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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Grapefruit

Orange blossom and oranges. Taken by Ellen Lev...
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Botanical Name:Citrus paradisi
Family: Rutceae
Genus: Citrus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Species: C. × paradisi

Common Name : Grapefruit

Other Names:Citrus grandis, Pomelo, Mahanimbu,  Batabi limbu  in bengali

Habitat :  Grapefruit  is native to tropical   &  subtropical  regions of the world.

The grapefruit is a sub-tropical citrus tree grown for its fruit which was originally named the “forbidden fruit” of Barbados.

Description:The grapefruit tree reaches 15 to 20 ft (4.5-6 m) or even 45 ft (13.7 m) with age, has a rounded top of spreading branches; the trunk may exceed 6 in (15 cm) in diameter; that of a very old tree actually attained nearly 8 ft (2.4 m) in circumference. The twigs normally bear short, supple thorns. The evergreen leaves are ovate, 3 to 6 in (7.5-15 cm) long, and 1 3/4 to 3 in (4.5-7.5 cm) wide; dark-green above, lighter beneath, with minute, rounded teeth on the margins, and dotted with tiny oil glands; the petiole has broad, oblanceolate or obovate wings. The white, 4-petalled flowers, are 1 3/4 to 2 in (4.5-5 cm) across and borne singly or in clusters in the leaf axils. The fruit is nearly round or oblate to slightly pear-shaped, 4 to 6 in (10-15 cm) wide with smooth, finely dotted peel, up to 3/8 in (1 cm) thick, pale-lemon, sometimes blushed with pink, and aromatic outwardly; white, spongy and bitter inside. The center may be solid or semi-hollow. The pale-yellow, nearly whitish, or pink, or even deep-red pulp is in 11 to 14 segments with thin, membranous, somewhat bitter walls; very juicy, acid to sweet-acid in flavor when fully ripe. While some fruits are seedless or nearly so, there may be up to 90 white, elliptical, pointed seeds about 1/2 in (1.25 cm) in length. Unlike those of the pummelo, grapefruit seeds are usually polyembryonic. The number of fruits in a cluster varies greatly; a dozen is unusual but there have been as many as 20.
These evergreen trees are usually found at around 5-6 m tall, although they can reach 13-15 m. The leaves are dark green, long (up to 150 mm) and thin. It produces 5 cm white four-petalled flowers. The fruit is yellow-skinned, largely oblate and ranges in diameter from 10-15 cm . The flesh is segmented and acidic, varying in color depending on the cultivars, which include white, pink and red pulps of varying sweetness. The 1929 US Ruby Red (of the Redblush variety) has the first grapefruit patent.

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The fruit has only become popular from the late 19th century; before that it was only grown as an ornamental plant. The US quickly became a major producer of the fruit, with orchards in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. In Spanish, the fruit is known as toronja or pomelo.

Click to learn more about Grapefruit

History:
The fruit was first documented in 1750 by the Rev. Griffith Hughes describing specimens from Barbados. Currently, the grapefruit is said to be one of the “Seven Wonders of Barbados.” It had developed as a hybrid of the pomelo (Citrus maxima) with the sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), though it is closer to the former. It was brought to Florida by Odette Philippe in 1823. Further crosses have produced the tangelo (1905), the minneola (1931), and the sweetie (1984). The sweetie has very small genetic and other differences from pomelo.

The grapefruit was known as the shaddock or shattuck until the 1800s. Its current name alludes to clusters of the fruit on the tree, which often appear similar to grapes. Botanically, it was not distinguished from the pomelo until the 1830s, when it was given the name Citrus paradisi. Its true origins were not determined until the 1940s. This led to the official name being altered to Citrus × paradisi. Grapefruit peel oil is used in aromatherapy and it is historically known for its aromatic scent.

The 1929 Ruby Red patent was associated with real commercial success, which came after the discovery of a red grapefruit growing on a pink variety. Only with Ruby Red the grapefruit transformed into a real agricultural fruit. The Red grapefruit, starting from the Ruby Red, has even become a symbol fruit of Texas, where white “inferior” grapefruit were eliminated and only red grapefruit were grown for decades. Using radiation to trigger mutations, new varieties were developed to retain the red tones which typically faded to pink, with Rio Red is the current (2007) Texas grapefruit with registered trademarks Rio Star and Ruby-Sweet, also sometimes promoted as “Reddest” and “Texas Choice”.

