WHENEVER I think about the medicinal properties of lime, including the benefits for fertility, uterine fibroid therapy and irregular menstrual cycle, I remember Dr James Lind. He was the man who brought this fruit out of obscurity when he discovered it could cure scurvy, a terrible disease among British merchant sailors of his days. Before he arrives on the scene to become the “Hippocrates of naval medicine”, about half of the sailors on a voyage died of symptoms which included loose teeth, swollen and bleeding gums and bleeding under the skin. Many of the survivors returned home toothless and debilitated.
The disease Dr Lind conquered with lime juice in 1747 would be known later as SCURVY and curable with Vitamin C. Dr Lind knew nothing about Vitamin C because Vitamins were discovered only in 1912, about 165 years later! Even knowledge about scurvy was limited to the gums in the days of Dr Lind. Today, we know bleeding gums speak to us about CLINICAL or easily observable bleeding while SUB-CLINICAL BLEEDING, in the organs and tissues, may go on undetected for some time. Today, many gin lovers order their favorite gin(GIN ON LIME) at a drink bar without realizing that it has a Dr Lind story behind it. After Dr Lind successfully stopped the needless deaths on British ships, the parliament made a law which is still in force today. The law compels all British ships to stock citrus fruits, including, limes, on board. Sailors like to take gin to keep warm. To their serving of gin they added lime juice, to start a culture known today as GIN-ON-LIME. For this, sailor became known as LIMEYS.
I became something like a LIMEY again after my experience of some look-alike symptoms of coronavirus last year which I detailed in CORONA VIRUS: LOOK ALIKE SYMPTOMS JOINED THE LEXICON and posted in www.olufemikusa.com. In the purified gin, I extracted the medicines of Enantia Chlorantha Oliv, the Yoruba anti-fever and anti-malaria plant called AWOPA(r:r:r), known to the Igbos as “Dokita” and added the juice of one or two limes to the serving. Now, we know more about lime than Dr Lind knew about it. I have taught many poultry farmers to add it to the drinking water of their birds. I learned this from the native chickens market where chickens are packed wing-to-wing, feather-to-feather in cages and left there overnight or perhaps for days until buyers are found for them but without any harm coming their way. These chickens fare better than those given pharmaceutical medicines in poultry farms.
Whenever I visit my backyard gardens and observe some of my lime plants growing, I remember those days of scurvy havocs, Dr Lind’s deliverance of the British royal and merchant navies from its molestations and reach out for one or two limes to complement my digestive herbal tea. For there is no condition for which lime is not recommended in Yoruba traditional medicine practice.
SWEET OR SOUR
There are two broad varieties of limes, the sweet, which has more sugar content and is thought to be less medicinal or nutritional, and the more acidic or sour, which is used more as food or medicine. It may sound strange to lemon dies hard that lime has more Vitamin C than lemon. I take lime juice in water or added to foods such as corn pap.
One of my recent uses of lime is in respect of a stubborn digestive problem of a reader of this column. In his early thirties, he is a lover of junk or convenience foods which are difficult to digest. When he goes for “normal” meals, he stops eating only when he has filled up to the throat as it were. It is not surprising, therefore, that, one day, he came down with heavy belching which sounded like a blast each time he let go. The stomach was tight. The intestine was static. The rapidity of the belches was frightening….he released them at the rate of one or two every half a minute. This was an obvious case of indigestion in which there was not enough stomach acid or enzymes to digest all the food loaded into the stomach. So, the undigested content putrefied or decayed and, getting more rotten, produced foul gas which could not be let down the digestive tract but was forced upwards. Luckily, the condition had not degenerated into heartburn and it would appear the stage had not been set for helicobacter pylori bacteria to make an inroad and present peptic ulcer. It would appear, though, that gastritis or inflammation of the stomach lining was setting its own stage as the putrefaction was loading acid on the stomach. The gentleman had to immediately add INDIGESTION TEA to his meals. He was surprised to read on the label that the first ingredient mentioned in the content table was ORANGE PEEL, which he hated to chew over a meal because of the bitter principles. Next in the regimen was ACIDIC STOMACH and ALKALINE BALANCE, to quell excess stomach acid and restore alkalinity and acidic ratios. To the Indigestion tea, one or two limes was added to the tea. In about two days, the belching improved. He would later add pawpaw leaf, for all digestive enzymes, and aloe vera Barbadensis for its myriad of healing benefits.
