Medicinal Benefits of Lemon Tea

You may enjoy lemon tea -- often infused with a range of herbs, including lemongrass -- for its tart flavor, but it offers benefits beyond waking up your taste buds. As an herbal tea, it's naturally caffeine-free and rich in antioxidants. Drinking it regularly may also reduce your risk of cancer and could improve sleep. Talk to your doctor about how to fit lemon tea into your daily routine.

Sip a cup of hot lemon tea before bed for better sleep. (Image: NikiLitov/iStock/Getty Images)

Rich in Antioxidants

Lemon tea can help you get more antioxidants, including vitamin C and phytochemicals such as caffeic and chlorogenic acid. Antioxidants are substances found in food that help prevent the changes in DNA and the cell damage caused by chemicals referred to as free radicals. Increasing your intake of antioxidant-rich food and beverages, such as lemon tea, may help delay aging and the onset of certain diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and cancer.

May Help You Sleep Better

Other commonly consumed beverages, namely tea and coffee, are sources of caffeine in the diet. Caffeine is a stimulant that affects the brain and nervous system and can make sleeping difficult. Lemon tea is naturally caffeine-free, and the lemongrass found in the herbal tea may help improve your sleep. However, while lemongrass is used in folk medicine as a sedative, its effects have only been tested in mice; human studies need to be performed before claims can be made.

Potential Anticancer Benefits

The lemongrass in lemon tea may also offer protection against cancer. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center reports that components in lemongrass have anticancer activity and may assist in activating the process that kills cancer cells. However, research is based on animal studies, and the evidence is preliminary. Human studies need to be conducted to test if the effects are the same in people.

Adverse Effects

Lemon tea may not be appropriate for everyone. Talk to your doctor before adding it to your daily routine. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center reports that because lemongrass can work as an antioxidant, it may interfere with chemotherapy treatment. In addition, because lemongrass has caused birth defects in rats, the center recommends that pregnant women not consume lemongrass or tea that contains it to reduce risk. There's also concern that the tea may make you drowsy or cause dizziness.

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