Lemons, one of the most highly alkalinizing foods, are native to tropical Asia, where cultivation goes back at least 2,500 years. In the twelfth century the Arabs brought lemons to Spain and Africa. It was Christopher Columbus, according to Las Casa, the Spanish historian, who brought seeds of lemons with him from the Canary islands on his second voyage.
In the New World, lemons were introduced by the Spanish adventurers in Haiti, then known as Hispaniola. In the US, Florida was the first lemon-producing area, and this state led in production of lemons until the heavy freeze in 1895 killed the lemon groves. They were never replanted. Now, about 95 percent of the lemons used in the US and Canada are produced in southern California. The other 5 percent are grown in Italy. Italy and California together produce all of the world’s entire supply of lemons.
In 1870, a variety of lemon called the Eureka was started from the Sicilian lemon seed planted in Los Angeles by C.R. Workmen. The Eureka, along with Libson, are the two varieties most commonly grown commercially. The Eureka grows in prolific quantity and is early-bearing, from late spring to summer; the Libson tends to bear only one large crop a year, in either spring or winter. A single lemon tree has been known to produce 3,000 lemons a year. This is because lemon trees bloom and ripen fruit every month of the year. The most fruit is produced between January and May.
The best lemons have skin of an oily, fine texture and are heavy for their size. This type is more apt to be full of juice, with a minimum of seeds and waste fibers. Choose lemons of a deep yellow color for ripeness and juice. They should be firm, but not hard, to the touch. Avoid using lemons that show signs of bruises, as fruits that have been mechanically injured are more subject to mold. Decay on the fruit appears as a mold or a discolored soft area at the stem end. Shriveled or hard-skinned fruits, or those that are soft or spongy to the touch, are not desirable. They may be old, dried out, mechanically injured, or affected by a rot at the center.
Lemon juice makes a good substitute for vinegar, especially in salad dressing, and for flavorings generally. Use a little lemon juice to cut the sweetness in very sweet fruit juices and use lemons in milk or cream, or canned milk, to curdle it, or when you want to make cheese. Use lemon to soften water to make an excellent rinse.
The lemon is rich in alkaline elements. Fresh lemon juice is an outstanding source of vitamin C. However, most of this valuable vitamin is lost if the juice is left exposed to air too long. Lemons are high in potassium, rich in vitamin B, and maybe considered a good source of vitamin G. Both lemons and limes contain 5-6 percent citric acid as compared with oranges, which contain 1 to 2 percent. The lemon is classified as an acid fruit, along with other citrus fruits, cranberries, loganberries, loquats, pineapples, pomegranates, strawberries and tamrinds.
Lemons are ideal for getting rid of toxic materials in the body, but citric acid in lemons can really stir up inactive acids and inactive toxic settlements of the body. The mineral content of the lemon is alkaline-forming in its ash. However, before this alkaline ash goes into the tissues, the citric acid is stirring up many of the acids in the body and it is difficult to get rid of the toxic conditions. We cannot get rid of these toxins because the kidneys, bowels, lungs and skin are not throwing off the body acids fast enough. When these acids are not thrown off quickly enough, they stay in the body becoming so active that academia and other irritating conditions may arise. A person with a highly acid stomach and acid reactions in the body will find that he/she is allergic to many foods. Citric acid would not produce as many irritating effects in persons with this problem if they would first make sure that the eliminative organs were working properly.
Lemons, and all citric acid fruits, are good in cases of putrefaction, especially of the liver. In many cases, they will help stirrup any latent toxic settlements in the body that cannot be eliminated any other way. Lemon drinks help tremendously when we need to remove the impurities and fermentative effects of a bad liver. We have often used citric acid diets with excellent results. But citric acid juices do thin the blood and we must remember that the elimination diet is only a part of what we require for right living.
Lemons are wonderful for throat trouble and catarrh. At the first sign of a cold, drink a glass of warm, unsweetened lemonade, and the cold maybe prevented. Lemons may aid in digestion and can strengthen resistance. A little lemon and the yolk of a raw egg in a glass of orange juice is an excellent mild laxative, as well as a nutritious drink. But, if you are extremely irritable, nervous, sensitive, or highly toxic, use vegetable juices or vegetable broths instead of citric acid fruits.
Lemons are wonderful for fevers, because a feverish body responds to citric acid fruits better than any other food. If we could live correctly, we would find that citrus fruits are one of the most wonderful foods to put in the body. By “living correctly,” I , mean that if the skin is eliminating properly, it would be able to take care of its share of the waste materials that have to be eliminated. When the skin is not eliminating well and acids are stirred up with citrus fruit, the kidneys have to do more work than they are capable of doing. In this case, it is best to use vegetable juices instead of citrus juice to avoid stirring up the toxemia acids in the body. Vegetable juices carry off toxemia acids and act more as a sedative. Before we use lemons, we should make sure that the eliminative organs are working well, because if they are not, the citric acid will cause over activity. This over activity will result in constant catarrhal discharges, as well as many highly acid reactions in the body.
Lemons can be used very effectively in cases of influenza. My late teacher, Dr. V. G. Rocine, gave me this remedy for influenza many years ago: Bake a lemon for twenty minutes in the oven. Cut it in half and squeeze one half of the baked lemon into a glass of hot water. Drink this every half hour, as long as the fever is present.
The lemon seems to have the properties of increasing elimination through the skin, and therefore helps reduce the fever. The lemon also has certain effects on the germ life found in influenza, since it is a wonderful germicide. In fact, there are at least twenty different germs that can be destroyed by the use of lemon itself. To make this influenza remedy more complete, Dr. Rocine used a boneset tea along with it to control the calcium that is necessary whenever there is a fever.
Nutrients in One Pound (including peel)
Protein: 3.3 g
Fat: 0.9 g
Carbohydrates: 41 g
Calcium: 274 mg
Phosphorus: 67 mg
Iron: 3.1 mg
Vitamin A: 301 I.U.
Thiamine: 0.06 mg
Riboflavin: 0.18 mg
Niacin: 0.9 mg
Ascorbic acid: 346 mg