LEMON: A HEALTHY FRUIT

DR. S. M. ALAM
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Aug
15 - 21, 2011

Lemon trees are believed to be native to the Indian subcontinent (India and Pakistan).

Europeans were introduced to the lemon only in the 2nd century AD. The lemon is by now a major cultivated fruit tree in all Mediterranean and subtropical climates around the world.

The lemon is propagated from stored seeds in the springtime. Plants grow optimally on well-drained soils with good exposure to incumbent sunlight.

The lemon is a familiar culinary plant indigenous to tropical Asia, but now grown worldwide. The lemon is considered to be one of the most alkalinizing foods.

The cultivation of the lemon in Asia goes back at least two and a half millennia - thus, this plant has a long history of use by human society as a food.

Lemons were introduced to Spain and Africa by the Arabs in the twelfth century. The seeds of lemons were also brought back by the Spanish explorer, Christopher Columbus, from the Canary Islands on his second voyage of exploration.

The Spanish colonialists and explorers would introduce the lemon to the New World; lemons were first introduced to the island of Haiti, and then called Hispaniola by the Spanish. The first area to become a lemon producing region in the United States was the state of Florida.

This subtropical US state would lead the country in the production of lemons till a heavy freeze in the year 1895 killed the lemon groves and destroyed the commerce in Florida lemons. Italian lemons make up the other five percent via imports.

Most of the western world's entire supply of good quality lemon is grown in Italy and California -indeed these two places contribute the most to the world's supply of lemons.

Lemon trees of good quality have been known to bear upwards of three thousand lemons in a single year. One reason for the high yield of lemon is that lemon trees tend to bloom and ripen their fruits once every month of the year. The period from January to May is the time when the highest numbers of fruits are borne on the plants.

The finest quality lemons are likely to possess abundant juice as well, with the added benefit of a minimum of lemon seeds and little of the waste fibers seen in wild varieties.

To get the best ripeness and juice, one should choose lemons having a deep yellow color. Ideally, lemons must feel firm when pressed, but not hard or soft. Fruits that have been bruised must be avoided as mold tends to affect lemon fruits that have been mechanically injured in some way.

The internal decay on the lemon fruit can be gauged as a mold or even as the discoloration and soft area appearing at the stem end of the fruit.

The juice of lemons is an excellent substitute for vinegar, particularly when used in salad dressings, and to flavor different culinary dishes. The sweetness in very sweet fruit juices can be cut off by using a little lemon juice.

Lemons can also be added to milk or cream and even canned milk, to curdle it for preparing cheese. The lemon juice may also be used to soften water.

Many alkaline elements are found in the lemon.

Vitamin C is found in abundant amounts in the fresh juice of lemons. If left exposed to the air for long time, most of the valuable vitamin C in the juice is lost - for this reason, fresh juice should be preferred.

Important nutrients such as potassium and the vitamin B1 are also found in high amounts in the lemon. Citric acid also makes up about five to six per cent of the juice and tissues of lemons and limes. This percentage is very high compared to oranges at about one and a half percent, or the grapefruit, at about one to two percent citric acid.

In common with other citrus fruits, the lemon is classified as an acidic fruit - it shares this denomination with fruits like the cranberries and the loganberries, loquats, strawberries, pineapples and pomegranates, as well as tamarinds and a few other sour fruits.

Accumulated toxins in the body can be flushed out using lemons. They are considered to be ideal for detoxification of the body, however, the large amounts of citric acid present in lemons can also stir up the inactive acids and inactive toxins accumulated in the body leading to side effects.

The content of minerals found in the lemon forms an alkaline ash as a product of digestion. This alkaline ash may go into the tissues of the body, however, it is not always possible to rid the body of toxicity disorders.

As the kidneys, the bowels, the lungs, and the skin are not eliminating the body acids at a fast enough rate, it becomes hard for the body to rid itself of these acids.

A person who is allergic to many types of foods may find that his or her condition is due to the highly acidic conditions in his or her stomach or because of continuous acidic reactions in his organ systems.

All citrus fruits including the lemon are excellent for the treatment of cases of putrefaction, particularly when it concerns disorders in the liver.

Citruses in many cases really help in stirring up any of the latent toxins accumulated inside the body, which cannot be eliminated by any other means.

Consuming lemon juice is of great value when it is necessary to rid the impurities and the fermentative effects of an impaired liver. Citric acid rich diets have often been employed with excellent results in treating many such disorders. Since excessive citrus juices can actually thin out the blood, they must not be used in large amounts for prolonged time.

