Saturday, January 19, 2008


Botanically it is called Citrus acid. It is a small tree or spreading bush of the rue family(Rutaceae). The lemon forms a spreading bush or a small tree 10 to 20 feet high if not trained or pruned. Its young leaves have a decidedly reddish tint; later they turn green. In some varieties, the young leaves of the lemon are angular; some have sharp thorns at the axilae of the leaves. The flowers having a sweet odour are rather large, solitary or in small clusters in the axila of the leaves. Reddish tinted in the bud, the pet are white above and reddish purple below.

The fruit is oval with a broad low apical nipple and having 8 to 10 segments. The outer rind or peel is yellow when ripe and rather thick in some varieties is prominently glandular dotted. The white spongy inner part of the peel called the mesocarp is nearly tasteless and is the chief source of commercial grades of pectin. The seeds are small, ovoid, pointed, sometimes few or more. The pulp is decidedly acid. Young lemon starts bearing fruits as early as the third year after planting and commercial crop may be expected during the fifth year. The average orchard yield per tree is 1500 lemons a year.

The humble lemon contains most of the vitamins and minerals. It has magical and wonderful healing powers. It is a citrus fruit. Other citrus fruits are orange, mandarine, tangerine, narangi, musumbi (lime), grape-fruit, grape, and shaddock. All citrus fruits are very rich sources of vitamins A, B and C. They also contain appreciable amounts of iron and calcium.

Vitamin C:
Vitamin C in the diet helps the body to grow and maintain collagen. They explain that collagen is a gelatin-like gristle that holds billions of cells together in the body. It is found in ligaments, joints, bones, gum tissues and in the walls of all the blood vessels. It also gives elasticity and strength to the connective tissue. Again vitamin C is necessary to the normal healing rate of wounds and to prevent bruises from discolouring the skin for too long time. Its function is also to strengthen the body's resistance to infection and maintain tissue integrity of teeth, bones and gums.

Vitamin C in adequate quantity must be taken daily and if its deficiency is continued over a long period of time, the gums may become tender and bleed easily, joints may hurt and swell, black and blue marks may appear readily at the slightest bruise, the chance of haemorrhage which may result from a 'stroke' is far greater and colds may be taken frequently. Deficiency of vitamin C may cause scurvy. Therefore vitamin C is absolutely necessary to fortify the body against infections and cold.

Daily requirement of vitamin C:
Men - 75 mg
Women - 70 mg
Lactating women - 150 mg
Pregnant women - 100 mg
Infants - 30 mg

1 to 3 yrs. - 35 mg
4 to 6 yrs. - 50 mg
7 to 9 yrs. - 60 mg

10 to 12 yrs. - 75 mg
13 to 15 yrs. -80 mg
16 to 20 yrs. -100 mg

10 to 12 yrs. - 75 mg
13 to 15 yrs. - 50 mg
16 to 20 yrs. - 80 mg

Fruits containing vitamin C
Whole orange - 75 mg
4 oz orange juice - 50 mg
Large grape fruit - 150 mg
Medium size tangerine - 25 mg

Lemon juice
1 tablespoonful - 7 mg
Lime (musumbi) - 75 mg

No comments: