The Common Cold Remedies Lemon

Lemons have a long and illustrious history as alternative cold remedies. This fruit has amazing properties that many individuals embrace for everyday use.

According to proponents of the lemon, the fruit not only reduces symptoms of the common cold, it also has properties that help prevent a host of ills, including arthritis and cancer. Even better, when mixed with other ingredients, it’s a refreshing way to help stay healthy.

Most of these claims remain outside the scientific realm. However, the little lemon is gaining respect in some medical circles. Further studies may help uncover the truth behind alternative cold remedies, and some might be quite beneficial. In addition, the lemon is one cold remedy that certainly won’t cause any harm.

Lemons as a Home Remedy in History

Research suggests that this fruit originated in Asia, although the exact history is unclear. From there, lemons became familiar to those in other areas of the world, including Greece, Arabia and Spain.

Lemons were once a treasured commodity as well. Some early documentation shows that eventually, Spaniards planted lemon seeds along the eastern coast of the United States, specifically Florida and South Carolina.

Early practitioners revered lemons for magical healing powers in treating all sorts of ills. Beyond preventing the common cold, they could supposedly stop bleeding episodes, ease the pain of rheumatism and cure internal parasitic infections. Lemons produced these cures served in many forms, including tonics and balms.

Lemons gained renown in earlier times for much more. Everything from enhancing mental clarity to making hard water stains disappear seemed to be within the realm of a lemon’s masterful capabilities. Even today, its acidic properties appear to make it both an effective surface disinfectant and an internal healer.

Potential Benefits of Lemon as a Cold Remedy

Viruses cause the common cold, which means antibiotics won’t work to fight it off. Those prescription medications that fight bacterial infections are ineffective against the common cold.

In fact, the best advice for those who have a cold is to get plenty of rest, drink fluids and wait for symptoms to go away.

However, those who are suffering from the typical wheezing, sneezing, coughing, headaches and stuffy noses still want to seek some relief. Your doctor will probably instruct you to allow time for the miseries to subside. This is where the lemon can rise to the occasion.

Vitamin C and a range of other nutrients can help improve an embattled immune system. When a cold virus is wreaking havoc on the body, these ingredients may actually help reduce aches and pains and can even shorten the length of illness.

The Lemon’s Immune-Boosting Properties

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is one of the leading favorites as a cold remedy, although its use remains controversial. Lemons, like other types of citrus, have higher amounts of vitamin C than most foods. According to some reports, you’ll receive as much as 80 percent or more of the daily recommended allowance in the juice of a single lemon.

The human body does not produce this vitamin naturally, but it is essential to good health. In addition to many other benefits, vitamin C protects cells from damage and certainly may reduce the likelihood of contracting disease or illnesses, including the common cold. While supplements are of some use, the nutrients contained in fresh products, like lemons, are most effective.

Lemons hold other vitamins and nutrients as well, including:

  • dietary fiber
  • niacin (small amounts)
  • potassium (especially in the skin)
  • thiamin (small amounts)
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin P (bioflavonoids).

Phytochemicals found in lemons include ingredients known as “liminene” and “liminoids.” Found mostly in the rind, these substances also benefit the immune system. Some research suggests they also help detoxify the body of noxious substances.

Soothing the Common Cold with Lemons

Perhaps the popular form of serving lemons is with a mixture of honey. A hot lemon beverage, typically with water, is a familiar concoction. Just heat a cup or so of water and add the juice of one lemon. If that’s a little too tart, include one tablespoon of honey.

You’ll also find recommendations for the use of lemon-based essential oils. They’re a highly requested aromatic that may also contribute to a sense of well-being and help on the road to recovery. Add to boiling water and inhale the cleansing steam. You can also add a few drops to a hot bath.

If you develop a sore throat, lemons can also soothe that discomfort. Use a 50/50 solution of fresh juice and hot water, then gargle.

The zest, that thin outer yellow layer of the lemon, also has beneficial properties. Grated, it’s tasty on salads or incorporated into other foods. Be careful, though, as the underneath white “pith” is bitter and distasteful.

When you’re battling a cold, there is also a trick to picking perfect lemons. They should feel heavy in the hand to obtain the most juice. Some varieties have smoother skins; some are seedless, but all should have a little give in the flesh without being too firm. Avoid those tinged with green, as they may be extremely sour. Keep them for about a week on the counter or up to three weeks in the refrigerator.

As alternative cold remedies, it seems lemons continue to get rave reviews for their soothing effects and potentially great health benefits.

Resources (1997-2007). Enough C as Your Body Needs is the Key. Retrieved November 18, 2007, from the Cforyourself Web site:

Eheathandwellness (n.d.). Lemons: Health benefits and concerns. Retrieved November 18, 2007, from the Ehealthandwellness Web site:

Palmer, Sharon, RD (1998). Lemons, the Versatile Fruit. Retrieved November 18, 2007, from the Backwoods Home Magazine Web site: