The benefits of the modest lemon

Throughout history people have used taken advantage of the benefits of the modest lemon. People have used lemons not just as a flavourful food ingredient but also for its health and other practical benefits. The following (incomplete) list of benefits will hopefully motivate everyone to plant a lemon tree now.

Culinary benefits of lemons

Lemons have a sour citric flavour which will freshen up most recipes when added to the final dish like a seasoning. They are acidic meaning they are beneficial in marinades, sauces and for helping to ‘cut’ the greasiness of the other ingredients.

Lemons are used in baking, desserts and refreshing drinks. They are a key ingredient in many dishes like lemon chicken, fish pie and lemon rice. Lemons are often used in fish and meat marinades as well as being a common ingredient in many salad dressings and sauces. Indeed, simply sprinkling a few drops, of lemon juice as a garnish over any sort of dish will enhance and lift the flavours.

Health benefits of lemons

There are many health benefits of lemons that have been known for centuries. Who wasn’t prescribed hot lemon and honey drinks by their mother when they were at home sick from school? The two main benefits are first, lemons’ strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers and second, their use as a weight loss aid because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser.

Lemons contain many beneficial substances–notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene–that promote immunity, fight infection and help cleanse the body of toxins and free radicles.

Whether you use them in the form of juice, teas, drinks, dressing, poultices or in the bath, take advantage of lemons’ natural healing power and general health benefits. Here are a few ways it does it.

The health benefits

  • The Vitamin C in lemon helps the body fight infection.
  • Lemon is an antioxidant which inhibits free radicals in your body, helping to prevent many dangerous diseases like stroke, cardiovascular diseases and cancers.
  • It lowers blood pressure and increases the levels of HDL (good cholesterol).
  • Lemon juice aids detoxification. A squeeze of lemon juice in warm water every morning will help detoxify your liver and purify your whole body.
  • A warm water and lemon juice drink every morning also lowers cholesterol levels and helps brings down your weight.
  • Lemon juice can be applied to bites and stings to relieve the poison and pain.
  • Used for marinating seafood or meat, lemon juice kills bacteria and other organisms present in them thereby prevents many gastrointestinal tract infections.
  • Lemon juice can also be used as a mouthwash. It removes plaque, whitens the teeth and strengthens the enamel.

Cleaning benefits of lemons

As well as smelling nice lemons are acidic and contain chemicals that are antiseptic meaning they will cut through greasy residues, killing germs and deodorising your home and contents.

  • Use a half lemon and salt to clean even the most heavily discoloured brass (real brass, not brass plated). Be careful with antiques. Always test a small spot before scrubbing away.
  • The same method can be used for copper items such has copper bottoms of pots. You can also shine up chrome taps or the chrome on older model cars with lemon and salt.
  • Diluted lemon juice not only cleans stains from cutting boards but helps kill germs as well. Rub the juice full strength onto the stain and let sit until the stain fades. It can be left overnight, then rinsed well and dried.
  • Clean your microwave and remove odours. Place a cup ¾ full of water with a couple tablespoons of lemon juice in the microwave. Heat to boiling. Don’t open the door for another 10 minutes. Then just wipe away food particles with a clean cloth and dry.
  • A dilute solution of lemon juice in a spray bottle can be used to clean surfaces. Rinse with water and dry afterwards. Clean windows and mirrors. Put a few tablespoons of lemon juice and water into a spray bottle. Works as well as a vinegar solution and smells better.
  • Scrub grills and grates with lemon juice and salt.
  • Remove odours from your refrigerator with a half lemon on a saucer. Change once a week. Soaking plastic food containers in dilute lemon juice will remove stains and odours.
  • Add a few drops of lemon juice to your dish soap to boost degreasing ability.
  • Remove grease stains from clothing. Rub lemon juice into the spot and let sit overnight and then wash as normal.
  • Sanitize earrings by placing them in a saucer of lemon juice.
  • Clean hard water stains on glass shower doors with a half cut lemon.
  • Clean mineral build-up on a tea kettle and coffee pots by boiling lemon slices in the pots. Allow the mixture to sit for an hour or two, and then rinse and dry.

Read more about alternative cleaners here »