Lime – Natural Benefits and Uses


Botanical Name :: Citrusaurantifolia

Indian Name :: Niboo


The lime is an important fruit of citrus group. It is very popular all through the tropics and is used as a necessary adjunct in everyday meal. It is regarded as a health-building food of great value. Limes are generally mistaken for lemons, but they represent two varieties of the same genus. The lime is smaller in size than the lemon, with a thin smooth skin. It has sweet smell and contains less juice than the lemon. The lime grows on a small, multi-branched tree up to 5 me. in height, with spiny branches, small green leaves and white and strongly scented flowers.

There are many varieties of limes, differing in size, color and shape. They are, however, classified into two main groups, namely, the sweet and the acid limes. The sweet limes contain a. higher proportion of sugar but they have an insipid taste and are not considered to be of high nutritive value. They are, therefore, not grown on any great scale. Acid or sour limes, on the other hand, are extensively cultivated as their importance as food and medicine has been recognized for centuries. The two most popularly known varieties are Pari and Kagzi niboo

Origin and Distribution

The lime is believed to have originated in India, where it has been grown since remote times. Arab traders are believed to have taken it to Eastern Mediterranean and Western countries in about l000 AD. The Spaniards took it to the New, World early in their colonization. It has since spread throughout the tropics, where it is the most commonly cultivated species of the acid citrus.

Food Value

Acid limes are excellent source of free citric acid, natural sugar, vitamin C, calcium and phosphorus. It contains by far more vitamin C than the lemon. It is generally used for its juice which is taken in various ways. The best way to use it is to take with water. The lime juice forms an indispensable ingredient of salads. In fruit salads, it helps to retain the normal color of fruits and imparts tart flavor. It is often mixed with cooked pulses, soups, sauces and gravies to make them more tasty and palatable.


Food Value
Minerals and Vitamins
Moisture – 84.6%Calcium – 90 mg
Protein – 1.5%Phosphorus – 20 mg
Fat – 1.0%Iron – 0.3 mg
Minerals – 0.7%Vitamin C – 63mg
Carbohydrates – 10.9%Small amount of Vitamin B Complex
Fibre – 1.3%
* Value per 100 gm’s edible portionCalorific Value – 57

Natural Benefits and Curative Properties

The juice of fresh limes is being used in medicine from ancient times in India. In Vadas, lime has been mentioned as a sacred fruit. Cutting limes after reciting certain Mantras is considered an effective method for driving away the evil spirits. Charaka and Sharangdhara, the two famous physicians of ancient India, have mentioned about the therapeutic value of lime in various diseases of bones and joints. The vitamin C content in lime increases the body’s resistance to disease, aids the healing of wounds and prevents damage to the eyes. Vitamin C is also helpful in maintaining the health of the teeth and other bones of the body. It prevents decay and loosening of the teeth, dental caries, toothache, bleeding of the gums and fragility of bones.

The rind of the fruit also has medicinal properties. It contains a volatile oil which is used in medicine for improving digestion and removing wind

  1. Scurvy:- As a rich source of vitamin C, the lime has been regarded as a food of exceptional therapeutic value. It has saved the lives of innumerable crews of ocean-going vessels from scurvy. The Boards of Trade regulations have made it compulsory for the crew to have a supply of lime juice when vegetables are not available.
  2. Digestive Disorders:- Lime is considered highly beneficial in the treatment of digestive disorders. A teaspoonful of fresh lime-juice should be mixed with equal quantity of bony. It should be licked to stop bilious vomiting, indigestion, burning in the chest due to high acidity in the stomach and excessive accumulation of saliva in the mouth.
    A teaspoonful of lime juice mixed with water and a pinch of soda bicarb makes an excellent remedy for reducing the acidity in the stomach. It also acts as a powerful carminative in case of indigestion. It produces a marked sedative effect in the stomach due to release of carbonic acid gas.
  3. Constipation:- The lime juice is of great value in constipation, when it is taken as the first thing in the morning in a glass of warm water. In chronic cases, it helps remove tire disorder by promoting biliary secretion from liver.
  4. Peptic Ulcers:- The citric acid in limes has an alkaline reaction in the system. This acid together with the mineral salts present in the juice, helps the digestion by assisting in the absorption of fats and alcohol and by neutralizing excessive bile produced by the liver. The juice counteracts the effects of greasy food and reduces gastric acidity. It is, therefore, specially valuable in the treatment of peptic ulcers.
  5. Common Cold:- Lime is ideal in alt types of fevers and cold if taken well ­diluted. Vitamin C rich lime juice increases resistance, reduces toxicity and cuts down the course of the illness. Unless one is specially allergic to citrus fruits, one should not avoid lime in cold. A glass of diluted lime juice prepared in warm water, to which a teaspoonful of honey is added, is an ideal remedy for cold and dry cough.
  6. Tonsillitis:- Lime has proved effective in the treatment of acute tonsillitis. A fresh lime squeezed in a glass of warm water, with four teaspoonful of honey and a quarter teaspoonful of common salt, should be sipped slowly in such cases.
  7. Gums :- Lime is valuable in swollen gums. A glass of diluted fresh lime juice mixed with a pinch of rock salt should be taken in this condition. The squeezed lime rind should also be rubbed over the gums, before throwing it away.
  8. Eye Disorders:- Lime juice is valuable in eye disorders. Few drops of warm lime-juice diluted with water should be instilled in the eyes in case of conjunctivitis. Its regular use with pure rose water in the ratio of 1:4 is helpful in preventing old-age cataract.
  9. Cystitis:- Lime has proved valuable in cystitis – ie., inflammation of urinary bladder. A teaspoonful of lime juice should be put in 180 gm. of boiling water. It should then be allowed to cool and 60 gm. of this water should be given eVery two hours in this condition. It gives relief to burning sensation and also stops bleeding in cystitis.
  10. Scorpion Sting:- When externally applied, fresh lime is highly beneficial in the treatment of scorpion sting. A crystal of potassium permanganate should be put over it. It will have effect in ten minutes.
  11. Obesity:– The lime juice is also excellent for weight reduction. It has a sedative effect on the nerves. Fresh juice’ of a lime mixed in a glassful of water and sweetened with honey should be taken every morning on empty stomach in case of obesity. It will reduce the weight in two to three months time. One should however, take low calorie diet to get the desired result.


Limes should not be used in excess. The alkaline salts of the lime juice neutralize the free uric acid and precipitate it. It has; therefore, been found that its excessive use may cause the formation of renal calculi.

Excessive sucking of fresh lime is also bad for teeth as the acid damages the delicate enamel of the teeth and makes them sensitive. Its excessive use weakens digestion and impoverishes the blood.

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