Medicinal plants and fruits are highly invaluable in our everyday living. They play significant roles in equipping our body systems with the right nutrients and vitamins required for fighting diseases. One of such important fruits is the citrus lemon, which is also known as the citrus Limon. Citrus lemon belongs to the family of Rutaceae. Lemon is a cosmopolitan fruit that is popularly known for its medicinal and nutritional properties. Interestingly, every part of lemon is used for medicinal purposes. The lemon plant is distinguished by its thorny branches, white flowers and purple edges. There are several varieties of lemon found all over the world, especially in the Mediterranean and tropical climates. According to Mohanapriya et., al. (2013), lemon is a vital medicinal plant of the family Rutaceae which originated from Asia. Lemon fruit otherwise known as (Citrus × Limon) grows on small, thorny trees of 10 to 20 feet height. The leaves are dark green in colour and are alternately aligned on the stem. Lemon fruit has smooth porous skin, oval in shape and is greenish yellow to bright yellow in colour. The sour taste of lemon juice is due to the presence of citric acid and this component makes it a vital ingredient in drinks and food production (Ucan et., al. 2014). Lemon is cultivated mainly for its alkaloids which possess anticancer characteristics, especially in the flowers, root, stem and leaves while the yellow fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes.
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Vitamins in lemon
Lemon fruits are rich sources of Potassium, Vitamin B6, niacin (Vit. B3), sugars, iron, fat, zinc, protein, magnesium, riboflavin (Vit. B2), dietary fibre, pantothenic acid (B5), carbohydrates, folate (Vit. B9), vitamin C, calcium, thiamine (Vit. B1), energy and phosphorus. Lemon contains phytochemicals such as terpineol, citral, limonene, linalyl and geranyl acetate. Due to the rich nutritional, chemical and medicinal composition of lemon, it is used in both the pharmaceutical, food industry for several purposes.
Uses of lemon
Lemon is consumed all over the globe and can be used for preparing dishes, sauces, beverages, lemonade, smoothies, sorbets, drinks, lemon detox water, pickles, jellies, molasses, candies, salad dressings, lemon-garlic soup, sour mix, lemon curd, lemon syrup, lemonade Popsicles, baked products, jams and snacks etc. Lemon juice, frozen lemon, lemon rind, and lemon zest are used in making drinks, lemon liqueur, marmalade, lemonade, cocktails and for fish/meat marination. Lemon fruit juice can serve as a preservative on quick oxidising foods that tend to turn brown after being cut as a result of acid denaturation. Lemon slices and lemon rind can be used for garnishing food and drinks. Grated lemon zests are used for food flavouring. Lemon leaves are used in making tea and for garnishing cooked meats and fishes. Lemon peel contains a high amount of pectin, which suggests the reason it is usually used for food industrial processes as a texturizer, gelling agent, thickener, emulsifier and stabilizer in dairy products. Due to the jellifying properties of lemon, the pectin is also used in dental, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. The lemon fruit is mostly used as fresh fruit, but it can be used for producing other things. For example, lemon oil extracted from lemon skin or lemon peel is useful for producing body oils, deodorants, hair oils, soft drink concentrates, air fresheners, disinfectants, toothpaste, cosmetics, toilet soaps, body soaps and mouthwashes etc. Lemon juice can be used for cleaning and when inserted in salt or baking powder, can be used for copper cookware brightening. When lemon juice is mixed with baking soda, it can be used to remove grease, deodorise or remove stains.
Medicinal uses of lemon
Lemon peel is a rich constituent of phytochemicals, which are essential for the body. The lemon peel exhibits strong antimicrobial, antioxidant and astringent properties. Studies reveal that the lemon peel is powerful for preventing and tackling kidney stone disease, for reducing liver and plasma cholesterol. Citrus lemon possesses anti-cancer properties, prevents the development of kidney stones, regulates the blood sugar level, balances the pH level, tackles fever and acts as a blood purifier. This fruit can also be used for treating insomnia, throat infection, osteoporosis, nausea, asthma, acne, spots, pimples, rheumatism, arthritis, vomiting and bone-related diseases etc·
Health Benefits of Lemon
Avello et al. (2014) observed that C. Limon juice is suitable for lowering the blood pressure level when elevated. This is attributed to the hypertensive properties of lemon juice as well as the high amount of polyphenols and vitamin C found in it. This is an important self-care approach as there are no protocols that patients or medical care providers can perform at home should there be a sudden blood pressure rise. Besides, this an easy, quick and cost-effective technique for lowering the blood pressure level. However, it is important to highlight on the need to regularly go for medical check-ups, the use of medical control of the blood pressure and strict adherence to medical treatment. Hypertension is a silent killer of which the absence of symptoms does not rule out that this condition is absence, controlled or cured, hence the patient needs to be alert at all times.
