As BoingBoing has noted already, a Melbourne scientist has proposed that lemon juice could fight HIV effectively, with bonus spermicidal action too:
According to Mr Short, lemons could be used as a contraceptive by soaking a piece of cotton wool in the juice and inserting it into the vagina before sex. “We can show in the lab that lemon juice is very effective in immobilising human sperm and also very effective in killing HIV,” he said.
Julian Meldrum, international editor of Aidsmap, told BBC News Online that the principle behind the theory seemed like good science. … However, he said: “There is not yet enough evidence that this will be safe and effective in practice. … We also need to examine whether it is safe to put what is quite a strong acid into contact with mucus membranes which are quite delicate.”
Ouch. Mr. Short said that some female researchers in his lab have noted that the application of lemon juice didn’t hurt. Yeah right — maybe it didn’t quite hurt per se, but I bet it stung like hell!
Top history tidbit:
The practice of using lemon juice to prevent pregnancy was commonly used in medieval times, including by the legendary lothario Casanova, but has been forgotten by modern medicine.