Is Honey Lemon Water Good for Sickness?

Portrait of a Woman Enjoying a Drink of Water With a Slice of Lemon
Water with lemon and honey is a tasty way to keep hydrated. (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Drinking water with lemon and honey isn't guaranteed to keep you healthy, but it may have a few benefits. At the very least, it will help you keep from becoming dehydrated, which can be a problem with some illnesses. But the evidence is still preliminary and conflicting on whether it will provide you with any other health benefits, including reducing wrinkles or cold symptoms or improving digestion.

Honey Health Benefits

Honey may be helpful for reducing the frequency of vomiting and diarrhea in children with gastroenteritis, according to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in June 2010.

There's also some evidence that honey might lower your risk of chronic illness. It may also help improve antioxidant capacity, decrease cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity and have an antimicrobial effect -- all potential benefits for fighting illness. Honey may even help limit heart disease risk through it's anti-inflammatory effects and immune system benefits, according to a review article published in Current Nutrition & Food Science in November 2011.

Lemon Health Benefits

Adding some lemon to water may make you more likely to want to drink more fluids, helping you stay hydrated. Also, each ounce of fresh lemon juice provides 20 percent of the daily value for vitamin C. Although vitamin C isn't going to cure a cold or prevent you from ever getting a cold, taking vitamin C right when you first start experiencing cold symptoms may slightly shorten your cold and make your symptoms a little less severe, notes the Office of Dietary Supplements.

Make It Hot

People who follow the lemon water trend often recommend drinking it hot, either first thing in the morning or as an after-dinner beverage. There may be some benefits to drinking a hot honey lemon water beverage instead of a cold version. A study published in Rhinology in 2008 found that hot beverages provide more relief from cold symptoms, including sore throat, sneezing and cough, than cold ones. The New York Times notes that any warm beverage, including one with lemon and honey, may help with cold symptoms, potentially limiting body aches and congestion. The United Kingdom National Health Services also recommends using a homemade cough remedy using lemon and honey to help treat coughs instead of commercial cough medicines.

Potential Considerations

Lemon is very acidic, so you'll want to drink some plain water afterward to rinse out your mouth, and don't brush your teeth right away to help keep from accidentally eroding the enamel of your teeth.

Don't count on honey lemon water to treat any medical condition, as there isn't enough evidence to support this. If you're sick, consult your doctor instead for a proven medical treatment.

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