‘Tis the season to drink your orange juice

November 29, 2007
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Pierre Laszlo’s new book Citrus: A History has been featured in several articles this month, one in the November 22 issue of Nature and another in the November 25 issue of the UK’s Sunday Times. Both articles praise Laszlo’s book for its comprehensive historical account of the propagation of citrus fruits around the globe and both note that one of the most important reasons for its popularity is its medicinal value—an especially pertinent fact to keep in mind during these long winter months. From the Sunday Times:

[In Citrus] Laszlo, a retired French chemist, takes us on a journey from the orangeries of Versailles, via the limes of the Royal Navy to the citriculture of modern Florida. It was only in the 1920s, he tells us, that orange juice became “an integral part of the American breakfast”, after the great flu epidemic of 1918-19. Laszlo shows that the citrus fruit “is a treasure trove of chemicals that are highly useful to humankind”—which also happens to taste wonderful.

And on a similar note from Nature magazine:

Citrus provides a colorful background of the literature, poetry and art associated with citrus fruits, as well as their pharmaceutical effects. Apparently, an ingredient of grapefruit juice deactivates an enzyme in the small intestine that destroys some medications before they can enter the bloodstream. Alternatively, the citrus component boosts the activity of certain drugs, such as sildenafil (better known as Viagra) and inhibitors of HIV-1 proteases.

You can read the rest of both articles online, or navigate to our special Citrus website where you can find out more about the book as well as download six tasty—not to mention healthy—citrus recipes.

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