Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Varicose veins? Cold sores? The answer's easy peasy, lemon squeezy

Varicose veins? Cold sores? The answer's easy peasy, lemon squeezy

Sunshine yellow, eye-wateringly tangy and smelling like a summer in Italy . . . no wonder most people like lemons.

Now, in a new book, a former GP proclaims lemons are  nothing short of a

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miracle, capable of soothing and stopping an array of  ailments. Read on to discover how lemons could help you...

Lemons on tree

Lemons can help with an array of ailments such as cold sores, weight gain, gallstones, urine infection, indigestion, muscle pain and constipation


Lemon contains a compound, limonene, which has antiviral properties. It is found mainly in the peel, but also in the juice. Lemon oil can also help by excluding air from a sore.

ACTION: Apply lemon juice to a cold sore several times a day, using a clean cotton pad each time, or add a drop of lemon oil to two teaspoons of sweet almond  oil and apply this to the cold sore.


Lemons contain pectin, a natural fibre and gelling agent, which mops up fat stored by the body, and reduces absorption; researchers in Texas also found that pectin helps you feel full.

Lemon acids and pectin can slow the absorption of sugar after a meal. So cooking with lemon juice or sprinkling it on food can prevent low blood-sugar dips, which can trigger hunger pangs and overeating.

The vitamin C in lemons also helps us to produce carnitine — an amino acid that helps our body burn fat.

Studies at Arizona State University found that volunteers with adequate vitamin C burned 30 per cent more fat during exercise than those with low levels. In a separate study of obese women trying to lose weight, those who took vitamin C lost twice as much.

ACTION: Include the zest and juice of a lemon in your daily diet.


Most gallstones are made up of cholesterol, formed when the liver or gall- bladder do not successfully expel it. A lack of stomach acid (as caused by ageing, stress, or medications such as antacids or acid-suppressants) discourages gallbladder contractions.

Acidic foods such as lemon juice before a meal can mimic stomach acid, and encourage the gallbladder to  contract and expel small stones.

Lemons are also rich in anti-oxidants, which studies have found to  discourage gallstones.

ACTION: If you have stones, take one tablespoon each of lemon juice and olive oil an hour before breakfast each day.


Wasp stings irritate because they are alkaline, so lemon acids may help. They may also ease irritation from mosquito and gnat bites.

ACTION: Apply a cotton pad soaked in lemon juice, and repeat if necessary.


If infection is making your urinary tract inflamed and sore, overly acidic urine — for example, from an unhealthy diet — will worsen the pain. The urine’s normal pH (acid–alkaline balance) varies from 4.5 to 9, the ideal perhaps being 5.8 to 6.8. Surprisingly, the metabolism of lemon juice in the body has a mildly alkalising effect that can help restore your urine to its normal state.

ACTION: Consume the juice of half a lemon two or three times a day, neat or sprinkled on food.


Potassium in lemons helps to regulate body fluids, and their magnesium relaxes arteries. They also contain flavonoids — nutrients known to promote healthy vessels. Lemons also add flavour to foods, so can be used as a healthy alternative to salt.

One small lemon’s vitamin C can boost levels of nitric oxide, a gas which sends a signal to the body to relax and widen blood vessels.

Finally, lemon juice resembles some hypertension medications known as ACE-inhibitors — it inhibits the production in the kidneys of the hormone angiotensin, which is known to raise blood pressure by constricting blood vessels.

ACTION: Include the zest and juice of a lemon in your daily diet.


Lemons can act as a venous tonic as they have strengthening, tightening and anti-inflammatory effects on vein walls.

ACTION: Massage your legs with a mixture of two drops of lemon, two of lavender and three of cypress essential oils in two tablespoons of sweet almond or other carrier oil.


Lemon juice makes fried food more digestible because its acids emulsify fats so that they don’t lie on the stomach.

Lemon juice and pulp from the fruit is broken down in the body to make potassium carbonate, which helps reduce stomach acid.

And limonene, the major component of lemon oil which is found in lemon peel, may help to prevent heartburn. It’s thought to coat the gullet lining, protecting it from acid. A U.S. study of 19 adults found that taking 1,000mg of limonene every day or other day relieved heartburn and acid reflux.

ACTION: Drink one tablespoon of lemon juice in a glass of warm water.


Lemon essential oil is an expectorant — this is a type of ingredient often used in cough medicines which encourage the airways to expel mucus.

A five-year study of 63,257 people in Singapore found that a diet high in fruit fibre discouraged chronic coughs. Researchers suggested that flavonoids — which have antioxidant properties — may protect the lungs from inflammation and tissue damage.

ACTION: To soothe a cough, drink homemade lemonade, or put two tablespoons of cracked linseeds — another known expectorant — and half a lemon, sliced, into a pint of water, simmer for 20 minutes, then strain and sweeten with honey.

Alternatively, put two drops each of lemon essential oil, eucalyptus oil and tea-tree oil into a bowl of just-boiled water; put a towel over your head and inhale the vapour.


Psoriasis refers to patches of thick, flaking skin, often on the knees, elbows, scalp or elsewhere. It sounds unlikely but citric acid in lemon juice can ease dryness and flaking — it helps the skin retain water and encourages the exfoliation of dead skin cells.

In addition, the juice of a lemon contains psoralens, a natural chemical found in many plants which is highly sensitive to the sun’s UVA rays and reacts on the skin’s cells.

