1. Health & Lifestyle

Lemon: A versatile fruit of multiple uses

Lemon is one of the most popular citrus fruits in the world with multiple uses. Argentina, Brazil, China, India and Mexico are the main producers of lemon. It can be stored for about 6 to 8 weeks at 100C. Lemon is considered a versatile fruit, as it can be used in many ways to enhance human health.

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Lemons in the bowl
Lemons in the bowl

Lemon is one of the most popular citrus fruits in the world with multiple uses. Argentina, Brazil, China, India, and Mexico are the main producers of lemon. Lemon is considered a versatile fruit, as it can be used in many ways to enhance human health. It is a very rich source of vitamin C, which is beneficial for our body.

Lemon is also very suitable for culinary purposes. The benefits of lemon water are seemingly endless. Lemon oil may be used in aromatherapy. Additional scientific data is needed to support the medicinal properties of lemon in various clinical disorders of humans.

Since ancient times, lemon is used for medicinal properties. India is considered the home of lemon. Christopher Columbus who brought the seeds of lemon introduced it to the Americas in 1943. Lemon belongs to the genus Citrus, Family Rutaceae, Order Sapindales, and Kingdom Plantae. Currently, lemon is grown in many parts of the world. The author found lemon in several foreign countries such as Belgium, France, Holland, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, and Ethiopia. Acid lime is more popular in India than lemon.

Acid lime is cultivated largely in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu, and to a limited extent in other states of the country. The plant requires a warm climate, well-drained soil slightly acidic in nature. The tropical climatic condition of India is good for the cultivation of lemon. The best season of planting is June to August. A tree can grow about 12 to 22 feet tall and will start giving fruits at the age of 3-6 years.

Irrigation water containing 1000 ppm of salt is injurious to the growth of the crop. High humidity can favor several diseases. Frost is injurious and hot wind during summer results in desiccation and drop of flowers and young fruits.

Average production is about 700 fruits after stabilization. The life span of the tree is about 15 to 20 years. Planting lemon can be a profitable business. James Lind in 1747 found that lemons are very useful to treat scurvy, a deficiency of vitamin C. The researchers claimed that vitamin C plays a significant role in immunity and helps to neutralize free radicals in our body and thus reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Lemon contains many vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, choline, pantothenic acid, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6) and minerals ( calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc), which are needed for the human body. It should be stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight.

Lemon is used as a home remedy for many people in India. However, it is imperative to mention that person suffering from serious illness should seek the expert opinion of qualified Physicians before doing self-medication with lemon. The main objective of this communication is to delineate the various uses of lemon including both culinary and non-culinary.

USES OF LEMON

Lemon has a very appealing color, odor, and flavor. People of India regularly used lemon to treat a wide variety of medical problems in the past. It improves digestion, boosts our immune system, alkalizes the body, hydrates the body, boosts energy, reduces mucus and phlegm, promotes healthy and rejuvenated skin, boosts brainpower, and helps in weight loss. Lemon is said to reduce inflammation of joints by removing uric acid from joints. It has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It increases the absorption of iron.

Lemon soothes the itching and alleviates the rash, reduces the age spots, and cleanses the face. Lemon water helps in the enzyme functions in our body stimulating the liver and flushing out toxins. Lemon juice relieves symptoms of indigestion such as bloating, burping, and heartburn. It can reduce the effects of nausea, dizziness, and also be found beneficial in chills, fever, headache, respiratory problems, arthritis, diphtheria, rheumatism, depression, stress, diabetes, cholera, high blood pressure, heart diseases, indigestion, constipation, sore throat, internal bleeding, burns, and obesity. 

It contains potassium, which is responsible for controlling high blood pressure. Furthermore, lemon juice is the best for oral health. It stops bleeding from gums, mitigates toothaches, and gives fresh breaths. It is a powerful antiseptic and can be used for vaginal hygiene. Juice of half lemon in a bucket of water during bath will help to remove the bad odor of sweat during the summer season. Lemon with turmeric powder and rose water is used to improve the skin complexion. It helps to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution. Lemon is also used as skin and hair tonic as author has its own experience of over 45 years.

Lemon can lend a wonderful flavor to sauces, salads, desserts, and drinks. Indian women use lemon in the kitchen such as preparation of lemon pickles. Lemon can also be used to preserve food. A few small pieces of ginger soaked in lemon juice are eaten before meals to increase the appetite. It can also be used in laundry. The used lemon is cut into small pieces, boiled in water, filtered, and after adding a very small quantity of any detergent powder, can be used to clean utensils. The scent of lemon is a deterrent for pests in the house. Bathing soap and dish wash bar containing lemon are available in the Indian market. Lemon squash manufactured by Patanjali, Haridwar, Uttrakhand is very popular among Indian people.

Lemon is amazing citrus fruit with terrific nutritional and medicinal value. It has many uses including culinary and non-culinary. Lemon provides vitamins and minerals to our body to maintain good health. It improves mood easily and quickly. Daily consumption of lemon water helps to purify the blood; and also significantly improves mental health. It is powerful antiseptic and can be used to disinfect cuts, abrasions and scrapes. In order to keep good health, it is recommended that one lemon squeezed in about 150 ml of water must be taken daily in the morning before going to the toilet.

Mahendra Pal

Narayan Consultancy on Veterinary Public Health and Microbiology

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