Natural Health & Wellness

How to Use Lime Leaf, Where to Find It, and 10 Health Benefits

How to Use Lime Leaf, Where to Find It, and 10 Health Benefits

Are you looking for some useful and practical information about lime leaf? Look no further! We’ve put together the main points about the magnificent Makrut lime leaf, from its origins and harvesting to its health benefits when used in cooking and some tips when using it.

Do lime leaves taste like lime?

Also called Makrut leaf, it has a very bitter fruit and it is often used in Thailand for cleaners, where the whole leaf is processed to extract the oils, which are antibacterial and antifungal. In cooking, the leaves are used in predominantly Asian countries, much like how Western and European countries use bay leaves. Though the fruit is very bitter, the fragrance of the leaves lends a beautiful lime flavor note to culinary delights. From India to Mexico, lime leaves are integral to many traditional recipes. In some cases, they are even used as a substitute for sugar. It is also known as citrus balm, citrus thyme, and citrus mint.

The lime leaf has been used in culinary practice for centuries, but it is only more recently that it has become popular in Western cuisine. In China, the lime leaf is a key component of many traditional dishes, such as chicken and duck with lime. The acidity of the lime leaf helps to tenderize and flavor the meat, while the leaves provide a delicate flavor. Lime leaves are a nutritious addition to any beverage or dish. Popular in Indonesian, Thai, and Cambodian cuisine, they can be found in their signature curries and soups. The lime leaf adds a fresh citrus flavor to the dish. 

The sky is the limit on how you want to use it. Especially when creating Thai cuisine where you want to touch on those authentic flavors and all Southeast Asian cuisine dishes in general, these dark green makrut lime leaves are one of the keys to your success! Making tea from these fragrant hourglass shaped leaves is also popular in these cultures. It is made from the leaves and flowers of the lime tree. Lime leaf tea is often used as a substitute for coffee. It has a refreshing, slightly acidic taste and is often enjoyed after meals or as an evening drink.

Where is lime leaf harvested and grown?

Otherwise known as citrus hystrix, the signature double leaves are harvested from makrut lime plantations in subtropical regions like India, Southeast Asia and Latin America. The leaves are dried for several days to remove the stem, veins, and impurities before being used locally or exported.

Are kaffir leaves the same as lime leaves?

Kaffir leaves and lime leaves are similar in that they both come from the leaves of a citrus fruit, but their fragrance and taste are different. Kaffir has the milder aroma of the two, and its leaves are smaller in size than lime leaves.

Lime leaves health benefits 

The health benefits of lime leaf include:

  1. Reducing fever and improving digestion. 
  2. Can also help treat respiratory problems
  3. Can improve mental clarity and concentration
  4. May also lower blood pressure levels
  5. Reduce fat storage around the hips and abdominal area
  6. Potent anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful for treating various medical conditions.
  7. Reduces fever
  8. Boosts immunity
  9. Aids digestion

10.Reduces swelling in injuries

How to use lime leaves in cooking?

Lime leaves add a pungent, acidic flavor to Indian and Southeast Asian curries. They’re used not just as a flavoring agent but also as a tenderizer and emulsifier, helping to create a smoother, more creamy sauce. Try adding them to bland or dry dishes for an unexpected shake up. You can also use them in salads or side dishes.

Lime leaves can be used in a variety of cooking methods, including as a flavoring agent, a condiment, and a preservative.

Here is an easy way to chop lime leaves that looks like a chef prepared the lime leaf garnish. Saveur Magazine shows you how here:

Emerald Cooking shows you in a 2 minute video how to make an easy chicken curry with Kaffir lime leaves:

Next time you’re in the mood for a refreshing citrus zip in your meal or tea, now you know that it is as easy as adding a chopped fresh or dried lime leaf!

What are some good quality lime leaves to buy?

1. Kaffir Lime Leaves, Dried | Key Ingredient in Thai cuisine

Kaffir Lime Leaves, Dried TheWellthieone
Kaffir Lime Leaves, Dried

2. Dried Kaffir Lime Leaves 1 oz. Organic Naturally Grown

Dried Kaffir Lime Leaves TheWellthieone
Dried Kaffir Lime Leaves

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there anything else I should know about lime leaf before using it medicinally? 

Lime leaf has a long history of being used medicinally for various health purposes such as: 

  • Treating respiratory infections
  • Treating diarrhea
  • Aiding in the treatment of hepatitis. 
  • Considered to be an effective detoxifier 
  • A hepatoprotective agent. 

Be mindful  

1. Lime leaf can cause drowsiness and dizziness if taken in large doses or if it is taken with other sedatives or drugs that can cause drowsiness. 

2.Be aware that lime leaf may interact with certain medications, so it is best to talk to your doctor before taking it.

3.Lime leaf can irritate the skin, so it is important to use caution when applying it topically. It is also important to be especially careful around the eyes, mouth, and nose.

There’s even a Council!

The Lime Leaf Council was founded in 2013 in order to promote information and support the use of lime leaves in culinary practice around the world. They work to connect researchers, chefs, growers, and others involved in the cultivation and use of lime leaves, and to foster communication between these groups.


Lime leaves are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of cooking recipes. Not only are they delicious, but they also have a range of health and medicinal benefits If you’re looking for a way to add some zing to your cooking, lime leaves may provide just that magic touch!  We wish you well on your continuing journey to optimum health.

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