Lemon (Ning Meng)
Botanical Name: Citrus limonum.
Lemons have been used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world. They have been used as medicine, cosmetics, and a detox, as well as to charge simple batteries.
Below is an overview of lemon, combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of lemon.
Western Name: Lemon
Also Known As: N/A
Organs/Systems: Stomach, Liver, Skin, Immunity, Nerves
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Antibacterial, Antiviral, Immune Enhancing, Mild Bleach, Detoxing, Cleansing, Antioxidant. Prevent colds, flus. Ease sore throat, lighten skin, acne, aid digestion, liver cleansing, restore bodies natural pH, constipation, indigestion, aid weight loss, parasites, asthma, canker sores, bad breath, lower fever, toothaches, energize, nausea, vomiting, varicose veins, osteoporosis, insomnia, headaches.
Pin Yin: Ning Meng
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Liver, Gall Bladder, Stomach, Lung
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Clear Heat/Clear Toxicity: infections, fever, skin eruptions, tonsillitis, bronchitis, conjunctivitis, scurvy, parasites. Cool Liver: bleeding gums, heartburn, ulcers, malaria, typhoid fever. Promotes Cleansing/Softens Nodules: arthritis, gout, blemishes, high blood fat and cholesterol, urinary and biliary phosphorous stones, cellulite. Remove Stagnation: hemorrhoids, varicose veins, thrombosis, blood in salvia, sinuses, diarrhea, dysentery. Support Spleen Qi: increase appetite, fatigue, slow digestion, shortness of breath, mineral deficiency.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Juice, Rind (Zest), Pulp, Leaves
Flavors/Temps: Very Sour, Slightly Sweet, Astringent, Cooling
Caution: None noted.
History/Folklore: It is the citric acid content of lemons that gives them their sour taste. They are thought to have been first grown in Assam, a region in northeastern India, northern Burma, and China. Geneticists state that lemon is a hybrid between bitter orange and citron.
Many cultures have used lemon. They were known to the Jews of Jerusalem, who pelted a high priest with them in the 90s BC. They entered Europe near southern Italy during the Roman Empire, no later than the first century AD. They were later introduced to Persia, Iraq and Egypt around 700 AD.
Lemons were first recorded in literature in a 10th century Arabic treatise on farming and used as an ornamental plant in Islamic gardens. The first cultivation of lemons in Europe began in Genoa in the middle of the 15th century. Christopher Columbus brought the plant to the Americas as an ornamental and medicinal plant. In 1747, James Lind showed that seamen suffering from scurvy did better when lemon juice was added to their diets, though Vitamin C was not yet known.
Ancient Egyptians believed eating lemons and drinking lemon juice was an effective protection against a variety of poisons, and recent research confirms some of this as being true. Lemons were also used in embalming. In Mesopotamia citrons were propagated for their beauty and aroma, as they flowered throughout the year.
Traditionally the lemon julep was a drink for cooling and thirst quenching. The fruit’s acids help break up nodules. To quote Maud Grieve’s Herbal, “Locally it is a good astringent, whether as a gargle in sore throat, in pruritus of the scrotum, in uterine hemorrhage after delivery, or as a lotion in sunburn.”
Currently, lemon has many uses in the modern world. Lemon juice is often used for cleaning. A lemon wedge dipped in salt or baking powder can brighten copper cookware. It is also known for sanitizing, deodorizing, bleaching stains, and removing grease. The oil of lemon peel is used as a wood cleaner.
5-6% citric acid, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, limonene.
Short Term Preservative
Lemon juice is used as a short term preservative on certain foods that tend to oxidize or turn brown after being sliced (for example, apples, avocados, and bananas).
Lemon juice is also used as a simple invisible ink, made visible by heat.
A halved lemon is used as a finger moistener for bank tellers and cashiers that count large numbers of bills.
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