Health Benefits of Honey Lemon Water

Medically Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on February 20, 2024
4 min read

Drinking honey lemon water can be soothing and refreshing. 

Lemon and honey are two ingredients with many health benefits. It’s no wonder there’s a popular belief that combining them into one drink can improve your health.

Honey has been used as a sweetener and medicine for thousands of years. It’s a complex liquid that may have as many as 181 components, like vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and more.

It has many health benefits, including these:

Helps with healing. Honey has long been used for healing wounds and burns because of its antibacterial properties. In lab studies, it’s been found to have strong activity against different bacteria. More studies are needed to find if it does the same in people.

Some types of honey have been used as a dressing for burns, skin ulcers, and inflammation. It’s also been successfully used on skin grafts.

High in antioxidants. Honey is high in phenolic acids and flavonoids, which have antioxidant activity. This helps protect you against some types of cell damage.

Helps with coughs. Coughs and upper respiratory tract infections are common among children. But over-the-counter medications carry risks like insomnia and drowsiness.

A study of 300 children with upper respiratory tract infections found that those who took honey improved faster than those in the placebo group. Their coughs become less frequent and less severe. The parents and children also slept better.

In a different study, honey was found to be slightly better than the cough medicine diphenhydramine in reducing how often children coughed.

Not for babies. Don’t give honey to babies under the age of 1 year. This is because of the risk of a serious type of food poisoning called botulism.

Lemons are used not only in desserts and drinks but also for medicinal purposes.

Some of the health benefits of lemon are:

High in vitamin C. The juice of one lemon (48 grams) gives you 18 milligrams of Vitamin C.

This is about 20% of the recommended daily amount for adults.

Prevents kidney stones. Lemons and other citrus fruits have citrate. This helps to stop kidney stones from forming. The juice of two lemons a day increases citrate in your urine and can help lower your risk of kidney stones.

Your body needs water to survive. Your organs, tissues, and cells all need water to work properly. There’s no officially recommended daily allowance of water. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend that:

  • Men drink 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day
  • Women drink 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day

If you’re not fond of plain water, adding honey and lemon to it may encourage you to drink more.

One study of over 9,500 people found that those who don’t drink enough water tend to be obese or overweight.

Makes you less hungry. When you drink water before a meal, you’ll feel less hungry. 

If you’re middle aged or older, drinking about 16 fluid ounces of water before meals may ease your hunger pangs and make you feel fuller.

In a 12-week study, adults who drank 500 milliliters (about 16 fluid ounces) of water before each meal lost about 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) more weight than those who didn’t.

Helps with congestion. Drinking warm liquids such as hot water can help you clear mucus from your airways and ease congestion.

While scientific evidence has backed many health benefits of honey and lemon, there have been almost no studies done on honey lemon water.

Mixing honey and lemon in water may provide you with the health benefits from the individual ingredients. 

You may have read some claims about honey lemon water, but many of the following don’t have any scientific research to back them up:

“It helps you detox.” There are claims that honey lemon water helps get rid of toxins. But you don’t need to detox your body. Your kidneys, liver, and digestive system do that every day.

“It helps improve your skin.” Honey has many healing properties when used on wounds and skin conditions. Yet there’s a lack of evidence that drinking honey or honey lemon water can improve your skin.

In one study, applying honey to the skin actually made acne worse in some participants.

“It burns fat.” Foods don’t burn fat or help you lose weight faster. But if you switch from drinking high-calorie sodas to honey lemon water, you’ll take in less sugar and calories.

A tablespoon of honey has 60 calories and 16 grams of sugar. If you mix 12 ounces of water with 1 tablespoon of honey (or less), this will be less sugar and calories than drinking the same amount of soda. A 12-ounce can of regular soda contains 155 calories with 37 grams of sugar. 

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a glass of warm water. Add a teaspoon of honey. Adjust the amount of lemon and honey to suit your taste.

Honey is an added sugar, so don’t use too much. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to 6 teaspoons (100 calories) a day for women and 9 teaspoons (150 calories) a day for men.

After drinking honey lemon water, rinse your mouth with water. This will prevent the citric acid in the lemon juice from eroding the enamel of your teeth. It also helps to drink it warm instead of steaming hot.