Citrus aurantiifolia

scientific name: 
Citrus aurantiifolia (Christm.) Swingle
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Small tree with irregular branches up to 5 m tall, with thick, rigid, sharp thorns. Leaf elliptical, dark green, slightly leathery and aromatic, 4-8 cm x 2-5cm, petiole narrowly winged; inflorescence a raceme; flowers white, fragrant, 1.5 cm long; fruit sub-spherical, 5-6 cm long, yellow when ripe, with very acid pulp, seeds white, small, oval.

Voucher(s)

Rouzier,172,SOE

Jean Pierre,313,SLNH

Jiménez,1499,JBSD

Ochoa,234,HPMHV

Mejía,17,MAPR

Espinosa,5960,FLORPAN

Rios,1100,CECALLI

Delaigue,9,NHTT

Longuefosse&Nossin,129,HAVPM

Boulogne,TH, 9, UAG

Boulogne,TB,6, UAG

fever:

peel or leaf, decoction or infusion, orally1-2,5-6

diarrhoea:

fruit, juice, orally3-5,7-10,34-36,42

conjunctivitis:

  fruit, juice, instillation1-2

earache:

  fruit, juice, instillation4

flu:

fruit, juice, orally3-5,7-10,34-36,42

cough:

fruit, juice, orally3-5,7-10,34-36,42

cuts, bounds:

fruit, juice, application36,44

mycosis between fingers or toes:

cut fruit, heated, application37,42

headhache:

  leaf, decoction or infusion, orally1-3,10

flu:

  leaf, decoction or infusion, orally1-3,10

rhume:

  leaf, decoction or infusion, orally1-3,10

The fruit and the juice of Citrus aurantiifolia are widely used for human consumption and the peel is an industrial source of essential oil.

For all reported uses:

There is no available information establishing a means of preparation and dosage other than that referred to by traditional use.

According to published and other information:

Use for conjunctivitis, headache, ear pain, fever, flu, cough and diarrhea is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use (OMS/WHO)4 documented in the TRAMIL surveys.

For topical application, strict hygiene measures should be observed in order to avoid contamination or additional infection, and contact with any substance that may be irritating for the conjunctiva should be avoided.

In case of conjunctivitis, there is a risk of increasing irritation with the application of the Citrus spp juice.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should the conjunctivitis last more than 3 days, seek medical attention.

In cases of ear pain, this may be due to otitis media or interna; therefore the evaluation of a physician is recommended as the first step.  Use is contraindicated in the presence of secretions in the ear and/or possible perforation of tympanum.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should ear pain or fever last more than 2 days, seek medical attention.

In cases of diarrhea, should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should diarrhea last more than 3 days in adult or 2 days in children, seek medical attention.

In diarrhea, the use of this resource is complementary to oral re-hydration therapy.

Not for use by women during pregnancy, during lactation or by children under 5 years old.

The essential oil of the plant can cause reactions of hypersensitivity reactions.

TRAMIL Researchs29-30

Decoctions at 30% of fresh leaf (yield 1.42 mg/mL) or, alternatively of fresh fruit (yield 0.61 mg/mL) administered to rat as a single oral dose of 2 mL/100g body weight, equivalent to 6 g plant material/kg, in conformance with the normal acute toxicity test, did not cause death nor evidence signs of intoxication during the first 24 hours nor during the following 14 days of observation, nor were any histopathological alterations seen.

TRAMIL Researchs40-41(will be translatedin 3rd Edition)

La hoja fresca por una parte, la cáscara del fruto fresco por otra, (decocciónes), fueron administradas vía oral (5000 mg/kg/día) a 10 ratones Hsd: ICR (CD-1) de 21.28 ± 1.48 g (5 machos y 5 hembras) durante 5 días con 12 días adicionales de observación, según el protocolo EPA.OPPTS 870.1100. El control se realizó  con agua (0.4 mL/20g de ratón) a otros 10 ratones de la misma cepa y características. Durante el ensayo ni en el periodo de observación posterior, se presentó mortalidad, ni se evidenció ningún signo de toxicidad (Test Polidimensional de Irwing). No se observaron cambios en los pesos corporales más que los normales en la curva de crecimiento. La autopsia macroscópica no evidenció alteraciones en los órganos. 