Obesity is a health condition that is characterised by the accumulation of excessive body fat, which can be detrimental to an individual's health. Hashemipour et al. (2016) compared the impacts of lemon peels and placebo on cardiometabolic risk factors and markers of endothelial function among adolescents with obesity and overweight. These researchers revealed that the intake of lemon peel extract exhibits some positive impacts on childhood obesity. Lemon peels contain vitamin C, flavonoid and pectin, hence effective for tackling obesity. Besides, an intake of lemon juice mixed with honey aids weight loss. Mixing a glass of warm water and lemon can help to break the body fat and adipose tissue, as well as controls food cravings due to the pectin found therein.
Studies show that citrus lemon peel contains antimicrobial properties thus effective for tackling infections. Lemon juice also prevents microbial infections and can be effective for keeping the skin healthy. But this has to be incorporated with personal hygiene, good diet and exercise. Acetone extracts from lemon exhibit inhibitory effects against the Gram-positive bacteria Enterococcus faecalis and Bacillus subtilis, and the Gram-negative Salmonella typhimurium and Shigella sonnei.
Maintains a Healthy Digestive System
Researchers have proven that D-limonene in citrus fruit peels tackles nausea, increases gastric motility, relieves gastric reflux and neutralizes stomach acids. Lemon juice can also be used for controlling irritable bowel syndrome and nausea. Lemon juice also helps to relieve heartburns.
Lemon is heavily used in the cosmetological industry for producing skin products that tackle acne, sunburn or mycosis. Some people mix lemon juice with cucumber, egg albumin and honey and then apply the mixture daily on the face to treat acne and maintain smooth facial skin. Lemon juice can be mixed with olive oil and used as a home remedy for treating hair and scalp disorders. Due to the high amount of Vitamin C in lemon juice, it is considered effective for lightening the skin. Lemon oil exhibit flavouring, antibiotic and antimicrobial properties, thus suitable for producing toothpaste, shampoos, disinfectants, perfumes, topical ointments and other cosmetics etc. Due to the antioxidant properties of lemon fruit extracts, it is highly recommended for use in the production of anti-ageing cosmetics products.
The high amount of vitamin C in lemon helps to prevent the formation of free radicals as well as protects the DNA from mutations.
Tackles Urinary Tract Infection
Lemon juice can be used for tackling UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) problems as it is effective for flushing out high level of uric acid. A mixture of lemon juice and olive oil has been reported as suitable for curing gall bladder stones and kidney stones.
DISCLAIMER This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnosis and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
1. Avello., M, Jofré P, Pastene E, Fernández P (2014), Use of Citrus Limon L. (lemon) in Treating Blood Pressure Sudden Rises, International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research, 6(3): 606-611.
2. Chaturvedi, D., Suhane, N. and Shrivastava, R. R. (2016), Basketful Benefit Of Citrus Lemon, International Research Journal Of Pharmacy, 7(6), 1-3.
3. Dhanavade, M. J., Jalkute, C. B., Ghosh, J. S. and Sonawane, K. D. (2011), Study Antimicrobial Activity of Lemon (Citrus lemon L.) Peel Extract Study Antimicrobial Activity of Lemon (Citrus lemon L .) Peel Extract, Br. J. Pharmacol. Toxicol., 2(3), 119–122.
4. González-Molina, E., Domínguez- Perles, R., Moreno, D. A. and García- Viguera, C. (2010), Natural bioactive compounds of Citrus limon for food and health, Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, vol. 51, no. 2. pp.327–345.
5. Hashemipour, M., Kargar, M., Ghannadi, A. and Kelishadi, R. (2016), The effect of Citrus Aurantifolia (Lemon) peels on cardiometabolic risk factors and markers of endothelial function in adolescents with excess weight: A triple-masked randomized controlled trial, Medical Journal of Islam Repub Iran, 8(30), 429.
6. Kato, Y., Domoto, T., Hiramitsu, M., Katagiri, T., Sato, K. Miyake, Y., Aoi, S., Ishihara, K., Ikeda, H., Umei, N., Takigawa, A. and Harada, T. (2014), Effect on blood pressure of daily lemon ingestion and walking, Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 1-6.
7. Klimek-Szczykutowicz, M., Szopa, A. and Ekiert, H. (2020), Citrus limon (Lemon) Phenomenon—A Review of the Chemistry, Pharmacological Properties, Applications in the Modern Pharmaceutical, Food, and Cosmetics Industries, and Biotechnological Studies, 9(1), 119.
8. Mohanapriya M., Ramaswamy, L. & Rajendran, R. (2013) Health and Medicinal Properties of Lemon (Citrus limonum), International Journal Of Ayurvedic And Herbal Medicine 3:1, pp. 1095-1098.
9. Riaz, A., Khan, R. A., Mirza, T., Mustansir, T. and Ahmed, M. (2014), In vitro/in vivo effect of Citrus limon (L. Burm. f.) juice on blood parameters, coagulation and anticoagulation factors in rabbits, Pak. J. Pharm. Sci., 27(4), 907-915.
10. Ucan F., Akyildiz A. & Agcam E. (2014) Effects of Different Enzymes and Concentrations in the Production of Clarified Lemon Juice, Journal of Food Processing Vol. 2014.
11. Images & videos from Pixabay & Videvo respectively.