Scientific noun:Citrus X limon (L.) Burm., Citrus limonum Risso.
Family: Citrus family- Rutaceae
Habitat: Cultivated because of its fruits and as a garden tree in warm Mediterranean places next to the sea. It probably descends from the species " Citrus medica L. ", native from India.
Characteristics of lemon tree
Perennial tree of the Citrus family - rutaceae- up to 3 m. Toothed, elliptical or lanceolate leaves, pointed. Flowers white inside, rosy at the margin of the petals. The fruit is a hesperidium till 12,5 cm. wide, with a thick rind, dark yellow when fully ripe.
Composition: Active components of lemon tree
The main components are:
-Flavonoids: hesperidoside, limocitrin in the pericarp of the Spanish lemons.
- Essential oil: rich in isopulegol, alpha-bergamotene, alpha- pinene, alpha- terpinene, alpha- thujene, beta- bisolobene, beta- bergamotene, beta- phelandrene, citral, limonene and sabinene, (in the fruit , specially in lemons from California)
- Digestive tract: With intestines too much prone to defecation, it is very useful to stop diarrhoea. It has got anti-ulceric properties offered by beta- bisolobene and it also eliminates gastric acidity. Very suitable for hepatic insufficiency or jaundice, by stimulating the liver (Drink lemon juice at will) (With digestive disorders an infusion can be prepared with the maceration of lemon rind in alcohol 80 %. Take about 5 gr. a day)
It can help combat flatulence or vomiting caused by poor digestion (Take small sips of half a lemon juice diluted in a glass of water after meals)
- Pinworms: Lemon seeds, crushed and boiled in milk, can kill threadworms when taken with an empty stomach. (Mash half a tablespoon of lemon seeds - about 10 - for children and a tablespoon for adults. Boil them in a glass of milk. Strain and drink a glass a day for 3 or 4 days.)
- Antiescorbutic and vitaminic: Very rich in vitamin C, reason why it's got fantastic antiescorbutic properties, with a high content in potassium and calcium. Its potential to regenerate white corpuscles, makes it very desirable to strengthen body defences, preventing many diseases to appear.
- Antimigraine: By constraining the pericraneal blood vessels, caffeine, besides being a stimulant, relieves headache, resulting specially interesting with migraine. Caffeine is a component which appears in this plant with a high proportion and can also be found in the greatest proportion in tea and other plants as cocoa (Theobroma cacao L), cola (Cola acuminata), and coffee (Coffea arabica L.) and in the flowers or leaves of some citrics , such as the orange (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck) .
- Depurative: Ascorbic-acid and lemonene confer it depurative properties, so that it is an excellent remedy against rheumatism, arthrosis, arthritis, gout, cholesterol, arteriosclerosis and uric acid.
To combat these diseases it is very useful the lemon diet which consists in drinking the juice of a lemon diluted in water. Increase progressively the dose by adding a daily lemon till reaching 11 or 12. Revers the process till one daily lemon.
Its depurative properties can be used to treat acne. (Take the fresh juice of the plant at will)
- Sedative: Lemon juice combined with a couple of tablespoons of honey mixed in warm water before bedtime can help fall asleep. This is a good treatment against insomnia.
- Respiratory tract diseases: In respiratory affections , the essential oil components confer it antibacterial and expectorant properties, very useful to heal colds. Alpha- pinene is an anti-influenza component so that it is very adequate to drink lemon juice when having this disease. It is also very useful to appease thirst and remove fever.
Although vitamin C does not cure flu or common cold , it can relieve their symptoms and reduce their duration. Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruits, limes, mandarines, etc.) are good sources of this vitamin.
- Diuretic: Because the stimulation power of caffeine and the ascorbic acid, it can be used as a diuretic in obesity treatment, by increasing micturition which will get rid of undesirable water. Lemons, oranges, grapefruits, limes and other citrus contain a high amount of citric acid. It has been proved that this acid is able to dissolve little kidney stones or prevent their formation.
Eating this type of fruit protect us against forming new kidney stones. (Drink lemon juice at will) This will also be a preventive remedy to avoid gallbladder inflammation.
Lemon for cancer
- Anticancerigenous: The main components of essential oil, previously possess anticancerigenous and antitumoral properties, preventing the formation of cancerous cells and helping the body not to develop metastasis once the disease has appeared. Lemon juice has been recognised as a good antioxidant and alkalinising , so it contributes to reestablish cell equilibrium.
Lemon has very prominent antibacterial components, moreover, lemon and ginger, served piping hot, help thinning your sinuses and reduce fever, especially if you add a spoonful of honey, So this mix is very useful for sinusitis.
