Lime is a citrus fruit. The juice, fruit, peel, and oil are used to make medicine.

People use lime for scurvy, malaria, sickle cell disease, gastrointestinal disorders, vaginal infections, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

In cosmetics, lime oil is used as a fragrance component and as a "fixative".
When taken by mouth: Lime is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when used in amounts found in foods. There isn't enough reliable information to know if lime is safe when used as a medicine or what the side effects might be.

When applied to the skin: Applying lime directly to the skin is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Some people are sensitive to lime when it is applied directly to the skin. Lime can cause the skin to be very sensitive to the sunlight. Wear sunblock and protective clothing outside.

When placed in the vagina: Placing lime juice in the vagina is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Lime juice can be harmful to cells in the vagina and cervix. It can cause itching, burning, dryness, pain, and other symptoms.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if lime is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use of lime as medicine.


NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions
  • Low levels of healthy red blood cells (anemia) due to iron deficiency. Drinking one liter of lime juice per day for 6 days weekly for 8 months doesn't appear to improve iron absorption in women with low iron levels.
  • Malaria. Early research shows that taking lime juice along with standard malaria medicine may help treat children with malaria better than taking malaria medicine alone.
  • Sickle cell disease. Early research shows that taking lime juice may help reduce episodes of pain and fever in children with sickle cell disease.
  • Quitting smoking. Early research shows that taking lime may help to reduce cravings in people trying to quit smoking.
  • A disease caused by vitamin C deficiency (scurvy).
  • Severe diarrhea (dysentery).
  • Nausea.
  • Killing germs on the skin.
  • Vaginal infections when used in the vagina.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of lime for these uses.

Dosing & administration

The appropriate dose of lime depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for lime. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 [CYP3A4] substrates)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Lime juice might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Drinking lime juice while taking some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of these medications. Before taking lime, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.

Medications that increase sensitivity to sunlight (Photosensitizing drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Some medications can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Lime oil might also increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Using lime oil along with medications that increase sensitivity to sunlight could increase the chances of sunburn, and blistering or rashes on areas of skin exposed to sunlight. Be sure to wear sunblock and protective clothing when spending time in the sun.

Some drugs that cause photosensitivity include amitriptyline (Elavil), Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), norfloxacin (Noroxin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), ofloxacin (Floxin), levofloxacin (Levaquin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), gatifloxacin (Tequin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Septra), tetracycline, methoxsalen (8-methoxypsoralen, 8-MOP, Oxsoralen), and Trioxsalen (Trisoralen).

Interactions with herbs & supplements

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.


Lime contains chemicals that seem to help prevent stones in the bladder or kidney. Other chemicals might kill parasites and viruses.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 17/10/2023 11:00:00 and last updated on 14/09/2020 22:51:28. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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