Colors & Flavors:
Grapefruit comes in many varieties, determinable by color, which is caused by the pigmentation of the fruit in respect of both its state of ripeness and genetic bent. The most popular varieties cultivated today are red, white, and pink hues, referring to the inside, pulp color of the fruit. The family of flavors range from highly acidic and somewhat bitter to sweet and tart. Para-1-menthene-8-thiol, a sulfur-containing terpene, is one of the substances which has a strong influence on the taste and odor of grapefruit, compared with other citrus fruits.

Nutritional properties:
Grapefruit is an excellent source of many nutrients and phytochemicals, for a healthy diet. Grapefruit is a good source of vitamin C,pectin fiber, and the pink and red hues contain the beneficial antioxidant lycopene Studies have shown grapefruit helps lower cholesterol and there is evidence that the seeds have high levels of antioxidant properties. Grapefruit forms a core part of the “grapefruit diet”, the theory being that the fruit’s low glycemic index is able to help the body‘s metabolism burn fat.

Grapefruit seed extract has been claimed to be a strong antimicrobial with proven activity against bacteria and fungi. However, studies have shown the efficacy of grapefruit seed extract as an antimicrobial is not demonstrated. Although GSE is promoted as a highly effective plant-based preservative by some natural personal care manufacturers, studies indicate the universal antimicrobial activity associated with GSE preparations is merely due to contamination with synthetic preservatives.

A 2007 study found a correlation between eating a quarter of grapefruit daily and a 30% increase in risk for breast cancer in post-menopausal women. The study points to the inhibition of CYP3A4 enzyme by grapefruit, which metabolizes estrogen.

Medicinal Value
Grapefruit stimulates the appetite and is used for its digestive, stomachic, antiseptic, tonic, and diuretic qualities.

Grapefruit and Weight Loss Diets
Over the years a number of people have promoted the grapefruit as possessing a unique ability to burn away fat. People following grapefruit diets lose weight because they eat little else-a practice that can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Grapefruits, however, are a good food to include in a sensible weight-loss diet; a serving contains less than 100 calories, and its high-fiber content satisfies hunger. If you’re trying to lose weight, make grapefruit your first course to help prevent overeating. It’s also an ideal snack food.

Grapefruit and Cholesterol Control
Grapefruits are especially high in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps lower blood cholesterol.

Grapefruit for Cancer Control
Recent studies indicate that grapefruits contain substances that are useful in preventing several diseases. Pink and red grapefruits are high in lycopene, an antioxidant that appears to lower the risk of prostate cancer. Researchers have not yet identified lycopene’s mechanism of action, but a 6-year Harvard study involving 48,000 doctors and other health professionals has linked 10 servings of lycopene-rich foods a week with a 50 percent reduction in prostate cancer.

Other protective plant chemicals found in grapefruits include phenolic acid, which inhibits the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines; limonoids, terpenes, and monoterpenes, which induce the production of enzymes that help prevent cancer; and bioflavonoids, which inhibit the action of hormones that promote tumor growth.

Ayurvedic Uses:Vata-kaphha nashak, mild laxative, digestive, appetiser, loss of appetite, abdominal colic, worms, vomiting, nausea.

Other Uses of Grapefruit
Some people with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other inflammatory disorders find that eating grapefruit daily seems to alleviate their symptoms. This is thought to stem from plant chemicals that block Prostaglandins, substances that cause inflammation.

Click to learn :->

Medicinal Use of Citrus

Grape Fruit  is Very Good for Gums

Click to see ->Grapefruit diet

Drug interactions:
Grapefruit can have a number of interactions with drugs, often increasing the effective potency of compounds. Grapefruit contains naringin, bergamottin and dihydroxybergamottin, which inhibit the cytochrome P450 isoform CYP3A4 in the intestine. It is via inhibition of this enzyme that grapefruit increases the effects of buspirone (Buspar), carbamazepine, several statin drugs (such as simvastatin), terfenadine, felodipine, nifedipine, verapamil, estradiol, tacrolimus, dextromethorphan (significant only at recreational doses), benzodiazepines, and ciclosporin. The effect of grapefruit juice with regard to drug absorption was originally discovered in 1989. However, the effect became well-publicized after being responsible for a number of deaths due to overdosing on medication.

Safety :-
People who are allergic to citrus fruits are likely to react to grapefruits, too. The sensitivity may be to the fruit itself or to an oil in the peel.

