Lemons have long history of health, and cosmetic benefits, and a kitchen without a lemon is a sorry place indeed. These yellow gems are culinary superheroes, that brighten the flavor of everything. From salad, to main course, to desert, and cocktails. The Ancient Egyptians believed that eating lemons, and drinking lemon juice was an effective protection against a variety of poisons. The two biggest health benefits are lemons strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers, and their use as a weight loss aid, because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain many substances. Citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene, that promote immunity, and fight infection. It's widely presumed that lemons first grew in Southern India, northern Burma, and China. In South and South East Asia, it was also used as an antidote for various poisons. Lemons entered Europe near southern Italy around the 1st century AD, during the time of Ancient Rome. However, they were not widely cultivated. They were later introduced to Persia, and Egypt around 700 AD.
The lemon was first recorded in literature in a 10th century Arabic essay on farming, and was also used as an ornamental plant in early Islamic gardens. It was distributed widely throughout the Arab world and the Mediterranean region between 1000, and 1150. The first substantial cultivation of lemons in Europe began in Genoa in the middle of the 15th century. It was later introduced to the Americas in 1493 when Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds to Hispaniola on his voyages. Spanish conquest throughout the New World helped spread lemon seeds. It was used as ornament, and medicine. It was in the 18th and 19th centuries, when lemons were first used widely in cooking and flavoring, they were first planted in Florida and eventually moved west to California. In 1747, James Lind's experiments on sailors suffering from scurvy involved adding vitamin C to their diets with lemon juice. The average lemon contains approximately 3 tablespoons of juice. You should allow lemons to come to room temperature before juicing them it makes the juice easier to extract. Remember that lemons left unrefrigerated for long periods of time are susceptible to mold. In one of the most comprehensive scientific studies, researchers at Ohio State University revealed lemon oil aroma used in aromatherapy may enhance mood and reduce anxiety. I know a few people that could use that tip, don't you. Check out these additional benefits:
- Lemon contains citric acid, which can be effective in treating acne. The vitamin C found in citrus fruits is vital for that healthy glowing skin while it's alkaline nature kills some types of bacteria known to cause acne.
- Research has shown that lemon balm has a calming effect, and therefore may be able to help with fatigue, exhaustion, dizziness, anxiety, nervousness, and tension. It is also believed that inhaling lemon oil helps with concentration and alertness.
- The proven antibacterial, and antiviral properties of lemons can accelerate the healing process of mouth sores.
- At the first indication of a cold, like a runny nose or sore throat, you should try to give your body as much immune-boosting vitamin C as you can so that the virus is eliminated before it gets a chance to take hold. Try drinking the freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon in a glass of lukewarm water every 2 hours.
- Experienced travelers know that when they add lemon juice to ordinary drinking water, in various localities, it acts as an antiseptic, and helps to prevent illness due to allergy to different water supplies.
- Lemons can help freshen breath that has gone sour after consuming certain spices, alcohol, cigarettes, or that is caused by insufficient salivation.
- Several studies have found that lemon balm combined with other calming herbs (such as valerian, hops, and chamomile) helps reduce anxiety and promote sleep.
- Even though it makes you pucker, lemon juice has a powerful alkaline effect in the body, and is therefore a natural agent to relieve excess acid.
- Lemon oil has vessel-strengthening properties that can help fight varicose, and spider veins.
- Lemon being a citrus fruit, fights against infection. It helps in production of antibodies in blood which attacks an invading microorganism and prevents infection.
- Lemon is an antioxidant which deactivates the free radicals preventing many dangerous diseases like stroke, cardiovascular diseases and cancers.
- Lemon lowers blood pressure and increases the levels of HDL (good cholesterol) .
- Lemon is found to be anti-carcinogenic which lower the rates of colon, prostate, and breast cancer
- Lemons also blocks the formation of nitrosamines in the gut.
- Application of Lemon juice gives a glow to the skin.
- Grandma says a few drops of lemon juice in hot water will clear the digestive system and purify liver as well.
- Lemon juice acts as a natural hair lightener and skin bleach which reduces the pigment melanin and prevents the risk of chemical allergic reactions which is common with hair dyes and bleaches.
- In your mouth lemon juice will relieve gingivitis, stomatitis, and inflammation of the tongue.
- Lemon juice is given to prevent or treat urinary tract infection.
- Lemon juice is applied to the sites of bites and stings of certain insects to relieve its poison and pain.
- Lemon juice soothes the dry skin.
- Lemon juice used for marinating seafood or meat kills most bacteria and other organisms present in them, thereby prevents many gastro-intestinal tract infections.
- Lemon juice is the best drink to prevent dehydration in case of diarrhea.
- Lemon juice removes plaque, whitens the teeth and strengthens the enamel.
- Grandma says table spoon of thick lemon syrup everyday helps relieves asthma.
- Gargling lemon juice relieves sore throat.
- Lemon juice is an excellent treatment for dandruff and greasy hair.
- Lemon applied over the face removes wrinkles and keeps you young.
- Lemon juice helps to prevent and treats osteoarthritis.
Whew! The lemon is quite the little powerhouse. Not to "beat a dead horse" but lemon also freshens the air, lemon oil is used to condition wood products, and the acid in lemon juice will break down the alkaline minerals found in hard water, that ends up on glasses or windows. The juice of one lemon will also neutralize the chlorine in your bath water, and it's also great for getting odd smells out of your microwave. What WOULD we do without lemons indeed, the distinctive pucker taste of lemon makes it a key ingredient in many main dishes, and desserts around the world. It's great for our health, has many non-culinary uses, and fresh squeezed lemonade isn't a bad drink either. So give fresh lemons a bigger place in your diet. Good Luck...
And... once again it's the weekend so I must confess one of my all-time favorite uses of the lemon is in in the:
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz. vodka
- 1/4 sugar cube
- crushed ice
- 1/4 lemon, sliced
- 1 sprig fresh mint
In a hand shaker, combine lemon juice, vodka and sugar, and ice. Shake till chilled, then pour into sugared rim martini glass. Garnish with a lemon slice a mint sprig. Enjoy!!
...And For Your Skin
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