The lime fruit belongs to the citrus group. Very often mistaken for lemon (Citrus Limon), the lime is actually a different fruit even though both lime and lemon belong to the same genus. The lime is smaller than the lemon, contains less juice and has a thin smooth skin.
Botanical name – Citrus aurantifolia
English – Lime
Hindi – Nimboo
Sanskrit – Nimbukah
Lime Health Benefits
Limes are a good source of citric acid, natural sugar, vitamin C, calcium and phosphorous. It contains more vitamin C than the lemon. The vitamin C content in lime increases the body’s resistance to diseases, aids the healing of wounds and prevents damage to the eyes. The rind of the fruit contains a volatile oil which is used in medicine for improving digestion and removing wind.
Anti-bacterial Health Benefits of Lime
A study aimed to examine the antibacterial and antioxidative properties of seven edible plants from Thailand, in order to develop alternative antibiotics as feed additives, found that the lime fruit, “showed the most broad antibacterial spectrum with the strong antioxidant activity specially in methanol extracts.”
Antibiotic Health Benefit of Lime
Flavonoids in lime called flavonol glycosides, have shown antibiotic effects. The inclusion of lime juice in meals is said to have a protective effect against cholera, which is a disease triggered by the action of a bacteria called Vibrio cholera.
Antioxidant Health Benefits of Lime
Limes are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is one of the most important antioxidants in nature. Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals in the body. Free radicals sometimes interact with healthy cells of the body, damaging them and their membranes. They also cause inflammation in the body.
Lime Builds Immunity
Vitamin C also helps build a strong immune system, and the lime fruit has an excellent quantity of vitamin C. It is thus useful for conditions like cold, flu and ear infections. A healthy immune system protects us from all sorts of illness. Vitamin C also accelerates the healing of wounds.
Lime Health Benefits for the Heart
Free radicals damage blood vessels and help cholesterol to build up in artery walls. Vitamin C is very helpful in preventing the development of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. Research has shown that consuming vegetables and fruits high in vitamin C reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. The pectin in the lime peel is known to lower cholesterol. An animal study showed that “Citrus aurantifolia peel and juice increased plasma antioxidant capacity in rabbits, and can prevent or decelerate the process of atherogenesis. However, lime peel is more effective than lime juice.”
Lime Juice Health Benefits for Digestion
Lime is a very common home remedy for digestive problems. The flavonoids present in lime help to stimulate the digestive system. Lime juice increases the secretion of digestive juices, which in turn stimulates the peristaltic motion. Lime can also cure digestive problems like constipation, and helps in cleaning the excretory system. The rinds of lime contain volatile oils which aid digestion and prevent stomach gases. Once digested, limes are said to have an alkalizing effect and help to treat peptic ulcers.
Anti-Cancer Activity of Lime
Citrus fruits are high in secondary metabolites, including flavonoids, limonoids, and coumarins, which are associated with a reduced risk of cancer, including gastric cancer, breast cancer, lung tumorigenesis, colonic tumorigenesis, hepatocarcinogenesis, and hematopoietic malignancies. In a study by scientists from US Agricultural Research Service (ARS) with 16 volunteers, who were given a dose of limonin glucoside, traces of limonin were still present in five of the volunteers 24 hours after consumption. They have been able to show that our bodies can readily absorb and use these limonoids called limonin. This liminoid is said to be present in citrus fruits in the same amount as vitamin C.
Other Health Benefits of Lime
The vitamin K in limes is very important to the body. Vitamin K prevents calcification of soft cartilage and facilitates healthy bone growth and development. The vitamin K content in limes also reduces the risk of age-related osteoporosis, bone fractures, vascular calcification and cardiovascular disease.
Lime has traditionally been used as a cure for scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency disease which is characterized by coughs, colds, cracked lips, bleeding gums and ulcers in the tongue. In bygone days, sailors took lime at sea to prevent the much dreaded scurvy.
Lime juice helps to flush out toxins from the body. The potassium in lime also helps to remove toxins and substances that have been deposited in the kidney and urinary bladder.
Lime Juice Home Remedies
- A tsp of fresh lime juice mixed with a tsp of honey, is a very effective home remedy for indigestion and burning in the chest due to acidity. Lime juice is also useful when there is excessive accumulation of saliva in the mouth.
- For hiccups, take a tsp each of ginger juice, honey, lime juice and a pinch of pepper. Mix together and lick a tiny bit from a spoon.
- Dilute a few drops of fresh lime juice with equal quantity of water. Using 2 drops of this twice a day as ear drops, is a very effective home remedy for earache.
- Drinking a glass of fresh lime juice in warm water in the morning is a good home remedy for constipation.
- For colic or cramps in the abdomen, mix a tsp of fresh ginger juice with a tsp of fresh lime juice and a pinch of rock salt and a little sugar. This mixture can be eaten by itself, or with a little warm water.
- Grind a tsp of dried onion seeds with a little milk. Add half a tsp of fresh lime juice and apply it on the pimples. Leave overnight and wash off in the morning. This is a good home remedy for Acne.
- A paste of fresh of tender leaves of lime with a pinch of turmeric makes an effective anti-bacterial facepack.
- To get rid of lice, mix garlic paste and fresh lime juice and apply at night to hair and wash off in the morning.
- To a cup of unheated fresh milk, add a tsp of fresh lime juice and let it stand for a couple of hours. At bed time, wash your face well with water and pat dry. Apply the above mix and leave it on overnight and wash in the morning. Do this once a week for a few weeks. This ensures that the acidity of the skin is maintained at a healthy pH which disuades bacterial growth.
- For bleeding piles, halve a lime and apply rock salt powder on them. Keep this lime in your mouth and let the juice be taken in slowly. Lime juice has antihaemorrhagic properties and rock salt which is rich in magnesium sulphate, checks bleeding, helps good bowel movements and slowly shrinks the pile masses.
- For swollen gums, a cup of diluted fresh lime juice mixed with a pinch of rock salt should be consumed. Lime rind can also be rubbed over the gums for relief.