Boiled lemons: a healthy drink that’s more powerful than you think

Oct 23, 2021
Hot boiled lemon can be served with ginger and honey. Image: Getty

The health-giving benefits of lemons, also known as ‘golden apples’ have been known and used for centuries.  Whilst little proven evidence exists, boiled water with lemons has been shown to be one of the most popular ways to take advantage of these benefits in daily and incidental consumption. Many people start their day with a glass of boiled water and lemon, saying it sets up the digestive system, kickstart the body and gets everything moving.  

Originating from India and China, the innate taste and healing properties of lemons have seen the fruit travel throughout the world allowing people the opportunity to discover its many health benefits. 

When it comes to a cold or sore throat, your grandmother probably extolled the benefits of lemon juice and honey. 

These home cures may have been considered folklore, yet a generation later, the veracity of the treatment still holds and studies are showing the humble lemon is a powerhouse of goodness with an abundance of previously unknown benefits.

For instance, a glass of lemon juice, or, more widely recognised, half a lemon in boiled water may help support the following:


Because lemons are high in vitamin C, a primary antioxidant that helps protect cells from damaging free radicals, it has the potential of reducing dry skin, wrinkles and sun damage.

Weight loss 

There is anecdotal evidence lemon water supports weight loss – however, it is not clear if this is because it creates a full feeling and simply satisfies the appetite.


Drinking warm or hot lemon water not only helps to wake you up, but it can also help get your digestive system moving.  Some people use an early morning cup of lemon water as a laxative to avoid constipation.  Ayurvedic medicine says the sour lemon taste helps stimulate your Agni (a Sanskrit word meaning fire and connotes the fire god of Hinduism). A strong Agni is thought to kick-start the digestive system.

Helps your body heal 

Our body needs vitamin C to make collagen, a vital protein that forms part of the connective tissue we need to heal wounds.

Supports your immune system 

Vitamin C can help fend off illness-causing viruses and bacteria.

Improves iron absorption 

Iron is essential for the cells in your body to survive and grow and a glass of lemon water at mealtimes can enhance iron absorption.

Kidney Stones 

Because citrate is a component of citric acid found in lemons, it may make the urine less acidic in turn producing the effect of breaking up small stones. Besides the citrate, water is just what you need to prevent or flush out kidney stones.

Bad breath 

A glass of lemon water first thing in the morning and after meals may help you avoid bad breath. Lemon is thought to stimulate saliva and water to help prevent a dry mouth and consequently bad breath.

However, be aware the juice from one lemon contains around 30 mg of vitamin C, which is 33 per cent of the 90 mg recommended daily allowance (RDA) for males, and 40 per cent of the 75 mg RDA for females, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements at the US National Institutes of Health.
Here’s three terrific and easy methods to get boiled lemons into your diet:

Method 1

  1. Cut a fresh lemon in half.
  2. Squeeze the lemon or use a lemon juicer to extract the juice, and discard any peel or pips.
  3. Add the strained lemon juice to a glass of freshly boiled water and allow it to cool before drinking.

Method 2

  1. Cut a lemon into slices or quarters.
  2. Add a piece of lemon to a cup of boiled water.
  3. Allow it to cool before drinking.

Method 3

  1. Bring a small pot of water to the boil.
  2. Slice a fresh, washed lemon into quarters and add to the water.
  3. Boil for around 3 minutes.
  4. Allow it to cool before drinking.

Overall, lemon water is a general feel-good drink that has long been recommended for a variety of maladies. The lemon’s ability to thrive in many types of Australian soils and climates means there is nearly always a plentiful variety of well-priced lemons all year long at the supermarket.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

Do you start your day with a lemon water?

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