Lime, aka Citrus aurantifolia, is a small, round, green citrus fruit with a zesty, sour flavor. It is a natural hybrid of domesticated citrons and a wild species of Papeda. Due to its acidic juice and unique aroma, lime is widely used in various cuisines, most commonly Mexican, Vietnamese and Thai, to accent flavor. Several species of lime exist, including Key lime, kaffir lime, wild lime, desert lime and Persian lime. Powdered dehydrated lime can be used in glazes, drink mixes, meat marinades, pastries, cakes and fillings.
Citrus cultivation started in India, but similar names for different citrus make the history of lime use impossible to track. Ancient Rome is known to have had limes, lemons and citron. An 1178 A.D. Chinese agricultural treatise listed 27 citrus, including limes. Around the year 1300, Italian medical writer Matteus Silvaticus listed citron, oranges, lemons and limes as the world’s known citrus.
Lime has been well known for its many medicinal properties for ages. Its documented health benefits include weight loss, improved digestion, reduced respiratory disorders, enhanced immunity and constipation relief. It is also known to prevent cancer and kidney stones. Lime is used in the treatment of scurvy, piles, peptic ulcer and gout, and it is used as an aid in skin, hair and eye care. Extracted from the lime’s peel or skin, lime essential oil is used in aromatherapy and perfumes.