Properties of lime

Citrus aurantifolia


Common English name: Key lime, Mexican lime, West Indian lime

Common name in other languages:

– Spanish /Español: limero (the tree) lima; lima ácida, chica o boba; limón mexicano, dulce, chiquito, criollo, sutil o limón agria (fruit).

– Catalan / Català: Llimona ácida

– Galician / Galego: Limeira

– Portuguese / Português: Lima comun

– Basque / Euskara: …..

– Italian / Italiano: Limetta, lime

– Romanian / Română: Limetă

– French / Français: Limettier, limettier mexicain, limettier des Antilles, lime acide, , Key Lime, citronnier gallet (tree) petit citron vert, citron Gallet ou lime(fruit)

– German / Deutsch: Echte Limette, Saure Limette, Mexikanische Limette

– Danish/: Lime

– Polish/ Polski: Lima,limonka, limona, limetka, limeta kwaśn

– Dutch /Nederlands: Limoen

– Norwegian /Norsk bokmål: Lime

– Swedish /Svenska: Lime

– Finnish / Suomi: Limetti

– Turkish / Türkçe: Misket limonu

– Русский / Russian: Лайм

Scientific name: Citrus aurantifolia Swingle

Synonyms: Citrus × acida Pers., Citrus lima Lunan, Limonia × aurantiifolia Christm, Citrus × excelsa Wester,

Family: Rutaceae – citrus family

Habitat. Where does key lime grow?

Key limes grow feral in Himalayan valleys and it is cultivated up to 1,200 m.

It is cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas of the world.

Key lime description

Small evergreen tree that can reach up to 4m. tall.

The trunk is much branched, the branches are thin and have spines in the axils.

Leaves alternate, simple, entire, oblong-ovate and glabrous, very aromatic.

Flowers solitary or in axillary corymbs, hermaphrodites, or white petals with purple tones and very fragrant.

Fruits are fleshy berries of size and shape similar to that of a lemon, with bright green skin that turns yellow when ripe. The skin is smooth and rough, with thinner skin compared to other citrus such as oranges or lemons. The flesh is juicy, sweet and very acidic.

Origin and history of key limes

Key lime is a plant native to Southeast Asia, in the Indo-Malaya.

This plant was introduced into Asia and Egypt by the merchants of the Middle East in the tenth century.

From Saudi Arabia, it came to Africa and reached Europe through the invasions of Spain, in the thirteenth century.

Christopher Columbus brought limes to America on his second voyage to the continent.

Key lime was introduced in the Caribbean and Mexico by the Spanish, and it is known, by a report from the time, it was grown in Haiti in 1520. The plant is easily naturalized in these regions, where it still continues to be cultivated.

Key lime came to America in the sixteenth century, when Spanish conquerors introduced it in Florida.

Currently the main producers of limes are Brazil, Mexico, the Caribbean, India and the United States.

Key lime composition

The main components of Mexican lime are:



Photo of limes

Lime juice, like other citrus, has a high content of vitamin C, calcium, potassium and essential oils.

It has antiscorbutic, detoxifying, diuretic, expectorant and antiseptic properties.

It avoids fatigue, rheumatic discomfort and propensity to colds and infections.

The leaves and fruit peel contains essential oils with sedative and antispasmodic virtues.

Among its medicinal properties we want to point out the following:

Internal preparations with key lime

  • Obesity: Citrus as lime, are usually associated to treat obesity. These indications are due to its diuretic and antioxidant properties, which help eliminate fat, detoxify and help maintain the health of the cardiovascular system and lower cholesterol. These fruits can not miss when dieting and when doing cleansing diets. (Take lime juice 2 times a day). For its diuretic properties, lime juice is suitable for arthritis, gout and rheumatism.

  • Tranquilizer: It is considered that lime balances the nervous system, because in their oils there are calming essences. The tea leaves are used for upset stomach and cramps of nervous origin, for anxiety and insomnia. In Malaysia, take the canned lima with vinegar to relieve headache (Infusion of a teaspoon of dried leaves three times a day, or infusion of the bark of key lime).

