Lemon Uses, Juice Benefits, Home Remedies

Lemon is used extensively in Ayurveda. It is used in food, in medicine and also in purification procedure of metals used as Ayurvedic ingredients. For medicinal purpose, it is used predominantly in digestive disorders. Botanical name of lemon is Citrus medica, it belongs to Rutaceae family.

Vernacular names, Sanskrit synonyms

Vernacular names:
Tamil name – ezhumicchgai, elumicchai.
Kannada name – dodda nimbe, brihat nimbe.
Malayalam name – cherunarakam.
Urdu name –  bara nebu, lembu, lemu, nembu
Persian name – kalanbak, lemu-e-tursh
Arab name –  limoon, qalambak.
Hindi name – jamiri nimbu, khatta, pahari nimbu
Telugu name –  dabba.
English: lemon.

Synonyms: Jambira, Nimbuka, Dantashata

Classical categorization

Charaka – Phalavarga (group of fruits), Amlavarga (group of sour substances)
Sushruta and Vagbhata – Phalavarga (group of fruits)

lemon

Medicinal properties

Rasa – Taste – Amla (sour)
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (light to digest), Teekshna (piercing)
Vipaka – taste conversion after digestion – Amla – Sour
VeeryaUshna – Hot potency

Uses

Vakrashodhi – lemon juice, when used to rinse or when consumed, leads to cleansing of oral cavity. Hence lemon juice is a good remedy for bad breath or tongue coating problems.

Rochana – Lemon increases digestion power.

Dantaharshana –
Being sour in taste, it may cause tingling sensation of the teeth.

Trushna Nivarana – It relieves thirst. Hence, lemon juice is one of the preferred drinks to quench thirst.

Shula Nivarana – relieves abdominal colic pain. This is the reason, lemon juice is the first home remedy, used for gastritis pain and colicky pain due to indigestion. This is the reason, it is the ingredient of innumerable Ayurvedic medicines used in digestive disorders, such as Lashunadi Vati

Kasa Nivarana – Lemon is extremely useful to relieve cough. It soothes the mucosa of the throat.

Kaphotklesha, Chardi Nivarana – It helps to relieve excessive accumulation of Kapha in stomach, leading to vomiting. Hence, lemon juice is consumed whenever one suufers from nausea, excessive salivation, vomiting etc.

In such cases, two types of outcomes are predicted, either the nausea is relieved or the person vomits and expels out all the excessive, vitiated Kapha out of the body, due to lemon. It has cleansing action over the stomach, when there is excess of Kapha (heaviness, excessive gastric secretions and indigestion).

Trushnahara – Relieves excessive thirst.

Amadoshahara – It relieves Ama, a product of indigestion and malabsorption.

Asya vairasya hara – Relieves bad breath

Hrutpeeda – relieves pain in chest region, due to gastritis.

Vahnimandyahara – it promotes digestion. Hence, it is an ingredient in many Ayurvedic medicine for indigestion such as – Hingvadi Churna.

Trushnahara – Relieves excessive thirst.

Amadoshahara – It relieves Ama, a product of indigestion and malabsorption.

Asya vairasya hara – Relieves bad breath

Hrutpeeda – relieves pain in chest region, due to gastritis.

Vahnimandyahara – it promotes digestion. Hence, it is an ingredient in many Ayurvedic medicines for indigestion such as – Hingvadi Churna
Krumihara – It relieves intestinal worms.
The smaller variety of lemon also carries similar health benefits.
Vataghna –Balances Vata.
Dipana, Pachana – Digestive, improves digestive enzymes
Laghu – Light to digest
Useful in abdominal colic caused due to imbalance of Vata, Pitta and kapha.
Visha hara – It is a natural detoxifying herb. This is the reason, it is used in the purification procedure of many mineral ingredients, such as Iron pyrite.

It helps to relieve constipation and gastro-enteritis.

As per Bhojana kutuhalam, The fruit of jambira is sweet and sour in taste, It is wholesome for the body, promotes digestion, imparts strength, promotes taste perception, the ripe fruit helps in treating disorders caused due to kapha and rakta, provides good complexion to the skin and nourishes all the dhatus.

Effect on Tridosha

Unripe lemon is sour in taste. It decreases Vata and kapha but increases Pitta.
Ripe lemon decreases Pitta and Kapha.

Lemon for face and skin

It is attributed with qualities like
Varnya – improves complexion and skin texture
Pushtiprada – it nourishes the skin. (Reference: Raja Nighantu)
Being sour, it enters into the deeper pores and brings about cleansing action.

