Health benefits of lemon
Description of lemon
The lemon is an important fruit of citrus group. It ranks high as a high as a health food. It is sometimes mistaken for the lime, but the lime is a smaller species and the lemon forms a bigger variety, with a rough, thin and loose rind.
Lemon is oval in shape and light yellow in colour with thick, rough skin. When ripe it has pale yellow pulp, abundant juice and a small number of seeds.
Origin and Distribution of lemon
The lemon is indigenous to the north-west regions of India, ascending to an altitude of 4,000 ft. It has been cultivated in south-east Asia from ancient times. It reached Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries.
It is now widely grown in all tropical and subtropical countries, notably in the United States, Spain, Portugal, France, West Indies and New South Wales.
In India, lemon is cultivated in home gardens and small-sized orchards in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bombay, Madras and Mysore.
The lemon is rich in many food ingredients, particularly citric and acid. Different varieties contain this acid in different proportions ranging from 3.71 to 8.40 per cent.
It is mainly due to its citric acid and Vitamin C contents that the lemon is widely used in medicine. It is valued for its juice which is mostly used as an accessory food.
It increases the flour and improves the taste of various dishes. It is often used in the preparation of salads and prevents and discolouration of sliced bananas and apple.
It is widely used in the preparation of lemonades, squashes, jams, jellies and marmalades. The lemon juice can be preserved for a long time with certain precautions.
Natural health benefits of lemon and its curative properties
The various parts of the lemon used for medicinal purposes are rind of the ripe fruit, essential oil of the rind and expressed juice of the ripe fruit.
A pale yellow volatile oil is derived either through distillation or by squeezing out from fresh outer part of the paricarp of the fruit.
Though the oil is bitter yet it is highly valued in medicine as a flavouring agent, carminative that relives flatulence for treating gastric discomfort and stomachic that improves appetite.
Rind is also both stomachic and carminative. Lemon juice, the expressed and strained juice of the ripe fruit, is valuable as antiscorbutic and refrigerant.
It destroys the toxins in the body. This detoxifying property arises from its high potassium content. The germs of diphtheria, typhoid and other deadly diseases are destroyed by its use.
The juice also encourages bile secretion and is valuable in jaundice and gravels – a condition of small stone in urinary tract.
The bark of the lemon tree is used as febrifuge which prevents fever and seeds as a vermifuge which expels worms from intestine.
The lemon is chiefly valued for its vitamin C content. Its juice contains more vitamin than the whole fruit, being about 60 mg. per 100 gram.
The juice also contains appreciable quantity of vitamin B. This makes it antiscorbutic or an excellent food medicine for the prevention and treatment of scurvy.
A mixture of one part of lemon juice, three parts of water and a desirable quantity of sugar or honey should be taken in this condition.
Due to its high content of vitamin C, lemon strengthens the gums and teeth.
It is also very effective for preventing and curing acute inflammations of the gum margins, pyorrhea, dental caries and other oral diseases.
Lemon is highly beneficial in the treatment of throat disorder such as catarrh, choking sensation an itching sensitivities.
A ripe unpeeled lemon should be roasted slowly until it begins to crack open.
Then one teaspoonful of the juice with a little honey should be taken once every hour, or the same juice of the roasted lemon in a glass of boiled water should be taken flavoured with honey.
It should be sipped slowly.
Burning Soles and Heels
Sliced lemon should be rubbed over the entire burning soles and heals of feet. A great deal of toxin elimination takes place through the pores of the feet.
Lemon application promotes such elimination and keep the feet free from pain and distress.
A ripe lemon is a good appetizer. The lemon juice stimulates the flow of saliva and gastric juice and is regarded as an excellent digestive agent.
It destroys intestinal worms and eliminates the gases formed in the digestive tract. It is highly beneficial in the treatment of several digestive problems like dyspepsia, constipation and biliousness.
Heartburn is easily relieved by taking the juice of half a lemon in a little water.
Lemon juice makes and effective thirst-quenching drink in pox, measles, scarlet and other fevers which are attendant with extreme thirst and a very hot and dry skin.
About 15 to 25 gm. of lemon juice should be taken in these conditions.
Lemon is effective in the haemorrhage or bleeding of lungs, stomach, intestines, uterus, kidneys and other internal organs. In these cases, lemon juice should be taken with water several times a day.
Enlargement of Spleen
Lemons are valuable in the case of enlargement of spleen. Two lemons, cut up into halves and slightly heated after adding a little salt, have proved beneficial in this condition.
Though the lemon juice is sour in taste, its reactions in the body is alkaline and as such it is valuable in the treatment of rheumatic affection such as gout, rheumatism, sciatica, lumbago, pain in hip joints which result from too much acid in the body.
A sufficient intake of lemon juice prevents the deposit of uric acid in the tissues and thus reduces the possibility of an attack of gout.
An exclusive lemon juice is an effective remedy for obesity. On the first day the patient should be given nothing but plenty of water.
On the second day juice of three lemons mixed with equal amount of water should be given. One lemon should be subsequently increased each day until the juice of 12 lemons is consumed per day.
Then the number of lemons should be decreased in the same order until three lemons are taken in a day. The patient may feel weak and hungry on first two days, but afterwards the condition will stabilize by itself.
London’s first influenza epidemic in November 1931 was cured, not by doctors, but by lemon. For a bad cold, the juice of two lemon in half-a-litre of boiling water, sweetened with honey, taken at bed time, is a very effective remedy.
The lemon is a rich source of vitamin P and it contains 1.75 mg. of this vitamin per 100 gm. It is found both in the juice and peel of the fruit.
This vitamin is essential for controlling haemorrhage in a variety of conditions and for preventing capillary fragility. It is, therefore, regarded as a valuable food medicine in high blood pressure and arterio-sclerosis.
It strengthens the entire arterial system and consequently, is of value in many circulatory disorders and heart weakness.
Lemon peel is equally effective in these disorders. Shredded lemon peel may be added to soups and stews, or sprinkled over salad.
To make a medicine, the peel of one or two lemons may be cut finely and keep in warm water for about 12 hours. A teaspoonful may be taken every three hours, or immediately before or after a meal.
Lemon has been provided by nature with wonderful anticholera properties. Lemon juice can kill cholera bacilli within a very short time.
It is also a very effective and reliable preventive food item against cholera during the epidemic. For this purpose, it can be taken in the form of sweetened or salted beverages.
Taking of lemon with food as a daily routine also saves from cholera.
Those who have to walk long distances will derive comfort by often soaking their feet in hot water and then a thorough rubbing of the feet with lemon juice.
The benefit here is in the contrasting actions of the hot water which opens the pores and the lemon juice which presents a cooling, astringent action.
This treatment is also said to promote healthy sleep, owing to its relaxing action on the foot nerves.
Lemon is valuable in corns. A fresh slice of lemon should be tied over the painful area at night and it should be allowed to remain there whole night.
Lemon is regarded as a youth restorative. It helps create youthful health. To help cleanse blemished skin, the area should be rubbed with a fresh piece of lemon.
The juice should be soaked into the skin, allowing it to remain overnight. Strained fresh lemon juice mixed with cool water should be used to wash the hair to add to their brightness.
Dry or scaly skin should be rubbed with the peel of a lemon. It will restore the skin to softness. Rough elbows can be soften by rubbing the area with the cut side of a lemon.