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Citrus Limonum. Lemon.

Botanical name:

Related entry: Citric acid

Description: Natural Order, Aurantiaceae. The lemon is botanically in the same genus with the orange; and is so closely allied to it in every thing but the shape, color, and flavor of its fruit, that many botanists consider this plant to be merely a variety of the other. The description of citrus aurantium will therefore answer for the lemon.

Properties and Uses: The thin outer rind of lemon-peel is the part mostly used in medicine. It abounds in pellucid dots, which contain the oil of lemon. The peel is sliced or grated off, so as not to include the spongy and inert layer of rind below; and this forms a warming and bitter aromatic, quite similar to the orange-peel in its general character, and usable for the same purposes. Its chief employment is as an adjuvant and flavoring to other tonics of a more intense local action. Its most usual preparation is that of a tincture, in which two and a half ounces of the peel are treated with diluted alcohol by percolation and pressure so as to obtain a pint of tincture.

The oil is obtained from the fresh peel, either by distillation or pressure; and is mostly imported from Spain and Portugal. It is of a pale yellow color, and a very agreeable odor. It is seldom used for any other purpose than a perfume.

The juice of lemon pulp is a sharp but agreeable acid, and one of the most effective and useful of all the vegetable acids. Like other articles of the class, it is used in all scorbutic tendencies; and in the preparation of refrigerant drinks in all febrile cases that admit the use of an acid. Such a drink (lemonade) used quite warm and in liberal quantities, disposes to diaphoresis. A warm infusion of flaxseed made moderately acid with lemon-juice, and used on retiring, is a popular and often effective remedy for securing a free sweat in recent colds. This juice is sometimes used in the same way in bilious-remittent and rheumatic fever; and it has also lately become somewhat popular in acute gouty forms of rheumatism–the juice, mixed with sugar and a very little water, being given in doses ranging from two to four fluid drachms three times a day. It is an easy matter to use more lemon than the system should have, at any time.

Effervescing draughts may be made with this article instead of with citric acid–three and a half fluid drachms of the juice neutralizing twenty grains of the bicarbonate of potassa. Such draughts often have an agreeable effect upon nauseous stomachs, and sometimes afford relief in the sympathetic vomiting of pregnancy; also allay nervous febrile excitement in some cases, and afterward act on the kidneys. Yet they really remove no source of disease, and it is my impression that the system is not benefitted by their employment. Citric acid, manufactured from lemon juice, is often substituted for this article; but it is not the same as this juice, and is not a commendable agent. (See Citric Acid.)

Lemon Sirup: Two ounces of fresh lemon-peel, grated; one pint of strained lemon-juice; two pounds and a quarter of refined sugar. Dissolve the sugar with the other ingredients in a covered vessel, on a water-bath or by a steam heat; then strain. This is an excellent refrigerant and stomachic preparation, and may be added in suitable quantities to water and barley-water as a drink. The sirup of the U. S. Pharmacopoeia dissolves forty-eight troy ounces of sugar in a pint of lemon-juice, omitting the peel. The common lemon sirup of commerce is made of citric acid, and is not a good article for the stomach.


The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com



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