CLICK & SEE  :->  Grapefruit raises breast cancer risk   

Click & see : Grapefruit Juice Dangers Q&A

Interactions With Drugs and Medicines:-

Grapefruit has serious interactions with many commonly prescribed medications.

Grapefruit juice inhibits a special enzyme in the intestines that is responsible for the natural breakdown and absorption of many medications. When the action of this enzyme is blocked, the blood levels of these medications increase, which can lead to toxic side effects from the medications.

Grapefruit juice research has suggested that flavonoids and/or furanocoumarin compounds are the substances that act to block the enzyme in the intestines that normally metabolizes many drugs.

The grapefruit juice-drug interaction can lead to unpredictable and hazardous levels of certain important drugs.

These medications should not be consumed with grapefruit juice  unless advised by a doctor:

Statins (Cholesterol Lowering Drugs):

* Baycol (Cerivastatin)

* Mevacor (Lovastatin)

*Lipitor (Atorvastatin)

*Zocor (Simvastatin)

Antihistamines:

*Ebastine

*Seldane (Terfenadine, taken off the U.S. market)

Calcium Channel Blockers (Blood Pressure Drugs):

*Nimotop (Nimodipine)

*Nitrendipine

*Plendil (Felodipine)

* Pranidipine

*Sular (Nisoldipine)

Psychiatric Medications:

*Buspar (Buspirone)

*Halcion (Triazolam)

*Tegretol (Carbamazepine)

* Valium (Diazepam)

* Versed (Midazolam)

Intestinal Medications:

Propulsid (Cisapride, taken off the U.S. market)

*Immune Suppressants:

* Neoral (Cyclosporine)

* Prograf (Tacrolimus)

*Pain Medications:

*Methadone

*Impotence Drug:

*Viagra (Sildenafil)

Toxic blood levels of these medications can occur when patients taking them consume grapefruit juice. The high blood levels of the medications can cause damage to organs or impair their normal function, which can be dangerous.


The following drugs may potentially have interactions with grapefruit juice, but this potential has not been scientifically studied. Use caution:

*Amiodarone (CordaroneÒ)

* Cilostazol (PletalÒ)

*Donepezil (AriceptÒ)

* Losartan (CozaarÒ)

*Montelukast (SingulairÒ)

*Pimozide (OrapÒ)

*Quetiapine (SeroquelÒ)

*Sildenafil (ViagraÒ)

* Tamoxifen (NolvadexÒ)

*Tamsulosin (FlomaxÒ)

Related Topic: Interactions of Grapefruit with Medications For a detailed description of how grapefruit affects the metabolism of prescription drugs.

Click to see-> List of drugs affected by grapefruit

Click to read:->Grapefruit ‘may cut gum disease’:Grapefruit heals stomach ulcers :

Grapefruit may help weight loss

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapefruit

http://www.holisticonline.com/Herbal-Med/_Herbs/h_grapefruit.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_herbs_and_minerals_in_Ayurveda

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An Orange A Day Keeps Wrinkles Away

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An orange a day may actually keep your wrinkles away. An interesting study has revealed that regular intake of foods rich in Vitamin C helps prevent ageing of skin.

Vitamin C, also know as ascorbic acid, is found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Good sources include peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, oranges, kiwi fruit, strawberries, tomatoes, leafy greens, papaya, mango, watermelon, cauliflower, cabbage, raspberries and pineapples.

Click to Study :Vitamin C keeps wrinkles away

British scientists examined links between nutrient intake and skin ageing in 4,025 women aged 40-74 years using data from the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. All the women had extensive dermatologic examinations designed to evaluate skin wrinkling and other aspects of skin ageing and also completed a survey listing all the foods they ate in a particular day.

Ageing of the skin was defined as having a wrinkled appearance, senile dryness and skin atrophy.

The study by nutritional epidemiologist Maeve C Cosgrove and other researchers found that those who ate plenty of Vitamin C-rich foods had fewer wrinkles than people whose diets contained little of the vitamin. “Vitamin C is an antioxidant that has been shown to play a role in the synthesis of collagen, the protein that helps keep skin elastic. Our findings add evidence to a predominately supplement and topical application-based hypothesis that what we eat affects our skin-ageing appearance,” according to Cosgrove.

“This is one of the first studies to examine the impact of nutrients from foods rather than supplements on skin ageing. Diets rich in Omega-6 fatty acid were found to be associated with less skin ageing from dryness and thinning while higher fat diets and those higher in carbohydrates were found to be linked to more wrinkling,” Cosgrove added. Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin, is important in forming collagen, a protein that gives structure to bones, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels.