TRAMIL Research31

The lyophilized aqueous decoction of the fresh leaf was administered orally at a dose of 5 g/kg during 5 successive days to 10 Swiss mice (5 males of average weight 20.22 + 0.82 g and 5 females of average weight 18.00 + 0.58 g). The control group of 10 mice, of the same strain and characteristics, received distilled water (0.3 mL). The groups were observed for another 7 days after the treatment period. No signs of toxicity were observed in the observed parameters. Autopsy did not reveal any internal alterations.

TRAMIL Research38(will be translatedin 3rd Edition)

El zumo del fruto fresco, por vía tópica (parche con 0.6 mL/6 cm2 de piel/4 horas), modelo de irritabilidad dérmica aguda de Draize, a conejos albinos Nueva Zelanda (3 machos), se retiró el parche a las 4 horas y se lavó el área, se hicieron las lecturas de eritema y edema a 1, 24, 48 y 72 horas, mostró un índice de 0.0 que clasifica como no irritante.

TRAMIL Research39(will be translatedin 3rd Edition)

El jugo fresco del fruto, vía tópica (100 µL) en el saco conjuntival del ojo derecho de 3 conejos New Zealand en el modelo de irritación ocular. Se observa por 72 horas. No se observó ninguna alteración ni irritación durante el periodo de observación.

The fresh fruit juice (0.1 mL/plate) was antimutagenic in vitro inhibiting the mutagenicity induced by sodium azide in Salmonella typhimurium TA100 and by 4-nitro-O-phenylenediamine in TA9726.

The essential oil in contact with the skin may cause hypersensitivity if the skin is exposed to the sun27.

There are no toxicity data available regarding the fruit juice instilled in the eye or administered orally, or regarding oral ingestion of the infusion or decoction of leaf and peel.

There is no available information documenting the safety of medicinal use in children or in women during pregnancy or breast feeding.

The leaf, flower and fruit bark are rich in essential oil made up of monoterpenoid derivatives. The prevailing ones, depending on species and plant part are: limonene, linalool or nerol and frequently also citral and b-pinene12.

The fruit pulp contains a large amount of organic acids (citric and malic mainly) and of vitamin C; the pericarp contains pectin.

The leaf and fruit, in addition to the acid principles, contain numerous flavonoids: flavonic heterosides such as hesperidoside and flavones: diomoside13.

Proximate analysis of 100 g of fruit14: calories: 36; water: 91.4%; proteins: 0.5%; fat: 2.4%; carbohydrates: 5.9%; fiber: 0.3%; ash: 0.2%; calcium: 13 mg; phosphorus: 11 mg; iron: 0 mg; sodium: 2 mg; potassium: 82 mg; carotene: 10 µg; thiamine: 0.03 mg; riboflavin: 0.02 mg; niacin: 0.1 mg; ascorbic acid: 45 mg.

TRAMIL Research15

The ethanolic extract from the leaf did not show significant activity in vitro against Plasmodium falciparum at a concentration of 100 mg/mL.

TRAMIL Research28

Neither decoctions of the fresh fruit nor of the fresh leaf showed antimicrobial activity againstStaphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella gallinarum, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Candida albicans orMycobacterium smegmatis in vitroat a concentration of 1000 mg/mL.

TRAMIL Researchs32-33

The lyophilized aqueous decoctions of the fresh fruit and of the fresh leaf were independently administered as a single dose of 1 g/kg to 10 Swiss rats (5 male, 5 female) which had been fasted 6 hours. The control group, subjected to the same conditions, received distilled water (0.3 mL/20g body weight). Active carbon was used to measure intestinal transit and observation was made 1 hour alter the administration of the extracts. No statistically significant modification of intestinal transit time was found for either extract.

Trabajo TRAMIL43(will be translatedin 3rd Edition)

El zumo puro del fruto fresco, vía tópica (10 μL en cada cara de ambas orejas); modelo de edema de la oreja inducido por aceite de Croton (10 μL/2.5 mL acetona), dosis 10 μL/cada cara de la oreja derecha; en la oreja izquierda se aplicó 10 μL de acetona de igual manera, a ratón macho OF-1 (6 animales/grupo), el grupo control positivo recibió dexametasona (5 mg/mL acetona), dosis  0.05 mg/cada cara de ambas orejas; el grupo control negativo recibió aceite de Croton en la oreja derecha y acetona en la oreja izquierda en iguales condiciones; tratamientos aplicados 1 min. después del aceite de Croton. El zumo inhibió 50.0% y la dexametasona 87.83% la respuesta inflamatoria.

