KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - Lemon has a cultural and economic value in the Sudan. It is the undisputed soft drink of the country, particularly in summer and in the holy fasting month of Ramadan, where it is mixed with iced water and sugar. It quenches thirst, soothes the nerves and refreshes the body.
Lemon is an inseparable part of Sudan’s cultural heritage, where it occupies a good space in the Sudanese lyric where poets symbolize it for beautiful girls.
Pioneer of female singing Aisha al-Fallatiyya was the first to take the responsibility of ‘irrigating lemon’ when she chanted “leave lemon irrigation for me!”. Singer Mohammad Sallam had sung: “Lemon has become so dear because we’ve loved it (her) in excess!” in reference to ‘lemon’s’ rarity and its importance. The real lemon meant by the lyric composer is the sweetheart. Folklore melodist, Dr. Abdelgadir Salim had also enriched the Sudanese lyric with his famous “Lemon Bara” (the lemon of Bara), a reference to the beauty one can see in the girls of Bara city of Kordofan district in central-western Sudan (also known for its fruit gardens). Bara Lemon, in the horticultural sense, is also evergreen, rich in vitamins and can stay fresh for weeks.
All these references in the Sudanese lyric, but signal the brightness and vigor of the lemon fruit that has also become a source of good income for its growers and for the national economy.
According to agronomists, concern with the growing of lemon is mounting now. Farmers of the Western Omdurman District here and the country at large now grow lemon in commercial quantities. Lemon can be grown with ease and in all types of soil. It does not need chemical fertilizers, animal manure can do.
The water –rich, cross-breed Abali lemon variety is now grown specifically for export and for the juice industry. The Abali variety is also dried and exported to drug and food manufacturers.
The other lemon variety, Shtay, is very green and very productive and can continue to bloom and bear fruit all the year round. This variety is exported fresh or dried. It can also stay green for a long time.
In addition to their economic value, lemons trees are also grown as shade trees and also as wind shields for farms. They help with expanding the green cover to reduce green gas emissions and also prevent soil erosion and environmental degradation.
A passerby in the streets of the city can always see vendors touting lemon in small parcels along avenues and at cross -roads.
The lemon tree is long-lived and can grow up to 5 meters. Its leaves are oval in shape with an exceptionally refreshing smell. Its egg-like fruit bears a nipple at its head. Its skin is difficult to ply off. Its pulp contains sugars, organic acids, vitamins, iron, potassium, and phosphorous at varying degrees. The fruit’s fresh skin contains volatile oil which is basically formed from limonene (95%), in addition to citral, geranyl acetate and a little amount of citronellol that produces the characteristic smell of the lemon fruit. The lemon fruit’s dried skin is an appetizer and a stomach strengthener due to the volatile oils it contains.
Nutritionists say lemon’s bigger benefit rests with its preventive property against diseases due to the vitamins and minerals it contains. It is also effective in mouth aches, blood diseases and as a nerve soother and in quivers. As an antidote against poisons, lemon is used in scorpion and snake bites in the Sudan. It also helps repair the body’s tissues and in rheumatism, tonsillitis and in throat inflammations where it is used as a gargle. It is also helpful in arteriosclerosis, varicose veins, gout, high blood pressure and nerve pain. It also helps as diuretics. Boiled in water for five minutes, the lemon skin can help with liver disorders and can be taken to drive out worms, gases and rots from the stomach.
Cosmetic experts dub lemon ‘the fruit of health and beauty’. They advise its use in the treatment of the head scalp, oily skin, acne and freckles. In all these cases it should be mixed with egg albumen.
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