The juice of lemons is excellent and effective remedy to treat disorders of the throat and persistent catarrh. It is possible to prevent common colds at the first sign of a cold, if the affected person drinks a glass of warm and sugarless lemonade - the high vitamin C content of the lemon can actively aid in suppressing the onset of a cold.

Resistance in the body and the immune system are also boosted by consumption of lemons. It also aids in digestion and buffers the body against toxins. A nutritious drink can be made by mixing a little lemon juice and the yolk of a raw egg in a glass of orange juice. This mixture is also excellent as a mild laxative

All types of fevers can be effectively cured using the lemon as a remedy. The citric acid present in the lemon engages and strengthens the feverish body better than any other nutrient.

The consumption of vegetable juices on the other hand has more of a sedative action and helps eliminate toxemia acids from the body. As the presence of large amounts of citric acid in the body can induce excess activity in the body, it is best to ensure that all the eliminative organs in the body are working at a normal rate.

The citric acid induced over activity in the body can induce constant catarrhal discharges from the body of the affected person, including being responsible for many very highly acidic reactions. The juice of lemons is an effective remedy for influenza and related illnesses.

The elimination of toxins via the skin seems to be increased by the lemon. This helps in reducing the fever affecting a person.

The lemon juice is also an effective germicide and induces certain effects on the infective germ life brought on by influenza. The use of lemon juice alone is in fact capable of defeating at least twenty different types of infective germs in the human body.

The ideal influenza remedy can be made by mixing lemon with a boneset herbal tea. This added herb helps in controlling the calcium in the body, a necessary action whenever fever occurs in the human body.

The lemon is easily available and a familiar food item to most people. It is an excellent remedy with a high vitamin C content that enables to improve the body's resistance to all kinds of infection and pathogenic organisms.

The high content of vitamin C is effective against common colds and flu. The lemon also functions as a preventive medication for many types of conditions and disorders; these include infections of the stomach and the alimentary canal, all kinds of circulatory problems, as well as problems like arteriosclerosis, which is the thickening of the arterial walls in the body leading to symptomatic diseases.

The lemon has an alkaline effect in the human body, despite the high acid content, once it has been sufficiently digested in the stomach it tends to alkalinize. This property of the plant makes it very effective and useful in the treatment of rheumatic conditions involving acidity as one of the contributory factors in the genesis of the disorder.

The antiseptic property of the volatile oil and its bactericidal effects are also useful in the treatment of many disease states affecting the body.

Compounds called bio-flavonoids in the lemon help in strengthening the inner lining of all the blood vessels; this action is particularly beneficial with respect to the veins and capillaries. The lemon also helps alleviate varicose veins and stops easy bruising of the skin.

The value of the remedy made from lemon lies in its preventive action inside the body. The cleansing and antiseptic actions of the lemon make is effective in the treatment of arteriosclerosis, and also comes in great use when dealing with all kinds of infections and fevers - particularly the problems that affect the stomach, the liver, and the large and small intestines.

Circulatory disorders of all kinds and bleeding gums are also alleviated by its ability to strengthen blood vessel walls - it is a general-purpose medicine where problems of the circulatory system are concerned. The general tonic effects of the lemon can also treat many chronic illnesses.

The lemon is generally healthy food that can help a person maintain general good health and wholeness.

The lemon acts as a general tonic for the liver and pancreas as well, regular consumption results in improved appetite which also eases the acidity in the stomach, helping a person deal better with ulcers, with arthritis, with the physical symptoms of gout, as well as chronic rheumatism.

Lemon juice used as a gargle or oral wash also helps bring relief from sore throats, and can help alleviate gingivitis, as well as canker sores in the person. The application of lemon juice on the body directly can help eliminate persistent acne, it can bring relief from athlete's foot, it can treat chilblains, and is also useful for dealing with stings and bites of insects, as well as ringworm, sunburn, and warts on the skin.

Organically grown lemons are stripped of their skins and the rinds are cold-pressed to extract lemon oil. A kilo of lemon oil is extracted from about three thousand lemon rinds.

As little as a 0.2 per cent solution made of the lemon oil will result in the elimination of the diphtheria bacterial strain in twenty minutes. Lemon also contains classes of compounds that are investigated for their immune function in the laboratory.

Various types of digestive problems, soreness in the throat, persistent anxiety, blood pressure problems, digestive and different types of respiratory infections may also be beneficially treated using the remedies made from the lemon. The lemon based remedy aids the formation and development of leukocytes in the blood. It helps improve and boost the memory and it actively strengthens nails.