What is Leech Lime or Kaffir lime?
Leech Lime or Kaffir limes is the common name of Citrus hystrix, a tropical fruit that is native to various parts of Asia, including Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Aside from its many culinary uses, due to its uniquely tart and pleasant flavor, kaffir lime is also highly respected in herbal medicine, due to its high content of beneficial organic compounds that can positively affect the body’s systems. The oil, leaves, fruit, and rind of kaffir limes are all utilized for different purposes. You’ll often find kaffir limes being used in soups and sauces, such as Tom Yum soup, particularly the leaves, which are frequently utilized in Thai cooking. The leaves and rind are so powerful, however, that they can often overwhelm the flavor of the dish.
Health Benefits of Leech Lime
Immune System: The antibacterial and antioxidant qualities of kaffir limes make them powerful tools to boost the immune system. Not only does the topical application prevent infections and bacteria from accumulating on the skin, but when consumed, kaffir limes can help prevent a wide variety of gastrointestinal illnesses and stimulate the immune system via antioxidant effects.
Hair Health: One of the less well-known applications of kaffir lime juice and leaves is in the hair. You can apply decoctions and mixtures to the scalp and hair to slow the onset of male pattern baldness and strengthen the follicles of the hair. This also moisturizes the skin to prevent dandruff and improves the appearance and shine.
Stress Reduction: Although most people don’t think of kaffir limes as being particularly useful in aromatherapy, the oil extracted from these powerful fruits can be used aromatically with great effect. If you suffer from anxiety or various nervous disorders, spending some time inhaling these soothing vapors can calm the body and mind.
Lower Inflammation: For those suffering from rheumatism, arthritis, edema, gout, or some other inflammatory condition, kaffir limes can be a very effective remedy. You can use the juice, leaves, or oil extracts topically on the area where you are experiencing discomfort or pain, and you can also consume the fruit and the juices to enjoy a similar effect. This anti-inflammatory effect also makes kaffir lime juice beneficial for headaches and migraines.
Detoxify the Blood: The oil of kaffir limes is often mixed in various decoctions for those suffering from blood-borne illnesses or chronic blood-related diseases. The unique mix of volatile compounds is known to eliminate those pathogens or foreign agents in the blood, while also helping the liver and lymphatic system strain out dangerous substances and improve your overall health.
Insect Repellant: In the countries where kaffir lime was traditionally grown, insect-borne diseases can kill thousands of people each year. For that reason, kaffir limes are often used for their insect repellant properties. The citronellol and limonene found in kaffir limes are very unappealing to most insects, and when you put a lotion or a salve containing kaffir lime juice/oil on your skin, you can significantly decrease your chances of being bitten by bugs, whether they may infect you or not.
Digestive Issues: There are a number of components found within kaffir limes that are also found in lemongrass and related herbs. These organic constituents are anti-inflammatory in nature, but they are also stimulating for the digestive system. If you are suffering from constipation or indigestion, some kaffir lime decoction can clear your symptoms up and get your bowels back on a regular track. This can help prevent more serious gastrointestinal issues in the future, such as colorectal cancer, hemorrhoids, or gastric ulcers.
Uses of Leech Lime
Use in cuisine. Kaffir lime leaves are perfect for adding flavour to Asian cuisine. They are highly aromatic and add their own elegant flavour to stir-fry, curry, salad and fish cake dishes. Some examples for use include:
Thai curry dishes and soups, such as Tom Yum
Flavour rice – When cooking your rice, especially jasmine rice, throw in a few leaves. The flavour will be imparted to the rice.
Thai fish cakes, e.g., Tod Mun and steamed fish dishes, e.g., Haw Moak
Asian bouquet garni – make up with kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and ginger as the bouquet garni ingredients and use to flavour stock