The lime is indigenous to South-Eastern Asia and has been grown in this part of the world for several thousand years. There is a common belief that limes were brought by the Arabs from India during the era of Mohammedan expansion between 570 A.D. and 900 A.D. Nevertheless, historians did not document any information regarding the lime till the era of the Crusades (a series of religious wars, sanctified by the Pope, with the primary objective of reinstating the control of Christians over Jerusalem).
It was only in 1626 that the English traveler and historian Sir Thomas Herbert mentioned about discovering lemons, oranges and limes on Mohelia Island, off the coast of Mozambique. Since the initial days of the sailing of the British vessels, the sailors of Britain were provided with a habitual ration of lime juice with a view to keep off developing scurvy when they were at sea. This, in fact, resulted in the nickname of ‘limey' for the British sailors. As early as 1514, lime trees were found growing on the island of Haiti and cultivation of lime extended from the West Indies to Florida over the years. Afterward, it was found that lime was growing on its own in coppices and also as spread out plants.
People in Florida and California have been cultivating limes from the time when the citrus industry commenced. However, the lemon industry was nearly completely obliterated following the great freeze in Florida between the period 1894 and 1895. However, soon the lime industry in Florida spread out and currently, Florida cultivates majority of the limes used in the United States. Following Florida, California is the second largest producer of lime, while Mexico is a close third.
It may be noted that the limes have a green hue and are considered to be heavy compared to their size and commercially, they are extremely popular owing to their intense acidity. When the limes mature or ripen, their color changes to yellow and they do not posses such elevated acid content. If you keep the lime till it is completely ripe/ mature, it may also be used in the similar manner as lemon and to buttress other foods with vitamin C. Similar to lemons, limes are also extremely rich in vitamin C content and are also an excellent resource of vitamin B1 as well as potassium. However, the limes decay quite easily and you should always keep away from limes that have become dry, have a gristly crust or pliable and decayed areas. Limes should always be stored in a cool, dry place.
Chemical analysis of lime has revealed that it encloses about five to six per cent citric acid and is extremely acidic. Hence, mostly people drink lime juice after sweetening. The natural flavor of line is augmented when it is blended with juice of other fruits. Limes actually make delectable vinaigrette for fish and, when lime is added to melons, it helps to draws out the natural essence of melon. Adding a few drops of lime juice to consommé or jellied soups provides a specific taste to the flavor. Fruits that are known as sub-acid, for instance apples, peaches, plums, pears, grapes and apricots, also go excellently with limes.
Limes possess a number of therapeutic attributes. For instance, they are known to be effective in providing relief from the symptoms of arthritis, as they possess very elevated vitamin C content. In addition, limes are particularly beneficial for individuals having acidemia (a health condition wherein the concentration of hydrogen-ion in the blood is augmented), since limes are among the foods that cause maximum alkalization. Taking a drink of lime juice blended with whey is an excellent cooler for the brain as well as the nervous system. In fact, limes may be used to cure brain fever or perk up anyone who is ailing mentally. They are very beneficial for the brain when it has plenty of hot blood, which is generally vented in the form of anger, annoyances of the brain as well as loathing. In addition, limes also work as effective sedatives for people enduring the afflictions discussed here.
Compared to lemon, lime encloses much more vitamin C. Drinking a glass of warm water with lime juice as well as a teaspoonful of honey is considered to be a perfect natural medication for treating cold and dry cough. When people are feeling lethargic and dilapidated owing to a lack of vitamins, taking lime juice enlivens them.
The pulp of lime encloses pectin, which is considered to be helpful in reducing blood cholesterol levels. Since lime contains high levels of vitamin C, taking this fruit on a regular basis helps to augment the resistance of the body against various ailments and, at the same time, facilitates the healing of wounds and avoids damage to the eyes. In addition, vitamin C is also effective in sustaining the health of our teeth as well as the bones of the body. It has been found that vitamin C is also useful in preventing the decay as well as loosening of the teeth, toothache, dental caries, bleeding of the gums and vulnerability of the bones.
The peel of the fruit too encloses therapeutic attributes. The peel of lime encloses a volatile oil that is used in medicine for augmenting digestion as well as removing wind - flatulence. Lime is also believed to be extremely helpful in healing digestive problems.
Lime juice is also of great worth in treating constipation provided it is taken as the first thing in the morning along with a glass of warm water. The citric acid present in limes has an alkaline reaction in the system that helps to ease peptic ulcers. People suffering from conjunctivitis will benefit greatly if they instil some drops of warm lime juice diluted with water in the eyes. Using lime juice blended with rose water in the proportion of 1:4 on a regular basis is also effective in preventing cataracts occurring in old age. It has also been established that lime juice added to warm water is effective in treating cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder). Using such diluted lime juice provides relief from the burning sensation and, at the same time, stops haemorrhage in cystitis.
The juice extracted from lime also possesses other therapeutic benefits. It is considered to be ideal for weight loss. Obese people may find taking fresh lime juice mixed in a glass of water and sweetened by adding honey regularly every morning on an empty stomach to be extremely beneficial.
Lime encloses a chemical called limonene. Limonene is a phytochemical which possesses strong detoxifying properties along with antibiotic attributes, which are defensive against poisoning by bacteria. Lime also possesses powerful anti-viral attributes that have the aptitude to eliminate cholera bacilli in a very short span of time. In order to obtain the best results for this purpose, it is advisable that you drink a mixture of lime juice and water in the ratio of 1:1 on a regular basis.
The juice as well as the essential oil extracted from lime is extremely beneficial for the skin when it is taken internally and also applied topically. Lime juice oil revitalizes the skin, making it glow and protects it from various infections. In addition, using lime juice also helps to diminish the body smell owing to the presence of large quantities of vitamin C and flavonoids. In fact, vitamin C and flavonoids are known to be class-1 antioxidants, disinfectants as well as antibiotic. When lime juice is applied topically on the surface of the skin, the acids present in it obliterate the dead cells and help in healing rashes, dandruff, bruises as well as other skin complaints. Besides, taking a bath by adding lime juice or lime oil to your bath water is very energizing.
Lime possesses an appealing fragrance which makes the mouth water and, hence, it helps in primary digestion - the digestive saliva overflows the mouth even before you actually taste lime juice. Subsequently, the acids present in lime juice perform the remaining tasks. The acids enclosed by lime juice disintegrate or break down the macro molecules of the ingested foods, while flavonoids, which are present in the aromatic oils obtained from lime, invigorate the digestive system and augment the secretion of the different digestive juices, bile and acids. In addition, flavonoids found in lime oil encourage peristaltic (a series of gesticulations of the involuntary muscular tightening of a variety of bodily tubes, particularly of the alimentary tract, where it has an effect on transport of food and waste products) motions. In fact, this is the primary reason why many people have lemon pickle with their lunch and dinner. This is a traditional practice in India as well as some of its neighbouring nations.
Buying and storing tip
It is possible to store lemons as well as limes in refrigerators for a maximum of two weeks. However, it is actually possible to store them for a longer period, but that will make them lose their essence after a certain period.
Here is a word of advice. While purchasing lemons observe the stem end of the lime or lemon. You will find four to five small lines spreading out of the stem end. Remember, the more the number of such lines, the lemon or lime will be richer in mineral content.
Sucking fresh lime excessively is considered to be harmful for your teeth because the acid harms the subtle enamel of the teeth and makes them more susceptible. Using too much lime or lemon juice also makes digestion weaker.