The health benefits of lime include weight loss, skin care, improved digestion, relief from constipation, eye care, and treatment of scurvy, piles, peptic ulcer, respiratory disorders, gout, gums, urinary disorders, etc.
The first fruit that comes to mind in terms of medicinal uses is the reliable lime. This sour citrus fruit can do what many advanced medicines cannot. Lime, bearing the scientific name Citrus Aurantifolia, has been used for ages in the treatment of various ailments.
Lime is consumed throughout the world in the form of sorbet, beverages, refreshing cocktails, pickles, jams, jellies, snacks, candies, sugar boiled confections and also in cooking. The oil extracted from its peel or skin is extensively used in soft drink concentrates, body oils, cosmetic products, hair oils, toothpastes, toilet and beauty soaps, disinfectants, mouth washes, deodorants and innumerable other products. There are many varieties of lime found all over the world, particularly in the tropical and the Mediterranean climates.
Health benefits of lime
Let’s take a look at the benefits and medicinal uses of lime.
Scurvy: Lime is very well-known as a cure for scurvy, the disease which is caused from a deficiency of vitamin-C. It is characterized by frequent infections that show as normal cold symptoms, cracked lips and lip corners, ulcers on the tongue and in the mouth. You can also spot scurvy from spongy, swollen and bleeding gums. Since its cause is a deficiency of vitamin-C, its remedy is none other than vitamin-C, and lime is full of this essential vitamin.
In the past, soldiers and sailors were given lime to keep them safe from scurvy, which was a horrible and potentially fatal disease back then. Even now, it is distributed among the workers working in polluted environments like furnaces, painting shops, heat treatments, cement factories, mines, and other dangerous work environments to protect them from scurvy.
Skin Care: Lime juice and its natural oils are very beneficial for skin when consumed orally or applied externally. It rejuvenates the skin, keeps it shining, protects it from infections and reduces body odor due to the presence of a large amount of vitamin-C and flavonoids. Those are both class-1 antioxidants, and have antibiotic and disinfectant properties. When applied externally on the skin, its acids scrub out dead cells, cures dandruff, rashes and bruises. It can also be used to create a refreshing bathing experience if its juice or oil is mixed into your bathing water.
Digestion: Lime has an irresistible scent which causes your mouth to water and this actually aids primary digestion (the digestive saliva floods your mouth even before you taste it). The natural acidity in lime does the rest. While they break down the macro molecules of the food, the Flavonoids, the compounds found in the fragrant oils extracted from lime, stimulate the digestive system and increase secretion of digestive juices, bile and acids. This flood of flavonoids also stimulates the peristaltic motion. This is the reason behind lemon pickle with lunch and dinner being a traditional practice in India and various neighboring countries in that region.
Constipation: Primarily, the ample amount of acids present in lime helps clear the excretory system by washing and cleaning off the tracts, just as some acids are used to clean floors and toilets. The roughage in lime is also helpful in easing constipation, but the most beneficial element is the high acidity. An overdose of lime juice with salt also acts as an excellent purgative without any side effects, thereby providing relief from constipation.
Diabetes: According to the American Diabetes Association, limes and other citrus fruits are considered a diabetes super food for a number of reasons. Mainly, the high levels of soluble fiber found in limes make it an ideal dietary aid to help regulate the body’s absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, reducing the occurrence of blood sugar spikes that are a serious risk to to diabetic patients. Also, limes and other citrus fruits have a low glycemic index, which means that they will not cause unexpected spikes in glucose levels, in addition to the benefits of soluble fiber’s effect.
Heart Disease: That same soluble fiber which can help diabetics maintain their blood sugar levels can also lower blood pressure and eliminate the presence of LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol). Furthermore, soluble fiber can cut down on inflammation of the blood vessels, which is a known preventative measure against heart diseases, heart attacks, and strokes.
Peptic Ulcer:In addition to vitamin-C, lime contains special compounds called Flavonoids (Limonoids such as Limonin Glucoside) which have antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, antibiotic and detoxifying properties that stimulate the healing process of peptic and oral ulcers.
Respiratory Disorders: The flavonoid-rich oil that is extracted from limes is extensively used in anti-congestive medicines such as balms, vaporizers, and inhalers due to the presence of Kaempferol. Just scratching the peel of a lime and inhaling it gives immediate relief from congestion and nausea.
Arthritis: One of the many causes of arthritis is an excess of uric acid that builds up in the body. Uric acid is one of the waste products that normal urination will clear out of the body, but unfortunately, when too much of it builds up, it can make the pain and inflammation from arthritis even worse. The citric acid found in citrus fruits like limes is a solvent in which uric acid can dissolve, increasing the amounts that are eliminated in the urine. Citrus fruits in general have anti-inflammatory properties, and can be used for a number of inflammation issues.
Eye Care: Vitamin-C again! Its anti oxidant properties protect eyes from aging and macular degeneration. On top of that, flavonoids help protect them from infections.
Fever: If someone is suffering from a fever, limes and lime juice can be of great importance. Citrus fruits in general have fever-reducing qualities, and if the fever is very high, the patient’s diet should be restricted to lemon juice and water. However, if the fever is mild to moderate, other fruit juices, particularly citrus juices like lime juice, can be administered in order to bring the fever back a manageable level. Vitamin-C, found in high concentrations in citrus fruits, naturally lowers the temperature of the body.
Gout: There are two main causes of gout. The first source is the accumulation of free radicals in the body, and the second is accumulation of toxins in the body, primarily uric acid. Limes can help prevent both of these causes. It is a wonderful source of antioxidants & detoxifiers (vitamin-C & Flavonoids) which reduce the number of free radicals as well as detoxifying the body.