Botanical name – Citrus limon Linn.
Family – Rutaceae
Common names –
English – Lemon
Hindi – Nimbu
Sanskrit – Jambeer
Parts used – Fruits, Bark, Leaves
Citrus is native to a large area, which extends from Himalayan foothills of northeast India to north central China, the Philippines in east and Burma, Thailand, Indonesia and New Caledonia in Southeast
In India, in terms of area under cultivation, citrus is the third largest fruit crop after Banana and Mango
The average yield of citrus fruits in India is alarmingly low compared to other developed countries like Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil and USA. Among mandarins, Nagpur mandarin (Central India), Kinnow mandarin (North–West India), Coorg mandarin (South India) and Khasi mandarin (North-East India) are the commercial cultivars of India
It contains flavonoids such as- Flavonones—Eriodictyol, Hesperidin, Hesperetin, Naringin; Flavones—Apigenin, Diosmin; Flavonols—Quercetin.
In the whole fruit, other flavonoids are additionlly detected – Flavonols—Limocitrin and Spinacetin, and Flavones—Orientin and Vitexin. Some flavonoids, such as Neohesperidin, Naringin and Hesperidin are characteristic for C. limon fruit.
Uses of Lemon
The antioxidant activity of the flavonoids from C. limon—Hesperidin and Hesperetin showed radical scavenging activity, also rich in vitamin C which prevents the formation of free radicals and protects DNA from mutations. The whole fruit contains a great number of bioactive compounds with antioxidant properties. Citrus lemon fruit has the highest level of Eriocitrin in comparison to other Citrus species as well as important quantities of phenolic acids (Ferulic acid or Synaptic acid ) which are localized mainly in the juice. Ascorbic Acid, commonly known as Vitamin C, which highlights as a powerful antioxidant molecule and an effective free radical scavenger.
The essential oil present in C. limon exhibited anti-inflammatory effects under formalin test by reducing cell migration, cytokine production and protein extravasation induced by carrageenan. The anti-inflammatory effect of C. limon essential oil is probably due to the high concentration of D-limonene. The anti-inflammatory effect of D-limonene also involved the inhibition of TNFα-induced NF-κB translocation in fibroblast cultures. The application of D-limonene in colonic HT-29/B6 cell monolayers increased epithelial resistance. It was found that IL-6 markedly decreased during dietary supplementation with D-limonene.
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Acetone extracts from C. limon fruits have shown inhibitory activity against the Gram-positive and the Gram-negative bacteria. Flavonoid compounds present in Lemon have properties that are effective in inhibiting the growth of bacteria, fungi, and viruses because flavonoid compounds include groups of phenol compounds that are able to denaturize bacterial cell proteins and damage bacterial cell membranes. Saponin compounds are antibacterial compounds that damage bacterial cell membranes. Lemon juice is an organic acid in the form of citric acid which is contained most in lemon juice. The citric acid content provides a degree of acidity (pH) of the fruit becomes acidic. Acid pH is one of the factors that can inhibit bacterial growth which can cause the internal pH of bacterial cells to decrease and inhibit bacterial cell growth.
Immunity boosting properties
The vitamins, fiber, and plant compounds in lemons can provide essential health benefits. The pulp, rind, and juice are rich with vitamins that stimulate immunity and reduce the risk of disease. Vitamin C helps the body fight common cold and boost its immunity. Lemon can also help promote weight loss. There are phenols contained in lemon which have been found to help reduce weight gain. D-limonene is beneficial to people with Dyslipidaemia and Hyperglycaemia as it promotes decrease in LDL-cholesterol, prevents the accumulation of lipids, and affects the blood sugar level. Its antioxidant action enhances these effects.