When life gives you lemons … make lemon juice!
Today, I want to discuss the healing power of lemons and your liver.
Over the years, I’ve seen so thousands of people join the AIP Recipe Collection Facebook Group looking for help with recipes to support their healing journey. They describe serious cases of hives, unexplained rashes and reactions, eczema, digestive disorders, acne, acid reflux, cirrhosis, psoriasis, edema, hepatitis, lupus, chronic fatigue and other liver related symptoms and diseases … it’s frankly quite shocking … and most people don’t realize that they are all related to liver function! Did you know there are more than 100 types of different kinds of liver diseases. and fatty liver disease is by far the most common?
I’m posting this information here in the hope that it will help others benefit from the healing power of lemons and understand how important it is to support your liver through the use of a diet and the addition of lemons as “medicine” – if it’s right for you. (DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, lemon juice may not be fore everyone, I am simply sharing my research and results, and you should consult your physician to see if this is right for you.)
My experience using lemons as “medicine” began as I struggled to find answers to my own health issues – first an inexplicably enlarged liver and edema, then an extreme case of hives that left me unable to sleep, and when I could sleep I had to sleep with ice-packs applied to my legs so I wouldn’t claw them open in the middle of the night. I’d been down the road of hormone testing, ultra-sounds and trips to the dermatologist without any answer or improvement – I was ready to try just about anything … and when I tell you what I did, you’ll probably agree, I really was ready to try anything!
While my doctors had pretty much ignored my liver in trying to deal with my symptoms I decided to circle back and focus on it on my own, and I’ve shocked more than a few (including medical professionals) with the approach I took.
Why Focus On The Liver?
- The liver is the second largest organ – next only to our skin. If your symptoms include skin reactions, it could very well be an indication that your body is overloaded trying to remove toxins from the body, and it is therefore highly likely that your liver is either over loaded or at minimum in need of some extra support.
- How are your albumin levels? Albumin is the main protein that is made by the liver. While there are many factors that can affect the level of albumin circulating in the blood, chronic liver disease causes a decrease in the amount of albumin produced, and therefore the level of albumin in the blood is reduced. NOTE: you do not have to be a heavy drinker to have liver disease – being under chronic stress can have a HUGE impact on liver health.
- Our livers are over worked and overlooked! Don’t believe me – read on!
Consider this information from the Canadian Liver Foundation:
“The liver is a resilient organ that’s easy to ignore – until something goes wrong. Because of its wide-ranging responsibilities, your healthy liver can come under attack by viruses, toxic substances, contaminants and diseases. However, even when under siege, the liver is very slow to complain. People who have problems with their liver are frequently unaware because they may have few, if any, symptoms. Your liver is such a determined organ that it will continue working even when two-thirds of it has been damaged.”
“Weighing in at a little over one kilogram, your liver is a complex chemical factory that works 24 hours a day. It processes virtually everything you eat, drink, breathe in or rub on your skin; in fact, the liver performs over 500 functions that are vital to life.
Every day, your liver helps your body by providing it with energy, fighting off infections and toxins, helping clot the blood, regulating hormones and much, much more.
To give you an idea of your liver’s critical roles, here is a partial list of its functions:
- Cleanses your blood: Metabolizing alcohol and other drugs and chemicals, neutralizing and destroying poisonous substances.
- Regulates your supply of body fuel: Producing, storing and supplying quick energy (glucose) to keep your mind alert and your body active. It produces, stores and exports fat.
- Manufactures many of your essential body proteins involved in: Transporting substances in your blood, clotting of your blood, and providing resistance to infections.
- Regulates the balance of hormones: Including sex hormones, thyroid hormones, cortisone and other adrenal hormones.
- Regulates your body’s cholesterol: Producing cholesterol, excreting it and converting it to other essential substances.
- Regulates your supply of essential vitamins and minerals: Including iron and copper.
- Produces bile: Eliminating toxic substances from your body and aiding with your digestion.”
Back to the Lemons!
Oddly enough, I learned my lemon, liver support protocol while watching a documentary called e-motion. If you haven’t watched this documentary yet, I highly recommend it – it discussed how our emotions and how stress, sadness, anger and even memories can be held responsible for many if not all of the diseases we suffer today … because they effect our organs, and very importantly OUR LIVER! You can watch the full-length program on YouTube – check it out here.
One of the speakers, Don Tolman – Whole Foods Nutritional & Author (“Cowboy Don” as he’s called – I knew I liked him right away with a handle like that!), talked about the benefits of lemon juice and how drinking ONE CUP (approximately THREE lemons) of fresh squeezed lemon juice every morning before food, for a period of 90 days (none of this tiny squeeze of lemon in water folks) will usually fully restore your liver in that short a period of time! (Watch a clip of him discussing this on YouTube here.)
Everything Cowboy Don was saying about lemons, an-ions, bile and digestion resonated with me and I wanted to know more, so I looked him up on the internet and found this article: “How to Restore Liver Health & Improve Function” – it’s a really good quick look at what the liver does and how it’s impacted by toxins, viruses (NOTE: it does discuss some non-AIP products as cleanses, but we can look past that and use what will work for us here in conjunction to the AIP).