Source:The Times Of India

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Orange

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Botanical Name: Citrus aurantium
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Citrus
Species: C. × sinensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms: Citrus vulgaris. Citrus Bigaradia. Citrus aurantium amara. Bigaradier. Bigarade Orange. Bitter Orange. Seville Orange. (Sweet) Portugal Orange. China Orange. Citrus dulcis.
Parts Used: Fruit, flowers, peel.
Habitat: India, China. Cultivated in Spain, Madeira, etc.

Description:
Both common and official names are derived from the Sanskrit nagaranga through the Arabic naranj.
It is a small tree with a smooth, greyishbrown bark and branches that spread into a fairly regular hemisphere. The oval, alternate, evergreen leaves, 3 to 4 inches long, have sometimes a spine in the axil. They are glossy, dark green on the upper side, paler beneath. The calyx is cup-shaped and the thick, fleshy petals, five in number, are intensely white, and curl back.

click ton see

Orange   ”specifically, sweet orange” refers to the citrus tree Citrus sinensis (syn. Citrus aurantium L. var. dulcis L., or Citrus aurantium Risso) and its fruit. The orange is a hybrid of ancient cultivated origin, possibly between pomelo (Citrus maxima) and tangerine (Citrus reticulata). It is a small flowering tree growing to about 10 m tall with evergreen leaves, which are arranged alternately, of ovate shape with crenulate margins. The orange fruit is a hesperidium, a type of berry.

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The word “orange” ultimately comes from Sanskrit narang or Tamil. The fruit typically has 11 individual pieces inside and in Tamil, the word “Orangu” translates to “6 and 5” implying 11. Oranges originated in southeast Asia, in either India, Vietnam or southern China. The fruit of Citrus sinensis is called sweet orange to distinguish it from Citrus aurantium, the bitter orange. In a number of languages, it is known as a “Chinese apple” (e.g. Dutch Sinaasappel, “China’s apple”).

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Oranges are highly valued for their vitamin C content. It is a primary source of vitamin C for most Americans. This wonderful fruit has more to offer nutritionally than just this one nutrient, containing sufficient amounts of folacin, calcium, potassium, thiamin, niacin and magnesium. Most of the consumption of oranges is in the form of juice. Eating the whole fruit provides 130% of the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C, less than the juice, but more fiber, which is not present in the juice.

The fruit is technically a hesperidium, a kind of berry. It consists of several easily separated carpels, or sections, each containing several seeds and many juice cells, covered by a leathery skin, containing numerous oil glands. Orange trees are evergreens, seldom exceeding 30 ft in height. The leaves are oval and glossy and the flowers are white and fragrant.

These semitropical evergreens probably originated in Southeast Asia. Columbus and other European travelers brought sweet orange seed and seedlings with them to the New World. By 1820 there were groves in St Augustine, Florida, and by the end of the Civil War oranges were being shipped north in groves. A freeze produced a major set back in production in 1895, but by 1910 crops in Florida had been reestablished. Florida is the number one citrus producer, producing 70% of the U.S. crop, with 90% of that going into juice. However, Arizona, Texas, and California also produce small amounts, with variations in color and peel.

Fruit
All citrus trees are of the single genus Citrus, and remain largely interbreedable; that is, there is only one “superspecies” which includes lemons, limes and oranges. Nevertheless, names have been given to the various members of the citrus family, oranges often being referred to as Citrus sinensis and Citrus aurantium. Fruits of all members of the genus Citrus are considered berries because they have many seeds, are fleshy and soft, and derive from a single ovary. An orange seed is sometimes referred to as a pip.

Varieties:
Persian orange
The Persian orange, grown widely in southern Europe after its introduction to Italy in the 11th century, was bitter. Sweet oranges brought to Europe in the 15th century from India by Portuguese traders, quickly displaced the bitter, and are now the most common variety of orange cultivated. The sweet orange will grow to different sizes and colours according to local conditions, most commonly with ten carpels, or segments, inside.

Navel orange
A single mutation in 1820 in an orchard of sweet oranges planted at a monastery in Brazil yielded the navel orange, also known as the Washington, Riverside or Bahie navel. The mutation causes navel oranges to develop a second orange at the base of the original fruit, opposite the stem. The second orange develops as a cojoined twin in a set of smaller segments embedded within the peel of the larger orange. From the outside, the smaller, undeveloped twin left a formation at the bottom of the fruit, looking similar to the human navel.

