Latin: Citrus limon
WHAT IT DOES: Lemon is sour in taste, and cooling in action. It stimulates the internal organs, and helps resolve kidney stones and gall stones.
RATING: Yellow, due to limitations in usage
SAFETY ISSUES: None known
• Fresh fruit—use as described below
The lemon is one of our most common fruits, demonstrating again, as with garlic and blueberries, that our food is our medicine. TAM doctors draw our attention to special qualities of lemon, differentiating it from from other sour fruits. Lemon is unique in that its trees bear fruit continuously throughout the year, it has the ability to constrict the capillaries, and it exhibits a cooling rather than a warming action. (This cooling action makes it a stimulating summer beverage.) It has several interesting medicinal uses.
TAM doctors believe lemon has medicinal value in treating indigestion, nausea, and loss of appetite. To stop even severe nausea temporarily, chew or squeeze a piece of lemon peel and inhale the spray. It only works for a few minutes, but this can be important if you suffer from hepatitis or morning sickness. Lemon is one of several citrus products than can inhibit tumor formation. When administered with a chemical carcinogenic agent, oils of orange, tangerine, lemon and grapefruit inhibited tumor formation in both the stomach and lungs of mice (Wattenberg et al., 1985).
Perhaps its most important medicinal use is for kidney stones. Research performed at the University of California in San Francisco showed that patients with kidney stones who could not tolerate traditional pharmaceutical approaches benefited when they supplemented their diets with four ounces of reconstituted lemon juice per day. Lemon juice is a rich natural source of citrate, and four ounces provide about six grams of citrate. This level doubles urinary citrate levels and lowers urinary calcium excretion, which is enough to prevent kidney stone formation. If it was up to me, I’d make sure patients always use the juice of organic fresh lemons, which contain limolene, a phytochemical that helps dissolve gallstones and is found mostly in the white parts on the inside of the rind.
This method may also be useful for vulvodynia, a painful vaginal inflammatory condition found sometimes to be related to excesive oxalates in the diet. Lemon juice may be used, or calcium citrate or magnesium citrate.