Dr H.K.Bakhru says in his FOODS THAT HEAL:
Lime is considered highly beneficial in the treatment of the digestive disorder. A teaspoonful of fresh lime juice should be mixed with an equal quantity of honey. It should be licked to stop billions vomiting, indigestion, burning in the chest due to high acidity in the stomach and excessive accumulation of saliva in the mouth. A teaspoonful of lime mixed with water, a pinch of soda bicarbonate is an amazing excellent remedy for reducing the activity in the stomach. It also acts as a powerful calminative in case of indigestion. It produces a marked sedative effect on the stomach due to the release of carbonic acid gas. Dr Bakhru is the author of interesting health books always recommended in this Column for the health libraries of its readers. Other than foods that heal, Bakhru’s books include HERBS THAT HEAL, FOODS THAT HEAL and VITAMINS THAT HEAL.
Last week, I received a WHATSAPP message from one of the Nigerian readers of this column in New York. For years, she has been battling candida overgrowth in the bowels. But what gives her more concern is the pain in the left shoulder which has led her doctor to give her steroid injections over the years. She is tired of these injections. Last week, the laboratory test reported another condition which is making her lose heartbeats. Doctors are funny when it comes to shrouding ailments in high-solving words. The doctor told her: “you have rotator cuff tear arthropathy” Goodness! It is all about arthritis in the left shoulder in which the cartilage has worn and the ligaments have torn. She has not been told what may have caused this: uric acid, immune dysfunction, enzymes riot, free radicals attack, antioxidant deficiencies, Vitamin C deficiency, leaky gut syndrome and its aftermath. Traditional step therapy would encourage Glucosamine and Chondroitin, to rehydrate the joint capsule and produce more synovial fluid while regrowing the worn bone cartilage, Organic Pure Sulphur(MSM), to curb inflammation and pain, bromelain to curb pain, ionic or conal calcium with Vitamin D3 to improve bone density, Vitamin C and Silica to improve connective tissue health etc. Will lime juice be able to offer some help? Let’s hear Bakhru again: “the fruit has been used as a remedy in gout and arthritis since long. Vitamin C is known to cure sore joints by strengthening the connective tissues of the body. The citric acid found in the lime is a solvent of uric acid which is the primary cause of gout and other diseases of this nature”.
In www.healthline.com we learn: “Arthritis, gout and other joint problems are all caused by inflammation. Vitamin C can reduce the amount of inflammation in our body, so adding lime juice to water can reduce symptoms of arthritis and similar conditions that cause joint pain and stiffness”.
Once in a while, I try to rid myself of inflammation, observed or not, in any organ or tissue. In such therapies, I go for buffered Vitamin C at 1,000mg, three capsules of organic sulphur, and one capsule of Grape Seed Extract all washed down with a glass of lime juice in water. I feel better, work better and sleep better. Processed Vitamin C may not work synergically as it may do when combined with the natural Vitamin C in lime. Lime should potentiate processed Vitamin C and the concentrated dosage of processed Vitamin C should energize the smaller dosage of Vitamin C in lime.
As lime is rich in Vitamin C, it is a good vision enhancer, according to many authorities. Dr Bakhru even suggests that two drops of lime juice diluted with water be distilled in the eyes you offset conjunctivitis. He adds that its regular use with Rosewater of one part to four may prevent old-age cataract. In this regard, he is like a former Indian Prime Minister, MORARJI DESAI, who attributed his healthy old age vision to one drop of early morning urine in both eyes every day. There are many other people who will take a bet that sublingual Vitamin B2 takes away cataracts of the eye lens.
Fresh lime juice is believed to cure sting poisons, especially that of the scorpion. After the juice is applied externally, the sting is covered with potassium permanganate. Dr Bakhru believes a cure should come in about 10 minutes.
In the absence of Magnesium oil, which is massage deep on the site of menstrual cramps to calm the rioting nerves and muscles, lime juice may be tried. It is a rich source of Potassium and Magnesium which may be absorbed. Both calm muscles and have been found effective in palpitations of the heart.
Many people dislike drinking water and may, therefore, become dehydrated. Such people may become water lovers and drinkers if they spice their drinking water with some lime the way Apple Cider Vinegar, too, encourages water drinking.
Lime is a powerful warehouse of many antioxidants, those plant chemicals which protect us humans against free radicals. These radicals are unstable molecules that bored holes in cells and drain them of content and energy. Antioxidants neutralise free radicals. Vitamin C is a well known antioxidants which promotes not only immune function but supports production of collagen, that protein which the structure of all tissue and is responsible for healthy connective tissue, among its several other functions. One lime is believed to be able to provide about 32% of the antioxidants Vitamin C daily requirements of many people. Lime juice also contains flavonoids, another group of antioxidants.