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Because the mutation left the fruit seedless and therefore sterile, the only means available to cultivate more of this new variety is to graft cuttings onto other varieties of citrus tree. Two such cuttings of the original tree were transplanted to Riverside, California in 1870, which eventually led to worldwide popularity.

Today, navel oranges continue to be produced via cutting and grafting. This does not allow for the usual selective breeding methodologies, and so not only do the navel oranges of today have exactly the same genetic makeup as the original tree, but also, they all can even be considered to be the fruit of that single, now centuries-old tree.

On rare occasions, however, further mutations can lead to new varieties.

Valencia orange……....click to see
The Valencia or Murcia orange is one of the sweet oranges used for juice extraction. It is a late-season fruit, and therefore a popular variety when the navel oranges are out of season. For this reason, the orange was chosen to be the official mascot of the 1982 FIFA World Cup, which was held in Spain. The mascot was called “Naranjito” (“little orange”), and wore the colours of the Spanish soccer team uniform.

Blood orange….click to see

Orange output in 2005The blood orange has streaks of red in the fruit, and the juice is often a dark burgundy colour. The fruit has found a niche as an interesting ingredient variation on traditional Seville marmalade, with its striking red streaks and distinct flavour. The mandarin orange is similar, but smaller and sweeter, and the scarlet navel is a variety with the same diploid mutation as the navel orange.

Constituents: The peel of var. Bigaradia contains volatile oil, three glucosides, hesperidin, isohesperidin, an amorphous bitter principle, Aurantiamarin, aurantiamaric acid, resin, etc.

The ethyl ether of -naphthol, under the name of nerolin, is an artificial oil of neroli, said to be ten times as strong.

Oil of Orange Flowers is:
‘soluble in an equal volume of alcohol, the solution having a violet fluorescence and a neutral reaction to litmus paper. The specific gravity is 0.868 to 0.880 at 25 degrees C. (77 degrees F.). When agitated with a concentrated solution of sodium bisulphate it assumes a permanent purple-red colour.’
It must not be coloured by sulphuretted hydrogen.
Oil of Sweet Orange Peel contains at least 90 per cent o-limonene, the remaining 10 per cent being the odorous constituents, citral, citronellal, etc. It is a yellow liquid with the specific gravity 0.842 to 0.846 at 25 degrees C. (77 degrees F.).

Oil of Bitter Orange Peel, a pale yellow liquid, is soluble in four volumes of alcohol, the solution being neutral to litmus paper. The specific gravity is 0.842 to 0.848 at 25 degrees C. (77 degrees F.). The odour is more delicate than that of the Sweet Orange.

Fuming nitric acid gives a dark green colour to sweet peel and a brown to the bitter.

Medicinal Action and Uses:

The oil is used chiefly as a flavouring agent, but may be used in the same way as oil of turpentine in chronic bronchitis. It is non-irritant to the kidneys and pleasant to take.

On the Continent an infusion of dried flowers is used as a mild nervous stimulant.

The powdered Bitter Orange peel should be dried over freshly-burnt lime. For flavouring, the sweet peel is better, and as a tonic, that of the Seville or Bigaradia is preferred.

A syrup and an elixir are used for flavouring, and a wine as a vehicle for medicines.

The compound wine is too dangerous as an intoxicant, being mixed with absinthium, to be recommended as a tonic.

Preparations of Bitter Orange: Syrup, B.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Tincture, B.P. and U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Infusion of Orange, B.P., 4 to 8 drachms. Infusion of Orange Compound, B.P., 4 to 8 drachms. Compound spirit, U.S.P., 1 to 2 drachms. Syrup, B.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Wine, B.P., a wineglassful.

Preparations of Sweet Orange: Syrup, B.P. and U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Tincture, U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm.

