Why Citric Acid and Citrates are Important

Jabir Ibn Hayyan lived in the 8th and early 9th centuries. He was Iranian, Islamic and he made impressive contributions to chemistry. Alot of his work was translated and sent to Medieval Europe under the name, Geber. Though some speculated as to his ethnicity as Arab, more than likely he was Persian. It is said that he was probably born about 721 and died about 815. A rather long life for one who lived during a time when so many died young. It is said that his father was a druggist. Other than these minor details, little is known about his life, other than the writings attributed to him.

According to ummah.com Jabir removed the superstition from alchemy and changed into chemistry. According to the National Library of Medicine, the writings ascribed to him are voluminous. There have been questions as to whether one man could have accomplished all that was supposedly written by him and I read one account which states that he did not exsist. After carefully researching, I believe that Jabir did exsist and was known to Europeans as Geber.

It was Jabir Ibn Hayyen who discovered citric acid.

Citric acid is a “multi-functional” acid and is usually found in citrus fruit, especially lemons and limes. Citrates are derivatives of citric acid. Since citric acid is mult-functional, intermediate ions exsist. They are hydrogen citrate and dihydrogen citrate. These may form salts called “acid salts”.

Citrates are used medically to make the urine and blood more alkaline, which means less acidic. In the specific case of urine, most usually citrates are prescribed to prevent kidney stones. In cases of heart disease, edema, stomach ulcer, edema, diabetes and toxemia of pregnancy, the sodium in citrates can cause these ailments to become worse by causing the body to retain water.

Most of the citric acid produced in the United States is used in foods and drinks, however, it is also being experimentally used to absorb certain toxic chemicals from soil. It is also being used in cleaning and beauty products.

Uses of citric acid in food and drinks, according to apacchemical.com include flavor enhancement, bacterial inhabitant, pH adjustment, and as an anti oxidant.

During open heart surgery, potassium citrate solution is pumped through the vessels to prevent “heart contractions”.

Citric acid was one of the greatest discoveries of mankind and I am sure that it will find even more uses within our lives.