Lemon is rich in vitamin C. It is recommended to squeeze lemon juice into salads, infusions,etc.
- Halitosis, gingivitis and caries: Because of its bactericide properties it is very useful to eliminate bad breath and protect the mouth against infections, produced by inflammation of gums. (gargles with the lemon juice)
- Skin diseases: Lemon juice is very suitable to fight skin disorders, being one of the best astringents. A couple of daily applications on the skin help it to get rid of oily skin, skin spots, pimples, face spots, scabs, eczema, etc. Alpha- terpineol and ascorbic acid give this fruit vulnerary properties, very useful in healing wounds or scars, even insect stings (Use the juice or the essence diluted in water) (For eczemas you can apply a cataplasm with lemon juice and olive oil) Excellent bactericidal mouthwash can be made with fresh juice to cure mouth ulcers.
- Anti- wrinkles: Lemon, being very rich in vitamin E, is a good antioxidant. You can do an herbal remedy with lemon and parsley to remove wrinkles. (Leave a slice of lemon and a sprig of parsley in a glass of water overnight. The next morning, wet your face with this liquid and let it dry naturally)
(Another interesting preparation is to mix a few drops of lemon with a tablespoon of warm honey and a yogurt. Mix well and apply a cream on your face for 3 / 4 hour. Then, wash your face with cold water) You can also use it to make wrinkles masks.
- Nail diseases: Because of its antibacterial properties, it is appropriate to eliminate nail fungus from the hands or feet. (Soak nails in lemon juice, letting the leaves dry slowly) . Very suitable to strength the nails and prevent them to become brittle (Mix lemon juice with 50% iodine and soak your nails several times each day until they have been strengthened)
A good way of regenerating the nail, making them stronger, is by means of nail baths in lemon juice for some minutes every day in the morning and before going to bed.
Lemon juice is perfect for cleaning yellow stains on nails caused by tobacco (Squeeze a lemon, add a few drops of juice in a bowl and a tablespoonful of powdered sugar. Scrub your fingernails with this mixture)
It reduces the inflammation and fights the acute pain of ingrown toenails (Insert your finger into a lemon for a while. Repeat this process several times a day)
- Tonsillitis and otitis: Before the appearance of tonsillitis or sore throat, it can be useful to carry out gargles with the juice. In the same way, we can use lemon juice applied with a soaked cotton inside the ear when we feel pain in this area because of otitis.
- Rheumatism: To alleviate the articular pains taken place because of the rheumatic illnesses frictions with the essential oil in the affected areas can be carried out
- Chilblains: As a good astringent, it promotes healing of chilblains and prevents their infection (Rub a lemon on the affected area)
- Nosebleed: Lemon juice is one of the best natural astringents. Suitable for "dry" skin imperfections such as pimples or blackheads. This property can be used to promote healing of small wounds that occur in the nasal vessels (Dip a cotton swab with lemon juice and place in the bleeding nose . Keep it inside for 20 minutes.)
EDIBLE PROPERTIES OF LEMON
In the kitchen lemon is used to decorate and to perfume many plates. It is used habitually in this way with fish and with salads.
It appears like complement of many cocktails to those that it contributes with its aroma and its digestive properties and it enters, mainly, as first component in the production of the lemonade, a very advisable drink to remove the thirst and for all their medicinal properties, provided that it becomes from home-made elaboration,
RECIPE: HOME-MADE PRODUCTION OF THE LEMONADE
- 4 lemons
- 1 cup of brown sugar (You could substitute it for honey)
- 1 liter and half of water
- Mint (optional)
Cut the lemons in two . Squeeze them and pour the juice in a jar. Strain the juice and add the sugar and the water. Stir it well and serve cool.
We can use the lemon juice or the pulp of the fruit like a product for cleaning, substituting the chemical products.
Toxicity of lemon
All the citrus species contain fototoxic -irritating essential oils, producing reactions to those that are exposed to strong ultraviolet rays (those that carry out activities at high mountain)
Among these reactions we find pocks in the lips or dermatitis in those external parts of the body that have entered in contact with the juice. It is then convenient not to drink lemon juice if we will be exposed to very strong radiations or if we are allergic to their components. The essential oil is also contraindicated during pregnancy and nursing.
The lemon juice is dangerous for the teeth because it attacks the dental plaque and it can yellow it . A good solution to avoid it consists on drinking it with a straw.
Ways of use : Lemons should be consumed fresh . The gathering time extends from autumn to spring.