Many dermatologists prescribe psoralens orally or to be applied to the skin, combined with UVA therapy for psoriasis.

ACTION: Smooth lemon juice over psoriasis patches several times a day, then expose them to sunlight for a few minutes a day, increasing the time over several weeks.


Lemons are rich in pectin, a type of fibre which forms a gel in the bowel that encourages easier bowel movements. Another fibre in lemons is cellulose, which attracts water. This makes stools bulkier and softer and reduces their transit time.

ACTION: Include the zest and juice of a lemon in your daily diet.


Pain and stiffness experienced after exercise respond to anti-inflammatories such as nobiletin in lemon oil.

ACTION: Put one teaspoon of lemon oil in your bathwater or add three drops of lemon oil and a few drops of ginger oil (an analgesic and local circulation booster) to three tablespoons of sweet almond or other carrier oil, and massage the muscles with the mixture.

Extracted from The Miracle Of Lemons, by Dr Penny Stanway, published by Duncan Baird on February 3 at £6.99.

© Dr Penny Stanway 2011. To order a copy (p&p free), call 0845 155 0720 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting   0845 155 0720 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1357061/Varicose-veins-Cold-sores-The-answers-easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.html#ixzz1FO83nqw1

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Common garden weed 'cures skin cancer', say scientists

By Jenny Hope  

Last updated at 4:41 AM on 26th January 2011

From The Mail Online

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A common weed could help cure skin cancers, claim researchers.

The sap from a plant known as petty spurge or milkweed - found by roadsides and in woodland - can 'kill' certain types of cancer cells when applied to the skin.

It works on non-melanoma skin cancers, which affect hundreds of thousands of Britons each year.

Milkweed miracle: You can find this weed invading gardens beds across the UK, but it has great cancer-fighting properties

They are triggered by sun damage and, although not usually fatal, can be disfiguring without treatment.

The plant has been used for centuries as a traditional folk medicine to treat conditions such as warts, asthma and several types of cancer.

But for the first time a team of scientists in Australia has carried out a clinical study of sap from Euphorbia peplus, which is related to Euphorbia plants grown in gardens in the UK.

The study of 36 patients with a total of 48 non-melanoma lesions included basal cell carcinomas (BCC), squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) and intraepidermal carcinomas (IEC), a growth of cancerous cells confined to the outer layer of the skin.

Patients had failed to respond to conventional treatment including surgery, or they refused or were unsuitable for surgery because of their age.

The patients were treated once a day for three consecutive days by an oncologist using a cotton bud to apply enough of the E.peplus sap to cover the surface of each lesion.


The initial results were impressive, says findings to be released this week in the British Journal of Dermatology.

After only one month 41 of the 48 cancers had completely gone.

Patients who had some of the lesions remaining were offered a second course of treatment.

After an average of 15 months following treatment, two thirds of the 48 skin cancer lesions were still showing a complete response.

Of the three types of skin cancer tested, the final outcome was a 75 per cent complete response for IEC lesions, 57 per cent for BCC and 50 per cent for SCC lesions.

Side-effects were low, with 43 per cent of patients in no pain as a result of the treatment and only 14 per cent reporting moderate pain, and only one patient encountered severe short-term pain.


Latin name: Euphorbia peplus

Occurrence: Petty spurge is a small, branched annual, plentiful in gardens and arable fields.

It is native and common throughout the UK, in any kind of soil. The plant exudes a milky sap when damaged, which is a severe irritant if applied to the skin.

Biology: Petty spurge flowers from April to November. The seed number per plant ranges from 260 to 1,200.

Petty spurge may be found in fruit for eight months of the year. Seedlings emerge throughout the year except for in winter but the main flush is from April to May. Most seed germinates within a year of shedding.

Just a few seedlings emerge in the following 5 years. Germination occurs at 5 to 10 mm depth in soil.

Persistence and Spread: Seed recovered from house demolitions and archaeological digs and dated at 20, 25, 30 and 100 years old has been reported to germinate.

Source: www.gardenorganic.org.uk

In all cases of successful treatment the skin was left with a good cosmetic appearance.

The researchers, from a number of medical institutions in Brisbane, attribute the benefit to the active ingredient ingenol mebutate which has been shown to destroy tumour cells.

British experts said further studies were needed and people should not try this at home as the weed sap can be harmful to the eyes and should not be eaten.

More than 76,500 people are diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer in the UK each year, with 90 per cent caused by ultraviolet light exposure.

Lesions usually appear on the areas most exposed to the sun, such as the head, neck, ears, and back of the hands.

Kimberley Carter of the British Association of Dermatologists said: 'This is a very small test group so it will be interesting to see what larger studies and the development of the active ingredient in E. peplus sap will reveal.

'Whilst it would not provide an alternative to surgery for the more invasive skin cancers or melanoma, in the future it might become a useful addition to the treatments available to patients for superficial, non-melanoma skin cancers.

'Any advances that could lead to new therapies for patients where surgery is not an option are definitely worth investigating.

'It is also very important to note that this is definitely not a treatment people should be trying out at home.

'Exposure of the sap to mucous producing surfaces, such as the eyes, results in extreme inflammation and can lead to hospitalisation.

'The concentration of the active ingredients in the sap also varies between different plants, with high doses able to cause very severe and excessive inflammatory responses.'