Lemons and Cancer: Is Lemon a Cancer Cure?

With an increase in reporting by major media outlets discussing the many health benefits of various fruits and vegetables and how they play a part in fighting disease, you may have already heard that lemons cure cancer. While this isn’t completely factual, there have been several studies that purport to show a strong basis in using lemons for cancer treatment. It should also be noted that there are conflicting reports detailing that, while lemons and other citrus fruits do contain cancer-fighting properties, exactly how effective they are against particular types of cancer has yet to be accurately determined. While the connection between lemons and cancer is yet to be established, it is quite clear that lemons have some clear benefits that are best not ignored.


Health Benefits of Lemons for Cancer

What are the health benefits of lemon when it relates to cancer? In addition to the Vitamin C found in lemon juice, which is already a very well known alternative cancer treatment in its own right, the peel of the lemon also offers many health benefits, one of the most important being that lemon peel can help to eradicate toxins in your body. This may be why lemons for cancer are being studied and touted as a great remedy.

The connection between cancer and lemons isn’t something new; for decades, scientists have wondered, “Is lemon a cancer killer?” and have developed numerous studies to determine its validity.

Studies have revealed that lemon extract can successfully destroy malignant cells in a wide range of cancers, including breast cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancer (see references below). Several research studies also make the claim that lemons can destroy cancer much more effectively than chemotherapy, and in a safer and healthier manner. Additionally, the studies also show that lemon extract therapy only affects malignant cells, leaving healthy cells unharmed.

Additional health benefits of lemon include:

  • It is antibacterial
  • It is antiviral
  • It aids in digestion
  • It can be used to treat acne
  • It helps to regulate blood pressure
  • It fights against parasites and worms
  • It possesses antidepressant qualities
  • It helps to reduce stress and anxiety

Please be cautious of claims perpetuating through the internet of lemons being “10,000 times better than chemotherapy”.  If that is true, it is probably not because of the effectiveness of the lemons, but because of the ineffectiveness of chemotherapy!  Seriously though, this author could not find any authoritative scientific work that established that as a fact.  The statement is unscientific and unfounded. We prefer to approach it from the angle of a natural product that can form a nutritional barrier between health and disease. When you read the next few paragraphs, please keep this in mind.

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Lemons for Cancer: How Much Do I Need to Consume?

So the question you may be asking yourself is, “Do lemons cure cancer and how much lemon do I need to consume on a daily basis?” Before answering this question, it must first be noted that while numerous studies have shown effectiveness in the consumption of lemons as a cancer killer, and is still undergoing a variety of testing and research to even come close to making that assertion. Until then we should think of lemons and cancer to have a nutritional relationship.

What is known is that the benefits of lemon could be realated to specific compounds found in them (and other citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit) known as flavonoids and limonoids. These may either stop the formation and growth of cancer cells, or have been shown in studies to kill them outright. These studies have mainly been conducted on animals and in laboratory conditions using human breast cancer cells.

In Europe, a study was conducted with participants afflicted with various forms of cancer, in which they consumed 150 grams of citrus four or more times a week. The citrus proved effective in decreasing the risks of cancer by significant percentages, with the exception of breast cancer. However, an American study did show a decrease in the risk of breast cancer in participants using the same portions of citrus—so long as they did not previously undergo hormone replacement therapy.

When consuming citrus, it is also important to not just consume the juice, but also the pulp and the peel, and even the seeds when possible. Further research shows that 75 grams of citrus on a daily basis might be the optimal minimum intake for those wishing to reduce the risks of cancer.


How to Add Lemons to Your Daily Diet

Because lemons are very versatile in a wide variety of dishes, it can be very easy to ensure that you have lemon in at least one of your meals each day. At the very least, you can add lemon juice to water and drink a glass of lemon water every day. This ensures that you get a good dose of Vitamin C. However, because the peel of the lemon actually contains a much larger amount of important vitamins than the juice, it is recommended that you find ways to incorporate the peel into your daily diet as well.

One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to either peel a lemon and place the peel in the freezer, or simply freeze a whole lemon. Then you can grate as needed, adding it to salads, soups, fish, chicken, rice, pasta, and many other dishes. You can add it to seltzer, to smoothies and other drinks.


