Lemons are an extrememly useful and health beneficial fruit, with their fresh taste and nutritional, antioxidant and cleansing powers, they contain a wealth of health-enhancing properties.
The lemon is actually a hybrid citrus tree developed as a cross between a lime and a citron, an ancient fruit that is best known for its fragrant peel, and mentioned by the scholar Ibn al-Qayyim in his Prophetic medicine. The lemon is an oval-shaped fruit used for its juice, pulp and rind zest in cooking.
Ibn al-Qayyim on the Citron
Ibn al-Qayyim described the health benefits of the citron in his Prophetic medicine. Among the uses of the scented peel of the fruit, he said that it sweetened the breath and aided digestion. He mentioned some of the benefits of the pulp as being beneficial for the liver and stomach, and quenching thirst. The seeds of the fruit were described as having a dissolving and dessicative (drying or preserving) power, and being beneficial for all kinds of poisons and bites.
Health Benefits of Lemons
Lemons are an excellent source of Vitamin C. they also contain Vitamin A, folate, calcium and potassium. Limonene, a compound shown to have anticancer properties in laboratory animals, is present in lemons. All citrus fruits are high in flavonoids, the most common antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables and shown in studies to block substances that cause cancer and heart disease.
Some of the studies into the health benefits of lemons include:
In laboratory tests, citrus limonoids have been shown to fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon, and human neuroblastoma tumors, which occur most often in children. Next to cranberries, lemons were more potent in killing human liver cancer cells. Because of limonoids' ability to stay in the bloodstream for an extended period of time, researchers believe that they may be better suited for suppressing cancer cell growth than any other nutrient. In comparison, phenols in green tea typically stay in the system for only four to six hours.
Vitamin C-rich foods provide protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of arthritis involving two or more joints. A research study involving more than 20,000 subjects found that subjects who consumed the lowest amounts of vitamin C-rich foods were more than three times more likely to develop arthritis that those who consumed the highest amounts.
Tips on Using Lemons
- A room temperature lemon will yield more juice than a cold one.
- The antibacterial quality of lemons makes them beneficial for clearing up pimples, mouth ulcers, and sore throats.
- Lemon juice has antiseptic properties. It can be used as a natural household cleaner, stain remover and odor eliminator.
- Lemon juice mixed with honey or ginger is a well-known and effective treatment for cold and flu relief.
- Adding lemon juice to water makes a delicious and nutritious substitute for artificially flavored beverages, and has cleansing and detoxifying properties as well as freshening the breath.
- Pattison DJ, Silman AJ, Goodson NJ, Lunt M, Bunn D, Luben R, Welch A, Bingham S, Poulose SM, Harris ED, Patil BS. Citrus limonoids induce apoptosis in human neuroblastoma cells and have radical scavenging activity. J Nutr. 2005 Apr;135(4): 870-877.
- Manners GD et al. Bioavailability of citrus limonoids in humans. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Jul 2;51(14):4156-4161.
- Sun J, Chu YF, Wu X, Liu RH. Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of common fruits. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Dec 4;50(25):7449-7454.
- Khaw KT, Day N, Symmons DP. Vitamin C and the risk of developing inflammatory polyarthritis: prospective nested case-control study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2004 Jul;63(7):843-7.