Make Oranges Part of Your 5 A Day Plan

Drink a cool glass of orange juice for breakfast or serve orange halves instead of grapefruit for a change.
Combine the juice with other fruits and yogurt in the blender for a smoothie any time of day.
A couple of tablespoons of orange juice concentrate can be added to a fruit cup for a great flavorful sauce.
Cut oranges into wedges and eat them for a light snack or use them as edible garnishes.
Buy a zesting tool or grate orange rind to use in recipes, rice, or stir fry for added flavor.
Carry an orange with you wherever you go, they come in their own covered container so you can just peel and eat orange segments whenever the snack craze occurs.
Orange juice can be used over fresh fruits to prevent browning.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/o/oraswe12.html
http://www.foodreference.com/html/artoranges.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_(fruit)

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Citrus

Botanical Name :Citrus Limonum
Family: Rutaceae
Subfamily: Aurantioideae
Tribe: Citreae
Genus: Citrus
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Sapindales

Common Name:Lemon

Habitat :Citrus is believed to have originated in the part of Southeast Asia bordered by Northeastern India, Myanmar (Burma) and the Yunnan province of China. Citrus fruit has been cultivated in an ever-widening area since ancient times; the best-known examples are the oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and limes.

Description:
Citrus limon  plants are large shrubs or small trees, reaching 5–15 m tall, with spiny shoots and alternately arranged evergreen leaves with an entire margin. The flowers are solitary or in small corymbs, each flower 2–4 cm diameter, with five (rarely four) white petals and numerous stamens; they are often very strongly scented. The fruit is a hesperidium, a specialised berry, globose to elongated, 4–30 cm long and 4–20 cm diameter, with a leathery rind or “peel” called a pericarp. The outermost layer of the pericarp is an “exocarp” called the flavedo, commonly referred to as the zest. The middle layer of the pericarp is the mesocarp, which in citrus fruits consists of the white, spongy “albedo”, or “pith”. The innermost layer of the pericarp is the endocarp. The segments are also called “liths”, and the space inside each lith is a locule filled with juice vesicles, or “pulp”. From the endocarp, string-like “hairs” extend into the locules, which provide nourishment to the fruit as it develops.
click to see the pictures……….>..(01)…...(1)...(2)..…....(3).....…….
Citrus fruits are notable for their fragrance, partly due to flavonoids and limonoids (which in turn are terpenes) contained in the rind, and most are juice-laden. The juice contains a high quantity of citric acid giving them their characteristic sharp flavour. The genus is commercially important as many species are cultivated for their fruit, which is eaten fresh, pressed for juice, or preserved in marmalades and pickles.

They are also good sources of vitamin C and flavonoids. The flavonoids include various flavanones and flavones

Citrus fruits are notable for their fragrance, partly due to flavonoids and limonoids (which in turn are terpenes) contained in the rind, and most are juice-laden. The juice contains a high quantity of citric acid giving them their characteristic sharp flavour. They are also good sources of vitamin C and flavonoids.

The taxonomy of the genus is complex and the precise number of natural species is unclear, as many of the named species are clonally-propagated hybrids, and there is genetic evidence that even the wild, true-breeding species are of hybrid origin. Cultivated Citrus may be derived from as few as four ancestral species. Numerous natural and cultivated origin hybrids include commercially important fruit such as the orange, grapefruit, lemon, some limes, and some tangerines. Recent research has suggested that the closely related genus Fortunella, and perhaps also Poncirus and the Australian genera Microcitrus and Eremocitrus, should be included in Citrus. In fact, most botanists now classify Microcitrus and Eremocitrus as part of the genus Citrus.

Cultivation

As citrus trees hybridise very readily (e.g., seeds grown from Persian limes can produce fruit similar to grapefruit), all commercial citrus cultivation uses trees produced by grafting the desired fruiting cultivars onto rootstocks selected for disease resistance and hardiness.

The color of citrus fruits only develops in climates with a (diurnal) cool winter. In tropical regions with no winter, citrus fruits remain green until maturity, hence the tropical “green orange”. The lime plant in particular is extremely sensitive to cool conditions, thus it is usually never exposed to cool enough conditions to develop a color. If they are left in a cool place over winter, the fruits will actually change to a yellow color. Many citrus fruits are picked while still green, and ripened while in transit to supermarkets.

Citrus fruitsCitrus trees are not generally frost hardy. Citrus reticulata tends to be the hardiest of the common Citrus species and can withstand short periods down to as cold as −10 °C, but realistically temperatures not falling below −2 °C are required for successful cultivation. A few hardy hybrids can withstand temperatures well below freezing, but do not produce quality fruit. A related plant, the Trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata) can survive below −20 °C; its fruit are astringent and inedible unless cooked.

