A lot of buzz surrounds the latest detox diet to gain faddish support from the online community: lemon water. But is it effective?

The dietary detoxification requires a morning ritual of drinking a glass of lukewarm purified water dashed with the juice of half of a fresh lemon, organic, if possible, and never resort to bottled lemon juice. The drink could replace coffee or tea.

The tonic is said to aid digestion, flush toxins as a diuretic, invigorate the immune system, energize and improve mood, clear skin, balance pH levels, hydrate the lymph system, clear the skin, promote healing, help with weight loss, and even freshen the breath.

Purported Health Benefits

A glass of warm lemon water aids digestion by flushing deleterious materials and toxins from the body, proponents say. With a molecular composition similar to saliva and the hydrochloric acid of the digestive system, the tonic primes the liver for production of digestive acids. High in vitamins and minerals, lemon juice also alleviates symptoms of dyspepsia such as heartburn and bloating.

By increasing the production of urine, lemon water also helps the body to flush toxins from the urinary tract, with enzyme production stimulated by the citric acid. A natural source of vitamin C, lemon juice also helps to fight colds, with potassium stimulating brain and nerve function. Those with asthma and other respiratory disease may find aid in the anti-inflammatory effect of ascorbic acid, found in vitamin C. In addition, iron absorption in the body is stimulated, which helps the immune system. As an ancillary benefit, lemons also help to reduce the amount of phlegm produced by the body.

Aside from providing a dose of vitamin C, and other antioxidants, to fight wrinkles and blemishes while repairing damage from free radicals, the consumption of more water alone helps to purify the bloodstream of toxins, in addition to the urinary tract.

So while the aforementioned claims sound legitimate, proponents of the lemon water detox also claim the mere scent of lemon is enough to brighten mood and clear the mind, alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression. Not only great for waxing kitchen floors, lemon scent greatly affects mood.

“The scent of a fresh fruit can do amazing things,” Barbara Thornley, lead coordinator for the Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic, says. “From what we’ve seen with our patients, even a quick smell can make a major difference.”

Thornley says work done by researchers at the Mayo Clinic shows the power of the olfactory sense in affecting one’s mood. However, the Harvard Medical School offers an online guide concerning the “dubious practice of detox” overall, asserting that the “human body can defend itself very well against most environmental insults and the effects of occasional indulgence.”

Rather than subscribing to the latest health fad, such detox doubters recommend a healthful diet, adequate water consumption, regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and periodic check-ins with a medical provider.

Master Cleanse Lemon Water

Since 1940 or so, Westerners have known of the power of lemon as a "Master Cleanse" diet intended to promote weight loss while giving the digestive system a rest. As the grandaddy of all detox diets, the Master Cleanse promise a mental and emotional catharsis that would do no less than free the user from the spector of liver disease, while brightening the mood too. A bit more involved than the standard lemon detox, the Master Cleanse may involve addidants such as laxatives, to promote bowel movements, and sea salt, for flushing toxins from the body.

The "Master Cleanse" lemon water tonic:

1. Fresh-squeezed lemon juice, 2 tablespoons

2. Grade-B organic maple syrup, 2 tablespoons

3. Cayenne pepper, 1/10th teaspoon

4. Hard-filtered water, 10 ounces

Below is a video describing the Master Cleanse with lemon: