The Cleansing Power of Lemons and Cilantro

raw-cilantroCleansing is something I’ve always read or heard about from several of my friends. The concept of it always made sense to me, but I was never really drawn to actually do one, until recently. About 3 months ago I began a cleanse that helped to eliminate toxins, regulate digestion, detect allergenic foods, and improve my overall health. For 2 months I eliminated all sugars, wheat, dairy, eggs, caffeine, and alcohol from my diet. It was a great experience for me. My sleeping patterns were substantially improved. My energy stayed at a steady level throughout the day rather than the usual yo-yo up and down. My digestion, mental clarity, and mood were all noticeably improved.

There were many “cleansing” foods that I incorporated into my diet, but the two that I used the most were Lemons and Cilantro. Lemons are very suitable for a cleanse and have many healing properties. Fresh lemon juice helps to flush the body of toxins, stimulates the production of bile in the liver which aids in cleansing the blood cells, and supports easy digestion through its alkalizing effect within the body. Lemons are also high in Vitamin C which helps to build a healthy immune system.

Like lemons, there are so many health benefits to eating fresh, organic cilantro, also referred to as Coriander or Chinese Parsley. Cilantro has been know to remove heavy metals from the body, has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties, promotes healthy liver function, and also aids in the detoxification of the body.

Cilantro is very easy to grow and is virtually pest free. But one of the mistakes many gardeners make is that they expect it to keep growing year round. Cilantro is an annual crop and grows pretty fast, especially in warm weather. It can go to seed in just a few weeks so it’s important to sow new seeds every few weeks in order to keep a continuous supply going. It likes sun, prefers moderately rich, well-draining soil, and needs even moisture to keep it lush. Cilantro does well both in the ground and in containers. I plant my cilantro in a pot in a sunny location on my porch and snip the outer leaves when they are about 3-4 inches tall. Continue to pick the leaves when they are young (before they start to flower) to encourage continuous growth. As you begin to harvest from a young plant, start to reseed so you will have replacement plants as the soon as the old ones begin to decline (yellowing of the bottom leaves is a sign of this).

raw-lemonLemon trees are typically grown directly in the ground, however with the availability of several dwarf varieties, some lemon trees can do relatively well in large pots. The main requirements for growing successful lemon trees are well-drained soil, enough water to keep the soil moist down to the roots, and a location in the garden that gets the most heat. Right behind all these key elements is a good fertilization program. Lemons need ample amounts of Nitrogen. Acidifying fertilizers will usually be sufficient and should be divided into several applications throughout the year, usually 6 weeks apart starting in early February and continuing through late April. Two of the most commonly used varieties of lemons used in home gardens are the Eureka (which is the common grocery store lemon) and the Improved Meyer, which has a unique sweet taste.

Whether you are cleansing or not, both lemons and cilantro can provide you with many health benefits and can be easily incorporated into your daily diet. I start my mornings off with a cup of hot water and fresh lemon juice to get that digestion going. I often add cilantro to many of my dishes such as salads and pestos. And of course, there’s that good ‘ol lemonade for when “life gives you lemons”.

Cathy Barrett
Home Harvest

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