Flower and fruit of Lemon tree - Citrus Limon (Rutaceae)

Medicinal Use of Lemon – Citrus Limon (Rutaceae)

Lemon is one of the most important and versatile natural medicines for home use. A familiar food as well as a remedy, it has a high vitamin C content that helps improve resistance to infection, making it valuable for colds and flu. It is taken as a preventative for many conditions, including stomach infections, circulatory problems, and arteriosclerosis (thickening of the arterial walls).

Habitat & Cultivation

Thought to be native to India, lemon trees were first grown in Europe in the 2nd century CE and are now cultivated in Mediterranean and subtropical climates worldwide. Propagated from seed in spring, they prefer well-drained soil and plenty of sun. The fruit is harvested in winter when the vitamin C content is at its highest.

Key Constituents

  • Volatile oil (about 2.5% of the peel), limonene (up to 70%), alpha-terpinene, alphapinene, beta-pinene, citral
  • Coumarins
  • Bioflavonoids
  • Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and C (40–50 mg per 100 g of fruit)
  • Mucilage

Key Actions

  • Antiseptic
  • Anti-rheumatic
  • Antibacterial
  • Antioxidant
  • Reduces fever

Traditional & Current Uses

Valuable medicine: Spanish popular medicine ascribes so many medicinal uses to lemon that whole books have been written about it.

Established properties: Despite its acid content, once digested, lemon has an alkaline effect within the body, making it useful in rheumatic conditions where acidity is a contributory factor. The volatile oil is antiseptic and antibacterial. The bioflavonoids are antioxidant and strengthen the inner lining of blood vessels, especially veins and capillaries, and help counter varicose veins and easy bruising.

Preventative: Lemon is a valuable preventative medicine. Its antiseptic and cleansing actions make it useful for those prone to arteriosclerosis, and to infections and fevers (especially of the stomach, liver, and intestines).

Its ability to strengthen blood vessel walls helps prevent circulatory disorders and bleeding gums. Lemon is also useful as a general tonic for many chronic illnesses. Above all, it is a food that helps maintain general good health.

Strengthening vein walls: The whole fruit, especially the pith, treats arterio sclerosis, weak capillaries, and varicose veins.

Juice: Lemon juice is good for colds, flu, and chest infections. It stimulates liver detoxification, improves the appetite, and helps ease stomach acidity, ulcers, arthritis, gout, and rheumatism. As a gargle, lemon juice is helpful for sore throats, gingivitis, and mouth ulcers. Externally, lemon juice can be applied directly to acne, athlete’s foot, chilblains, insect stings, ringworm, sunburn, and warts.