Lemon;use, effects and recipes

The lemon tree bears the bright green to yellow, sour-tasting citrus fruit, the lemon. It is one of the most popular citrus fruits and one of the most imported fruits in the world. The vitamin C contained in lemon and other phytochemicals stimulate the circulation, effectively fight inflammation and urinary tract diseases and are a home remedy for cramps . Lemon water strengthens the immune system, stimulates digestion , promotes concentration and regulates the acid-base balance . The essential lemon oil that is extracted from the peel of the lemon can be used as a room fragrance and can be found in many cosmetics.


  • Wanted poster for lemon
  • Lemon tree – herbal portrait
  • Lemon Ingredients
  • Medicinal properties of lemon
  • Medical studies
  • Application and dosage
  • Lemon oil – side effects
  • Hot lemon – a tried and tested home remedy for a cold
  • Lemon water invigorates and promotes digestion
  • Refine cosmetics with lemon oil
  • Homemade lemon oil

Wanted poster for lemon

  • Scientific name: Citrus x limon
  • Plant family:Rutaceae (diamond family)
  • Popular names:lemon, lime, sour lemon
  • Occurrence:Mediterranean areas, India, Florida
  • Plant parts used:fruit, fruit peel
  • Application areas:
    • asthma
    • bronchitis
    • difficulties swallowing
    • Tonsillitis
    • cramps
    • Urinary tract disease
    • to cough
    • fatigue
    • Bleeding gums

Lemon tree – herbal portrait

The lemon or lime is the bright yellow, approximately ten centimeter large fruit of the evergreen lemon tree ( Citrus x limon ). The species Citrus x limon includes various varieties, the best known

  • Lunario,
  • Feminello,
  • Primofiori,
  • Meyer lemon
  • and Lisbon.

The lemon tree grows up to ten meters high and there are small delicate thorns on the branches. Citrus x limon is a cross between blood orange ( Citrus x aurantium ) and citronate lemon ( Citrus medica ), which probably originated in India. Other close relatives of the lemon tree are limes, bergamots and mandarins.

The lemon tree has white flowers that bloom from pale pink buds and appear all year round. They consist of five fused sepals, five ungrown petals and about 20 long stamens that are fused in groups.

The petals are pink underneath. The green, firm and leathery leaves are elongated and slightly notched on the edge. The fruit of the lemon tree, like the flowers, appears all year round and is divided into eight to ten segments filled with pulp, corresponding to the carpels, which are separated by a delicate membrane.

The fruit is surrounded by a white peel on the inside and a firm, thick, green or yellow peel on the outside. Oil glands are located in the flowers, in the leaves and in the outer skin and spread the fresh, aromatic lemon scent. Fresh, sour lemon juice and pectin are obtained from the vitamin C-rich lemon, and essential oil from the peel. Lemon trees are grown for consumption of the fruit, but also as ornamental plants.

The lemon tree needs a warm, humid climate all year round. He cannot tolerate any frost. It can do well as a houseplant or in the garden in the tub if it is brought in before the frost. Lemon has been found in the Mediterranean and China since the year 1000, and the lemon tree did not come to Germany until the 16th century. In the 18th century it was discovered that lemon juice prevented scurvy, a seafaring disease that results from a vitamin C deficiency.

In the Renaissance and Baroque periods, lemon trees were planted in ornamental gardens in Central Europe because they were very popular because of their scent and symbolized fertility, purity and eternal life. In the orangeries, the lemon trees, which are expensive to import and sensitive to frost, could also overwinter in Central Europe. Hence a great culture of orangeries, the winter gardens, arose.

The lemon was understood as the golden apple of the Hesperides. In Greek mythology, the Hesperides were nymphs who, together with the dragon Ladon, watched over a garden of golden apples, which, through consumption, helped the gods to eternal youth. Botanists such as Giovanni Battista Ferrari and Carl von Linné associated citrus fruits with these golden apples and therefore botanically summarized citrus fruits under the name Hesperides.

The essential oil is extracted from the peel of lemons through gentle cold pressing. Lemon oil is used for a variety of ailments:

  • Cold,
  • Asthma,
  • Digestive problems,
  • Fungal infections,
  • Acne,
  • Cellulite,
  • Bad breath
  • and inflammation of the gums.

The freshly scented lemon oil is also very popular as a room fragrance and in cosmetics and perfumes.

The grated lemon peel gives baked goods a fresh and sour aroma. However, only organically grown untreated lemons should be used for consumption, as the fruits are often sprayed with chemicals to preserve them.

In addition to vitamin C, lemons contain many other valuable ingredients. (Image: nolonely / stock.adobe.com)

Lemon Ingredients

Lemon contains not only important minerals and vitamin C, but also essential oils and other important secondary plant substances. The ingredients in lemon include:

  • Essential oils (citral, citronellal, geranyl acetate, limonene, linalyl acetate, α-terpineol),
  • Monoterpenes,
  • Flavonoids (rutin),
  • Carotenoids,
  • organic acids (citric acid),
  • Coumarin derivatives,
  • Pectins,
  • Potassium,
  • Vitamin C,
  • Magnesium,
  • phosphorus
  • and calcium.

Medicinal properties of lemon

The ingredients of the lemon work

  • blood sugar lowering,
  • antibacterial,
  • astringent,
  • invigorating,
  • lowering cholesterol,
  • anti-inflammatory,
  • digestive,
  • diuretic,
  • expectorant,
  • sweaty
  • and antispasmodic.

The acidic juice of the fruit is not acidic in the human body, but rather basic due to the minerals it contains . The consumption of lemons contributes to a balanced diet and a balanced acid-base balance . Lemon juice fights pathogens, inhibits inflammation, loosens phlegm, drives sweat and urine. The potassium contained in the juice has a relaxing effect and strengthens the muscles , while the pectin has a cholesterol-lowering effect.

