Is it just their taste or do lemons contribute something more? I mean, we have gone through the extra labor of spreading their seed and transporting them around the globe for centuries.
A zesty fruit of the Rutaceae family, Lemons originated in Asia and over the years have made their way around the world to find themselves served in tea, garnishes, juices, and delicious recipes across many cultures.
Lemons are considered cooling in nature which makes them great additions to water during hot weather. Within Chinese Medicine, the sour and astringent flavor of lemons helps cleanse the blood, thin the blood, promote weight loss, clear nasal congestion and discharge, support blood circulation, strengthen blood vessels, benefit the Liver and promote bile formation.
These fruits contain substances like hesperidin, B – sitosterol, diosmin, and vitamin c which make them extremely useful during episodes of dysentary, bronchitis, colds, flus, fevers, ear infections, hives, and hacking coughs due to their antiseptic, antimicrobial, mucus-resolving, and immune boosting properties.
One other interesting characteristic of lemons according to Chinese Medicine is that they support the production of fluids in the body. So, a glass of warm lemon water can help calm the nerves, soothe a soar throat, and ease cramps. Not to mention the limonoid compounds found in lemons help to fight various cancers like stomach, colon, lung, breast, mouth, and skin cancers.
Topically, lemons can help sores heal, relieve itchy insect bites, and soften corns. Just squeeze some lemon juice, soak a cotton ball in the juice and then place on that soar or pesky bug bite.
But a precaution: if you tend to have too much stomach acid or ulcers, the high content of citric acid in lemons may create some discomfort. It seems most people do not have a problem with this and find that lemons can provide some great benefits. You can always start introducing lemons slowly into your life and take notice to how they make you feel.
Lemons can be used in a variety of ways! They can be eaten raw or juiced, just like an orange, and can be used in salad dressing recipes. They can be squeezed into tea (hot or cold) or water to add flavor and still get the great beneficial properties of this fruit. Steaming a lemon and then eating it warm in the morning and night can help with coughs. You can add some slices to soups, crock pots, steamed veggies, and much more, skies the limit!
These amazing fruits have so many beneficial attributes it’s crazy that they end up in the trash can once we finish a meal and throw aside the garnish. So next time that lemon is served on the side of your glass or plate… squeeze it… eat it… love it… and enjoy!
by Matthew Mattox, A.P., Dipl. O.M.
Matthew Mattox earned a Masters of Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches University. He has practiced in Santa Cruz, CA with a focus on Sports Medicine and is currently practicing in Jacksonville, FL where he combines Chinese Medicine and Functional Medicine to provide integrated holistic care for his patients. Learn more about his practice at www.matthewmattox.org
Lu, H. (1986) Chinese System of Food Cures. 33,68.
Pitchford, Paul. (2002). Healing with Whole Foods, 3rd. 620.
Yifabg, Z. and Yingzhi, Y. (2012). Your Guide to Health with Foods and Herbs. 114-115.