Mostly grown for its aromatic leaves that add authenticity to Asian salads, stir fries and soups. BUT, did you know the fruit of the Kaffir Lime has medicinal applications, or that you can turn it into shampoo? Three quarters of rural families throughout Asia make their own. In many of the warm/hot climate Asian cultures it is common to have a kaffir lime in the backyard or common area for villager’s use.
Health benefits: oral health, detoxify the blood, boost skin health, improve digestion, ward off insects, lower inflammation, aid the immune system, reduce stress, improve health of hair and cleanse the home. Juice can also be used to control head lice, deter and expel leeches, and fruit is made into shampoo.
Uses: Edible leaves for cookery, juice in drinks like gin and tonic, grating the rind for cakes, using fruit for making marmalade. Juice is also used to control head lice, to deter and expel leeches, and fruit is made into shampoo. That’s pretty versatile.
Kaffir Lime shampoo – halve if only wanting smaller amounts
- 1 kg Kaffir limes
- 1 litre clean water
If you don’t have a Bullet or High Speed Blender use:
A section of muslin about the size of a towel, and a heavy based, stainless steel saucepan.
Method – In Bullet or high speed blender
- Wash fruit, slice into quarters
- Remove seed
- Add fruit and enough water to cover well, into a stainless steel saucepan
- Bring to boil, then simmer until fruit are soft, approximately 1.5 to 2 hours
- Cool pulp
- Add 2 cups water and 1 cup pulp at a time to the Bullet or Blender. Blend 30 seconds, then again for 30 or more seconds until very smooth, add more water if necessary. Repeat until pulp is all used.
- Use immediately, or
- To store, re-boil the pulp, bottle in sterilised glass jars and keep in bathroom cabinet until ready for use up to 3 months. OR bottle and store in the fridge. Shake well before using.
Method – If using muslin follow steps 1-5
6 Squeeze through muslin, you can adjust with more water if you don’t like your shampoo. as thick. This you shampoo
Use immediately, OR
To store, re-boil the pulp and bottle it in sterilised glass jars and keep in bathroom cabinet until ready for use up to 3 months. OR bottle and store in the fridge. Shake well before using.
Boiling creates a more custard-like fruit pulp, but the cooking time allows you to reduce the water content. By reducing the amount of water, you increase the effectiveness of the shampoo, preventing it from separating. The shampoo acts as a combined hair cleaning agent and a hair conditioner.
NOTE: For those addicted to having shampoo that froths and bubbles you can add 2 tablespoons castile soap to the mix at the blending stage.
For dry frizzy hair, use as is. For hair that is oilier, adding a little castile soap is helpful, followed by a dessertspoon vinegar to 1 litre of water as a vinegar rinse, your hair will shine. Adjust the thickness ot thin-ness of the shampoo with extra water if desired.
In tropical Thailand, almost every home in the countryside has a Kaffir lime tree in its yard. Besides enhancing food flavour, Kaffir lime is also used as an indisputably effective cleanser, natural deodorizer, adds a sparkling scent of refreshing perfume and freshens one’s mental outlook and lifts the spirits.
Bonus Extra – Kaffir Lime as an antibacterial home cleaner
Long used as a natural bleach to remove tough stains. Nothing works better than a few drops of Kaffir lime juice mixed with 5-6 drops of castile soap (or sprinkling of detergent). Not only does it clean effectively, it’s inexpensive, natural and sweet smelling. For rural villagers, one Kaffir lime tree supplies enough limes to keep the whole house and family clean. It can do this for your family too.
To clean: Add juice of 1 lime to a bucket of warm water, fill a spray bottle from the bucket and starting from the front door wipe down all wooden surfaces, walls with marks, etc, and use your bucket with its lime juice to wash your wood and tile floors. The smell is wonderful, fresh and uplifting. Clean your bathroom, kids toys, put it in your whites washing.
And the Other Stuff: The strong flavour is due to the high concentration of alkaloids, citronellol, limonene, nerol, and other organic compounds in kaffir limes. These provide a unique aroma, flavour, and wide range of health benefits. Oil extracted from leaves, as well as leaves themselves are commonly used for medicinal purposes. Oil is often mixed into shampoos, soaps, salves, fragrances, and cosmetic products, while leaves are usually applied topically or orally to induce a specific healthy result.
Oral Health: Leaves can be directly rubbed onto the gums to promote good oral health and eliminate harmful bacteria that builds up in the mouth. Extracted oil can also be mixed in with organic toothpastes and mouthwashes to promote more potent oral and gum care.
Digestive Issues: Many of their organic components are also found in lemongrass and galangal and are anti-inflammatory, they also stimulate the digestive system. If you suffer constipation or indigestion, a kaffir lime decoction can clear symptoms and get bowels back to regular. This helps prevent more serious gastrointestinal issues in future, such as colorectal cancer, hemorrhoids, or gastric ulcers.
Insect Repellant: In countries where it is traditionally grown, insect-borne diseases kill thousands of people each year so the limes are often used for insect repellant properties. Citronellol and limonene found in them are very unappealing to most insects, so by applying lotion or salve containing lime juice or oil to skin you significantly decrease your chances of being bitten by bugs, whether infectious or not.
Skin Care: The juice and extracts are mixed into many cosmetic and bath products for the aroma, as well as its antioxidants properties. Some of the kaffir lime acids can help to neutralize free radicals, the dangerous byproducts of cellular respiration that cause cell mutation or apoptosis, as well as cancer. Antioxidant compounds also slow breakdown of cells and minimize appearance of age marks, scars, and pimples. For healthy, fresh looking skin well into your old age, try some kaffir lime juice!
Lowers Inflammation: For rheumatism, arthritis, oedema, gout, or some other inflammatory condition, kaffir limes is a very effective remedy. Use juice, leaves, or oil extracts topically on areas experiencing discomfort or pain. Consume the very diluted juice for a similar effect. This anti-inflammatory effect also makes kaffir lime juice beneficial for headaches and migraines.
Stress Reduction: Useful in aromatherapy, the oil extracted from these powerful fruits can be used aromatically with great effect if you suffer from anxiety or various nervous disorders, spending some time inhaling these soothing vapors can calm the body and mind.
Immune System: Their antibacterial and antioxidant qualities make powerful immune boosting tools. Topical application prevents infections and bacteria from accumulating on skin. When consumed, help prevent a wide variety of gastrointestinal illnesses; stimulate the immune system via antioxidant effects.