Skip to main content

Makrut Lime: An Lesser-Known Lime with Amazing Benefits

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

I only cook when I find interesting recipes on the Internet and Youtube. Finding secret, exotic, and unknown ingredients are my passions.

Adding Fizz and Tanginess to the Dishes with Makrut Lime:

Citrus Hystrix, Keiffer Lime, Leima Perut, Wild limes, Thai lime, Makrut lime, Mauritius Papeda are all different nomenclatures used to denote this lime.

Makrut or Thai lime is a Tropical, oval-shaped, hard rind, rugged citrus fruit chiefly used in South Asian and Chinese cuisines. But nowadays, it has risen to prominence as a health potion and is used to treat a variety of ailments.

Though considered a cousin to Gongharaj lime, these limes are small and oval compared to Gondharaj lime, which is long and elliptical.

Both lime varieties are extremely healthy and flavourful.

Makrut lime leaves and peels serve as a tangy, bitter accompaniment to any cuisine like a salad dressing, fish dressing, stir-fry, curries, cocktail, vegetables, and a variety of other dishes.

Every part of Makrut lime is used in cooking, right from leaves, rind, fruit, juice, etc. Its rind and leaves emit a heady citrus scent and are used in perfumery and cosmetics by extracting the oil.

This citrusy fruit is used in Thai cooking to impart the tart factor to a dish. The fruit is round and green, which ripens to yellow at maturity. It has a bumpy exterior and grows roughly 4cm.

Its leaves are dried, frozen, and used as a flavoring agent and to remove the pungency in some dishes. It is also used to impart strong aroma to many meat dishes, soups, and stews.

The rind is the second part of the fruit which is widely used. Some people dry and use it like candy in crystallized form.

The limes are small and have a darker green, humpy rind. But the fruit is acidic and considered inedible, though not harmful in any way.

The leaves are the most commonly used part of the fruit and are used in many countries such as Indonesia, Philipines, Malaysia, Balinese, Lao, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, and other South Asian countries.

Most of the Bengalis and South Indians use Makrut lime in their regional cuisines.

Makrut: Nutrition Table

  1. Calories: 30
  2. Fiber: 3g
  3. VitaminC: 43MG
  4. Vitamin A: 13.4 Micro gm
  5. Iron: 0.2 mg
  6. Calcium:30mg

Some Tips for Caring a Makrut Tree:

Makrut tree is best suited in containers and patio type areas. Look for places where there is a facility for drainage.

Make sure that there is plenty of light at the flowering stage. One unique feature of the Makrut tree is, the grafted ones bloom earlier than the seedlings.

They are more resistant to pests but may get infected if kept near such plants.

Although Makrut trees are suited for any conditions and climates, there are some basic tips to keep in mind when planting it.

Scroll to Continue
  • Makrut trees prefer sunlight in moist conditions. If you are keeping them indoors, then ensure to keep them in sunlit areas.
  • It prefers watery and humid conditions, but too much water can lead to root rot. Take caution to dry the root part between every watering. Use a sprayer to keep it moist in humid conditions.
  • During winters, it's preferable to keep them indoors at temperatures around 16 degrees C. Regular pruning during the growth stage, keeps the branches fresh and results in a bushy plant.

Health benefits of Using Makrut Lime for Daily Use:

Makrut lime leaves are used extensively in medicine, cuisine, and health-related issues in Thai and other South East Asian cuisines. Though it doesn't match in comparison to other big fruits, the health benefits far outweigh the size.

As per the old adage, which says "Small is beautiful", Makrut small size belies its benefits. The nutritional and health benefits are packed in pounds in its tiny composition.

Find some amazing ways of using Makrut for your health-related issues:

  1. Use as an oral cleanser: A effective oral scrubber, Makrut leaves are super useful to keep bad odor at bay. It is known to be used centuries ago in South East Asian culture to avoid oral related problems.
  2. Stress Buster: Its leaf oil serves as an antidote to stress. The aromatic oil keeps stress, anxiety, and fatigue miles away. Just inhaling the citrus aroma will energize you.
  3. Antibacterial and Antiseptic: The leaves also contain a potent substance that acts as a deterrent against Staphylococcus bacteria, which is a type of skin germ.
  4. Keeps skin healthy, glowing, and fresh: The essential oils in the leaves also kill acne bacteria. It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and prevents the formation of scars and skin marks. The oil also acts as an antioxidant, which delays skin aging.
  5. Hair cleanser: The leaf oils also act as a cleanser for your manes, by scrubbing dirt and grease away. It also helps to deal with twisted or curly hair by acting as a straightener.
  6. Effective mosquito repellant: The essential oils in Makrut leaves also keep the mosquitoes away.
  7. Promotes digestive health: It stimulates key enzymes involved in digestion and thus acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Many issues of the gut like IBS, Stomach Ulcers, Gastrointestinal worms, and Crohn's disease are relieved by ingesting dishes using Makrut lime leaves. This leads to better nutrient assimilation, lower risk of constipation, and improved probiotic health.
  8. Aromatic deodorant: The citrusy aroma acts as a natural deodorant.
  9. Used as a pain reliever: Start using this amazing fruit and its residues for a variety of ailments. The anti-inflammatory effect of oil helps in dealing with migraine, headache, pain, edema, arthritis, etc.
  10. Detoxifier and blood purifier: If you are suffering from any form of blood impurities, then better switch to Makrut leaves. It has a range of volatile compounds that destroy blood pathogens and provides immediate relief. But it adds more potency when mixed with tinctures.
  11. Acts as a perfect healthy cocktail: Functions as a power-packed beverage when mixed with lemongrass & ginger. The triple antioxidant effect is sure to keep you super healthy.
  12. Acts as Flu medicine: Living during a pandemic has become a course of life and everyone is finding innovative ways of strengthening their immune system. We need to travel back to olden times to get grandmas advice to cure the flu and virus. Yes, the Makrut lime leaves have been in existence for centuries and were used in South East Asian culture as traditional medicine. The potent compounds in this leaf kill the virus by ganging up more WBC(White blood cells).
  13. Boosts and Revitalizes the body system: Consuming lime leaves daily is enough to boost the metabolism, and increase the count of healthy cells in the body.
  14. Anti-Inflammation agent: Are you suffering from Sore throat and fever? In these times of COVID Pandemic, many hands will raise up. Fret not! Preparing warm lime essence and boiling it to the level of a cup of water, is a sure shot recipe for inflammation. You can mix honey for added taste.
  15. May prohibit cancer cells: Chewing or consuming Makrut lime leaves essence may also prohibit cancer cells from housing in the body system.
  16. Cures Cough: Nothing is more annoying than a nagging cough. Drinking a concoction of warm lime leaves water, honey and jaggery can destroy the virus causing the cough.
  17. Limes Infused water: Infused water is a rage in wellness, health, and nutrition circles. Nothing is more effective than a cocktail of potent ingredients. Mixing the lime leaves water with exotic fruits can do wonders for your health. Try adding dragon fruit mix, passion fruit, blueberry, and strawberry to raise the health factor.

Note: Even Mango leaves are thought to cure Diabetes if they are boiled in water and consumed every morning.

Side Effects of Using Makrut Lime:

As they say, too much of anything is bad for health. The same holds true for fruits too, and Makrut isn't different.

Some basic side effects of using Makrut lime is given below:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Heartburn
  • Enamel erosion
  • Nausea

But this doesn't prevent it from being hailed as the wonder fruit. These side effects occur rarely, and to a person with alternate health issues.

More Ways to Use Makrut Lime:

In Creole, Madagascar & Reunion island cuisine, it is served as a topper to rum-based drinks. The rind is also converted into a paste and used to add an aromatic and astringent flavor.

The juice and rind(peel) are widely used in traditional medicines in Southeast Asian cultures. The juice of this lime kills lice and dandruff too.

The Thais also use the fruit juice to cleanse clothes and hair. It also finds mention as an accompaniment in holy water crypts.

Makrut can be grown as a garden shrub in terraces, patios, and container pots.

Fresh Makrut Lime Leaves - 0.5 oz (For sale in US only)

Bring this Vibrant and Aromatic Herb to your Kitchen:

There is another variety of lime called Rangpur lime, which is a hybrid of lemon and mandarin orange. It is native to West Bengal, India, and tastes sweet, opposite to the Makrut lime.

The oil of Makrut is used as a herbal concoction, as it contains plenty of alkaloids and other compounds. The tart flavor of this fruit brings vibrancy to any meat dish.

The zest (rind) of the Makrut add zing to curries, coconut dishes, soups & stews. The leaves are exotic in nature and have a fragrant, strong, floral, and earthy lemon taste.

It is customary to remove the midrib of the leaf and crush it to release the flavor in soups, curries, salads, etc.

