Ayurvedic tradition tells us to drink warm water with the juice from half a lemon first thing in the morning upon rising. This pleasantly tart beverage is a simple way to stimulate the liver and promote bile flow, which in turn aids digestion. Interestingly, lemon water also sometimes helps resolve heartburn symptoms by stimulating healthy stomach function. It also aids in balancing the body’s pH.
There is something else that warm lemon water may do though: ruin your teeth.  Lemon juice is highly acidic because of the citric acid, so over time, routine consumption of lemon juice (or any acidic food or drink) will erode your teeth enamel. The hot water will further intensify the attack because the rate of chemical reactions increases with temperature. When the enamel is worn away, it exposes the underlying dentin (which is yellower in color than enamel), which may lead to painful sensitivity.
In order to minimize the erosion, you can brush your teeth prior to drinking your lemon water instead of after, or wait a significant amount of time (at least 60 minutes) after to brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush. This is because acid leaves the enamel softened and more prone to erosion during brushing! Additionally, you can rinse your mouth with purified water after you finish your lemon water. Or you can drink your lemon water with a straw (so that it bypasses your teeth).

Lemon Juice vs. Lemon Essential Oil

Something else you can do is use lemon essential oil (make sure it is labeled for human consumption) instead of lemon juice. Lemon oil is cold-pressed from the aromatic rinds of lemons, not the fruit. It is pH neutral as it does not contain citric acid and is safe for the teeth enamel. As well, it is more potent than lemon juice; it takes 3,000 lemon rinds to produce 1 kg of lemon essential oil. The oil is absorbed into the liver easier than the juice, making for a better detox regimen.
Lemon essential oil will help increase your energy level and mental clarity so try adding a drop to your bottle of water before you go to the gym and it will give you a lot more energy (don’t add it to a plastic bottle as the oil will degrade the plastic). Lemon oil is also great if you ever deal with heartburn, acne, urinary tract infections, gallstones, kidney stones, or respiratory issues.

The Secret Ingredient in Lemon Essential Oil

The lemon essential oil contains 68% d-limonene (which is not present in the juice). Limonene is a widely distributed, natural, non-toxic compound found in citrus fruits, spices, herbs, and some conifer essential oils. It is a powerful antioxidant believed to boost the body’s natural defenses. It has been shown to activate enzymes in the liver that are part of the detoxification processes which take toxic compounds present in the liver and convert them to non-harmful or less harmful versions. These “toxins” can range from caffeine to ibuprofen.
D-limonene is also being studied for its properties in relationship to cancer cells. Limonene has been proven in humans and in animals to have chemopreventative and chemotherapeutic benefits, causing no toxicity to humans—even at huge doses. It has been found in numerous animal and human studies to help stop cancer in its three stages: initiation, promotion /progression, and metastasis. Not only does limonene stop cancer growth from starting and prevent existing cancer growth from spreading but it has also been shown in animals to regress existing tumors.
As such, the evidence is overwhelming that incorporating limonene in your diet is a healthy lifestyle choice that helps promote normal cell life cycles (more on this plus a list of references can be found here).
If you are currently adding lemon juice to your water, and want more than just a little zing to start your morning, why not try adding one drop of essential oil for a little while and see if you feel a difference?
If you have any questions on essential oils, please email me.
Do you drink lemon water in the morning? Are you going to make a change to your regimen and try lemon oil?
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