Botanically it is called Citrus acid. It is a small tree or spreading bush of the rue family (Rutaceae). The lemon forms a spreading bush or a small tree 10 to 20 feet high if not trained or pruned. Its young leaves have a decidedly reddish tint; later they turn green. In some varieties, the young leaves of the lemon are angular; some have sharp thorns at the axilae of the leaves. The flowers having a sweet odour are rather large, solitary or in small clusters in the axila of the leaves. Reddish tinted in the bud, the pet are white above and reddish purple below.
The fruit is oval with a broad low apical nipple and having 8 to 10 segments. The outer rind or peel is yellow when ripe and rather thick in some varieties is prominently glandular dotted. The white spongy inner part of the peel called the mesocarp is nearly tasteless and is the chief source of commercial grades of pectin. The seeds are small, ovoid, pointed, sometimes few or more. The pulp is decidedly acid. Young lemon starts bearing fruits as early as the third year after planting and commercial crop may be expected during the fifth year. The average orchard yield per tree is 1500 lemons a year.
The humble lemon contains most of the vitamins and minerals. It has magical and wonderful healing powers. It is a citrus fruit. Other citrus fruits are orange, mandarine, tangerine, narangi, musumbi (lime), grape-fruit, grape, and shaddock. All citrus fruits are very rich sources of vitamins A, B and C. They also contain appreciable amounts of iron and calcium.
Vitamin C in the diet helps the body to grow and maintain collagen. They explain that collagen is a gelatin-like gristle that holds billions of cells together in the body. It is found in ligaments, joints, bones, gum tissues and in the walls of all the blood vessels.
It also gives elasticity and strength to the connective tissue. Again vitamin C is necessary to the normal healing rate of wounds and to prevent bruises from discolouring the skin for too long time. Its function is also to strengthen the body's resistance to infection and maintain tissue integrity of teeth, bones and gums.
Vitamin C in adequate quantity must be taken daily and if its deficiency is continued over a long period of time, the gums may become tender and bleed easily, joints may hurt and swell, black and blue marks may appear readily at the slightest bruise, the chance of haemorrhage which may result from a 'stroke' is far greater and colds may be taken frequently. Deficiency of vitamin C may cause scurvy. Therefore vitamin C is absolutely necessary to fortify the body against infections and cold.
Daily requirement of vitamin C:
Men - 75 mg
Women - 70 mg
Lactating women - 150 mg
Pregnant women - 100 mg
Infants - 30 mg
1 to 3 yrs. - 35 mg
4 to 6 yrs. - 50 mg
7 to 9 yrs. - 60 mg
10 to 12 yrs. - 75 mg
13 to 15 yrs. -80 mg
16 to 20 yrs. -100 mg
10 to 12 yrs. - 75 mg
13 to 15 yrs. - 50 mg
16 to 20 yrs. - 80 mg
Fruits containing vitamin C
Whole orange - 75 mg
4 oz orange juice - 50 mg
Large grape fruit - 150 mg
Medium size tangerine - 25 mg
1 tablespoonful - 7 mg
Lime (musumbi) - 75 mg
Where extra vitamin C is needed
A senile person is forgetful, confused and his speech rambles. He repeats a question that has been just answered. Memory is so poor that the individual does not recognise members of his own family. So senile patients and those approaching old age need substantial quantities of vitamin C to protect their brain from damage and to fight infections.
Ascorbic acid alone may be used in the preservation of vitamin C and treatment for deficiency, but the natural juices of citrus fruits will be more efficient and more complete in their action. In the citrus fruits, ascorbic acid is always accompanied by a bonus of other vital nutrients which nature in her wisdom has supplied. But the citrus fruits or juices should be taken fresh.
Nutritional value of citrus fruits: Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C and also contain numerous other vitamin factors, especially A, inositol and certain of vitamin B complex. They also supply appreciable supplementary amounts of minerals with which it becomes easy to maintain health properly. Minerals build rich blood, strong bones, nerve tissues and assist in regulating the body. Calcium found in orange makes them a valuable food for infants as it is necessary for growing bodies. Oranges are likewise useful for older people.
Lemons as medicine: Lemon juice cures menorrhagia, nose-bleeding, hepatitis, gastric ulcer if taken several times daily. Of all foods which have also been used as medicines, lemons are the most commonly known. The custom of using a slice of lemon when eating a fish dinner was originally intended for remedial purposes rather than for flavouring. It was believed that if a fish bone were to be accidentally swallowed during the meal, the juice of lemon could dissolve it. Lemons have been used as a household romedy for colds, rheumatism, sore throat, gastric and liver troubles, headache, heartburn, biliousness etc. Lemon juice mixed with glycerine is used for chapped lips or chilblains. For constipation, the juice of a lemon as taken in a glass of hot water one-half hour before breakfast. Local application of lemon juice is used to allay irritation caused by bites of gnats and similar insects.
