Lemon – Properties and health benefits / medicinal uses

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Botanical name: Citrus limon L. Burm.
Other names: Bearss, Eureka lemon
Spanish name: Limon, Limon agrio
French name: Citron
Lemon is the aggregate fruit of the lemon tree, Citrus limon Burm., a spiny evergreen tree of the botanical family Rutaceae, which usually reaches a height of about 3-6 meters.


Properties and health benefits of Lemon

Lemon is a fruit with great amounts of vitamin C, the only nutrient that stands out in lemon. It’s vitamin C content is only slightly less than Orange.
Lemons contains carbohydrates in about 8.23% of its total content, and contains no fats nor proteins. But however, most of the substances that accounts for lemon medicinal uses are found in its non-nutritive component. Below are some of these substances:
* Flavonoids – These substances which are mainly diosmin and hesperidin, are found in the peel and pulp of lemon. They perform many functional roles such as
– Protecting the blood vessels
– Preventing cancer (as aanticarcinogens)
– Acting as antioxidants

* Organic acids – These acids are formed mainly of citric, malic, formic, and acetic acids. They possess a great antiseptic effect, and as well, helps facilitate the action of vitamin C.

* Terpenes – Among these substances present in lemon, d-limonene (a type of Terpene) predominate. D-limonene has been proved to possess great anticarcinogenic and detoxifying effect. Generally, terpenes are responsible for citrus unique aroma, and are found mainly in the peel.

Due to the effects exhibited by the nutritive (mainly vitamin C) and non-nutritive components of lemon, the following are some medicinal values of lemon that are worth mentioning.

* Circulatory disorders
Lemon consumption helps prevent circulatory disorders. The flavonoids found in lemon especially hesperidin helps improve the elasticity of the arteries, strengthen capillary walls and reduce blood’s tendency to clot. This makes lemon consumption highly recommended in cases of:
– Arteriosclerosis
– Edema (fluid retention), and
– Cases where blood fluidity and circulation needs to be improved.

* Anemia
Even though lemon contains very little amounts of iron, it is very recommended for the anemics. This is due to its very high vitamin C content which facilitates the absorption of iron found in other plant-based foods. Thus,lemons should be a regular component of an anemic’s diet.

* Cancer Prevention
As we have seen above, lemon contains substances that possess great anticarcinogenic properties. To be precise, d-limonene, a terpene, which is found in the peel of lemon, has been shown capable of neutralizing certain carcinogens (cancer causing substances).

* Excess uric acid
When excess uric acid is deposited in the joints, it causes rheumatic pain and arthritis. It also causes nephritis when deposited on the kidney.
Lemon consumption has been proved to be highly effective in eliminating this excess uric acid which is constantly being produced in the body.

* Infectious diseases
As already known, vitamin C helps fight infections and boosts the body’s immune system, and lemon contains this vitamin in great amounts. Moreover, the phytochemicals found in lemon also helps improve the body’s immune system. Thus, the consumption of lemon is highly recommended in cases of any infection, be it of bacterial or viral origin.

* Kidney stones
The consumption of lemon, particularly using its treatment chart, is very effective in dissolving kidney stones, particularly if the kidney stones are formed of uric acid.

Lemon treatment
This is a schedule made for the consumption of lemon for medicinal purposes. The treatment is done over a period of two weeks. On the first day, a single lemon diluted in water should be taken about an hour to breakfast. On the second day, two lemons should be taken, third day three lemons until the seventh day where seven lemons should be taken. On the subsequent week, the lemon taken should be from seven on the eighth day, to six on the ninth day, and continue consequently until one lemon on the last day (14th day).

Note – Lemon treatment must not be done by any of the following class of people:
* Those with low amounts of calcium
* The elderly
* Children
* Those with renal failure, and
* The anemics

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Abbati is a student from the department of Biological sciences, Ahmadu Bello Univeristy, Zaria. He loves learning about the medicinal properties of foods, and the need to explore them!

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