Lemon use in weight loss

Hot water lemon therapy is a famous home remedy for weight loss. Drinking a glass of hot water, mixed along with 1 – 2 spoons of lemon juice extract, early in the morning, on empty stomach decreases fat deposition. Obesity is related with Kapha dosha, and lemon decreases Kapha. Hence it helps.

Lemon juice benefits – Jambira

रोचनो दीपनस्तीक्ष्णः सुगन्धिर्मुखशोधनः|
जम्बीरः कफवातघ्नः क्रिमिघ्नो भक्तपाचनः||१६७||
rocano dīpanastīkṣṇaḥ sugandhirmukhaśodhanaḥ|
jambīraḥ kaphavātaghnaḥ krimighno bhaktapācanaḥ||167|| – Charaka Sutrasthana 27

Jambira (Citurs medica Linn) is
Rochana – appetizer,
Deepana – improves digestion strength
Teekshna -Piercing
Sugandhi – good smelling
Mukha Shodhana – mouth- cleanser,
balances Kapha as well as Vata and
Krimighna – anti- infective.
Pachana – It helps digestion of food.

Lemon Juice with Tankan Bhasma for warts

Tankana bhasma is mixed with lemon juice and fine paste is made and applied over the warts.
Take 3 grams of Tankana Bhasma (available in any Ayurveda medical store) in a stainless steel spoon. Add half a teaspoon of lemon juice to it. Apply this paste over the wart region. You can use the end part of another spoon to apply it. Do it once a day. Be careful not to apply it to other parts of skin, as it may cause burning sensation. Wash it off after 5 minutes. 

Lemon for vascular health , cancer

Lemon for vascular health – Regular use of lemon in diet helps to decrease cholesterol deposition in the blood vessels. Hence it lowers the risk of heart diseases. (reference)
Lemon for cancer – There are unconfirmed reports of use of lemon as a medicine in cancer therapy. But much research is required in this regard.

Citrus aurantifolia / Lemon fruits are pungent, sweetish, sour in taste and sour in their vipAka. By the virtue of using them the vAta gets appeased, where as the pitta and kapha gets increased. Occasionally, ripened lemon becomes a cause for manifestation of vAtarakta [gout] condition too.

When the fruit is consumed entirely in raw from, it is gets digested slowly since it is heavy for digestion. When taken along with food it increases the taste of food and the digestive agni too. Vata gets pacified and kapha pitta gets increased when taken in raw form.

On the contrary, lemon when taken after subjecting to cooking appeases vAta and kapha and increases rakta ; pittaM.

Lemon / nimbUka has the ability to increase the shleShma soon after its ingestion and digestion, it is considered to be non benevolent for eye and its diseases.  It by the virtue of its tiikShNa [penetrating] and sour taste acts as a wormicide and relieves abdominal colic caused by vAta, pitta and kapha.

Lemon is capable of bringing taste and palatability when mixed with food prepared from spoilt grains [naShTadhAnyam].

Lemon juice for cold

Lemon Juice For Cold? Yes And No. Learn How And Why

As per Ayurveda, lemon is hot in nature. So, does lemon juice for cold and cough work?  When someone asked this question, my initial response was, Yes, why not! But there are some aspects to consider. 

Relationship between cough, cold and Kapha Dosha –
Most of the respiratory conditions including cough and cold are mainly due to Kapha, which has cold as its one of the qualities. So, during cough and cold, if you consume anything that has cooling nature, Kapha increases worsening the condition.

While discussing lemon benefits, we learnt that lemon is hot in nature.

When we make lemon juice with cold water, though lemon is hot in nature, the water is naturally cold. Hence, if the quantity of water is large, then the overall hotness of the lemon will be affected.

Along with water, if you are adding sugar to the juice, it further makes the product very cold, further dampening the hotness of lemon.
Even if you use boiled and cooled water, it will still have cold principles in it.

If you use hot water, to make the lemon juice, it will take away Vitamin C from lemon. Vitamin C has therapeutic efficacy to cure cold. Hence it is not the best option.

If you prepare juice with more of lemon juice extract and very less water, then it will be helpful in cough. Because, lesser amount of water will not contribute too much of coldness to the product. An example proportion: two spoons of lemon juice extract added to a quarter to half a small cup of water.

But if you add spices in the lemon juice, like a pinch of ginger and pepper, that would add more hotness and bring in extra qualities to fight against cough and cold.