In high school physiology and hygiene(Health Science) we learned that several germs, including that of diphtheria, do not survive in lime juice. Thus, it is a good anti-septic for the intestine, Where we talk about disease-causing bacteria and “friendly bacteria” (probiotics). Among their many functions in the intestine, friendly Bactria inhibits the overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria by producing citric acid to kill them. Citric acid is what we get in yoghurt from the probiotics “friendly” bacteria present in it. Many Nigerian producers of yoghurt do not waste their time and money to add probiotics to their yoghurt for citric acid. They get citric acid from factory-made concentrates and other sources, including lime.
Anyone who has suffered from withlow and treated it with lime juice should know it is a viable therapy. In 1977, I developed withlow in my right index finger two days or so before my degree examinations at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. All through most of the exams, I held the pen with my thumb and the third finger. Back in the hostel, I would punch a hole on one side of lime and dip the infected finger into the fluid sacs. It gave me throbbing pain in the finger and some headache. But it worked wonders. I cut the lime into four pieces and leave them in my bathroom water overnight. The water not only feel great on my skin, it rinsed the soap out clean and clear. It should not be a bad idea to keep a bucket with lime-infused water in a bucket for the water closet. After a flush, pour a bowl of this water into the closet. It should remain odourless for a long time as the germs are taken out. Women may wish to not use harsh chemical antiseptics to rinse their under briefs and bras after washing them with harsh soaps and detergents. After they are rinsed in clean water these underwears may be soaked in lime water for a while before they go on the clothesline. Even where the secret place need some help and a weak vinegar solution is not immediately available, a weak solution of lime juice should help. If the therapy is prolonged, the need to cap it up with probiotic pill or caplet insertions especially overnight should not be forgotten. There are too many ways in which lime can be useful as an antiseptic….in wound washes before dressings,…..as a mouth rinse in loose teeth, bleeding gums, gingivitis, gum boils or gum infections…as a drink in urinary tract infection…..as a scalp massage for itchy or infected scalp….as a skin massage….and in athletes foot, among other uses.
The proprietary products APOROLYN underscores the importance of Yoruba Traditional Medicine attaches to lime juice therapy. It is made by boiling the peel to extract its medicines which are then stored in plastic jars for months to ferment it. There are many producers of this product in Yoruba land. APORO means poison killer. APOROLYN is a brand. The LYN in the name was probably influenced by JOBELYN, the well-accepted Nigerian antioxidant, immune-boosting, energizer and blood building herbal medicine. APOROLYN is applied to an incision on the skin in the belief that contact with the blood is enough to deactivate poison, including those from animal bites. I have found it to stop excessive bleeding just as I have Maria Treben’s Bitters. APOROLYN had probably gone out of circulation because NAFDAC insists the producers store it in stainless steel jars but they do not have the money.
This is the most controversial aspect of lime juice. Many people believe too much of the juice makes the sperm “watery” and makes women infertile. But many people disagree. I was a limey of a sort in my childbearing years and made three children, all boys. But I cannot on account of this disclaim the experiences of other people as body constitutions, like diets are different.
From natural nigeria.com we learn:
(1) the anti-fertility notion about lime is based on its acidic taste from eight per cent citric acid of dry weight.
(2) acids are building blocks of life, as shown in amino acids.
(3) citric acid as an antioxidant is life promoting.
(4) fertility is the harmonious functioning of organs in the reproductive system and infertility is the break down of synergy among them.
(5) In modern society, chemical substances are known as xenoestrogens and which are believed to influence the body in the opposite direction of the body’s own estrogen, invade the body from diver sources of ingestion, upsetting the hormone and organ balances. This unsettles harmony among the reproductive organs, causing female infertility. Lime contains an estrogen variant called Isoflavones. The isoflavones neutralise the unhealthy signals of xenoestrogen, thus paving the way for harmonious reproductive organ communication. In the uterus, isoflavones block xenoestrogen which is noted for causing irregular menstrual cycles and uterine fibroids, among their other negative side effects.
Nigerian life today is filled with xenoestrogens. These chemicals migrate from soft plastics into hot foods. Soft plastics include a “pure water” sachet. Imagine how many of this “pure water” has been heated by the sun before the water is consumed. Imagine what happens when hot amala, eba, or fufu is wrapped with soft plastics. Imagine what happens when bean puree is wrapped with soft plastic and cooked into moi moi for between thirty minutes and one hour. Imagine how much xenoestrogen men and women consume every day. Any surprise that reproductive health is upside down, irregular and painful menstrual cycle is on the increase, uterine fibroid cases are growing, sperm motility, low sperm count, no sperm count, enlarged prostate gland and prostate cancer is afflicting men as well?
Thanks immeasurably, wherever you are, Dr James Lind for bringing to our notice in 1747 that lime juice can stop bleeding in the gums and save a life. Now we know it can do many more beautiful things for our health.