Citrus limetta is a species of citrus. A Common names for varieties of this species include sweet limetta, Mediterranean sweet lemon, sweet lemon, and sweet lime.
- In Iran it is called Limu Shirin لیمو شیرین (in Persian: Limu = Lemon and Shirin = Sweet).
- In North India, it is commonly called as mousambi, mosambi, or musambi (मुसंबी) (in Hindi/Urdu & Marathi).
- In South India, it is called as Moosambi (in Kannada, Malayalam), Bathaya Kaayalu (బత్తాకాయలు) (in Telugu) and sathukudi (in Tamil).
- The Tamil name is derived from the name of a village "sattukkudi' (சாத்துக்குடி) where this fruit was cultivated first in Tamil Nadu.
Growth & Appearance
It is a small tree which may reach 8 m in height. The sweet lemon has irregular branches, and relatively smooth, brownish-grey bark. It possesses numerous thorns which may grow to anywhere from 1.5 to 7.5 cm long. The petioles of the sweet lemon are narrowly but distinctly winged, and are 8 to 29 mm long. It has leaflets rather than leaves, which are obovate and 5.5 to 17 cm long, 2.8 to 8 cm wide. The apex of the leaflet is acuminate, and the base of the leaflet is rounded. Flowers are white in bud and in bloom, ranging from 2 to 3 cm wide. The petals soon fall away, leaving the fruit to grow. The skin of the fruit is light yellow at maturity; the rind is white and about 5 mm thick. These small plants may reach up to 25 feet in height. Mosambi fruits are small green citrus fruits of round oval shape, which turns yellow on ripening. This tree grows easily in tropical and sub-tropical climates and starts bearing fruits when it’s 5 to 7 years old. The peak production occurs at the age of 10 to 20 years.
The pulp is greenish and the juice is sweet rather than acidic. It is also referred as orange in some places of the world. Mosambi (sweet lime) juice is the most common available citrus juice in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Despite its name sweet lime it is more similar to a greenish orange (in appearance). To the Westerner's palate, the fruit may appear a bit 'bland' in comparison with western style oranges. Sweet lime is almost exclusively served as juice. Sweet lime juice is commonly sold at mobile road stalls, where it is freshly pressed, sometimes served with a salty chat masala or Kala Namak, unless the vendor is told not to add it. The fruit of the sweet lemon is edible, nutritious and its peel contains essential oils. The tree is used for ornamental purposes as well as for graft stock. In Iran, it is particularly used to treat flu and cold. Despite having little acidity, the fruit has high levels of Vitamin C. The juice is used by all, especially those who are sick. It is sold all year round. Sweet lime tastes as it sounds. More specifically, the fruit is sweet but retains the same essence as a lime but without the mouth puckering qualities—it’s a sweet, mellow fruit. If limeaid could be encapsulated in a fruit, it would be this one. The flavor is a bit flatter than some citruses due to its lack of acidity, while other citruses tend to be better well rounded in their ratio of sour-acid-sweet. This type of citrus doesn’t contain the same pungency as grapefruits, nor the sharpness of oranges. Sweet limes are wholly agreeable, bearing great similarity to pith-free pomelo flesh.
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Mosambi is a versatile fruit with a sweet and sour taste. This amazing fruit renders terrific nutritional value. This fruit is widely consumed in the form of drinks, jams, pickles, candies, snacks and sorbets. The juice of this fruit is also versatile and is used in salads and to marinate meat. Some of the health benefits of mosambi are given below.
- Aids in Digestion: Mosambi has a high content value of flavonoids that stimulates the digestive system by increasing secretion of digestive juices, acids and bile. Hence, mosambi juice is often recommended to people suffering from indigestion, irregular bowel movement and other gastrointestinal problems. Thus, it aids in digestion by neutralizing the acidic digestive juices produced by the stomach and flushes out toxins from the excretory system. The compounds found in this fruit are beneficial for peristaltic motion. Sweet lime also helps in controlling diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
- Relieves Constipation: The acids in mosambi flush out toxins from the bowel tracts. Moreover, the fruit contains dietary fiber which enables the roughage to act as a purgative treatment for those suffering from constipation. Lime juice with a pinch of salt is often recommended to patients with constipation problems.
- Prevents Scurvy: Scurvy is a disease caused by the deficiency of vitamin C. This disease is characterized by bleeding swollen gums, frequent bouts of flu and cold, ulcers in mouth and tongue and cracked lip corners. The sweet limes can stop the bleeding of gums. Mix mosambi juice with a few drops of pure water and add a pinch of black salt into the mixture. This mixture should be applied to the affected gums for an immediate relief from bleeding gums. Halitosis (bad breath) can be eliminated by sipping lime juice and sucking on lime rinds.
- Peptic Ulcers: Flavonoids present in mosambi such as Limomin Glucoside have anti carcinogenic, antioxidant, detoxifying and antibiotic properties which are very effective in healing oral and peptic ulcers.
- Respiratory Problems: The oil extracts of mosambi have anti-congestive properties which clean and keep various respiratory problems at bay. Thus, they are often used in balms, inhalers and vaporizers.
- Improves the Immune System: Regular consumption of mosambi juice brings about an improvement in the overall heart functioning. Thus, it ensures proper blood circulation and contributes to a much healthier immune system. Vitamin C boosts immunity levels and prevents cold.
