While billions of dollars are poured into research and development for pharmaceutical drugs, the humble lime has been proven to mitigate and even cure diseases that cause millions to suffer and hundreds of thousands to die each year worldwide.
The lime is best know for its role in key lime pie and margaritas, but did you know it possesses remarkable healing properties as well?
An impressive array of research on lime juice from the National Library of Medicine indicates that it could either cure or greatly accelerate healing time from a variety of life-threatening illnesses including:
Sickle cell anemia (SCA): According to the CDC, SCA afflicts about 95,000 Americans and is diagnosed in 1 in every 500,000 African-American births. A hereditary blood disorder, SCA is characterized by an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin molecule in red blood cells. A clinical trial on lime juice was recently found to reduce painful episodes (50.0% lime juice intervention versus 92.7% control); febrile illness (46.6% lime juice intervention versus 87.3% control) and hospital admission rate (3.4% lime juice intervention versus 34.5% control) for sickle cell anemia in children.
Malaria: Malaria is a mosquito-borne parasitic disease, which the WHO estimates causes 219 million of illness resulting in 660,000 deaths each year. A wide range of highly toxic drugs are used to treat the disease, but a recent study found that lime juice greatly increased malarial clearance when combined with standard drug therapy. They concluded: "lime juice when used with the appropriate antimalarial may enhance malaria parasite clearance especially in those with uncomplicated malaria."
Bacterial Agents In Food: A recent study found that the popular food known as ceviche, naturally containing pathogenic agents from fish, could be completely sanitized with lime juice. Both Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Salmonella enterica (two common causes of food poisoning) were all reduced to below detection limits through the addition of lime extract.
Disinfecting water: Lime has been found to enhance the disinfection of water, by both killing norovirus as well as Escherichia coli. Lime has also been found to kill the cholera pathogen, which is believed to affect 3–5 million people and causes 100,000–130,000 deaths a year as of 2010.
Killing pancreatic cancer: Pancreatic cancer is a notoriously difficult to treat type of cancer. Lime juice was found to induce programmed cell death in pancreatic cancer cells.
Stopping Smoking: Likely the most preventable cause of death on this planet, a clinical trial comparing nicotine gum to lime juice extract found "Fresh lime can be used effectively as a smoking cessation aid."
References  S A Adegoke, O A Oyelami, O S Olatunya, L A Adeyemi. Effects of lime juice on malaria parasite clearance. Phytother Res. 2011 Oct ;25(10):1547-50. Epub 2011 Mar 17. PMID:21413089  Prateek Mathurand, Donald W Schaffner. Effect of lime juice on Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Salmonella enterica inactivation during the preparation of the raw fish dish ceviche. J Food Prot. 2013 Jun ;76(6):1027-30. PMID: 23726199  Prateek Mathurand, Donald W Schaffner. Effect of lime juice on Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Salmonella enterica inactivation during the preparation of the raw fish dish ceviche. J Food Prot. 2013 Jun ;76(6):1027-30. PMID: 23726199  A Rodrigues, A Sandström, T Cá, H Steinsland, H Jensen, P Aaby. Protection from cholera by adding lime juice to food - results from community and laboratory studies in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. Trop Med Int Health. 2000 Jun;5(6):418-22. PMID: 10929141  Jaiprakash R Patil, K N Chidambara Murthy, G K Jayaprakasha, Mahadev B Chetti, Bhimanagouda S Patil. Bioactive compounds from Mexican lime ( Citrus aurantifolia ) juice induce apoptosis in human pancreatic cells. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Feb 15;21(4):435-44.PMID: 19919125  Suthat Rungruanghiranya, Chatchai Ekpanyaskul, Chanin Sakulisariyaporn, Prapada Watcharanat, Kunyanit Akkalakulawas. Efficacy of fresh lime for smoking cessation. J Med Assoc Thai.2012 Dec ;95 Suppl 12:S76-82. PMID: 23513469
Originally published: 2014-11-29
Article updated: 2019-08-01