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kafir lime  箭葉橙 (in English and Chinese)

Edited by: Joe Hing kwok Chu

Pharmaceutical name:


Folium Citri hystrix

Pericarpium Citri hystrix

Botanical name:


Citrus hystrix DC

Pron. in Japanese:


kobumikan (瘤蜜柑)

Pron. in Korean:



Pron. in Cantonese


faat3 fung1 gam1

Other Names:


liu mi gan (literally means tumor honey citrus)瘤蜜柑,fa feng gan (literally means leprosy citrus) 發瘋柑 (麻瘋柑),ma feng citrus (literally means hornet citrus*),馬蜂柑,Thai qing ning (literally means green lemon of Thailand) 泰國青檸 (廣東話),

Common Name:

文 名﹕

English: Indonesian lime leaves, wild lime, kaffir lime, mauritius papeda

Indonesian/Malay: jeruk purut

Thai: bai makruut (leaves),   luuk makruut (fruits),

Vietnamese: chanh sc ,  trc.



Being produced in Yunnan and Guangxi provinces and also throughout South East Asia.





bitter, acrid, sour, warm.


Channels (meridians) entered:



spleen, stomach.

脾, 胃。

Medical functions:



  1. anti-tumor promoter
  2. antibiotics effects: The ethyl acetate extract of kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix DC.) peel showed broad spectrum of inhibition against all Gram-positive bacteria, yeast and molds including Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Listeria monocytogenes, Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. sake and Aspergillus fumigatus[5]
  3. anti-virus
  4. anti-fertility
  5. Inhibition of lipopolysaccharide and interferon-g-induced nitric oxide generation
  6. contains furocoumarins (豆香素) which are psoralens  (補骨脂素 which can cause phototoxicity leading to delayed erythema with blistering and often followed by hyper-pigmentation.


  1. 抵抗致癌促進劑
  2. 抗 菌:箭葉橙皮的乙酸乙酯提取物有廣普抗菌作用,能所有格蘭氏陽性細菌,念珠菌,霉菌,包括黄色葡萄球菌,蠟樣芽胞桿菌,李斯特菌 ,清酒酵母菌,烟曲霉。
  3. 抗病毒
  4. 抗生育
  5. 抑制多糖 (lipopolysaccharide) 與 干擾素-g 所引起的 一氧化氮
  6. 所含的豆香素 (補骨脂素) 會致對光不良反應而導致延遲發生紅班與水泡跟住發生嚴重色素沉澱 (皮膚變黑)。

Actions & Indications:


cold or influenza.


Chemical ingredients:


香豆素,包括:coumarins, viz:





5 - ((6,7 - 二羥基-3,7-二甲基-2 - 辛烯基)氧基)補 骨脂素


油中含:The oil contains
 (-)-(S)-香茅醛 (葉油中含有高到80%)

 (-)-(S)-citronellal, (up t0 80% of leaf oil)


citronellol (10%)





皮的油中,主要成份為:The major compounds contained in peel oil [1]:

β-蒎 烯 (27%)

β-pinene (27%)

檸檬烯  (24.7%)

limonene (24.7%)

檜萜 (13.8%)

sabinene (13.8%)

果油主要成份為:major compounds of fruit oil.[1]:
α-萜烯醇 (15.8%)

α-terpeneol (15.8%)

β-蒎 烯 (15.1 %)

β-pinene (15.1 %)

檸檬烯  (9.1 %)

limonene (9.1 %)

葉子分離出兩種甘油醣脂:Two glyceroglycolipids were isolated from the leaves:


1,2-di-O-α-linoleoyl-3-O-β-galactopyranosyl-sn-glycerol (DLGG)


1-O-α-linolenoyl-2-O-palmitoyl-3-O--galactopyranosyl-sn-glycerol (LPGG) [3]


The leaves also contain:

α-生育酚,濃度為398.3 mg/kg)[4]

α-tocopherol at a concentration of 398.3 mg/kg)[4]


用 量﹕

one fresh fruit, make into decoction..


Samples of formulae:

處方舉 例﹕

For cold or  influenza: slice open a fruit and boil with water. Use as tea while warm.

