Lemon – Citrus × limon

A Lemon on the tree

A Lemon on the tree

“Lemon tree oh so pretty,

and the lemon flower is sweet,

but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.”

 

Written by Will Holt

Preformed by Peter, Paul and Mary

 

This native citrus of northern India is only found in cultivation today, the wild populations have been eradicated. Cultivation has been ongoing for centuries and 47 varieties have been developed. In Asia it was widely used for its antiseptic properties. In 700 AD it was introduced to Egypt and Iraq. The first recorded evidence of its use was found in an Arabic farming treatise of the tenth century were it was stated it was used as an ornamental in early gardens.

 

Lemons are a well known astringent that works well as a gargle for sore throats, as a lotion for sunburn, and in uterine bleeding post delivery. It has also been used to cure hiccough and treat jaundice. The British Navy requires all ships that will be out to sea for more than 10 days to carry sufficient Lemon or lime juice so that every sailor may have a 1 ounce dose daily to fight scurvy!

 

It has been used as a cooling drink in feverish situations, allaying thirst, for rheumatism, and occasionally to counteract narcotic poisoning. The rind is used in preparations to help cover the taste of medicines in allopathic medicine.

 

Lemon is popular in cooking as well….lemon juice has been used with fish for centuries…did you know it is because the juice neutralizes the fishy odor? Water and iced tea (sometimes hot teas as well) are served with a slice or wedge of lemon, and in Europe colas are often offered with lemon as well!

 

When used in marinate for meat it works by partially hydrolyzing tough cuts of meat to make them more tender and palatable. Lemons can be used to make marmalade, a liqueur named Limoncello is made from the rind, and the zest is added to baked goods, puddings, rice and other dishes for flavor.

 

Lemons are also popular in cosmetic use:

            Lemon hair lightener…the juice applied to the hair acts as a natural highlighter

            Deodorant…raw lemon can be used as a short term deodorant

            Skin bleach…the juice has been used to lighten skin blemishes, the effectiveness is questionable

            Acne treatment… just apply the juice to blemishes

            Facial masks…often added to facial masks for a refreshing treatment

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