You can consume the leaf in your dishes directly, or boil it in water and drink it as a herbal decoction. Some use it as a natural bleaching agent to remove stubborn stains.

Many hairstylists are of opinion that the essence of its leaves keep the mane squeaky clean, and vitalizes the scalp.

The specialty of the Makrut lime leaves is, It has two parts, one smaller with a tip on top and a wider bottom leaf. One leaf is joined to the tip of another leaf, resembling an 'hourglass' shape or a 'glossy double leaf'.

Since the leaves vary in size, it can be be used in correct measure and quantity while cooking recipes. The larger the leaf, the darker is the color.

The leaves exude a strong aroma and have a flavor impossible to substitute. This is the reason every Thai recipe includes this versatile herb.

The zest (rind) of Makrut lime adds a piquant flavor to fish-based cuisines. Leaves are mostly sliced or tossed directly while cooking.

Why use this Lime? - Final Notes

Makrut lime has an edgy, warrior green exterior and grows on a thorny bush.

Thai Gourmand chefs chiefly use this lime in a special dish called Tom Yum Soup, which is a top dish. The rind and leaves have an extremely powerful aroma and can overwhelm any subtle side dishes.

So it's preferable to finely grate the sour-tasting rind for flavoring dishes.

The juice of Makrut leaves combined with coconut oil is very effective for massing joints and muscles and acts as a relaxant. You can also use it to make a room freshener and keep it in a sprayer to freshen the air.

Nothing beats the authentic taste of Makrut leaves for food dressing and preservation. It provides the bounce and zing, and pairs beautifully with any dish.

Don't go by the small size of this lime. Its often said that beauty comes hidden in small packages.

The simple-looking Makrut leaves are the magical ingredients that your kitchen lacks.

Did you know, that every rural house in Thailand has a Makrut tree in its backyard? If you want your health to blossom, then its time to bring this aromatic and amazing shrub in your backyard too.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Danny


Sp Greaney from Ireland on October 21, 2020:

This isn't a fruit that I've heard of before but it's interesting to read about its uses and also the side effects. But the benefits are vast so one could say its worth taking it. Our climate isn't suited to growing many things, its to wet, which is a pity.

Eman Abdallah Kamel from Egypt on October 21, 2020:

A very interesting and informative article. Thank you for sharing.

Danny (author) from India on July 28, 2020:

Thanks, Marissa. Hope you use this wonder lime in your kitchen

Marissa from Nigeria on July 27, 2020:

This is really an enlightening article, great job!

Danny (author) from India on July 26, 2020:

Oh, nice. You will love it and enjoy its health benefits too Shreya. Have a good day.

Shreya MK on July 25, 2020:

Yes interesting article for me,

Would definitely try, I'm big fan of sour.

Thank you for sharing Mr. Danny :)

Danny (author) from India on July 24, 2020:

Yes, it a lime mostly used in South East Asia Louise. Hope you enjoyed reading the article.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on July 24, 2020:

I've never heard of this before, but it sounds really good for you!

Danny (author) from India on July 24, 2020:

Thanks, Manuela and Abby for reading and enjoying the piece.

Abby Slutsky from America on July 23, 2020:

I am not familiar with this fruit, but it certainly sounds like it has many benefits for cooking and health. I wonder if any specialty market near me carry it.

Manuela from Portugal on July 23, 2020:

It is the first time I hear about this lime. it has so many health benefits that is is sad that I don't have it here. Thanks for sharing with us.

Danny (author) from India on July 23, 2020:

Welcome, Eric.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 23, 2020:

Yummy -- I have had them in Southeast Asia. I bet they have them in our cultural markets. Thanks for letting us in on the fun looking fruit.

Danny (author) from India on July 23, 2020:

Thanks, Sir, Liza & Ankita for your wonderful comments. I hope all of you use this wonder fruit in your kitchens.

Ankita B on July 22, 2020:

I didn't know about this wonderful fruit until now. Thank you for sharing everything about this lime along with its benefits.

Liza from USA on July 22, 2020:

Hi Danny, I love everything citrusy, and kaffir lime is one of them. Last weekend, I used the leaves as one of the ingredients to cook a Malay dish called beef rendang. The leaf gives an aromatic and special flavor to the sauce. Back in Malaysia, my mother has a kaffir lime tree in her backyard. Thank you for sharing a well-written about kaffir lime.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 22, 2020:

Danny, thanks for bringing this wonder fruit to the attention of, many non easterners. With so many health benefits, I will be on the look out for it in fruit malls. Thanks again.

Related Articles