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Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

AA, acid lime, Adam's apple, agua de limón (Spanish), ascorbic acid, β-pinene, baladi (Egypt, Sudan), bara nimbu, bijapura, bisabolene, citral, Citrus acida, Citrus aurantiifolia, Citrus lima, Citrus limetta, Citrus limetta var. aromatica, Citrus limmerttioides, Citrus medica var. acida, common lime, dayap (Tagalog), dayalap (Tagalog), dehydrofelodipine (primary metabolite of felodipine), doc (Morocco), felodipine, fenchone, furocoumarins, jeruk neepis (Malay), jeruk nipis (Indonesia), jeruk pecel (Indonesia), key lime, Krôôch chhmaa muul (Khmer), lamoentsji (Netherlands), lamunchi (Netherlands), large lime, lebu (India), lemmetje (Dutch), lime water, lima ácida (Portuguese, Spanish), lima boba (Spanish), lima chica (Spanish), limah (Arabic), limão galego (Portuguese), limau asam (Malaysia), limau neepis (Malay), limau nipis (Malay), limbu (India), lime (Danish), limeade, lime essential oil, lime flower (Tilia cordata Mill.), lime juice, lime mexicaine (French), lime oil, limetta (Italian), Limettae fructus, Limette, limette acide (French), Limettenbaum (German), Limettenzitrone (German), limettier (French), limey, limoen (Flemish), limón agria (Spanish), limón agrio (Spanish), limón chiquito (Spanish), limón corriente (Spanish), limón criollo (Spanish), limón sutil (Spanish), limonene, Limonia aurantiifolia, limun (India), limûn baladi (Egypt, Sudan), manao (Thai), Mexican lime, naaw (Laotian), ndimu (East African), nebu (India), nimbu (India), Opuntia vulgaris pads, oxypeucedanin, polyphenolic, Rutaceae (family), saure Limette (German), som manao (Thai), sour lime, suwa (Visayan), sweet limes, terpineol, turanj, West Indian lime.

Background

"Lime" refers to a number of citruses with typically round, green to yellow fruits, which are frequently associated with the lemon. Lime fruit, particularly its juice and zest, is used in food and beverages for its flavor and floral aroma. Due to its acidity, it is also used for pickling. Dried limes are typically used as flavoring in Persian cuisine. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), lime has generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status for use in food in the United States when it is taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods.

Lime is believed to be native to the tropical regions of Asia and the Malay Archipelago. It may have been brought to Persia, Palestine, Egypt, and Europe by Arabs from India at about the same time as sour orange and lemon. It is thought that lime was introduced to Florida in the United States during the establishment of St. Augustine in 1565. Today, south Florida is the source of more than 85% of North American limes.

In the 1700s, British sailors consumed limes and other citrus fruits on board ships to prevent rickets, which occurs from a lack of vitamin C. Hence, the sailors derived the nickname "limey."

Evidence of limeade's use in iron-deficient women is conflicting. Preliminary studies have observed a protective effect of lime against cholera, but there are no well-designed clinical trials at this time evaluating the use of lime in the treatment of other conditions.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Cholera (prevention): One study found that lime juice used in sauces might aid in the prevention of cholera. Another preliminary study suggested that using limes in the main meal may also have a protective effect; both studies were investigated by the same primary author. Additional study is needed before a firm recommendation can be made.
Grade: C

Iron deficiency: There is conflicting evidence regarding the effectiveness of lime's ability to increase iron absorption. Additional study is needed before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
Grade: C

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