Bottom lines:
Lemon juice is not one of the best remedies for cold and cough.
But lemon juice can be had during cold, (may not be as the chosen remedy, but just as any other food), if

  • You add more of lemon and less of water or
  • add a bit of spices to the juice.

Lemon home remedies

Lemon Home Remedies Using Seeds, Peel, Leaf And Stem Bark

By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD
Lemon is well known for its medicinal qualities. It is used as the master herb in many herbo-mineral Ayurvedic medicines to modify or catalyze therapeutic action. Being a sour substance it is a very good cardiac tonic. It improves blood circulation. It is a safe and effective, digestive, carminative, anti flatulent and lipolytic herb. 

Indian kitchen takes the benefit of this fruit in multiple ways and forms.
Few of the simple but untold recipes and practices are explained here below-

squeezed lemon

Squeezed lemon ash remedy for diarrhea

Mature lemon, after squeezing, is usually thrown out. Instead, 3-4 such fruit covers (skin) is taken and dried well. It is burnt in open air. Ash is collected.
To quarter teaspoon (500 mg – 1 gram) of the ash, half a cup of curd is added. This is consumed 2-3 times day. This helps to arrest diarrhea effectively.

In case of gaseous distension of abdomen and abdominal pain also this is found to be effective. Usually it is administered along with water or buttermilk.
Read related: 35 Health Benefits Of Lemon – Ayurveda Details

Lemon seed remedy for menstrual pain

5-8 Lemon seeds are obtained and crushed to make into paste or powder form. A teaspoon of this is mixed with a teaspoon of ghee and a pinch (1 gram) of salt.
This is administered along with warm water in cases of menstrual pain. Dose – half to one teaspoon once or twice a day, before or after food.

Lemons with leaves

Lemon leaf soup for vomiting, gas trouble

Lemon leaves are taken and dipped in a cup of hot water. To this, small quantities of turmeric powder, salt, cumin seeds and jaggery are added and a soup is prepared.
This soup is consumed by sipping. This is useful in the treatment of morning sickness of the pregnant, nausea, vomiting, tastelessness, indigestion, flatulence etc.

Lemon stem bark remedy for nausea and vomiting

Stem bark of Lemon tree – 1 tablespoon is added to 2 cups of water, boiled and reduced to 1 cup. Filtered. (Kashaya – herbal decoction is prepared.)
To this decoction  a pinch of salt is added and used for mouth gargling. Nausea and vomiting caused during pregnancy subsides soon by this recipe.

Yes., it is true that all that we practice may not produce instant benefit. But if it contributes significant way in long practice community will be benefited at large.
Long live the ancient tradition and folklore practices.

Lemon juice for improving digestive fire

One part of lemon juice mixed with six parts of sugar syrup added with cloves and pepper results in a cold drink which is best among the cold drinks. It is very light, alleviates vata dosha, stimulates digestive fire, improves taste perception and helps to digest all types of foods.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Market available variants

Lemons, raw, without peel

Taste – Sour
Properties – light, sharp, piercing
Potency – hot
After digestion taste transformation (Vipaka) – sour
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing
Pitta increasing
Kapha balancing

Lemon juice, raw

Taste – Sour
Properties – light, sharp, piercing
Potency – hot
After digestion taste transformation (Vipaka) – sour
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing
Pitta increasing
Kapha balancing

Lemon juice from concentrate, canned or bottled

Taste – Sour
Properties – light, sharp, piercing (more lighter than raw lemon as juice is made by addition of water to concentrate which makes it further light)
Potency – hot
After digestion taste transformation (Vipaka) – sour
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing
Pitta increasing
Kapha balancing

Lemon peel, raw

Taste – Sour (more sour in taste than lemon without peel)
Properties – light, sharp, piercing
Potency – hot
After digestion taste transformation (Vipaka) – sour
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing
Pitta increasing
Kapha nourishing (as it is more sour and sourness increases Kapha)

Limes, raw

Taste – Sour, slightly bitter
Properties – light, sharp, piercing
Potency – hot
After digestion taste transformation (Vipaka) – sour
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing
Pitta nourishing (due to slight bitter taste)
Kapha balancing

Lime juice, raw

Taste – Sour, slightly bitter
Properties – light, sharp, piercing
Potency – hot
After digestion taste transformation (Vipaka) – sour
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing
Pitta nourishing (due to slight bitter taste)
Kapha balancing

Lime juice, canned or bottled, unsweetened

Taste – Sour, slightly bitter
Properties – light, sharp, piercing
Potency – hot
After digestion taste transformation (Vipaka) – sour
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing
Pitta nourishing (due to slight bitter taste)
Kapha balancing


Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy

39 thoughts on “Lemon Uses, Juice Benefits, Home Remedies”

  1. Lemon is full of vitamin C, very healthy thing. But if you worm the juice, you destroy this vitamin. Some people say that lemon has cooling feature. Doctor, shall one drink lemon juice while got cold?

