If you are a native of South to South East Asian regions, the lime you have grown up with is not the lime many people in Western regions know.
That is because native to these regions is the kaffir lime, also called the makrut lime, or scientifically as Citrus hystrix, possessing a highly citrus odor and very rough textured exterior.
Even though it was native to these regions, it is now widely grown in the Americas and throughout the Caribbean, allowing its benefits to be experienced by a wider cross section of people.
Nutrition (Per 100g)
Total Carbohydrates 7.5g
Fiber-3g 12% RDI
Vitamin A-13.4μg 2% RDI
Vitamin C -43mg 72% RDI
Calcium-30mg 3% RDI
Iron-0.2mg 3% RDI
12 Amazing Benefits of Kaffir Lime
1. Natural Insect Repellent
Kaffir lime is naturally abundant in essential oils such as citronella, which is an effective and well known natural insect repellent.
Use of kaffir limes for this purpose is extremely popular in tropical countries where mosquito infestations is common place. It can be applied directly to the body, or sprayed around the home to keep insects out.
2. Stress Reduction
Even though most persons make use of the leaves of the Kaffir lime for this purpose, extracts from the peel used to make oil are also very effective when used inhalationally for aromatherapy.
As luck would have it, concoctions made with essential oils are very effective for helping to reduce stress, especially if coupled with anxiety. It is also very effective in helping to alleviate the effects of high cortisol burden, useful for suppressing this hormone before adverse effects can manifest.
3. Promotes Sleep
Anything that effectively helps to relieve stress and anxiety will inevitably improve the quality of sleep you get at night.
Even though it is not considered a sedative, in a manner similar to chamomile, it has a very relaxing nature that can help make it easier for you to get to sleep. Of course, making your room conducive to sleep definitely helps, such as sleeping in the dark or using white noise if necessary.
4. Improves Digestive Health
Kaffir lime can assist with digestion via the stimulation of key enzymes involved in the breakdown of food. The leaves and fruit also possess numerous anti-inflammatory compounds which can help to relieve inflammation due stomach ulcers along the digestive tract as a result of Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome.
These translate to greater nutrient assimilation, decreased likelihood of constipation and improved probiotic culture health.
5. Improves Oral Health
Leaves of various plants have been chewed on for centuries, long before the advent of toothpaste in order to minimize bacterial growth in the mouth. Today, many of these very leaves that were used historically have been found to have active ingredients that exert antibacterial actions, helping to support the health of the oral cavity.
It is very common nowadays for persons to still chew the leaves prior to brushing the teeth with standard toothpaste for added effect- and it seems to work wonderfully for this purpose.
6. Pain Relief
Along with many other citrus fruits, Kaffir limes offer a great way to naturally treat pain, at least from a topical perspective.
Using a few drops of the essential oil and mixed into a carrier like coconut oil, it can be effectively massaged onto areas such as muscles and joints that may be painful or inflamed. It is not advised to consume the essential oil for this reason as the amount needed can quickly become toxic.
7. Topical Antiseptic
Kaffir lime’s essential oil components also possess natural antiseptic actions, which help with controlling bacterial infection on wounds.
It is believed to act by disrupting the replication of bacteria, which when combined with proper sanitation of the wound will be enough to hasten healing and prevent the development of complications from infections.
8. Natural Deodorant
Citrus based essential oils are amongst the best in terms of natural deodorants, as their aroma is enough to overpower that of sweat, reducing the density of bacteria in areas notorious for offensive odors.
You can either make your own deodorant mixed in some petroleum jelly, or opt for a pre-packed formulation that also contains drying agents that also minimize perspiration in the first place.
9. Natural Anti-Parasitic Properties
The presence of intestinal worms can cause nutritional deficiencies, in addition to other serious health problems if not addressed.
Often times, parasitic infections are common in poorer countries, with less reliable access to health care and proper sanitation. As a result, the nutritional status of persons living in these areas is further compromised, which could have far-reaching implications.
Extracts found in Kaffir lime have been found to possess ant parasitic action that specifically kills intestinal worms, as well as their larvae. If you’re traveling to a new country and not familiar with their method of preparing foods, or ones where they consume a lot of undercooked meat, is a good idea to take kaffir lime essential oil upon returning in order to avoid a full-blown parasitic infection.
10. Lice Treatment
Kaffir lime extract made from fruit, or combined with the leaves has been used as an all-natural head lice remedy owing to the fact that it reliably kills both the adult parasite and nits.
Head lice, which are also considered parasites, are very contagious and spread easily from person to person. Shampoos that take advantage of using the oil in the formulation are amongst the best natural products you can find for treatment of this annoying infestation.
11. Helps Maintain Skin Health
Kaffir lime is known possess strong antioxidant qualities, which are advantageous in helping preserve the health of skin.
UV radiation accelerate skin damage via oxidation, making your skin appear older than it really is. The use of effective antioxidants, combined with moisturizing agents is even more important in women postmenopausally, especially if you are a smoker. Just because you are getting older, it does not have to mean that you need to let your radiance free fall.
12. Helps Manage Curly Hair
People with curly hair know the struggle it takes to get ready every morning – especially if you have to comb true dozens of knots and tangles.
Citronella oil, one of the primary constituents in Kaffir lime is very effective as a natural detangling agent, helping to make hair easier to manage. It also adds volume, presumably by imbuing an electrical charge on hair strands that cause them to repel each other.
It is also extremely helpful for removing dirt and grease from hair, making it a great idea to add a few drops to your favorite shampoo for added effect.
Even though kaffir limes are unlikely to replace the standard lime in the foreseeable future, you still stand to benefit from making them both part of your pantry.
The leaves are also exceptionally useful, but one important consideration needs to be kept in mind about the oil extract. It should not be used undiluted, as it can irritate the skin or stomach is consumed as is.