What are the health benefits of eating Lime ?
Description of lime
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 upto 5 m. in height, with spiny branches, small green leaves and white and strongly scented flowers.
There are many varieties of limes, differing in size, colour 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 Pati 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 1000 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.
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 colour of fruits and imparts tart flavour. It is often mixed with cooked pulses, soups, sauces and gravies to make them more tasty and palatable.
Natural health benefits of eating lime and its 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.
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.
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.
Lime is considered highly beneficial in the treatment of digestive disorders. A teaspoonful of fresh lime-juice should be mixed with equal quantity of honey.
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.
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 the disorder by promoting biliary secretion from liver.
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.
Lime is ideal in all 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.
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.
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.
The fruit has been used as a remedy in gout and arthritis since long. Vitamin C is known to prevent and cure sore joints by strengthening the connective tissues of the body.
The citric acid found in the lime is a solvent of the uric acid which is the primary cause of gout and other diseases of this nature.
Lime juice is valuable is 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.
A small lime should be slit into two and sprinkled with rock salt powder inside. The lime is then tucked inside the mouth and the juice slowly taken in.
Lime juice, with its anti haemorrhagic properties and rock salt in magnesium sulphate, checks bleeding, help good bowel movements and gradually shrink the pile masses.
Lime has proved valuable in cystitis – i.e.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.
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.
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 the low calorie diet to get the desired result.
Lime can be used as a beauty aid. A fresh lime may be squeezed in a fully-boiled glassful of whole milk. A teaspoonful of glycerine may be added to it.
It should be left for half an hour and then applied on the face, hands and feet before retiring at night. This application every night will help one to look young and beautiful.
The application can also cure pimple, cracked soles and palms, dryness of the face and hand and protect the face from hot and cold winds and sun-burn.
Massaging few drops of lime juice with amla juice every night before going to bed, stops falling of hair, lengthens them and prevents them from premature greying. It also cures dandruff.
Limes should not be used in excess. The alkaline salts of the lime juice neutralise the free uric acid and precipitate it.
It has therefore, been found that its excessive use may cause the formation of rental 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 blood.