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Lemon Detox Cleanse

By Lisa Sefcik paralegal ; Updated August 14, 2017

You can't get away from the lemon detox cleanse. This diet craze is pervasive on the Internet and goes by various other monikers, such as the Lemonade Diet, the Maple Syrup Diet and, most commonly, the Master Cleanse. Integrative physician Andrew Weil, M.D., describes the cleanse as a "real oldie," devised in the 1940s by self-proclaimed "healer" Stanley Burroughs, whose use of the lemon detox cleanse on a dying patient, along with other dubious methods of treatment, landed him in front of the California Supreme Court on second-degree felony murder charges.

It's important to note that since pop star Beyonce made the lemon detox cleanse popular in 2006 when she used it to crash diet for a film role, the cleanse has been thoroughly debunked by medical experts, who state that it is an ineffective, extremely temporary way to lose weight, according to EverydayHealth.com. Nor does the lemon detox cleanse purge the body of unhealthy "toxins," according to an August 2006 San Francisco Chronicle report--that's a function performed by your liver and kidneys. The article below explains how the popular lemon detox cleanse was done by those who jumped on the Master Cleanse bandwagon, according to the method outlined by its creator, Stanley Burroughs; it is not intended to instruct you on how to lose weight or improve your overall health.

  1. Mix the fresh lemon or lime juice, syrup and cayenne pepper together in a 10-ounce glass. Add 8 ounces of water. In "The Master Cleanser," Burroughs states that chilled water can be used, if this is preferred.

  2. Drink between 6 and 12 servings of the above "lemonade" each day during the hours that you're awake, Burroughs instructs. He stresses the importance of consuming nothing else, stating that the lemonade provides ample nutrition. Do not take vitamins or supplements.

  3. Help the "cleansing" along by taking a laxative, Burroughs urges. He states that if your "system feels upset" when drinking only lemonade, this is because you do not have enough bowel movements. He encourages drinking a laxative herbal tea purchased from a health food market first thing every morning and before you go to sleep at night.

  4. Alternately, Burroughs indicates that you can prepare a salt water flush by mixing a quart of warm water with two teaspoons of sea salt. This is consumed first thing in the morning.

  5. Follow the lemon detox cleanse for at least 10 days. Burroughs indicates that the cleanse can be done for up to 40 days for "extremely serious cases." Note that American Dietetic Association spokesperson Susan Moores, R.D., says that if you use this fast for an extended time you will become less focused and physically weaker; lost muscle tissue will be more difficult to rebuild after you stop the cleanse.

  6. Tip

    Do you really want to lose weight? Dr. Weil urges you to drop the lemon detox cleanse and other fasting diets and learn the basics about nutrition and its effects on your weight and health.


    A lemon detox cleanse can change your metabolism for the worse, says Dr. Weil, especially if you use it to lose weight. After the cleanse, you may find it harder to lose weight once you get back into normal eating patterns.

    Side-effects of the lemon detox cleanse include lethargy, headache, irritability, aches, pains and numerous trips to the bathroom.

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