- Anti-Cancer Properties: The limonoids present in sweet limes help in fighting different types of cancer. Limonoids are attached to a sugar molecule called glucose which is easily digested.
- Protection against Rheumatoid Arthritis: Being rich in vitamin C, mosambi provides protection and prevention against inflammation and swellings. This fantastic fruit also reduces the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Facilitates Weight Loss: Mosambi helps in weight loss. Drinking a glass of lukewarm water with lime juice and honey helps to shed those extra pounds. Mosambi juice reduces cholesterol level and controls blood pressure.
- Urinary Disorders: Mosambi has a high concentration of potassium which detoxifies the kidneys, bladder and has the ability to cure infections in the urinary bladder.
- Gout: The antioxidants present in mosambi help in flushing out uric acid and free radicals from the body. Vitamin C helps in neutralizing free radicals in the body.
- Relief from Motion Sickness: The tangy flavor of mosambi provides relief from motion sickness. Drinking a glass of mosambi juice helps in getting rid of heartburn and acidity. It soothes the gastrointestinal tract and reduces abdominal complaints.
- Treatment of Sunstroke and Dehydration: Mosambi juice can be a healthy substitute for carbonated drinks as it provides essential vitamins and minerals. This fabulous fruit is highly preferable for athletes after a competition or workout session. Mosambi juice and other lime based supplements reduce the risk of dehydration and muscle cramps. Limeade made from fresh mosambi juice is used to treat individuals suffering from sunstroke.
- Beneficial for Pregnant Women: Mosambi juice provides significant amount of calcium which is beneficial for the growth of developing foetus.
- Benefits to the Nervous System: Mosambi juice acts as a coolant for the brain and nervous system. Mosambi can be used to treat brain fever and mental issues. It is a wonderful sedative as well.
- Treatment of Jaundice: This fruit is recommended to patients suffering from jaundice. By boosting the liver function, mosambi is exceptionally effective in treating jaundice.
- Beneficial in Asthma: A drink made from mosambi juice, cumin seeds and dry ginger powder provides instant relief from asthmatic cough.
- Relief from Tonsillitis: Vitamin C reduces the severity of cold and fever. A spoonful of honey mixed with mosambi juice and warm water provides relief from dry, itchy throat and has a soothing effect on inflamed tonsils.
- Due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, beauty therapies often use lime extracts for hair and skin.
- Mosambi is used as an active ingredient in several medicinal supplements. Vitamins present in this fruit strengthen hair.
- This versatile fruit is used as a natural alternative for treatment of split ends and dandruff.
- Mosambi juice contains mild bleaching and cleansing agents that are effective in getting rid of pigmentation, acne, spots and blemishes and result in a radiant and smooth skin.
- Mosambi helps in reducing insect bite pains and lightening the skin in case of skin pigmentations on the elbows, armpits and knees.
- Regular consumption of mosambi juice detoxifies the body and imparts a natural glow and shine to the face. It cleanses blood and reduces skin diseases.
- Applying mosambi juice on the lips 3 to 4 times a day reduces darkness of lips and softens cracked lips.
- Mosambi juice mixed with chickpea flour enhances skin fairness.
- Applying grounded mosambi peel can help in getting rid of pimples.
- Other Benefits: Mosambi helps in increasing appetite, purifying blood and raising sperm count. It cools the body and quenches thirst.
Average weight of one fruit is 100 gram. One serving of this fruit contains around 43 calories and 0.3 gram of fat. This sweet lime provides 9.3 mg of carbohydrates and 0.8 gram of proteins. Being a citrus fruit, it is rich in vitamin C, providing 50 mg of vitamin C per serving. Moreover, it contributes significantly to the daily potassium requirement (2000 mg) of the body by providing about 490 mg of potassium in one serving. In addition to these, it contains copper, calcium, iron and phosphorus in smaller amounts.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||180 kJ (43 kcal)|
|- Dietary fiber||0.5 g|
|Vitamin C||50 mg (60%)|
|Calcium||40 mg (4%)|
|Iron||0.7 mg (5%)|
|Phosphorus||30 mg (4%)|
|Potassium||490 mg (10%)|
|Percentages are roughly approximated
using US recommendations for adults.
Checking for Ripeness in Sweet Lime
Sweet limes are no different than most types of citrus—they will not ripen off the tree, and must be picked when fully ripe. This is indicated by its tennis ball size and lustrous greenish yellow sheen. Gently scratch the surface of a sweet lime: If its oils give way in the fingernails, it’s ripe. The juiciest fruits feel heavy for their size.
Overripe sweet limes, on the other hand, are dull, shrunken, and possess dry, spongy skin. Avoid fruits with brownish yellow discoloration. Also check for premature sweet limes, which feel light for their size and are hard with tart flesh.
Sweet limes have a long shelf life at room temperature, as they keep fresh for up to two weeks. In the refrigerator, sweet limes last for four to eight weeks. It’s possible to freeze slices of the fruit, though the limonin content in sweet limes may cause the pulp to taste bitter over time. A way to avoid this is by freezing the fruit in a “wet pack,” which is submerging the slices in sweet syrup within an airtight glass jar. Or, make orange juice and freeze the liquid. Frozen juice will keep for up to six months, though it’s best to check the fruit periodically to ensure it doesn’t grow sour.