lemon to detox naturally
Sip a warm glass of water with lemon every morning. This helps purify your blood and get rid of toxins. Lemon juice has also been known to relieve a headache, lower blood pressure, freshen breath, reduce asthma symptoms, aid digestion and reduce respiratory phlegm. Lemons also help prevent arthritis, rheumatism, throat infections, gum disease, and kidney stones. If you want a little extra zing in your lemon water, add a bit of fresh ginger and honey.
Make sure to eat a little bit of the white pith of a lemon or other citrus fruits because they contain powerful bioflavonoids, that are anti-aging and health enhancing. The bioflavonoid levels are highest when a citrus fruit is picked fresh and ripe. Shred the white pith into lemon zest and use it to flavor dishes such as desserts, meat, fish or salads.
A brief world history of lemons
When I visited Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast in 2014, lemon trees were growing everywhere. Italians have been eating and using lemons since Roman times to flavor their food and desserts, make perfume, use as natural household products and for medicinal purposes. The Sfusato lemon of Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast is unique to Italy. It originated in the Himalayas where the Lamas used it for therapeutic purposes.
Citrus crops were first cultivated in China about 4,000 years ago. The Chinese became masters of growing citrus and introduced it to India. Arab traders brought citrus trees to the Middle East and the Mediterranean as early as 310 BC.
Frescos at the ruins of Pompeii depict citron trees (a type of citrus) but they were only used for decoration and not to eat. The Romans started growing citron somewhere around the 1st century BC. At first, the citron trees didn’t bear fruit because the climate was too cool so they developed special enclosures with glass made of mica. It kept out the cold and let the sun shine in. They didn’t start to eat the fruit until about the 4th century. By the end of the 14th century, they had improved their greenhouses and constructed artificially heated “orangeries.”
Arab traders brought other varieties of citrus such as lemons, sour oranges, and sweet oranges to the Mediterranean region around the 7th century and spread Islam as well as Arabic culture throughout the area.
The citrus industry in the Mediterranean didn’t really start to blossom until after the discovery of the Americas.
Columbus planted citrus seeds on the islands of Haiti and the Dominican Republic in 1493 and they eventually spread to the other islands in the Caribbean. By the 16th century, the Spanish had introduced citrus to Mexico, Florida, and Peru. The Portuguese brought citrus to Brazil. The fruit of oranges and lemons were initially grown to provide vitamin C for sailors on long sea voyages so they wouldn’t become ill with scurvy. Franciscan monks later introduced citrus to California in 1769 where it eventually became a huge industry. California lemons include the sweet Meyer and Eureka varieties.
- A traditional dish on the Amalfi Coast is a plate of lemon and orange slices served with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt.
- In the Arab world, lemons were used to season meat and fish because its puckery flavor stimulated the appetite.
- The Sacra Infermeria, medieval Europe’s largest hospital, run by the Knights of Malta, used lemons as an antiseptic for gastrointestinal infections.
- Although a lemon contains citric acid, it makes your water more alkaline with a higher pH.
Uses for lemons
- Lighten up age spots – Apply a cut lemon to dark spots and freckles. Let it sit on your skin for 15 minutes.
- Remove warts – Dab lemon juice directly on a wart using a Q-tip or cotton cloth. Repeat for several days and it will start to disappear.
- Clean and whiten nails – Soak your fingers in a bath of warm water and lemon juice. Rub some lemon peel back and forth on top of your nails.
- Soften up elbows and feet – Mix baking soda and lemon juice to make a paste. Rub it into your elbows or rough parts of your feet. Rinse and then massage elbows and feet with olive oil.
- Treat dandruff – Massage your scalp with 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice and then rinse.
- Freshen up your refrigerator – Soak a cotton ball in lemon juice and leave it in your fridge for several hours.
- Sanitize your cutting board – Rub half of a cut lemon over your cutting board after use.
- Keep insects out of your house – Squirt lemon juice on doors and thresholds. Squeeze the juice into holes and cracks where ants are entering. Scatter lemon peel around an outdoor entrance.
- Wash your floor – Mix the juice of 4 lemons with ½ gallon of water and then mop. Fleas and roaches hate this.
- Freshen your trashcan – Toss lemon and orange peels under the garbage bag and repeat every couple weeks.
- Freshen your closet and prevent moths – Stick cloves into a ripe lemon and put it in your closet. It will dry and keep your closet smelling great. Moths, on the other hand, hate this.
- Room deodorizer – Simmer water on the stove and add lemon or orange peels, cinnamon sticks, cloves and apple skins. This is a non-toxic way to freshen your house.
- Remove berry, beet and other stains from your hands – Wash your hands with lemon juice, wait a few minutes, and then wash with soapy water. Repeat until your hands are clean.
- Bleach and clean clothes – Instead of using chlorine bleach, soak your clothing items in a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda 1 hour before washing. You can also scrub stains out of clothing by using equal parts of lemon juice and water. Add 1 cup of lemon juice to your wash cycle to boost your detergent.
Next time you go to the grocery store, make sure to buy a bag of fresh lemons. Squeeze them in your water or your tea to naturally detox your body, flavor your foods, use on your body or to clean your house.
What’s your favorite use for lemons? Please leave a comment below and let us know.