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An Introduction to Lemon
This oval-shaped yellow citrus fruit with juicy acidic flesh is a globally renowned flavouring agent used for culinary and non-culinary purposes. In every corner of the world, it is a common ingredient of many cuisines, drinks and marinades. Primarily, this fruit is used for its acidic juice which contains about 5% (approximately 0.03 moles/liter) citric acid, the substance responsible for its tart taste. The lemon (citrus X limon) is a hybrid in cultivated wild plants. The name Limonum is derived from the Arabic Limun or Limu, which in its turn probably comes from the Sanscrit Nimbuka.

The exact origin of the lemon is not known, but it is believed that this juicy fruit was originated in Asia,

particularly in China and India; where it is still widely grown. Certain other species are also come in the category of lemons including Rough Lemon (C. Jambhiri Lush.), Sweet Lemon (C. Limetta Risso), 'Meyer' (Lemon X Mandarin Hybrid), etc.

Besides being widely used for culinary purposes, it also contains many healing properties. For centuries, this yellowish-coloured fruit has been widely used for its therapeutic properties. It acts as a blood purifier and improves the body’s ability to get rid of toxins. Lemons are also used for cosmetics therapy.


History of Lemons
Since innumerable, lemons are used for culinary as well as non culinary purposes. Findings suggests that lemon was originated in north-western India. In southern Italy, lemons have been introduced in 200 A.D. and have reached Iraq and Egypt by 700 A.D. It is believed that this juicy fruit has been cultivated in Sicily before 1000 and China between 760 and 1297 A.D. It was distributed widely throughout the Arab world and the Mediterranean region between 1000 A.D. to 1150. In the middle of the fifteenth century, the real cultivation of lemon began in Europe. In 1943, it was introduced in Americas when Christopher Columbus, the Spanish voyager, carried lemon seeds to Hispaniola. Today, USA is one of the largest producers of lemons in the world.


Plant Description
Botanically lemon is known by different names like citrus medica, citrus limonum, citronnier, neemoo, leemoo, limoun and limone. Moderate climatic conditions is suitable for the growth of this short herb. Lemon plant tolerates almost all types of soil which are having the pH between 5.5 and 6.5. It is a short and straggling tree which grows upto the height of 11 feet.

This irregularly branched tree has oval shaped leaves which are about two inches long. The solitary, five-petalled flowers, white inside and tinged with deep pink outside, grow on stems in the axils.


Culinary Uses
Lemons are inseparable elements of many popular drinks. Lemonade is one of the world's favourite refreshing summer drinks. Another drink which is equally popular on all corners of the globe is the lemon tea. Needless to explain the popularity of lemon juice.

As garnish and as a cooking ingredient, the astringent juice enhances and sharpens the taste of meat, fish and vegetable dishes. Fish are marinated in lemon juice to neutralize the odor.

In USA, the popularity of lemons can be judged by the number of lemon-flavoured food items like

lemon pastries, tarts and traditional American lemon meringue pie. Lemon-flavoured hard-boiled candy, cakes, biscuits, and puddings are popular all over the world.

Other Uses
Lemon is also used in other purposes. Some of them are discussed below:

  • Citric acid: It is one of the major sources of obtaining commercial grade citric acid.
  • Lemon battery: A popular science experiment in schools involves attaching electrodes to a lemon and using it as a battery to power a light. The electricity generated in this way can also power a small motor.
  • Sanitary kitchen deodorizer: It is also used in producing kitchen deodorizer to remove grease, bleach stain, and disinfect.
  • Insecticide: The d-limonene in lemon oil is used as a non-toxic insecticide treatment.

Medicinal Benefits
For centuries lemon has been widely used for its medicinal properties. It contains higher concentrations of the Vitamin C. They also contain smaller, but significant amounts of the B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.

Following are the major benefits of using lemon:

  • When applied on hair, it works as a natural hair lightener
  • Hot lemon water is a traditional cure for constipation
  • Applying lemon juice to facial blemishes is a popular form of treating acne
  • It is also said that lemon helps to stimulate the metabolism
  • Lemon is used in facial masks for refreshing the skin
  • Lemon juice sweetened with honey, or spiced with salt and ginger, is an old larder remedy for cold and sore throat
  • Since lemon juice is the rich source of the Vitamin C, it is a highly effective antioxidant
  • Lemon-juice prevents or restrains influenza, malaria and cold
  • When mixed with water, lemon juice is useful in quenching the thirst of the patients suffering from diabetes
  • Lemon-juice gives immediate relief in abdominal disorders
  • Lemon acts as a sedative for the nerves and the heart and allays troublesome palpitation.
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