Most of us know that the lemon is a rich source of Vitamin C and have consumed it at some time or other. Added to a glass of cold water, it can be most refreshing during hot and humid weather. Taken regularly, it is a preventive against colds and strengthens the immune system. We add it to salads, snacks and other food items because its tanginess adds to their flavour. But there are a number of ways the common lemon can be used for both health and beauty.
Lemon increases the body’s resistance to diseases. Its content of glucose and minerals helps to replace what the body loses through sweat, especially during the summer months. It has been found that eating lemon regularly can help to relieve headaches, soothe digestive problems and even help people suffering from anxiety. It stimulates blood circulation, reduces arterial pressure, activates bile and intestinal secretions. In other words, it can promote a general feeling of wellbeing.
What we have to remember is that the lemon is best taken diluted, adding it to water. You can start your day with the juice of a lemon in a glass of warm water. This combination can help to keep the system flushed and aid the removal of toxins and wastes. This will also reflect on the skin, keeping it clear and glowing. Weight watchers will find this beneficial too.
What is even more interesting is that lemon peels have health benefits. Lemon zest ie grated lemon peel is added to puddings, cakes and soufflé for additional flavour. However, it has several health benefits and latest research has revealed it can fight cancer. Studies carried out at the Institute of Health Sciences in Baltimore, USA, have shown that it is not only anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, it fights cancer cells. It destroys malignant cells without damaging the healthy ones. It is an anti-depressant, reduces stress and fights nervous disorders. Doctors recommend the use of the entire lemon by freezing it and then grating the peel and pulp. Sprinkle this on your food. It not only enhances taste but you will get all the nutrients in the lemon.
As a cosmetic ingredient, lemon can be used in various ways but avoid using it undiluted as it can be harsh on the skin. On areas where the skin is thicker, like elbows and knees, rub lemon halves and wash off with water. Over a period of time, it cleanses and lightens skin colour.
Lemon can also be used as a hand lotion. Mix it with rose water and rub it into the skin of the hands. For rough hands, rub granulated sugar and the juice of a lemon together with the hands till the sugar dissolves. Then rinse off with water. Done regularly, it helps improve skin texture.
Oily skins can really benefit from a lemon treatment. Dilute the juice of half a lemon in a glass of water and use this to wash your face. Lemon not only helps restore normal acid-alkaline balance but reduces surface oil. During summer, freeze this lemon water in an ice cube tray. Wrap the ice in a clean tissue or cloth and rub it gently on oily skin. It reduces oil and is extremely refreshing.
Honey mixed with lemon juice can be applied on the face daily. While honey moisturises the skin, lemon juice restores normal balance and lightens skin colour over a period of time of regular use. Lemon can be used as a hair rinse too. You can add lemon juice to a mug of water and use it as a last rinse after your shampoo. You can even add it to “tea water”. Boil used tea leaves in enough water and cool the liquid. Add the juice of one lemon and use it as a last rinse. This helps to add shine to the hair. Lemon peels can be dried and powdered and used in face packs and scrubs.
When Nature has provided us with ideal ingredients, why should we use synthetic substances and essences? In fact, the human body responds well to natural substances while it has an in-built resistance to synthetic ones. So, let’s go natural with lemon!