NUMBUKA (Citrus acida)
Nimbuka has various synonyms in Ayurvedic texts, like vanhi, aljambira, dipya, vanhibija, amlasara, rocana, dantaghata etc. There are no references of nimbuka in very old texts of Ayurveda. Bhavaprakasa Nighantu has mentioned it as an appetizer, digestant and vata alleviator. Raja Nighantu has cited its numerous used in cough, vomiting, sore throat, fever, distaste, constipation and as caksusya – beneficial for the eyes. The five plants with sour fruits, together, are known as amlapancaka, which are amlavetasa (Garcinia pedunculata), jambira (Citrus limonum),naranga (Citrus aurantium), matulunga (Citrus medica) and nimbuka (Cirtus acida),
A straggling bush or small tree grows throughout India. It grows 3-4 meters tall, with numerous angular branches and sharp spines in the leaf-axils. The leaves are acute, alternate, shiny, and evergreen. The flowers are solitary, rarely 2 or 3 together, in axils. The fruit ovoid, rounded berry, with a nipple-shaped extremity, yellow, the plant flowers and fruits all the year round.
The botanical name of nimbuka is Citrus acida and it belongs to family rutaceae. The fruits juice contains 7-10% citric acid, phosphoric acid, mallic acid and citrate, slimy substance and salt. The fruit skin contains a volatile oil hesperidin, 5-10% and a bitter glucoside. In essential oil limonene, pinene, bergamotene, neral and geraniol identified. Essential oil from leaves of Brazilian plant contained citral (45.0) and limonene (28.93%). From the essential oil of Cuba plant 5, 7 – dimethoxycoumarin, 5- geranyloxy – 7 methoxycoumarin, 5, 8- dimethoxypsoralen isolated. In the peels 6, 7 – dimethoxycoumarin identified
Nimbuka is sour in taste , sweet in the post digestive effect and has semihot potency . It alleviates all the three dosas, predominantly vata and kapha. It possesses light and dry attributes. It improves the sensation of taste, increases an appetite and dry attributes. It improves the sensation of taste, increases an appetite and promotes digestion. It is used in vomiting, ciugh, ailments of the throat and tumours etc (Raja Nighantu)
The fruits have great medicinal value and are used for medicinal purpose, externally as well as internally. The oil of its fruit- skin is applied in exanthamatous fevers like measles, smallpox and chickenpox, for smoothening the skin, after falling out of the scabs . In non-oozing skin affections, the fruit juice is applied to alleviate the itching. The irritation of skin due to mosquito bite is instantly relieved with the application of fruit juice. In backache, the massage with fruit juice is salutary. The topical application of fruit juice is said to be affective in dandruff. The oil prepared from the skin of its fruit is known as Burgamot oil.
Internally, nimbuka is a useful medicine in various diseases. It is a keen stimulant for digestive system. As an appetizer, digestant, mild laxative and cholegogue, hence, used in various digestive ailments like anorexia, dyspepsia, vomiting, constipation, hepatopathies etc. In Ayurveda, the sour taste is said to be beneficial for the heart as it boosts the sadhaka pitta. It also augments the agni, stimulates the mental faculties, strengthens the tissues, promotes salivary secretion and facilitates the whole digestive process. Nimbuka bestows blood purifying activity, hence, beneficial in the heart diseases, skin diseases, gout and raktapitta. In cough due to vata and kapha, it works as mucolytic and relieves the phlegm. It is a rich source of Vitamin C, helpful in bleeding and spongy gums in scurvy. In vitiated conditions of pitta, the fruit fuice is recommended with rock candy. It is said to be benevolent in enlarged spleen. Nimbuka juice is used in Ayurvedic pharmacy, for the purification of sankha (conch), svarnamaksika (chalcopyrite), vamala (cubic sulphide of iron), manik mouktika , pravala etc. Amongst all sour juices, nimbuka is praised to be the best.
Nimbuka phala rasa.