Dr. Fred R. Klenner has described most elaborately the various uses of lemon in his book 'The Key to Good Health: Vitamin C. He has said that lemon juice is very useful in arthritis, cold, hypertension, sun-stroke and menorrhagia.
Other uses: removing stains: Use clear lemon Juice; it will remove stains from the hands.
Dr. Fred R. Klenner in his book 'The Key to Good Health: Vitamin C' has also confirmed the abovementioned uses of lemon.
Dr. Donald Law in his book 'Herbs for cooking and for healing' has said that there are over 20, varieties of lemon but the juice of all of them is most helpful as a remedy for purifying the blood, for rubbing into the scalp against falling hair. Lemon juice mixed with shampoo acts as a tonic to the scalp. From medieval times the skin of lemon has been chewed to act as a cleaner of teeth and strengthener of gums. Naturopaths frequently recommend a course of lemon juice and water to rid the body of accumulated poisons and debris. You can extract more juice from a lemon if you place it in an oven for a few minutes and bake it slowly. The humble lemon contains vitamin A, B, C, G and the rare vitamin P.
Lemon juice cures erysipelas, carbuncle and, abscess. Dysentery quickly disappears after a few drinks of pure lemon or musumbi juice. Some naturopaths also cured diabetes by giving pure lemon or musumbi juice to drink. Jaundice and clotting of arteries by cholesterol are alleviated by prolonged course of lemon juice. Many diseases of the respiratory system can be cured by including lemon juice in the diet. It may be sweetened by adding sugar to it.
Dr. Richard Lucas in his book 'Nature's Medicines' has expressed the view that lemons were highly valued in ancient times as medicine and for prevention of scurvy. Scurvy is a disease characterised by a spongy condition of the gums, loosening of the teeth, foul breath, debility and anaemia. There is also a tendency to haemorrhage especially into the mucous membranes and skin. Scurvy was common among the crewmen on the old time sailing vessels where the diet consisted entirely of dried or salted biscuits or loaf. The scientific answer to scurvy is vitamin C which is available in plenty in citrus fruits.
Drs. Wood and Ruddock in their book 'Encyclopaedia of health and home' remarked that lomon juice may be used in curing asthma, cough and cold, corns, headache, heartburn, vomiting and whooping cough.
Dr. M. Grieve in his book 'Modem Herbal' has said that washing the face with lemon juice and water is said to remove tan, freckles or blackheads.
Lemon juice rubbed in the scalp before shampooing is considered as an effective remedy for dandruff. A lemon milk preparation is employed for whitening and softening the skin of the hands and face. Lemon juice is an all-round beauty aid. Lemon juice makes a nice rinse for the hair. It will remove the soap film much better than plain water.
Dr. Joseph E. Meyer in his book 'Nature's Remedies' has said that a few drops of lemon juice sprinkled over sliced bananas, apples or grapes will prevent them from turning brown for a considerable period of time. Frequent applications of lemon juice is said to remove ink, rust, or mild stains from cloth. For this purpose some recipes call for the addition of milk or salt to lemon juice.
Dr. A. N. Ghei in his book 'The Book of Food and Nutrition' has expressed that the addition of lemon juice to rice, boiled fish etc. gives a special flavour and has some specific action in promoting digestion. It is also used in salads. Being very rich in vitamin C, it acts as an antiscorbutic.
Dr. W. Hale-White in his book 'Materia Medica' has said that lemon-juice is used to relieve thirst and to make effervescing mixtures and drinks. Its action is the same as that of citric acid.
Nicholas Culpepper in his book 'Complete Herbal' has written that fruit and vegetable juice offers an excellent remedy for arthritis, bronchitis, intestinal disorders, stomach disorders and urinary disorders. He has observed that cooking destroys most of the natural vitamins and minerals. He has advised to consume raw fresh fruit and vegetable juices as far as practicable.
Harrison Dayal in his book 'Ancient Indian Energy Food' and Kristine Nolfi in her book 'My experiences with living food' have given various uses of lemon. Ramon Bernard in his book 'Herbal elixirs of life' has identified lemon as the 'miracle fruit'. Nelson Coon in his book 'Using plants for healing' has narrated the various medicinal uses of lemon.
Benefit and uses of Lemon:
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