From London's Ghost Acres

Lemons were a major source of citric acid during this period. Lemon juice was used to treat scurvy, and as such is listed in the Compendium as an Antiscorbutic. All parts of the lemon were incorporated into medical uses, providing a range of remedies including lemon oil, syrup, tincture, and infusions. Lemons were also widely used in cookery for the sick, and were a popular feature in drinks given to those suffering from fevers.

British Pharmacopoeia 1867

Lemon Peel Limonis Cortex

“The outer part of the rind of the fresh fruit of Citrus Limonum… Lemons are imported from southern Europe.” Used in the preparations of:[1]

  • Infusum Aurantii compostium
  • Infusum Gentianae compsitum
  • Oleum Limonis
  • Syrupus Limonis
  • Tinctura Limonis

Lemon Juice Limonis Succus

“The freshly expressed juice of the ripe fruit of Citrus Limonum”


“A slight turbid yellowish liquor, possessing a sharp acidic taste, and grateful odour.” Used in the preparations of:[2]

  • Syrupus Limonis

Preparations of Lemon

Citric Acid / Acidum Citrum[3]

  • “A crystalline acid prepared from lemon-juice, or from the juice of Citrus Limetta…the Lime.”
  • lemon-juice (4 pints), prepared chalk (4 ½ oz), sulphuric acid (2 ½ fl oz), distilled water (as neded)
  • “In colourless crystals, of which the right rhombic prisms is the primary form; very soluble in water, less soluble in rectified spirit, and insoluble in pure ether.”

Compound Infusion of Orange Peel / Infusum Aurantii Compositum [4]

  • bitter orange peel, cut (1/4 oz), fresh lemon peel, cut small (60 grains), cloves, bruised (30 grains), boiling distilled water (10 fl oz)
  • dose: 1-2 fl oz

Compound Infusion of Gentian / Infusum Gentianae Compostium[5]

  • gentian root, slice (60 grains), bitter orange peel, cut small (60 grains), fresh lemon, cut small (1/4 oz), boiling distilled water (10 fl oz)
  • dose: 1-2 fl oz

Liniment of Iodine or Potassium and Soap / Linimentum Potassi Iodidi cum Sapone[6]

  • hard soap, cut small (1 ½ oz), iodine of potassium (1 ½ oz), glycerine (1 fl oz), oil of lemon (1 fl drachm), distilled water (10 fl oz)

Oil of Lemon / Oleum Limonis

  • “Oil expressed or distilled from fresh lemon peel; imported chiefly from Sicily”[7]
  • “Colour pale yellow, odour agreeable, taste warm and bitter.”
  • Used in the preparations of: Linimentum Potassi Iodidi Cum Sapone, Spiritus Ammoniae aromaticus

Aromstic Spirit of Ammonia / Spiritus Ammonia Aromaticus [8]

  • carbonate of ammonia (8 oz), strong solution of ammonia (4 fl oz), volatile oil of nutmeg (4 fl drachms), oil of lemon (6 fl drachms), rectified spirit (6 pints), water (3 pints)
  • dose: ½ -1 fl drachm
  • used in the preparations of: Tinctura Guaiaci Ammoniata, Tinctura Valerianae Ammoniata

Syrup of Lemons / Syrupus Limonis[9]

  • fresh lemon peel (2 oz), fresh lemon juice, strained (1 pint), refined sugar (2 ¼ lb)
  • dose: 1 fl drachm

Tincture of Lemon Peel / Tinctura Limonis[10]

  • fresh lemon peel, sliced thin (2 ½ oz), proof spirit (1 pint)
  • Dose: ½ -2 fl drachm

A Compendium of Domestic Medicine, 1865

“The employment of lemon-juice as a remedy in the treatment of acute rheumatism and gout was proposed by Dr. G. O. Rees, of London, and many of the Faculty who have tried it on his authority corroborate his statement of its efficacy.”[11]

Classified by Savory as an Antiscorbutic (Remedies Which Prevent or Cure Scurvy)[12]

