Superfood Series | January 21, 2020

Kaffir lime

If we told you that the humble and unassuming leaf of the kaffir lime assisted with oral health, helped to detoxify the blood, boosted skin health, improved digestion, warded off insects, lowered inflammation, aided the immune system, reduced stress, and improved the health of hair, would you believe us?

You’ll often find kaffir limes being used in soups and sauces, such as Tom Yum soup. The powerful flavour of the leaves and rind is due to the high concentration of alkaloids, citronellol, limonene, nerol, and other organic compounds in kaffir limes. Not only do these provide a unique aroma and flavour, but also a wide range of health benefits. Oil extracted from the leaves, as well as the leaves themselves, are commonly used for medicinal purposes. The oil is often mixed with shampoos, soaps, salves, fragrances, and other cosmetic products, while the leaves are usually applied topically or orally to induce a specific healthy result.

The leaves can be directly rubbed onto the gums to promote good oral health and eliminate harmful bacteria that can build up in the mouth. The oil from the leaves can also be used for its insect repellant properties. The citronellol and limonene found in kaffir limes are very unappealing to most insects and can significantly decrease your chances of being bitten by bugs.

For those suffering from rheumatism, arthritis, edema, gout, or some other inflammatory condition, kaffir limes can be a very effective remedy. You can use the juice, leaves, or oil extracts topically on the area where you are experiencing discomfort or pain, and you can also consume the fruit and the juices to enjoy a similar effect. This anti-inflammatory effect also makes kaffir lime juice beneficial for headaches and migraines. The antibacterial and antioxidant qualities of kaffir limes make them powerful tools to boost the immune system.

On a final note, one of the less well-known applications of kaffir lime juice and leaves is in the hair. You can apply decoctions and mixtures to the scalp and hair to slow the onset of male pattern baldness and strengthen the follicles of the hair. This also moisturises the skin to prevent dandruff and improves the appearance and shine.