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 sub-tropical 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. Following this catastrophic event, lemon plantations on a large scale were discontinued in the state of Florida. These days, southern California accounts for approximately ninety five percent of all the lemons consumed in the United States and Canada. 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.
A distinct variety of lemon called the Eureka variety was produced from imported Sicilian lemon seeds in Los Angeles by C. R Workmen in the year 1870. Commercially speaking, the Eureka and the Lisbon are the two lemon varieties that are most commonly grown and favored by planters as well as consumers. The early fruit bearing Eureka variety is a prolific plant and gives a high yield - it starts bearing fruit early from late spring to the end of summer in a given year. The other preferred lemon variety called the Lisbon bears a single large crop in a year; this is borne either in the spring or in the winter months. 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 heavy for their size and posses a skin of an oily and fine texture. Such 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 from, 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. One must avoid shriveled or hard skinned fruits, especially those that are too soft or spongy when held. Such lemons may be dried inside or old, or they could be mechanically injured, or be rotten in the core.
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 the purpose of preparing cottage cheese. The lemon juice may also be used to soften water. The lemon juice in water makes for an excellent rinse when using it after shampooing hair - lemon juice is a natural hair color lightener.
A lot of 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 periods of time, most of the valuable vitamin C in the juice is lost - for this reason, fresh juice should be preferred. Important nutrients such as the element 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 to 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, the action of the citric acid in stirring up many of the acids in the body and 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. As a result, the acids may remain in the body due to the inability of the body to eliminate them at a rapid rate, they may become very reactive to the point that acidemia and many related irritating disorders develop in the body. 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. If all the eliminative organs in the body of a person are working at normal rates, then citric acid will not produce any of these irritating effects in the body and none of these symptoms will manifest.
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 be rid of 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. It is important to remind oneself that the elimination diet is only a part of a correct lifestyle, since excessive citrus juices can actually thin the blood - they must not be used in large amounts for prolonged periods of 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. Citric acid fruits and their juices must be avoided by all individuals who are extremely irritable, nervous, or very sensitive to acidic foods as a result of toxins accumulated in the body, such people should consumed vegetable juices and vegetable broths instead.
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 that affect so many people around the world. 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 is connected to so many popular uses in the Spanish popular medicine that one can actually come across entire books written on its remedial and beneficial properties.
Drinking lemon juice is very good for treating common colds and the flu, it is also helpful in dealing with scarlet fever, and chest infections of all kinds. 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.
Other medical uses
Habitat and cultivation
Lemon trees are believed to be native to the Indian sub-continent. 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 spring time. Plants grow optimally on well drained soils with good exposure to incumbent sunlight. The vitamin C content in the fruit is the highest in the winter, and it is best harvested at this time to get good quality fruits.
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. Some principal chemical compounds found in the lemon rind are the compound limonene, as well as gamma-terpinene, the compound called beta-pinene, the compound called alpha-pinene and the sabinene compound.
The meningococcus bacteria is killed off within fifteen minutes by the vaporized lemon essence, the typhoid bacilli takes just an hour to be eliminated in this treatment, in two hours the Staphylococcus aureus strain can be defeated using the essence, while the Pneumococcus bacterial strain will die off within three hours of use. As little as a 0.2 percent solution made of the lemon oil will result in the elimination of the diphtheria bacterial strain in twenty minutes. This same dilute solution also acts to permanently inactivate the tuberculosis bacterial strain.
The strong anti-septic like properties of the lemon oil is one well researched effect. Lemon also contains classes of compounds that are being 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, it actively strengthens nails, and also induces a sense of well being in the person, while having a cleansing effect on the skin. At the same time, anti-depressant effects induced by the lemon oil have also been observed in human trials under clinical test conditions.
The therapeutic grade essential oil of lemon has a great potency, and there are no known virus or bacterial agent which can live in the presence of this oil for any length of time - not a single strain or viral particle capable of resisting this oil has been found to date. Viruses often mutate and develop immunity to any class of antibiotics; however, no virus has been able to breach the potency of the essential oils present in the lemon. Hospitals in Europe and England made extensive use of the lemon oil and it is still diffused these days as well. One very unique blend of the essential oils was placed under clinical trials at Weber State University, in order to gauge the potency of the antimicrobial actions; the results astounded the researchers as the kill rate of the oil was 99.96 percent against common airborne bacterial pathogens.
Egg yolk and lemon face mask
The egg yolk and lemon face mask is suitable for all skin types and the two ingredients required to prepare this recipe include:
Scoop out a hole in the half lemon, which should be only enough to accommodate the egg yolk. Place the whole, unbroken egg yolk into the space and allow it to remain as it is for the night. On the following morning, swathe your face and neck with the egg yolk that will contain some oils it has soaked up from the lemon. Allow the mask to remain for about 10 to 15 minutes and, subsequently, wash it off with water. This blend will not only rinse out and nurture your skin, but also tone up your complexion.