The trees do best in a consistently sunny, humid environment with fertile soil and adequate rainfall or irrigation. (Older ‘abandoned’ Citrus in low valleyland may suffer, yet survive, the dry summer of Central California Inner Coast Ranges. Any age Citrus grows well with infrequent irrigation in partial/understory shade, but the fruit crop is smaller.) Though broadleaved, they are evergreen and do not drop leaves except when stressed. The trees flower (sweet-scented at 2 to 20 meters) in the spring, and fruit is set shortly afterward. Fruit begins to ripen in fall or early winter months, depending on cultivar, and develops increasing sweetness afterward. Some cultivars of tangerines ripen by winter. Some, such as the grapefruit, may take up to eighteen months to ripen.

Limes in a grocery store.Major commercial citrus growing areas include southern China and most part of Asia, the Mediterranean Basin (including Southern Spain), South Africa, Australia, the southernmost United States, and parts of South America. In the U.S., Florida, Texas, and California are major producers, while smaller plantings are present in other Sun Belt states.

Common Uses
Lemonade or limeade are popular beverages prepared by diluting the juices of these fruits and adding sugar. Lemons and limes are also used as garnishes or in cooked dishes. Their juice is used as an ingredient in a variety of dishes, it can commonly be found in salad dressings and squeezed over cooked meat or vegetables. A variety of flavours can be derived from different parts and treatments of citrus fruits. The rind and oil of the fruit is generally very bitter, especially when cooked. The fruit pulp can vary from sweet and tart to extremely sour. Marmalade, a condiment derived from cooked orange and lemon, can be especially bitter. Lemon or lime is commonly used as a garnish for water, soft drinks, or cocktails. Citrus juices, rinds, or slices are used in a variety of mixed drinks. The skin of some citrus fruits, known as zest, is used as a spice in cooking. The zest of a lemon can also be soaked in water in a coffee filter, and drank.Lemon-Tea is a very good and testful drink for many Asians.

Kaffir Lime Leaves:
Aroma and Flavour: The haunting bouquet is unmistakably citrus and scented. The full citrus flavour is imparted when the leaves are torn or shredded.

Culinary Use: Apart from the leaves of the bush , only the fruit rind is used, finely grated, in Thai and Indonesian dishes. The leaves are torn or finely shredded and used in soups and curries – they also give a distinctive flaour to fish and chicken dishes.

Medical Uses:

The citrus juice used to be included in Thai ointments and shampoo, and in tonics in Malaysia.
Citrus juice also has medical uses – the lemon juice is used to relieve the pain of bee stings. The orange is also used in Vitamin C pills, which prevents scurvy. Scurvy is caused by Vitamin C deficiency, and can be prevented by having 10 milligrams of Vitamin C a day. An early sign of scurvy is fatigue. If ignored, later symptoms are bleeding and brusing easily.

A native from Asia, probably from India, it is now widely cultivated in Italy, California and Australia. Lemon was unknown to the ancient Greeks arriving in Europe probably brought by Roman soldiers returning from Asia Minor. It 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. Lemon juice and oil are effective in killing germs. It decreases inflammation and improves digestion.

The fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and has cooling properties.  Lemon juice is a traditional remedy for sunburn, and it was once taken cold to relieve feverish conditions including malaria.   Today, hot lemon juice and honey is still a favorite home remedy for colds and its astringency is useful for sore throats. In the home, lemon juice may be used to descale kettles and acts as a mild bleach.  Lemons are an excellent preventative medicine and have a wide range of uses in the domestic medicine chest. The fruit is rich in vitamin C which helps the body to fight off infections and also to prevent or treat scurvy. It was at one time a legal requirement that sailors should be given an ounce of lemon each day in order to prevent scurvy. Applied locally, the juice is a good astringent and is used as a gargle for sore throats etc. Lemon juice is also a very effective bactericide. It is also a good antiperiodic and has been used as a substitute for quinine in treating malaria and other fevers.  Although the fruit is very acid, once eaten it has an alkalizing effect upon the body. This makes it useful in the treatment of rheumatic conditions.  The skin of the ripe fruit is carminative and stomachic. The essential oil from the skin of the fruit is strongly rubefacient and when taken internally in small doses has stimulating and carminative properties.  The stembark is bitter, stomachic and tonic.  Some of the plants more recent applications are as sources of anti-oxidants and chemical exfoliants in specialized cosmetics.  The bioflavonoids in the fruit help to strengthen the inner lining of blood vessels, especially veins and capillaries, and help counter varicose veins and easy bruising.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, anti-rheumatic, antibacterial, antioxidant, reduces fever.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citrus

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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