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Lemon - Benefits of Lemon Tree
Botanical Name: Citrus limon
Family Name : Rutaceae
Lemon grows on a small thorny. shrub/tree. Leaves ovate, petioles winged. Flowers tinged red. Fruit ovoid, yellow rind
thin. It is an important health fruit if citrus group. Lemons and their juice have powerful antiseptic properties and are also good source of bioflavonoids and vitamin C.
This is a small tree, grows to 6 m (20 ft) but usually smaller. The branches are thorny, and form an open crown. The leaves are elliptical-acuminate . Flowers are violet and streaked in the interior and white on the outside. On a lemon tree, flowers and ripe fruits can be found at the same time
Origin and Distribution
The true home of the lemon is unknown, though some have linked it to northwestern India.
The citron was carried to the Middle East between 400 and 600 BC but it was the Arab traders in Asia who introduced lemons to eastern Africa and the Middle East between 100 and 700 A.D..
Although lemons are widely associated with Italian/Mediterranean cooking, they weren't much used in that region until 1096-1271 A.D. by which time they had been more widely distributed by the Arabs primarily in Spain and thereafter to much of the rest of Western Europe with the aid of the Crusaders. By 1193 they were prized for their medicinal qualities in the palace of the Sultan of Egypt and by the mid fifteenth Century were being cultivated in Italy and other parts of the Mediterranean.
By the late 1800's the British Navy also appreciated the virtues of citrus fruit to combat scurvy and all sailors were given rations of citrus whilst on long voyages. Although this gave rise to the British being given the nickname "limeys", some believe that in fact they were using lemons which they believed to be overripe limes. Perhaps then we should be called "lemonys"?
Good old Christopher Columbus carried lemon seeds from Europe to the New World in 1493 and now about one quarter of the worlds lemons are grown in the USA, primarily in California with other leading producers being, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Greece, and Turkey.
Properties of lemon
Anti-scorbutic, appetiser, carminative, anti-flatulent, antacid, anti-diarrhoeal, anti-inflammatory, anti-pyorrhoea & dental caries etc.
Forms of Use :- Leaves as paste, juice of fruit.
Food Value of lemon
It is rich in citric acid and also contains vitamin C. That's why it finds useful place in medicine. Its juice has a good keeping quality and can be preserved for a longer period.
Also B-Complex, beta-carotene and oils etc.
Medicinal Uses & benefits
- A pale yellow volatile oil obtained from the fruit is bitter in taste, yet it is highly valued ir medicine as a flavouring agent, carminative that relieves flatulence and treats gastric discomfort, and as stomachic, it improves appetite.
- It is very useful against vitamin C deficiency, so it can be used against scurvy, a disease caused by lack of vitamin C.
- It is highly beneficial for gums and teeths. It makes them strong and also prevents caries, inflammation and pyorrhoea.
- It also corrects throat disorders such as catarrh, choking sensation and itch. A teaspoon juice of lemon plus two teaspoons honey should be licked after regular intervals.
- It is a very good medicine for eczema especially on the head part where hair is removed. Grind its skin on the affected part to get relief.
- It also checks bleeding. Place a few drops of lemon juice on the bleeding part, bleeding will stop.
- Take lemon juice daily in a glass of water to get rid of obesity and jaundice.
- A sufficient intake of lemon juice prevents 'the, deposit of uric acid in the tissues and so reduces the possibility of an attack of gout.
- It is anti-influenza fruit. So, for bad cold, drink juice of lemon in a glass of luke warm water with one tea spoon honey. Repeat it two-three times.
- Enlargement of spleen can be handled effectively with lemon juice. Two lemons juice morning and evening with a pinch of salt is sufficient for relief.
- Its juice is also anti-cholesterol and make arteries clean, healthy and free from depositing cholesterol. It is regarded as a valuable food medicine in high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, circulatory disorders and heart weakness.
- It is also useful in cholera as it has wonderful anticholera properties. lemon juice can kill cholera bacilli within a very short time. It is also a very effective dependable food item against cholera during epidemic. Take lemon daily with food to keep cholera at bay.
- Foot and corn can be soothed with the help of lemon juice. Rubbing of the feet in warm water containing lemon juice provides soothing as well as refreshing feeling and opens pores of feet and induces sleep due to its relaxing action on the foot nerves.
- As a beauty aid, lemon is regarded as a youth restorative and gives good look to our faces. Take juice of lemon, add sugar and borax in equal amount. Mix them to make a paste. Rub it on the face to remove pimples and black spots.
- To correct upset stomach, take juice of one lemon in a glass of water and add a pinch of salt to it. Drink it to get relief soon.
Lemons in Cooking
Lemons are used in many many cuisines worldwide. In South America the juice is used in salsas and in the preparation of Cebiche, in Africa (particularly North Africa) the whole fruit is pickled and sometimes dried and added to savoury dishes and in North America and Europe the juice is often added to marinades, salad dressings, fish dishes and many other savoury and sweet dishes as well as many a cocktail. It also gives an extra lift to steamed or boiled vegetables especially when tempered with a little melted butter.