Scientific Name:Citrus limon
About this Herb:Like other citrus plants, lemons are small, spreading, evergreen trees growing up to 10 to 12 feet in most cultivated plantations. They flourish well in temperate and tropical environments, whereas, cold and frosty conditions would affect their growth adversely. Stems are often armed with sharp, stout thorns. Fully-grown plant bears fragrant, white flowers in short cymes.
Fruits belonging to citrus group are described as “hesperidium”, (A hesperidium is a scientific term to describe the fruit structure belonging to citrus group. In fact, the fruit is a modified berry with tough, leathery rind. Lemon peel contains many volatile oil glands in pits. Interior flesh is composed of segments, called carpels, made up of numerous juice-filled vesicles that are actually specialized hair cells). Matured fruits measure about 5 to 8 cm in diameter and weigh about 50 to 80 g in weight.
Common Names:Lemon Zest, Lemon Rind, Lemon,
Uses:Lemons are packed with numerous health benefiting nutrients. The fruit is low in calories, 29 calories per 100 g, one of the lowest among citrus group.
It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, but is rich in dietary fiber (7.36% of RDA).
Its acidic taste is due to citric acid. Citric acid is present up to 8% in its juice. Citric acid is a natural preservative, aids digestion. Studies found that citric acid help dissolve kidney stones.
Lemons, like other citrus fruits, are excellent source of ascorbic acid (provides about 88% of DRI). Ascorbic acid or vitamin-C is a powerful water soluble natural anti-oxidant. This vitamin is helpful in preventing scurvy. Besides, consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the blood.
Lemons like oranges contain a variety of phytochemicals. Hesperetin and naringenin are flavonoid glycosides commonly found in citrus fruits. Naringenin is found to have a bio-active effect on human health as antioxidant, free radical scavenger, anti-inflammatory, and immune system modulator. This substance has also been shown to reduce oxidant injury to DNA in the cells in-vitro studies.
They also contain small level of vitamin A, and other flavonoid anti-oxidants such as α and ß-carotenes, beta-cryptoxanthin, zea-xanthin and lutein. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is also essential for vision. Consumption of natural fruits rich in flavonoids helps body to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Total ORAC value, which measures the anti-oxidant strength of 100 g of fresh lemon juice is 1225 µmol TE (Trolex equivalents).
They also are a good source of B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, and folates. These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish.
They contain healthy amount of minerals like iron, copper, potassium, and calcium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids helps control heart rate and blood pressure.
Citrus fruits, as such, have long been valued for their wholesome nutritious and antioxidant properties. It is scientifically established that citrus fruits, especially lemons and oranges, by virtue of their richness in vitamins and minerals, have many proven health benefits. Moreover, it is now beginning to be appreciated that the other biologically active, non-nutrient compounds found in citrus fruits such as phyto-chemical antioxidants, soluble and insoluble dietary fiber have been found to be helpful in reduction in the risk for cancers, many chronic diseases like arthritis, and from obesity and coronary heart diseases.
Try placing your lemons (whole) in the freezer and using a grater, grate the lemon rind on your food and beverages for a surprising flavor enhancer as well as for the health benefits.
Lemon juice put on the hair before going out in the sun with hasten the sun's lightening of the hair.
Lemon juice will also lighten freckles and age spots when allowed to dry on the skin and used 3 times a day.