Remedies Containing or to be used with Lemon

  • Acid, Citric: used to form refrigerant beverages, or is used in combination with potash will form an effervescing draught.[13]
  • Acid, Tartaric: combined with essence of lemon to form fever drink.[14]
  • Alum, Common: syrup of lemon included in “Alum Electuary”[15]
  • Ammonia, Sesquecarbonate of: combined with lemon juice to make a saline draught that will treat nausea. Fresh lemon juice or citric acid is used in “Diaphoretic Draught”[16]
  • Arrow-root: lemon peel and lemon juice used in the making of a jelly used to treat small children. [17]
  • Camphor: syrup of lemon is used in a mixture aimed at treating irritation, encouraging perspiration, and inducing sleep during fever.[18]
  • Camphor Liniment, Compound: essence of lemon included in a liniment used by Dr. Copland to introduce opium into the system (via frictions).[19]
  • Carrageen, or Irish Moss: lemon can be used to flavour a decoction made with the moss and milk which is given to consumptive individuals, often for breakfast.[20]
  • Cream of Tartar: lemon peel, sugar, and cream of tartar form Imperial, a refrigerant.[21]
  • Dover’s Powder: lemon juice or a solution of citric acid included in the preparation for a liquid version of Dover’s Powder.[22]
  • Epsom Salt: syrup of lemon included in an epsom salt mixture[23]
  • Hartshorn Shavings: the juice of four lemons is included in the recipe for making Hartshorn jelly[24]
  • Kousso: lemon juice is to be drunk before and after the administration of kousso when treating worms.[25]
  • Magnesia, Calcined: “When, therefore, a full dose of magnesia does not act freely upon the bowels, the patient should take a dessert-spoonful of lemon-juice to promote its aperient operation.”[26]
  • Nitre: fresh lemon juice is included in on of Savory’s examples of how to administer nitre[27]
  • Potash, Carbonate of: lemon juice is included in a “Diaphoretic Draught” to be taken during a fever, “during the state of effervescence.” Lemon juice is also included in an “Effervescing Expectorant Draught” [28]
  • Syrup of Lemons: “Is a pleasant, cooling, and acid syrup, which may be exhibited with advantage in febrile and bilious affections”[29]

Diseases Treated with

General Diseases

  • Ague, or Intermittent Fever: cooling drinks are to be administered during the second stage, including lemonade.[30]
  • Bronchitis: during acute and mild attacks, lemon-juice can be used to acidulate warm mucilaginous liquids that are to be taken by the patient[31]
  • Catarrh, or Cold: lemon-juice can be used to acidulate warm mucilaginous liquids that are to be taken by the patient[32]
  • Gravel and Stone: when gravel appears white, lemon juice or citric acid will be the best remedy.[33]
  • Scurvy: “Beverages strongly impregnated with the juice of lemons and oranges, or the effervescing saline draughts, are very beneficial”[34]
  • Sickness: lemon ice and cold lemonade can be used to treat nausea and vomiting.[35]
  • Typhus: drinks given to patients should be cold and slightly acidulated with either orange or lemon juice[36]

Medical Articles Containing

  • Compound Infusion of Orange Peel: Lemon peel[37]
  • Compound Infusion of Linseed: lemon peel can be used to flavour the infusion[38]
  • Compound Decoction of Barley: “this drink is greatly improved by the addition of lemon-juice and sugar-candy”[39]
  • Lemonade: essence of lemon, tincture of lemon-peel[40]

Prescriptions Containing

Aperients and Cathartics

  • Effervescing Aperient Draught: to be mixed with lemon juice, or tartaric acid[41]


  • Turpentine Mixture: essence of lemon[42]


  • Demulcent and Expectorant Draught: lemon juice[43]
  • Cough Linctus: syrup of lemon[44]
  • Effervescing Expectorant Draught: fresh lemon juice[45]
  • Effervescing Expectorant Draught (Another): fresh lemon juice[46]


