Common Name and Occurrence: Kaffir Lime or Citrus hystrix or Citrus amblycarpa belongs is a type of lime native to Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia It is popularly known as makrut in Thailand and limau parut in some regions of Southeast Asia.
Everyone at some point in their gastronomic adventures has eaten Thai red curry or the green one; sipped on the spicy Tom Yum and the Tom Kha soups and wondered what is it that makes these dishes so zesty and flavorful? It's the lime leaves in the food that lends them that distinct flavor typical of the Southeast Asian cuisine.
Parts Used: Kaffir Lime has a bumpy fruit with a rough skin Open it and it resembles a sweet lime, except that it's not so sweet Bitter in taste, it is often pickled in particular Indian cultures The kaffir lime leaf is a typical double leaf joined such that the lower part of the leaf is oval and the upper part resembles a heart shape The leaf when fresh is shiny in appearance and is replete with essential oils.
Apart from culinary uses for which most people know this plant, it has other uses which make it a regular in most Thai homes and backyards In popular Thai culture, this plant is known to cleanse the mind and the body and ward off evil spirit, which explains every house having one!
The fruit is not as extensively used as are the leaves However, the juice of the fruit is good for healthy gums It has bleaching properties and when mixed with detergent can fight the toughest stains The rind of the fruit is used in many digestive tonics and blood purifiers.
Benefits And Medicinal Uses Of Kaffir Lime
The leaves however are the richest part of the plant They are easy to store since they can be frozen for many months without losing flavor Just one or two are enough to flavor a pot full of soup The leaves can be rubbed on to gums and teeth for total dental health The essential oil in the leaves is extracted and used for various purposes It is a used in many bath products such as soaps and shampoos The oil is a great hair and scalp cleanser The aroma of the leaves is rejuvenating; add a few drops of oil or a few crushed leaves to your bath and you will feel your negative thoughts ease away It is believed to have a positive effect on the mind and the body and leaves one with positive thoughts The oil is also infused in deodorants and body sprays for that extra zing. The oil is also used in tonics which aid in digestion and purify the blood Air fresheners with the kaffir lime aroma freshen up rooms and give a feeling of a freshly cleaned room.