The health benefits of lime include weight loss, skin care, good 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 our minds when it comes to medicinal uses is perhaps the good old lime.
This sour citrus fruit can do what many specialist medicines cannot. Lime, bearing the scientific name Citrus Aurantifolia, is being used for ages for treatment of various ailments.
Lime is consumed throughout the world in sorbets, beverages, refreshing drinks, pickles, jams, jellies, snacks, candies, sugar boiled confectioneries and culinary and the oil extracted from its peel or skin is extensively used in soft drink concentrates, body oils, cosmetics, hair oils, tooth pastes, 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,
Let us have a glance over the benefits and medicinal uses of lime.
Scurvy: Lime is so famous as a cure for scurvy, the disease which is caused due to deficiency of vitamin-C and characterized by frequent infections with cough and cold; cracked lips and lip corners; ulcers in tongue and mouth; spongy, swollen and bleeding gums etc. that now a days even a child can tell you that. Since its cause is deficiency of vitamin-C, its remedy is none other than vitamin-C, and lime is blessed with this vitamin. In olden days, soldiers and sailors were given lime to keep safe from scurvy, which was a dreaded disease then. Even now, it is distributed among the workers working in polluting environments like those working in furnaces, painting shops, heat treatments, cement factories, mines etc. to protect them from scurvy.
Skin Care: Lime juice and its oil 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 presence of a large amount of vitamin-C and Flavonoids, both of which are class-1 anti oxidants, anti biotic and disinfectants. When applied externally on skin, its acids scrub out the dead cells, cures dandruff, rashes, bruises etc. and gives you a refreshing bath if its juice or oil is mixed into your bathing water.
Digestion: Lime has an irresistible scent which waters the mouth and thus aid primary digestion (the digestive saliva floods your mouth even before you taste it). Then the acids in it do the rest. While they break down of 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 and also stimulate the peristaltic motion. This is the reason behind having lemon pickle with lunch and dinner is an age old practice in India and some of its neighboring countries.
Constipation: Primarily, the ample of acids present in lime helps clear the excretory system by washing and cleaning off the tracts, just like some acids are used to clean floor and toilets. Then the roughage in it is also helpful in easing constipation. But it is mainly due to high acids. An overdose of lime juice with salt also acts as an excellent purgative without any side effects, thereby giving relief in constipation.
Peptic Ulcer: In addition to vitamin-C, lime contains special compounds called Flavonoids (Limonoids such as Limonin Glucoside) which have anti oxidant, anti carcinogenic, anti biotic and detoxifying properties which help healing of peptic and oral ulcers.
Respiratory Disorders: The oil, containing Flavonoids and certain oils, extracted from lime is extensively used in anti congestive medicines such as balms, vaporizers, inhalers etc. due to presence of Kaempferol. Just scratching the peel of a lime and inhaling it gives immediate relief in congestion and nausea.
Eye Care: Vitamin-C again! Its anti oxidant properties protect eyes from aging and macular degeneration. Flavonoids help protect them from infections.
Gout: There are two main causes of Gout. While the first reason is accumulation of free radicals in the body; the second is accumulation of toxins, primarily uric acid. Now, limes can help you with both of these. It is a reservoir of anti oxidants & detoxifiers (vitamin-C & Flavonoids) which free radicals as well as detoxify the body.
Gums: The root causes of gum problems are deficiency of vitamin-C (Scurvy, which gives bleeding and spongy gums) and microbial growth. Sometimes, the ulcers and wounds from bones, hard objects etc. are also the causes. In all of these, limes can help you. Its vitamin-C cures scurvy, Flavonoids inhibit microbial growth and potassium and Flavonoids help heal ulcers and wounds.
Piles: Since lime helps heal up ulcers and wounds in the digestive system and excretory system and gives relief from constipation too, it eradicates all the root causes of piles.
Weight Loss: A glass of warm water with a full-lime juice in it is an excellent weight reducer as well as a brilliant refresher and anti oxidant drink. The citric acid present in lime is an excellent fat burner. Just have two glasses a day and see the remarkable result within a week.
Urinary Disorders: The high potassium content of limes is very effective in removal of the toxic substances and the precipitates deposited in kidneys, urinary bladder and its disinfectant properties help cure infections in the urinary system. It also stops prostrate growth (very common in males above 40) and clears blockage of urine due to deposition of calcium in the urinary tract.
Other Benefits: It is a good appetizer and digestive. It helps cure arthritis, rheumatism, prostrate and colon cancer, cholera, arteriosclerosis, diabetes, fatigue, heart diseases and even very high fever (in contrary to popular belief). The best part of it is that it has no side effects.
Few Words of Caution: The seeds of all citrus fruits (and also apples) are poisonous and if ingested in large quantity (even a small handful) can be fatal. So, avoid chewing or swallowing the seeds when you use limes.