Latest Research Emphasizes Lemon’s Many Health Benefits
A recent research paper published in the scientific journal Plants reviewed existing work on the many benefits of lemons, citing 88 different studies.
The paper begins, “This review presents important botanical, chemical and pharmacological characteristics of Citrus limon (lemon)—a species with valuable pharmaceutical, cosmetic and culinary (healthy food) properties.”
The document is exhaustive, and looks at chemical composition, metabolomic studies and biological activities of the lemon as demonstrated through the studies cited.
In particular, the focus is one specific components of lemon fruit, juice, and essential oils (found in the peel) which is notes as “valuable biological activity..determined by its high content” of the following:
• phenolic acids (e.g., ferulic, synapic, p-hydroxybenzoic acids), and
• the essential oil is rich in bioactive monoterpenoids such as D-limonene, β-pinene, γ-terpinene
Health and medicine
The review confirms multiple research studies that have demonstrated the many beneficial properties of lemons via their rich chemical composition. For example, C. limon alone has been linked to:
• anticancer and
• antiparasitic activities.
Lemon oil has been recognized and discussed by both the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and the The United States Pharmacopeial Convention.
One interesting trend emerges in viewing the many sources for the review. Several papers examine the use of lemons and lemon peel in traditional medicines used in South Africa to treat everything from skin disorders to hypertension. Romanian and Trinidadian traditional medicines also use lemons in various ways
Researchers in the pharmaceutical industry are examining the possibilities of lemons, and C. Limon in particular, in the fruit, juice, and essential oil. There are existing studies that link the compound to many important biological activities. In addition to those named above, these include:
• anticancer action,
• hepatoregenerating (allowing liver cells to regrow) and
• cardioprotective (heart protecting) activities.
It is not only the essential compounds found in lemons. The benefits seem also to come from its metabolites. That means, as lemons pass through the digestive system, they continue to provide the body with beneficial compounds that are absorbed into the bloodstream. Secondary metabolites in the fruit include:
• phenolic acids,
• carboxylic acids,
• aminoacids and
Lemons in our world
Much of the citrus harvest goes towards the cosmetics industry as well as throughout the food industry via its components and flavors. Monoterpenoids are especially important to the food and cosmetic industries.
It’s important to note that the review headed by the Chair and Department of Pharmaceutical Botany, Jagiellonian University, Collegium Medicum, in Kraków, Poland was entirely independent, and was not backed by any agency or outside funding.
As the paper notes, the research is ongoing, and so very promising in a wide range of areas.