Addendum: Lemons and Cancer Treatment

June 1, 2015:  We wrote this article in May 2013 and since then it has been viewed by thousands of people across the world. One of the most common questions we get is whether lemons can be used as a cancer treatment, in other words are lemons a cancer treatment? This article truly describes the health benefits of lemons and the fact that they could be a good addition to an anti cancer diet.  However, if you do have cancer, please do not try to use nutritional measures as your only tool against the disease. We believe that appropriately changing nutrition is an integral part of treating cancer – however, expecting nutritional changes alone to resolve the disease is a dangerous path to take. Treatment by a professional is essential.

We are also asked, what is the “frozen lemon treatment”. There is really no such thing!  By freezing lemons and grating them whole over your usual foods while still frozen, you can really get the best from every part of the lemon, which helps maximize the benefit from that obtained by the lemon juice by itself. That suggestion should not, however, be construed to be a frozen lemon “treatment”.

We are writing a sequel to this article very soon which will have a lot more data and resources to help you understand better the impact of lemons in overall health and as part on an anti cancer diet.

Sign up for our newsletter and stay tuned!



Kim J, Jayaprakasha GK, Uckoo RM, Patil BS.  Evaluation of chemopreventive and cytotoxic effect of lemon seed extracts on human breast cancer (MCF-7) cells.   Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Feb;50(2):423-30.

Alshatwi AA1, Shafi G, Hasan TN, Al-Hazzani AA, Alsaif MA, Alfawaz MA, Lei KY, Munshi A.  Apoptosis-mediated inhibition of human breast cancer cell proliferation by lemon citrus extract.  Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2011;12(6):1555-9.

Manners GD.  Citrus limonoids: analysis, bioactivity, and biomedical prospects. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Oct 17;55(21):8285-94.

“This article reflects the opinions of the author and those of any of the source articles and should not be mistaken for medical advice.  None of this information is evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and it  is not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.”

About the author

Subrata Chakravarty Dr. Chakravarty is the Chief Science and Technology Officer and member of the Hope4Cancer Executive Team. After serving for many years as a drug discovery scientist in academia and the pharmaceutical industry, his fascination with non-toxic, natural healing methods helped him transition as a researcher of natural medicine. He has been associated with Hope4Cancer Institute since 2007. His name is associated with over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, articles, treatises, book chapters, marketing books, manuals and guides as well as 3 worldwide patents. With his unique background, Dr. Chakravarty brings a refreshing perspective to the world of integrative medicine, health and wellness. Visit his Google+ profile.


  1. says

    When using lemons for combating cancer–how much is 75 grams–150 grams. How does that translate to cups, tblspoons. quantities of lemons. does it help prostate cancer?

    • says

      The density of lemon juice is close to that of water, so 75 grams is about 75 ml (about 1/3 cup), and 150 g is about 150 ml (about 2/3 cup). So quite a lot of juice, number of lemons depends on how juicy the lemons are. As mentioned in the article, there is no proof to show that lemons assist cancer specifically, but its important to know that lemons deliver high doses of Vitamin C (no evidence again that orally taken Vitamin C will deliver the same benefits of IV Vitamin C), which has been shown to have overall activity against many forms of cancer, and secondly, they help stabilize the biological terrain of the body as well.

    • Tammy says

      Based on the article, using the entire lemon including peel and seeds, one would assume you weigh the entire lemon. Each whole lemon is approximately 135 grams….So eat a whole lemon a day and you would fall into the suggested guidelines…

  2. Elizabeth says

    Lemons are a ph balancer they will adjust either way that your immune system needs. Cancer can not grow in an alkaline ph body. There fore it is good to drink lemon water each day in each glass of just plain tap water with no ice.

  3. Carole White says

    When using lemons or any citrus fruit for combating cancer, the amounts suggested of 75 – 150gms daily, can that amount be spread over the day?

    • says

      Please note that this article is not suggesting that lemons can cure cancer. If the patient is in stage III ovarian cancer, expert medical help is essential. Please consult your physician. You may also reach Hope4Cancer at 1-888-544-5993 or 1-619-669-6511 (USA based numbers). At Hope4Cancer Institute we integrate leading edge therapies with nutrition, detoxification, oxygenation, immune restoration, antimicrobials, and mental and spiritual healing to address the obvious as well as underlying causes of cancer.

  4. Glen says

    Can someone explain to me why putting a whole lemon in water is beneficial. I put my Ph meter in a glass of water that had a whole lemon in it for 12 hrs and it read 2.9. Now am i missing something. Don’t i need high alkaline body..over 7 to fight cancer. So how does this help.

