Go Suck a Lemon : The Simple Way to Detox

By looking at our language around the word lemon, we’d think lemons are not a good thing.

… the lemon law (for a defective car), “go suck a lemon” (anger, scorn), “when life gives you lemons…”, handing someone a lemon …

By now, though, you’ve probably heard how drinking lemon water is great for your liver. Yes, lemons help cleanse and detoxify the liver, kidneys, spleen, thyroid, gall bladder, and digestive system.


Lemons are ultrahydrating and electrolyte-producing, because they are a top source of mineral salts and trace mineral salts. Traces of bioavailable sodium in lemons are a driving force in the value they offer our bodies.

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Perhaps counterintuitive, a lemon is actually alkalinizing inside the body. Its minerals help to reduce acidity in the blood. It has antibacterial and antiviral properties. This little fruit that originated in Southeast Asia is also packed with highly absorbable Vitamin C, riboflavin, magnesium, bioactive calcium, potassium, fibre … and negatively-charged ions which increase oxygen flow. Just sniffing a lemon helps us feel more awake and alert!

Magnesium and Sleep

In today’s world, many people are stressed and sleep quality and habits both suffer. While there are numerous reasons for poor sleep, one reason is magnesium deficiency. A lack of magnesium can stem from diet and from depletion due to stress.

According to Dr Rory Gibbons, ND, Magnesium supplementation can help improve quality of sleep in three ways.

  • Magnesium, which relaxes skeletal muscles, help with shoulder tensions and leg cramps.
  • Magnesium can help shift the mind by turning off neurotransmitters that ramp up brain activity while turning on those that increase calm.
  • The brain releases the adrenocorticotropic hormone which stimulates the sensitivity of the adrenal glands to stress. This in turn increases the stress hormone cortisol. Magnesium acts to reduce the release of this hormone while a deficiency in magnesium can cause inappropriately high cortisol levels.

Two lemons in a bowl

Here are some ways to use lemon for health:

Choose ripe and brightly-coloured lemons. The antioxidants increase as lemons ripen. Skip the dull-looking and wrinkly ones. For more juice content, pick heavier and thinner skinned.

Lemons are a great natural remedy for a variety of health challenges, including sluggish digestion, low energy, irregularity, bad breath, and acne. One lemon is already half of the daily recommendation for Vitamin C!

  • For liver support

    Drink two 16-oz glasses of water with the juice of half a lemon. Allow 30 minutes of rest for your liver to “activate” before eating breakfast.

  • For acne

    Apply lemon juice topically and allow it to dry. Rinse off with a water and olive oil mixture.

  • For fevers, colds, and flus

    Mix the juice of one lemon with hot or lukewarm water and drink every two hours until the condition improves.

  • For sore throats

    Gargle lukewarm water mixed with juice of one lemon and 1 teaspoon of sea salt.

  • For toothache

    Apply lemon juice to where the pain is.

  • For fatigue or better concentration

    Diffuse lemon essential oil or boil lemon water.

  • For better sleep

    Add raw honey and lemon juice to a cup of warm water to calm electrical impulses for a restful sleep.

  • For an insect repellent

    Make a spray with 1 cup of water and 15 to 20 drops of lemon oil; place a cotton ball soaked with lemon oil in the room; apply to the skin a mixture of about 10 drops of lemon oil to about 1.5 oz of a base oil.

  • For travel sickness or nausea

    Suck on a lemon wedge for a couple of minutes (be sure to rinse with water afterwards) or drink some water with lemon juice. According to Ayurveda, excessive Kapha in the stomach leads to vomiting and because lemon juice helps relieve this accumulation and also because of its cleansing action, lemons help with nausea.

  • For weight loss

    Mix 1 to 2 spoons of lemon juice with a glass of hot water. Drink on an empty stomach in the morning to reduce fat deposition.


Going through detox without drinking enough water is like taking the trash to the curb with no waste-management service to pick it up.

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… and if you want to drink more water, flavouring it with lemon juice seems to do the trick for most people. Hydration is often forgotten as an essential health-boosting habit. [Read about The Role of Hydration]

The lemon/lemon-juice remedies may be unsuitable if you have an allergy to citrus or have kidney, gall bladder or heartburn problems. Using lemon juice topically is also not advised for children under the age of ten.


Lemon water photo by monika-grabkowska
Photo by Monika Grabkowska