  • Diuretic Draught: Lemon juice[47]


  • Expectorant Mixture: syrup of lemons[48]


  • Refrigerant Draught: “to be taken in a state of effervescence, with a tablespoonful of lemon juice in fevers and in inflammatory disease.”[49]

Cookery for the Sick that includes

  • Imperial Drink: includes lemon chips, and to be used “when feverish, or when the urine is scanty”[50]
  • Panada, made in Five Minutes: lemon peel included in the drink[51]
  • Chicken Panada: White meat of the chicken pounded in a mortar and seasoned with spices and lemon peel. Used as a drink that “conveys great nourishment in small compass”[52]
  • Restoratives: “Bake two calves’ feet in two pints of water and the same quantity of new milk, in a jar close covered, three hours and a half. When cold, remove the fat. Bake it with lemon-peel, cinnamon, or mace, according to taste. Add sugar afterwards.”[53]
  • Caudle: lemon peel and lemon juice can be used to flavour the “fine smooth gruel”[54]
  • Cold Caudle: lemon juice and syrup of lemon used to make the drink[55]
  • Rice Caudle: lemon-peel used[56]
  • A refreshing Drink in Fevers: lemon peel (zest) used [57]
  • Ground Rice Milk: lemon-peel[58]
  • Sago: lemon peel used to flavour[59]
  • A very agreeable Drink: “good lemon-juice”[60]
  • A very agreeable Drink (Another): lemon peel, and syrup of lemons used[61]
  • A very agreeable Drink (Another): lemon peel[62]
  • A very pleasant Drink: lemon peel[63]
  • Barley Water: lemon peel used in the cooking of the barley[64]
  • Barley Water (Another): lemon peel used in the cooking of the barley and lemon juice can be added at the end[65]
  • Lemon Water, an excellent Drink: hot water and lemon (with a little sugar)[66]
  • Lemon Whey: lemon juice [67]
  • Orangeade, or Lemonade: lemon juice and peel used[68]


  1. General Medical Council of Great Britain, British Pharmacopeia, (London: Spottiswoode & Co.,1867), 170
  2. GMCGB, 170
  3. GMCGB, 8-9
  4. GMCGB, 157-58
  5. GMCGB, 161
  6. GMCGB, 174-75
  7. GMCGB, 223
  8. GMCGB, 294
  9. GMCGB, 311
  10. GMCGB, 335
  11. Savory, John. A Compendium of Domestic Medicine (London: John Churchill and Sons, 1865), 2.
  12. Savory, 390
  13. Savory, 1
  14. Savory, 10
  15. Savory, 14
  16. Savory, 16
  17. Savory, 22
  18. Savory, 37
  19. Savory, 38
  20. Savory, 41
  21. Savory, 50
  22. Savory, 54
  23. Savory, 56
  24. Savory, 79
  25. Savory, 90
  26. Savory, 99
  27. Savory, 105
  28. Savory, 121
  29. Savory, 149
  30. Savory, 204
  31. Savory, 212
  32. Savory, 216
  33. Savory, 236
  34. Savory, 254
  35. Savory, 254
  36. Savory, 280
  37. Savory, 289
  38. Savory, 290
  39. Savory, 291
  40. Savory, 302
  41. Savory, 312
  42. Savory, 320
  43. Savory, 323
  44. Savory, 324
  45. Savory, 324
  46. Savory, 324
  47. Savory, 324
  48. Savory, 327
  49. Savory, 333
  50. Savory, 336
  51. Savory, 336
  52. Savory, 337
  53. Savory, 337
  54. Savory, 339
  55. Savory, 339
  56. Savory, 340
  57. Savory, 341
  58. Savory, 342
  59. Savory, 342
  60. Savory, 343
  61. Savory, 343
  62. Savory, 343
  63. Savory, 344
  64. Savory, 344
  65. Savory, 344
  66. Savory, 345
  67. Savory, 345
  68. Savory, 346

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