    • says

      In a chemistry lab, adding acid to water makes it acidic, adding a base makes it basic – its a simple logic that we all understand. However, in the body, the answer to that question has several layers to it. I will try to be as simple and definitive as possible in my explanation.

      First of all, the question is not if lemon by itself is acidic – of course, it is. However, the body has a buffering pH self-adjusting mechanism that ensures that acids (or bases) consumed are neutralized and leveled to the body’s slightly alkaline pH level. This effect is demonstrated in how the body can transition from the incredibly acidic gastric juice in the stomach (pH 1.5 – 3.5) to a much more “neutral” intestine (pH from 6 in the duodenum to 7.4 further down the intestine). Too much acid? The body has a mechanism of flushing out excess acidity through the urine. Thus acidic urine is not necessarily reflective of an acidic body.

      The biggest gains from lemons do not come from its inherent pH. It comes from its natural ingredients – vitamin C, flavonoids, limonoids etc. that assist in reducing and reversing the cancer causing environment in the body. The fact is that most of the foods in our normal diets are devoid of similar beneficial ingredients, that allow cancerous processes such as inflammation occur unimpeded in the body. The high levels of sugars (in particular, fructose) in the body are a big culprit in creating the acidic environment we should really be worried about by inducing severe metabolic stress on the liver. High levels of uric acid and other pro-inflammatory products are formed in the body and the growth of pathogenic bacteria is promoted that excrete a toxic, acidic environment in their colonies.

      So the massive benefit of lemons is that it provides chronic disease fighting ingredients without a toxic overload of sugars. Many fruits contain highly beneficial chemicals, but they also have high levels of fructose which goes through much more harmful metabolic steps than glucose. It is significant to know that one lemon delivers only 0.6 grams of fructose, while a navel orange provides 6.1 grams and a banana is supplied with 7.1 grams. Limes, in fact, do not contain fructose at all.

      So is it accurate to say that lemons are alkalinizing? There are different schools of thought that would answer this question differently. However, this author’s view is that lemons do not add any acidic stress to the body allowing the body to maintain its physiologically stable, slightly alkaline pH, while at the same time adding powerful health promoting ingredients. In contrast, other foods add value to the process of acidity and decay, that in turn can lead to chronic diseases such as cancer. That is why lots of raw vegetables and low fructose content fruits (including lemons and limes) should be a staple in everyone’s diet.

  5. Randall J. Marlowe says

    I have prostrate cancer with a PSA of 1 and 3+3 on other scale.I am on Hormone treatment for valid reasons If I can keep PSA around 1 or 2 I am going off the Hormone treatment as side effects are rough.Also the Hormone Treatment does not kill cancer and eventually stops working, without warnings.So I am going back on watchful waiting with a PSA every 90 days. SO anything that seems worthwhile like frozen lemon, one of my favorite fruits,is welcome
    Jack Marlowe

  6. patricia says

    I have had several per-cancerous breat lumps removed and ovaries. A few months ago, I was diagnosed with additional areas of concern. My daughter read about the frozen lemon treatment. I tried it religiously for 6 weeks. Yesterday I received the results of my blood work. Several of my blood tests were the equivalent of someone on mass does of Chemo, this could only have come from the lemons. FYI, my tissue is now normal. If you contact me, I will share my blood tests.

    • ayesha says

      hi patricia,

      I am interested in how you used the frozen lmon treatment. can you please explain about it? I am 25 years old but at high risk since my mother had breast cancer.so I really want to do something before the disease hits me.. any help would be appreciated

    • says

      Thank you for your comment. Please note our intention is not to project the use of lemons as a “therapy”. Lemon has some highly beneficial properties that are connected to its ability to regulate pH as well as the presence of many health supporting compounds. However, a lot of people get confused to think that lemon is a way to get rid of cancer. If someone has cancer, there is no substitute to getting proper, professional advice. The decision that needs to be made in that situation is to make a choice between treatments that have serious side effects on one hand, or safer non-toxic treatments on the other.

      Is there any harm in using lemons? To our knowledge, no. However, listen to your body. People can be allergic or sensitive to lemons just as they can any other fruit or vegetable. You may not be able to tolerate large quantities of lemons, your body will typically let you know.

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