The fruit extract (IC50 = 0.124 mg/mL) was shown to causeinhibition in vitro of cycloogygenase in rat platelets16.

The juice of the fresh fruit and the tincture of the dried fruit in maceration (10 g of vegetal material in 100 mL of ethanol 50%) on agar plates (30 µL/disk) exhibited antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli,Pseudomonas aeruginosa,Staphylococcus aureus and antifungal activity against Candida albicans17.

The aqueous and ethanolic extracts, the alkaloidal fraction and the root glycoside mixture exhibited in vitro activity against Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis, Staphylococcus aureus andStreptococcus beta-hemolítico, while with Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains, only the alkaloidal fraction and the glycoside mixture showed activity18.

The fresh fruit juice caused stimulation of gastric secretion19.

Aerial parts are claimed to have diuretic effects, but hypothermal properties are not observed20.

The essential oil (30 mg/animal) administered orally to mouse induced an increase in glutathione S-transferase of the liver and small intestine, but not of the stomach21.

The leaf essential oil showed antimycotic activity in vitro towards Trichoderma viride, Aspergillus aegyptiacus and Penicillium cyclopium, as well as antibacterial activity on Bacillus cereus and Escherichia coli22.

The essential oils of the various Citrus spp are claimed to have sedative and hypnotic properties23, as well as insect repellent activity24.

According to bibliographic sources, certain citrus flavonoids increase capillary resistance in microcirculation13; pectine is believed to have local hemostatic activity, with favorable effects on the digestive tract13.

Vitamin C has been described as having antiinfectious13 and antiscorbutic properties; it is an enzymatic cofactor, it is involved in the synthesis of collagen and carnitine, the transformation of folic acid into folinic acid, the microsomic metabolism of drugs, the synthesis of noradrenaline and peptidic hormones, the reduction of ferric to ferrous iron at the gastric level, and the formation of suprarenal hormones25.

References:  

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12 EKUNDAYO O, BAKARE O, ADESOMOJU A, STAHL-BISKUP E, 1991 Volatile constituents of the leaf oil of Nigerian lime (Citrus aurantiifolia). J Essent Oil Res 3(2):119-120.

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16 NOGATA Y, YOZA KI, KUSUMOTO KI, KOHYAMA N, SEKIYA K, OHTA H, 1996 Screening for inhibitory activity of Citrus fruit extracts against platelet cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase. J Agric Food Chem 44(3):725-729.

17 CACERES A, GIRON L, ALVARADO S, TORRES MF, 1987 Screening of antimicrobial activity of plants popularly used in Guatemala for the treatment of dermatomucosal diseases. J Ethnopharmacol 20(3):223-237.

18 EBANA RU, MADUNAGU BE, EKPE ED, OTUNG IN, 1991 Microbiological exploitation of cardiac glycosides and alkaloids from Garcinia kola, Borreria ocymoides, Kola nitida and Citrus aurantiifolia. J Appl Bacteriol 71(5):398-401.

19 KOICHUSAKUL S, SATHITNIRAIMAI S, 1977 Studies of the effect of sour fruits on acid secretion in the stomach. Undergraduate special problem report. Fac Med (Siriraj Hosp) Mahidol Univ, Bangkok, Thailand.

20 DHAWAN BN, PATNAIK GK, RASTOGI RP, SINGH KK, TANDON JS, 1977 Screening of Indian plants for biological activity. VI. Indian J Exp Biol 15(3):208-219.

21 LAM L, ZHENG B, 1991 Effects of essential oils on glutathione S-transferase activity in mice. J Agric Food Chem 39(4):660-662.

22 EL KELTAWI N, MEGALLA S, ROSS S, 1980 Antimicrobial activity of some Egyptian aromatic plants. Herbal Pol 26(4):245-250.

23 ADESINA S, 1982 Studies on some plants used as anticonvulsants in Amerindian and African traditional medecine. Fitoterapia 53:147-162.

24 GUPTA M, 1987 Essential oil: a new source of bee repellents. Chem Ind (London) 5:161-163.

25 HARTMAN JG, LIMBIRD ILE, Eds., 1996 Goodman & Gilman Las bases farmacológicas de la terapéutica, 9a ed. México, México:Mc Graw-Hill Interamericana.

