If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or make an air freshener, polish some copper, clean away tough bathroom stains, or disinfect your kitchen appliances. In fact, there are dozens of uses for a simple lemon besides squeezing a deliciously tangy summer beverage. Lemons have health benefits that many people may not know and can also be a useful tool for a variety of household projects. Lemons can improve your overall wellness and save you money around the home, so it’s a great idea to keep a store of lemons around – you never know when they might come in handy!
A Healthy Dose of Lemons
Lemons, a citrus fruit, contain vitamin C. Vitamin C can be a powerful tool in helping us to fight infection by assisting in the production of white blood cells and antibodies in the blood. White blood cells and antibodies are the body’s principle tools in fighting invading microorganisms.
Lemons are also chock full of antioxidants. Antioxidants are effective in fighting free radicals – chemicals that steal electrons from cells in the body, leading the cells to become unstable and more subject to the mutations that cause cancer. Antioxidants provide electrons to free radicals to prevent them from robbing our cells and may also assist damaged cells in healing themselves. Our bodies can create antioxidants naturally, but we rely on diet to bring a greater variety of antioxidants into our systems.
A bit of lemon fruit or lemon juice can aid in digestion. The atomic structure of lemons is similar to the composition of our saliva and digestive juices. As a result, lemon juice can help our bodies break down our food and promote the absorption of nutrients. However, if you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you will want to avoid lemon juice, given that you already have an excess of digestive acid in your stomach.
Potassium is an important mineral that humans rely on diet to obtain. It can be one of the more difficult minerals to get in sufficient amounts, and lemons are a great source. Potassium works in conjunction with sodium to help electrical signals transmit smoothly throughout our nervous system. Depression, anxiety, and memory loss have all been linked to potassium deficiency.
Lemon and honey in hot water or tea are a great remedy for sore and dry throats. Both sooth the feeling of a sore throat, while helping to kill the germs that can lead to the feelings of a sore throat.
Lemons for Cleaning and Deodorizing
The citric acid in lemons makes it a useful item for removing fabric stains, shining surfaces, and for disinfecting. Its ability to kill bacteria makes it both a natural cleaner and natural deodorizer.
Lemons are a natural bleaching and brightening agent. Lemon juice can be used directly on laundry stains, although a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda for soaking may be more effective for large stains. Lemon juice may also be used in place of bleach during washes to keep your white laundry looking bright.
Lemon can be used to polish your copper and brass (an alloy of copper and zinc) pots and pans or fixtures. Dull copper is the result of oxidation, and the copper oxide on the surface of the copper can be dissolved with a weak acid. Lemon juice and other citrus juices are very safe and effective at making copper shine like new.
Lemons and lemon juice may also be used as an all-purpose cleaner around the house. They can disinfect most surfaces and are effective at dissolving dirt and grime. Lemon juice may also be used to bleach out and dissolve tough bathroom stains, including water stains, lime deposits, and soap scum. Finally, a small amount of lemon juice combined with baking soda can create a gritty abrasive for scrubbing away grease and grime that will not simply dissolve. For appliances that advise against using abrasives, this combination is much safer and cheaper to use than store-bought scrubbing cleansers.
For eliminating odors around the house, lemon juice and lemon peel can both be useful. Baking soda and lemon juice in small dishes can eliminate unpleasant odors by trapping and killing the bacteria that cause the odors when inhaled. Lemon juice may also be sprinkled on compost piles or swirled around in sinks to neutralize odors. If you have a garbage disposal, you probably already know that odors can be ameliorated by running lemon peel through the disposal.
Other Uses Around the House or in Your Garden
While lemons have earned a reputation as natural cleaners and health boosters, they also have a variety of other lesser-known uses.
Due once again to its acidic nature, lemon juice can actually be a fairly effective weed killer. The acidity leads to a change in the pH levels of the soil, causing existing weeds to die and preventing them from growing back.
The brightening properties of lemon juice are not just effective on copper. It may also be used to highlight hair and brighten fingernails. For natural hair highlights, you can apply lemon juice to your hair immediately before going out into the sun. Be sure to wash your hair immediately afterwards. Depending on the color and quality of your hair, it may take a few tries for noticeable results. Similarly, applying lemon juice like nail polish can leave nails as bright as an artificial clear polish.
In addition to brightening up your hair and nails, lemon juice can also have a positive effect on the feel and appearance of your skin. Lemon juice and sugar makes a great exfoliating scrub for dry skin. It can help to remove layers of dead skin that inhibit moisture, and it also helps to rehydrate the skin. However, skin that has cracked due to dryness may sting badly when brought into contact with lemon juice. If you have cracked skin, try other remedies until the skin has begun to heal.
Lemons don’t just add flavor to your cooking—they are also a great meat tenderizer. Lemon may be used in combination with herbs and spices to marinate meat or poultry and make it both tender and flavorful. And of course, lemon zest always makes a lovely garnish.
Lemon or limejuice is a common recipe in guacamole. Of course, it’s partly due to the flavor, but it’s also because lemon juice is a natural preservative. Any fresh cut fruits and vegetables will begin to brown very quickly, but lemon juice squeezed over them will keep them looking and tasting fresh for longer.
My guess is that you may never look at your lemons quite the same again. It is one of the very few foods that are not just incredibly beneficial to your health, but also useful to your home and garden. How many lemon trees can you add to your homestead?
©2012 Off the Grid News