The essential oil of lemon tightens the skin , can soothe warts , acne or insect bites and gives the hair a silky shine. It is very often used in aromatherapy because the terpenes it contains promote concentration. These secondary plant substances also have an antibacterial, antiviral and fungicidal effect.

Medical studies

A study from Japan looked at the effects of citrus oil on immune function and depression . The research showed that the doses of antidepressants required to treat depression could be significantly reduced through regular citrus oil consumption. The neuroendocrine hormone level was also normalized and the immune function of the patients was better than after taking antidepressants.

The bitter taste of the lemon is due to the limonoids it contains. These have an antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and antioxidant effect. As chemical compounds, they work against cancer and lower cholesterol. This is shown by a study from 2007. Another study from the USA also suggests the anticarcinogenic effects of citrus oil and states that limonoids in citrus oil can help prevent breast cancer that reacts to estrogen.

A model study by German scientists examined the terpenes contained in citrus oil with regard to their ability to suppress the development of cancer. The focus was on the investigation of liver cancer cells from hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common malignant liver tumor. The experts were able to decipher a signaling pathway showing how cancer cell growth was reduced by terpenes and identify an odor receptor in the liver cells that responded directly to terpenes.

A study from 2008 examined the effect of the essential oils of lemon ( Citrus lemon L. ) and other citrus fruits on the growth of molds . The oil of the lemon showed an antifungal activity against all molds and the researchers assume that essential Citrus oils can provide a suitable alternative to chemical additives for the food industry for mold control.

A study by Indian scientists wanted to identify antimicrobial compounds and demonstrate the antimicrobial activity of lemon peel ( Citrus lemon L. ) against bacteria . The peel of citrus fruits is rich in phytochemicals that are very rare in other plants. The citrus peel oils showed strong antimicrobial activity against microorganisms such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhimurium and Micrococcus aureus.

Application and dosage

When buying pure lemon essential oil, care should be taken to ensure that it is made from organically grown lemon peel and is not of synthetic origin. Synthetic oil must not be used for internal use or for seasoning food. Lemon essential oil can be diluted with three to five drops per glass of water and drunk several times a day.

If the oil is applied to the skin undiluted, it can cause skin irritation. To use as a body oil, 20 drops of lemon oil (one milliliter) can be diluted with 100 milliliters of neutral carrier oil. Before the oil is applied over a large area, compatibility should be tested on the back of the hand.

In the kitchen, lemon oil can be used to refine sauces or added to the batter during baking. A few drops are enough to maintain the fresh aroma. The oil is not suitable for consumption on its own. It should be stored in a dark and cool place and can be kept for a maximum of one year.

Lemon oil – side effects

Lemon oil increases the skin’s sensitivity to light . Intolerance can occur in people who are allergic to lemon oil, for example in the form of skin irritation.

Hot lemon – a tried and tested home remedy for a cold

A cup of “hot lemon” helps if you have a cold. For this, half a lemon is squeezed out and a cup of warm water is poured over the lemon juice. The healthy drink strengthens the body’s own immune system with its high vitamin C content , fights pathogens and soothes the mucous membranes. Alternatively, a drop of lemon essential oil can be added to a cup of warm water and drunk. Since the vitamin C content is reduced when heated, it is better to use warm water.

Lemon water invigorates, strengthens the immune system, stimulates digestion, promotes concentration and regulates the acid-base balance. (Image: Joshua Resnick / stock.adobe.com)

Lemon water invigorates and promotes digestion

Lemon water can be drunk every day and is very beneficial to health. For one liter of the drink, two lemons are squeezed out and diluted with one liter of cold water. Alternatively, one to two drops of pure, organically grown lemon essential oil can be added to a glass of water and drunk. Lemon water is preferably consumed after getting up, but can also be drunk throughout the day.

As a further variant, ginger can be added to the lemon water and thus provide an additional vitamin and energy boost. To do this, a piece of ginger the size of a thumbnail is peeled, placed in half a cup of boiling water and left to steep for ten to fifteen minutes. Then add the ginger and water to the liter of lemon water and sweeten with honey as desired .

Refine cosmetics with lemon oil

Existing cosmetics such as face creams or body oils can be refined with a few drops of essential lemon oil. The lemon tightens the skin when there is weak connective tissue due to its astringent effect. The rule here is always to make a mixture of no more than two percent. A few drops of lemon oil can also be added to the hair shampoo to give dull and brittle hair more shine.

In addition, the lemon increases the blood circulation in the skin and helps to reduce inflammation – for example with acne . For the selective external treatment of acne, the essential lemon oil should be used in a diluted form by diluting 40 drops of essential oil (two milliliters) with 100 milliliters of carrier oil (jojoba oil, almond oil). This mixture is also suitable for treating fungal diseases of the nails or feet and ensures that hands and feet are well supplied with blood and are soft.

Homemade lemon oil

About 3000 lemons are needed for one liter of lemon essential oil. However, a less concentrated oil is easy to make yourself.


  • Six organic lemons,
  • 400 milliliters of almond oil (alternatively olive oil, jojoba oil)
  • and a large glass with a screw cap.

The untreated organically grown lemons are peeled. The bowl with the tasteless oil is placed in an airtight jar. The lemon oil is ready after about two weeks and has developed its fresh aroma. Now the lemon peel is filtered out. The finished oil should be stored in a dark and cool place and consumed within a few months.

It is a natural product with a limited shelf life. It is used as a condiment in the kitchen as well as for body care or for diluted drinking in the form of lemon water.


by Abdullah Sam
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