26 BALA S, GROVER IS, 1989 Antimutagenicity of some Citrus fruits in Salmonella typhimurium. Mutat Res 222(3):141-148.

27 PELLECUER J, 1995 Aromaterapia y toxicidad de los aceites esenciales. Natura Medicatrix 37(8):36-40.

28 Olmedo D, RODRIGUEZ N, ESPINOSA A, VASQUEZ Y, Gupta MP, 2005 Ensayo antimicrobiano de algunas especies con usos significativos TRAMIL-Centroamérica. Informe TRAMIL. Centro de Investigaciones Farmacognósticas de la Flora Panameña CIFLORPAN, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Panamá, Panamá, Panamá.

29 MARTINEZ MJ, MOREJON Z, LOPEZ M, BOUCOURT E, FUENTES V, MORON F, 2005 Clases tóxicas agudas (CTA) de una decocción de corteza de fruto fresco de Citrus aurantiifolia (Christm.) Swing. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas “Dr. Salvador Allende”, La Habana, Cuba.

30 MARTINEZ MJ, MOREJON Z, LOPEZ M, BOUCOURT E, FUENTES V, MORON F, 2005. Clases tóxicas agudas (CTA) de una decocción de hoja fresca de Citrus aurantiifolia (Christm.) Swing. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas “Dr. Salvador Allende”, La Habana, Cuba.

31 GarcIa-GONZÁLEZ M, BARBOZA CJ. 2005 Toxicidad aguda (5000 mg/kg) dosis repetida, en ratones, del extracto acuoso de hojas frescas de Citrus aurantiifolia. Informe TRAMIL GEF/UNEP.PRONAPLAMED. Depto de Fisiología, Escuela de Medicina, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

32 GarcIa-GONZÁLEZ M, BARBOZA CJ. 2005 Velocidad del tránsito intestinal en ratones, del extracto acuoso del fruto fresco de Citrus aurantiifolia. Informe TRAMIL. PRONAPLAMED. Depto de Fisiología, Escuela de Medicina, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

33 GarcIa-GONZÁLEZ M, BARBOZA CJ. 2005 Velocidad del tránsito intestinal en ratones, del extracto acuoso de hojas frescas de Citrus aurantiifolia. Informe TRAMIL. PRONAPLAMED. Depto de Fisiología, Escuela de Medicina, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

34 DELAIGUE J, 2005 TRAMIL survey. UAG & PRDI, Tobago House of Assembly, Scarborough, Tobago.

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38 MARTINEZ MJ, LOPEZ M, MOREJON Z, BOUCOURT E, FUENTES V, MORON F, 2007 Irritabilidad dérmica (piel sana) primaria de zumo fresco de fruto de Citrus aurantiifolia (Christm) Swing var mexicana.Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas “Dr. Salvador Allende”, La Habana, Cuba.

39 PAZOS L, COTO T, CAIZA F, 2009

Irritación ocular, en conejos, del jugo fresco del fruto de Citrus aurantiifolia. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos, LEBi, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

40 PAZOS L, COTO T, CAIZA F, 2009

Toxicidad oral aguda, dosis repetida, en ratón, hoja fresca de Citrus aurantiifolia. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos, LEBi, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

41 PAZOS L, COTO T, CAIZA F, 2009 Toxicidad oral aguda, dosis repetida, en ratón, cáscara del fruto fresco de Citrus aurantiifolia. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos, LEBi, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

42 LONGUEFOSSE JL, NOSSIN E, 1990-95 Enquête TRAMIL. Association pour la valorisation des plantes médicinales de la Caraïbe AVPMC, Fort de France, Martinique.

43 FRIAS AI, GARCIA N, MOREJON Z, MORON F, VICTORIA MC, 2009 Efecto antiinflamatorio tópico del zumo puro del fruto fresco de Citrus aurantiifolia (Christm.) Swingle (limón) en el edema de la oreja inducido por aceite de Croton en ratones. Trabajo TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología. Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de La Habana.

45 BOULOGNE I, 2009 Enquête TRAMIL, (Terre-de-Bas et Terre-de-Haut) Les Saintes, UAG, Guadeloupe.

46 LOPEZ M, MOREJON Z, MARTINEZ MJ, BACALLAO Y, FUENTES V, MORON F, 2009 Irritabilidad dérmica piel lesionada, dosis repetida de Citrus aurantifolia (Christm) Swing. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas “Dr. Salvador Allende”, Cuba, C. Habana.

DISCLAIMER

The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.