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Lemon could halt the spread of AIDS: scientists
Australian Broadcasting Station ^ | Thursday, October 10, 2002. | ABC News Online

Posted on 10/13/2002 9:32:02 PM PDT by hfartalot

Australian scientists believe they have rediscovered an effective use for lemon juice - as a contraceptive and also a killer of the AIDS virus.

Reproductive physiologist Roger Short, from the University of Melbourne's obstetrics department, said a few drops of lemon juice can be a cheap, easy-to-use solution to protect women from both HIV and pregnancy.

The juice should be squeezed onto a piece of sponge or cotton wool and placed into the vagina before sex, he told Jonica Newby from ABC Television's Catalyst program.

The program will be aired on the ABC tonight at 8.00pm AEST.

"We can show in the lab that lemon juice is very effective in immobilising human sperm and also very effective in killing HIV," Professor Short told Catalyst reporter Jonica Newby.

He said lime juice, which has similar acid levels, can also be used, with both fruits often freely available in poor countries where contraception is hard to come by.

Professor Short said laboratory tests found not only does lemon juice kill sperm, it also kills the AIDS virus itself.

Professor Short had the idea after talking to some elderly women about forgotten contraceptives, which include half a lemon used like a diaphragm.

"When the lecture was over, 10 or 15 of these women came up to me, one by hand, put their hand on my shoulder and said, 'my dear, I used half a lemon, it was all right for me," Professor Short said.

"I thought, my golly! Lemon juice. That would kill HIV. Why haven't I looked? So I dashed back to Melbourne and said to my PhD students, 'Look, drop everything. This could be crazy, but it could be incredibly exciting'," Professor Short said.

He said using lemon juice as a contraceptive was not a new idea but it had fallen by the wayside over the years.

The ancient douche-style contraceptive was encouraged by such luminaries as Casanova, renowned for his sexual prowess.

"This has been used for hundreds of years and we've just forgotten about it," said Professor Short, who is planning to conduct some field trials in Thailand.

"About 300 years ago, Mediterranean women used lemon juice as their main method of contraception."

Lab tests encouraging

Preliminary lab results so far look encouraging.

"Well, this is the acid test. Here's some fresh human sperm and some fresh lemon juice, and we're going to look at it under the microscope," he said.

Seconds after adding the lemon juice, it is all over for the sperm.

"Have a look at that. It's a graveyard."

In the test tube at least, lemon juice also appears to kill HIV. And that's enough to impress Dr Rob Moodie, head of Vic Health and a former director of UN AIDS in Africa.

"If it's true, it's an amazing story because we've been looking for the last 15 years for a viricide that's safe, that's easy to use, that can be controlled by women without necessarily their partners knowing, and this could be it," Dr Moodie said.

But not everyone is so enthusiastic. Dr John Raff is the chief executive of Starpharma, which is working on its own vaginal AIDS preventive. He is worried about the safety of putting neat lemon juice inside the vagina.

"It's an acid and certainly if you clean your fingernails with lemon, you'll you soon see how strong an acid it is, and the tissues in the body, there's certainly the potential for irritation. It's just a very severe approach," Dr Raff said.

But Roger Short is confident history is on his side. Women wouldn't have used lemons, he says, if they were harmful.

"We have a history of prior use of this compound, and our compound if free to anyone in a developing country who chooses to grow it. Whatever compounds they come up with will be tied up in patents which will be owned by Western pharmaceutical companies," Dr Short said.

TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: aids; contraceptive; orangejuice
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To: this_ol_patriot
yum yum tootsie roll....thats been a few decades
21 posted on 10/14/2002 7:05:16 AM PDT by Archie Bunker on steroids
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To: hfartalot
Damn. Now I'll have that old song Lemon Tree in my head all day.
22 posted on 10/14/2002 9:24:23 AM PDT by NativeNewYorker
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