Here are a few snippets from the article:
A healthy liver is crucial to your overall health and vitality.
Unfortunately, due to modern day life, it’s common for your liver to become stressed, overworked and damaged leading to malfunctioning and eventual dis-ease.
There are a number of things you can do to reverse any damage and heal liver disease naturally without toxic pharmaceuticals or medical intervention.
WHAT IS THE LIVER?
The liver is the largest internal organ of the body. It’s located on the upper right side of the stomach and is vital for the functioning of your metabolism and immune system.
WHAT DOES THE LIVER DO?
The liver performs several important tasks including; storing blood and constantly filtering it to remove harmful toxins; it rids the body of dead blood cells; secretes hormones and enzymes; supports digestion, converting what we eat into life-sustaining nutrition; and even regenerates its own damaged tissue.
WHAT CAUSES LIVER DISEASE?
Liver disease is usually caused by internal infection as a result of exposure to viruses, medical drugs or toxic substances like chemical cosmetics which seep into the body, impacting the auto-immune process.
Since I originally researched Cowboy Don and his theory about the healing power of lemons and your liver, he’s written a new article that you may also want to read – Signs of Fatty Liver Disease and How to Recover Naturally. But, for now … continue along with me on this lemon juice journey.
Liver Rejuvenating Lemon Juice Protocol
One of the most potent and effective foods on earth for healing, regenerating and cleansing the liver is Lemons.
In fact, if you’ll drink one cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice each day when you rise, within 90 days your liver will usually restore itself.
Lemons are the only food on earth that contain “an-ions” (every other wholefood contains “cat-ions”). Your liver produces “an-ions” known as bile which helps to release toxins and metabolic waste. That’s why lemons have significance when it comes to restoring your liver to its highest functional capacity.
So, why does it work? The most basic explanation I can come up with is that it gives your liver a break. Since your liver has to produce an-ions to get rid of toxins from your body, manage digestion and more (as mentioned earlier in this post – your liver is pretty busy), it never gets a day off. Consuming lemon juice, which is the only wholefood that contains an-ions, you’re giving your liver the love and support it needs, allowing it to use some of the an-ions (either that it produces or that you’re providing in the lemon juice) to rejuvenate itself.
Okay – I can hear you now – seriously, ONE CUP of lemon juice every morning, 30 minutes before food for 90 DAYS! No way, can’t be done! And, does it even work?
Well, yes, you CAN do it, I DID and YES, it worked for me! While I’m not a doctor, I’ve share what I learn with others who struggle with recurring flares of eczema, hives, rashes, psoriasis, etc., and it’s helped them too! Oddly enough, I recently chatted with my Functional Medicine Practitioner, who’s helping to put a protocol together to help with my prolonged toxic exposure to mold, and she mentioned that my crazy lemon drink theory that I’d told her about was no so crazy at all – in the course she’d been taking to become a practitioner specializing in mold exposure she learned that another practitioner uses a similar lemon juice drink to successfully to treat flares like this – go figure!
A Recipe to “Zest Up Your Life!”
Let me make this an easier “pill” to swallow. I couldn’t bring myself to take the full cup of lemon juice in additional water, I just wanted it out of the way ASAP – down the hatch! I tried just chugging that much lemon juice, and while it’s doable, I found and modified a recipe called Zest Up your Life, that makes it a little more bearable and easier to clean up.
- 3 Lemons (organic if possible)
- 1 TBSP Honey (raw if possible)
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- Pinch of Himalayan Salt
- Pinch of Black Pepper (if you’ve reintroduced)
- 1 TBSP of Chia Seeds (if you’ve reintroduced)
- Juice your lemons – I found it much easier for clean up using a citrus juicer instead of a vegetable juicer
- Stir in honey, turmeric, salt and pepper
- Sprinkle chia seeds on top
- Drink immediately
- Once you become a seasoned lemon juice veteran you may enjoy it served over ice for a refreshing summer beverage
Lemon Juice & Water
Not ready, or maybe not needing, to go “whole-lemon” into liver rejuvenation? That’s okay, but don’t underestimate the healing power of lemons! Drinking lemon-infused water daily is a great way to show your liver some love! There are LOTS of articles on the internet that discuss the incredible health and healing benefits of lemons and lemon water … so don’t hesitate to liven up your plain water with a squeeze or infusion of lemon.
Is it best to add lemon to cold, warm, or hot water?
A debate came up a while ago when I posted an old family-favorite cold remedy for Hot Lemon and Honey in the AIP Recipe Collection Group – “Doesn’t the vitamin C get destroyed in hot water?” So, in usual fashion, I went digging for information. Here’s what I learned: “Warm water helps extract Vitamin C and polyphenols from both the lemon and its peel. While vitamin C isn’t heat stable – meaning it can degrade once it reaches a certain temperature – even a boiling temperature isn’t hot enough to negate the fruit’s benefits.” You can read more about this topic here – “The Right Way to Drink Lemon Water (For Maximum Benefits), According to a Nutritionist“