Makrut Lime – Herb of the Month – The Herb Society of America Blog


By Maryann Readal

The Herb Society of America’s Herb of the Month for August is the makrut lime, Citrus hystrix, a member of the Rutaceae household. This lime is also referred to as kaffir lime or Thai lime, and likewise wild lime. You could have noticed it in a produce market or Asian grocery store and puzzled what makes it totally different from an extraordinary lime. It actually appears to be like totally different, in that it has a gnarly, bumpy pores and skin. The very fragrant leaves are totally different, too, as a result of they give the impression of being as if they’re two leaves hooked up to one another. The juice is bitter and bitter, and so just isn’t often utilized in cooking as a result of it will possibly overwhelm different flavors.

This lime has been extensively grown in Asia for thus lengthy that it has turn out to be naturalized in lots of nations. Therefore, nobody is for certain of its origin. It is a staple ingredient in Thai, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and different Southeast Asian cuisines. The leaves, that are offered frozen, recent, or dried, are often finely chopped and integrated into food or sprinkled on high. The makrut lime may be planted outside in hotter climates, or grown in a pot that may be introduced inside for the winter in colder climates. It is a number plant for the large swallowtail butterfly.

thai limeRecently, there was a concerted effort amongst cooks and different food professionals to interchange the title kaffir lime with the title makrut lime or Thai lime. The phrase “kaffir” has a derogatory, racist connotation in South Africa, and it has a derogatory non secular which means in Middle Eastern nations. 

Like different citrus species, the leaves, seeds, pores and skin, bark, and root of the makrut lime have a quantity of medicinal advantages. In Southeast Asian nations, it has been utilized in shampoos, ointments, and in toothpaste and mouthwash merchandise. A latest research revealed in the journal Nutrition by Kooltheat et al. (2016) has proven that the essence of the lime used on the enamel and gums  can stop tooth decay. In Malaysian nations, the leaf is rubbed into the gums and on the enamel as a mouth and dental cleaner. And as a result of of the fruit’s limonene and citronella content material, it’s added to shampoos to deal with lice. The lime has been utilized in Ayurvedic medication to deal with colds and congestion and to assist with digestion. Its oil can also be utilized in aromatherapy to scale back stress, nervousness, and fatigue. In Thailand, makrut lime is added to family cleansing merchandise. The authors of an article in Drug Intervention Today conclude that as a result of of the lime’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial parts, “extensive investigation on its pharmacology and clinical trials is needed to exploit their therapeutic utility to cure various diseases” (Abirami et al., 2014).

Distillers and bartenders have found that the addition of makrut lime to their drinks could make distinctive-tasting and fragrant drinks. Treaty Oak Distilling in waterlooDripping Springs, Texas, has developed a gin that comes with the makrut lime, in addition to different herbs. They describe their gin as making you “rethink everything you thought you knew about this spirit.”

Research on the medicinal qualities of the makrut lime underscores the significance of defending native species which were used for hundreds of years as medicinal crops. It is promising that there’s ongoing analysis on the efficient medical purposes of not solely the makrut lime, however many different native medicinal crops as effectively.

For extra data on the makrut lime, please go to The Herb Society of America’s web site, the place you will see that extra data, recipes and a phenomenal display saver of this unusual-looking fruit.


Kooltheat, N.  et al. Kaffir lime leaves extract inhibits biofilm formation by Streptococcus mutans. Nutrition. 32, (4). April 2016. Retrieved from!

Abirami, A., Nagarani, G., & Siddhuraju, P.  The medicinal and dietary function of underutilized citrus fruit-Citrus hystrix (Kaffir Lime): A Review.  Drug Intervention Today.  6(1), January, 2014. Retrieved from

Photo Credits (from high): Makrut lime fruits (Creative Commons); Makrut lime leaves (Wikimedia Commons, courtesy Forrest & Kim Starr), Waterloo Old Yaupon Gin (courtesy Treaty Oaks Distillery).

Medicinal Disclaimer: It is the coverage of The Herb Society of America, Inc. to not advise or suggest herbs for medicinal or health use. This data is meant for academic functions solely and shouldn’t be thought-about as a advice or an endorsement of any specific medical or health remedy. Please seek the advice of a health care supplier earlier than pursuing any natural therapies.

Maryann is the Secretary of The Herb Society of America. She is a Master Gardener and a member of the Texas Thyme Unit in Huntsville, TX. She gardens amongst the pines in the Piney Woods of East Texas.

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