Lime (Citrus medica var. acida)
Other common names: Citrus acida, Citrus acris, Mexican lime, Persian lime (different subspecies), Citrus limetta var. aromatica, lime oil
*Note: There are other species of lime, such as key lime, which can be used for similar medicinal purposes. This is not to be confused with tilia, which is often called “lime tree”.
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Antimicrobial, digestive aid, astringent, antitumorigenic, anticarcinogenic, aids in iron absorption when taken with meals, lowers cholesterol.
You should harvest limes when they are still green (they turn yellow when ripened fully, and also become bitter). The fruit should be picked before its skin takes on a wrinkled texture. Usually it’s ready in summer.
Part used: Fruit primarily – leaves and oil from the skin of the fruit can also be used.
Volatile oils, citric acid, terpenoids, limonoids, sugars, fibre, flavonoids, vitamin C and others.
Indigestion, viral/bacterial infection, exhaustion, depression (in aromatherapy), cold and flu symptoms, respiratory infections, acne, high cholesterol, vitamin C deficiency, moist skin conditions (will sting if applied without enough dilution), anemia, tumours (note: some studies suggest that lime oil may in fact promote tumour growth if there are carcinogenic chemicals present in the body – do not use for treating cancerous tumours without the advice of a qualified physician).
The fruit can be eaten as-is or prepared in culinary dishes and the juice can be used in beverages. The leaves can be infused in tea for headaches and diarrhea.
Lime oil can be diluted in a carrier oil and used in massage blends, aromatherapy blends, and skin care products. It can be added to hair rinses to strip residue and brighten hair colour (test in a small area first if you dye your hair artificially).
The oil and even juice may cause photosensitivity, especially if used on the skin regularly for a long period of time. It may also cause an allergic reaction in those who are sensitive. Do not use in medicinal quantities when pregnant or nursing, and do not mix with pharmaceuticals without the advice of a physician.
I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.
Energetically, lime is a cleanser – it clears the mind, and expels negativity, especially if a person has been stagnant for some time. It does so with more gentleness than hotter herbs like cayenne. In aromatherapy it is used to improve mood, and invigorate the body. In folklore, lime has been associated with immortality, birth and youth, as well as protection from evil.
Lime has a dry, sour constitution.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.