    Reply
    • Lemon is hot in nature, as per Ayurveda.
      During cold, one can drink lemon juice, but in very limited quantity only.

      Reply
  2. DFG dont worm the juice just taken with warm water …..its called as anupana in ayurveda…it increases the potency of drug action.

    Reply
  3. The article is an eye opener to the new generation, with it’s professorial way of expression keeping in view of the layman to the fully equipped person, with the glossary of all the terms used in the article to be easily discernable for all.

    Reply
  4. Hi Doctor ,

    I read some where about the same for Lemon.But what they have written is to Mix 2 tb of honey along with Lemon in Warm Water with empty stomach in the morning is good for health .Is it True.How it helps?can pls explain?

    Reply
  5. Hello Dr. Hebbar, If lemon is hot in nature, is having lemonade in summer to “cool off” counterproductive?

    Reply
    • The sugar added to the lemonade balances the hotness of lemon and gives nourishing and cleansing effect. So, it is not really counter-productive.

      Reply
  6. Hello Dr Hebbar, your website is very informative.

    I wanted to know if we can apply lemon juice on hair. And I read that it can cause white hair, is that true? thanks

    Reply
    • i read somewhere, lemon has anti fungal & anti bacterial properties.it eliminates dandruff and hair related problem within a short period of time and enhances hair growth.. lemon juice with coconut oil cleanses the pores which induces the hair to grow thick and black.. it restricts the hair to turn white.. i have been using it for sometime and results are very positive.. 20 minutes before bath or leave it on head the day before night.. after bath u can see your hair lustrous… i didn’t tried raw lemon juice on hair..

      Reply
  7. Sir I want to knw tht ..is lemon juice helps in reduce uric acid level.. is it true.. I didn’t heard abt this in ayurveda..plz tell me.sir.

    Reply
  8. Sir, I have sama pitta condition and lots of acne. Will taking ripe lemon be beneficial to me ? If not, should I take hot water in such condition during the day ?
    Basically I am interested in getting rid of ama in my body, as I have a very thick white coating upon rising in the morning.
    Thank you in advance, looking forward for a possible response.

    Reply
    • Hi, lukewarm water – one cup added with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in the morning, empty stomach for a month should be useful in your case.

      Reply
  9. Dear Dr,

    We usually drink lemon water (with / without salt or sugar) during summers in afternoon. If lemon is hot in potency, should that be avoided?

    Reply
    • Hi, if jaggery or sugar is added to the lemon water, the net effect will be coolant. Hence, it can be taken.

      Reply
  10. Sir, Unripe lemon increase Pitta but ripe lemon doesn,t. Why is it so as both are sour , in fact the unripe one is very hard and bitter (I have the tree in my house) ? Are the qualities of lemon and lime the same ?

    Reply
    • Hi, it was with the assumption that ripe lemon will have lesser sourness than the unripe one.
      Lemon and lime are same.

      Reply
  11. Namaste Sir,

    i have heard about drinking lemon juice with warm water empty stomach to clear constipation (good bowel movements). My age is 25. I regularly wakes up 5.30 in morning and drinks warm water (then performs kapalbhati for 25 mins and few asanas after clearing motions). But sometimes i feel my motions are not clear. Please help me on this.

    Reply
  12. Sir, Can under weight person take lemon juice with rock salt empty stomach for flatulence? Thanks in advance

    Reply
  13. Does lemon juice increase pitta in someone with a good digestion? It is sour but it is also very light and penetrative.

    Reply
  14. I am pitta pradhan and I would like share that my experience is otherwise.
    Limes are better than lemons for Pitta, since the fruit has not ripened thus limes have less amount of Vit C per gram than lemons which is what gives lemons more sourness than limes. And less sour means less pitta.
    And then I remembered how our dada/dadi would say that prefer green nimbu over yellow one. Maybe this is the reason why as in hot climate like India limes would be preferred over lemons.
    Hope some siddha ayur acharya can guide us in identifying the exact guna-dosha of limes/lemons

    Reply
  15. My mother is 78 years old and drinks lemon water every morning. An ayurvedic doctor told me that lemon is ushna, tikshna and ruksha which causes dhatu vipaka and is not good for elderly people. Please can you comment about this.

    Reply

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