Citrus limetta

scientific name: 
Citrus limetta Risso
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Tree or shrub, with thick thorns.  Leaves 5 to 7.5 cm in length, elliptic-ovate, crenate; petiole narrowly winged.  Flowers white.  Fruit pale yellow, smooth, 5 to 7 cm in diameter.  Juice sweet but insipid.




  fruit, juice, instillation1

The fruit of Citrus limetta is widely used for human consumption and is an industrial source of essential oil.

For conjunctivitis:

Instill (apply) in the eye 2-3 drops of the fresh fruit juice 3 times a day1.

According to published and other information:

Use for conjunctivitis is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys, and on available published scientific information.

For topical application, strict hygiene measures should be observed in order to avoid contamination or additional infection, and to avoid contact with conjunctiva-irritating substances.

If conjunctivitis is present, there is a risk of increasing irritation due to the application of the fruit juice.

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

The fruit juice instilled into the eye, in the shampoo-induced chemical conjunctivitis model in mice, did not cause eye irritation6.

There is no available information documenting the safety of medicinal use for children.

The fruit peel contains one isoquinoline alkaloid: sinephrine2 and the root contains a pyrano-coumarin: seselin3.

Proximate analysis of 100 g of fruit4: calories: 30; water: 89%; proteins: 0.7%; fat: 0.6%; carbohydrates: 8.4%; fiber: 0.9%; ash: 0.4%; calcium: 28 mg; phosphorus: 20 mg; iron: 0.5 mg; carotene: 0 µg; thiamine: 0.05 mg; riboflavin: 0.03 mg; niacin: 0.2 mg; ascorbic acid: 48 mg.

The fruit inhibited cyclooxygenase (IC50 = 0.066 mg/mL) and lipoxygenase (IC50 = 0.302 mg/mL) in vitro in rat platelets5.

The fruit juice in instillation did not show any effects against conjunctivitis-causing bacteria in vitro6.

The fruit juice instilled into the eye, in the shampoo-induced chemical conjunctivitis model in mice, decreased the duration of irritation to 5 minutes, compared to the control group (distilled water = 20 minutes and without treatment = 30 minutes); it is estimated that it inhibits irritation by 83% among 20 species studied6.

The tincture of 10 g of dried fruit peel in 100 mL of ethanol (30 mL/disk), was not active in vitro on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichiacoli or Staphylococcus aureus on agar plate7.

The undiluted essential oil is reported as having antimicrobial activity in vitro on agar plate against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus, but was inactive against Escherichia coli and Bacillus cereus; antifungal activity was not found against Penicillum cyclopium,Trichoderma viride and Aspergillus aegyptiacus8.




1 GERMOSEN-ROBINEAU L, GERONIMO M, AMPARO C, 1984 Encuesta TRAMIL. enda-caribe, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dominicana.

2 SHI L, GOTOU Y, SHINDO K, OGAWA K, SHIDA Y, SASHIDA Y, SHIMOMURA H, ARAKI C, YOSHIDA T, 1992 Synephrine contents and their seasonal variation in peels of Citrus plants. Shoyakugaku Zasshi 46(2):150-155.

3 TOMER E, GOREN R, MONSELISE SP, 1969 Isolation and identification of seselin in Citrus roots. Phytochemistry 8:1315-1316.

4 DUKE JA, ATCHLEY AA, 1986 Handbook of proximate analysis tables of higher plants.Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press, p45.

5 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 Agr Food Chem 44(3):725-729.

6 RUIZ U, AURA V, 1981 Efectos de algunas substancias y preparaciones vegetales sobre bacterias causales de conjuntivitis (Tesis de graduación). Facultad de Ciencias Químicas y Farmacia, Universidad de San Carlos, Guatemala, Guatemala.

7 CACERES A, GIRON LM, ALVARADO SR, 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.

8 ROSS SA, EL-KELTAWI NE, MEGALLA SE, 1980 Antimicrobial activity of some Egyptian aromatic plants. Fitoterapia 51:201-205.


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.