  • Cardiovascular System: Vitamin C, along with flavonoids, assist in maintaining the arteries by means of improving their elasticity and preventing spills that occur in veins and capillaries. Eating or drinking lime juice helps prevent and treat hypertension, controls the appearance of hemorrhoids or varicose veins and prevents bruising or small nosebleeds or bleeding gums.

  • Cholesterol: Vitamin C helps reduce cholesterol and poor circulation, because of its antioxidant properties. (Drink lime juice a few times a day. It can be mixed with other fruit juices. Introduce a piece of lime in a glass of water to give it curative value and enjoy refreshing its medicinal properties).

  • Natural antibiotic: Key lime contains at least 10 antiseptic components. Along with the properties of vitamin C to prevent colds, flu and infections. This fruit is very suitable to help fight winter illnesses. As preventative medicine, you can take lime juice 1 or 2 times a day during the changing seasons.

  • Stomachic: Traditional medicine attributed key file properties to protect the stomach. It contains limonene that stimulates production of mucus in the stomach and has antiinflammatory effects against gastritis. Its aromas stimulate the appetite and increase the production of saliva. So, on the one hand, lime awakens appetite and, moreover, it helps improve digestion.

    It is recommended to take it as food when someone tends to have slow digestion or heartburn. (Drink lime juice a few times a day. Infusion of a teaspoon of dried leaves or a piece of lime rind, 3 times a day. Introduce a piece of lime in a glass of water to give it a refreshing value and to enjoy its medicinal properties). For its citric acid content, although not as high in lime and in other citrus fruits, it can irritate sensitive stomachs, so if taken in juice, it should be done with a full stomach.

  • Respiratory diseases: Key files are rich in limonene, which possesses antitussive, antiinflammatory and antibacterial properties. These properties make it very suitable for treating respiratory conditions such as:

    • Bronchitis: Essential oils of lime alleviate bronchi, relax thoracic muscles and help relieve coughing (Infusion of a teaspoon of dried leaves or a piece of lime rind, 3 times a day. Combine with plants that relieve sore throat caused by coughing, such as plantain, mallow or marshmallow).

    • Asthma: Vitamin C has antihistamine properties appropriate to treat allergies, asthma attacks and other allergic symptoms such as sneezing and mucus. The essential oil (limonene) have antiasthmatic properties (Infusion of a teaspoon of dried leaves or a piece of lime rind, 3 times a day. Take lime juice 23 times a day).

  • Cancer: More and more studies highlight the anticancer properties of essential oils. In case of the lime, limonene has demonstrated a protective role against the breast, liver, lung, stomach and skin cancer. Limonene is in parts richer in lime oils, mainly in the cortex (because it contains essential oil glands, like all citrus), so you should also squeeze this part when making lime fruit juice.

  • Care of the skin, bones and joints: Vitamin C is involved in the formation of bone tissue, which favors greater bone health and prevent osteoporosis by allowing the body to absorb more calcium.

    Is important for skin care, that antioxidants are takenfrom food, as masks and skin creams can not penetrate into the inner layers of the dermis, where collagen is. Taking foods rich in vitamin C protects collagen, resulting in brighter skin with fewer wrinkles and sagging, younger looking.

    People with rheumatoid arthritis may benefit from diuretic and detoxifying properties of lime, since this fruit will bring the necessary vitamin C for the body to keep joints in good condition. The file is also suitable in the diet for ligaments, since vitamin C helps to manufacture and maintain tissues and joints of the body.

Contraindications of key lime

It is Not recommended for pregnant women to take key lime preparation too often because it contains bisabolene. Plants rich in this component have abortifacient effects.

punto rojoMore information on lime

KingdomPlantae – Plants

Vascular plants


Seed plants


Flower plants



FamilyRutaceae – Rutáceas
SpeciesC. aurantiifolia

punto rojoMore information on lime.

This article was endorsed by Vicente Martínez Centelles - Founder of the web and director. Teacher of natural sciences, expert in plants, natural remedies and botanical photography.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

19 March, 2019

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