治傷風感冒:用果實一粒,切開 ,加水煮沸。温服。

Modern Research:


Toxicity & Cautions:


 Do not use during pregnancy.

Do not use kafir in meat or fish in high heat cooking. It may increase the chance of developing liver cancer.

Enhancement of 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo(4,5-f)quinoxaline induced hepatocarcinogenesis.

The effects of Citrus hystrix (nan jiang) on hepatocarcinogenesis was investigated in a medium-term bioassay using F344 male rats.

The rats were given 1% dried C. hystrix leaves plus 0.03% 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo(4,5-f)quinoxaline in the diet for 6 weeks, beginning 2 weeks after an initial single intraperitoneal injection of diethylnitrosamine (200 mg/kg body weight).

Controls were given 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo(4,5-f)quinoxaline (0.03%), Citrus. hystrix (1%) or basal diet alone.

The rats did not show abnormal signs and no deaths occurred during the experimental period.

Food intake in the various groups was also not significantly different.

The rats fed C. hystrix plus 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo(4,5-f )-quinoxaline showed significant increases in both the number and mean sizes of GST-P positive foci as compared to controls fed 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo(4,5-f )quinoxaline alone.

C. hystrix alone had no effect on the development of GST-P positive foci.

This showed that the combined administration of C. hystrix and 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimi- dazo(4,5-f)quinoxaline significantly enhanced the hepatocarcinogenic effect of 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo(4,5-f) quinoxaline.

This finding is in contrast to the in vitro findings of inhibition of tumor promoter-induced EBV activation by C. hystrix. It is thus important to avoid consuming C. hystrix with heavily cooked meats and fish that are likely to contain 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo(4,5-f )quinoxaline



*The name hornet citrus fēng gān馬蜂柑,was written incorrectly from m fēng gān麻瘋柑 which mean leprosy citrus. The rind of the fruit is uneven like skin infected with leprosy; thus the fruit is also called leprosy citrus.


Hepatocarcinogenesis: the process of developing cancer in the liver.

Diethylnitrosamine: an organic compound which is a derivatives of ethylnitrosamine. It is  present in various foods and other products and found to be carcinogenic in laboratory animals.

F344 rats:  Fischer 344 rats, which are white albinos rats. They are produced by inbreeding (brother x sister) so they are genetically very close to each other. Studies done in different labs, or at different times, using pure strain rats, yield reproducible results and each study requires fewer animals than would a "non-pure" strain study. But,  the draw back of using pure strain rat is that humans are not "pure strain" and F344 genetic homogeneity is far from human variability

2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo(4,5-f)quinoxaline (MeIQx) is a carcinogen found in meat or fish cooked in high temperature. A study found that meat cooked with Asian marinate sauces significantly reduced the carcinogens. See: Nutrition and Cancer, Volume 34, Issue 2 July 1999 , pages 147 - 152

Intraperitoneal injection or IP injection is the injection of a substance into the body cavity.

GST-P: glutathione S-transferase pi (GST-P),  is frequently used as a marker to detect hepatocellular foci and neoplasms (tumor) in the rats.
[1] Identification of Essential Oil Composition of Peel and Fruits of Citrus hystrix DC. By: Safian M.F., and Mohamad Ali N.A., and Yury, N., and Zainal Ariffin Z, (2005) Identification of Essential Oil Composition of Peel and Fruits of Citrus hystrix DC. Malaysian Journal of Science, 24 (1). pp. 109-111. ISSN 13943065

[2]  Koh D, Ong CN. Phytophotodermatitis due to the application of Citrus hystrix as a folk remedy. 1999; 140: 737-738

[3] Murakami A, Nakamura Y, Koshimizu K, Ohigashi H. Glyceroglycolipids from Citrus hystrix, a traditional herb in Thailand, potently inhibit the tumor-promoting activity of 12-O-tetradecanoylphorpol 13-acetate in mouse skin. 1995; 43: 2779-2783

[4] Ling SL and Mohamed S. Alpha-Tocopherol content in 62 edible tropical plants. 2001; 49: 3101-3105


A manuscript... writing, translating and proofreading  in progress

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Last update: April 22, 2012; 12:51 pm. LAH