Properties and Benefits of Citron

One of the four original citrus fruit, the citron (Citrus medica) boasts as many health benefits as the mandarin, papeda and pomelo. Not only does it possess great antioxidant value, but it also exhibits antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. The citron is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia, from where it spread to the Mediterranean basin. It predates most other citrus fruits and records suggest it was being cultivated as far back as 3000 years ago. Citrus medica is a small, evergreen tree which grows to about 2-5 meters in height.

It has pleasantly fragrant leaves that give off a strong lemon odor. Flowers grow in clusters and differ in color depending on the variety: sweet citron varieties tend to have white-yellowish flowers, while acidic varieties are purple-colored. The tree is also highly sensitive to frost, limiting its cultivation to warmer regions. What does citron fruit look like? The citron is usually elongated or egg-shaped with a thin rind of yellow color. Unripe citrons are bright green, similar in color to limes. The fruit can grow to impressive sizes of up to 4-5 kg and 30 cm in diameter when fully mature. The rind of the fruit is furrowed or, in the case of some varieties, ribbed or even slightly bumpy. Citrons look a lot like lumpy, over-sized lemons.

Citron benefits

Buddha’s hand is a fingered citron variety known as such due to the fact that it resembles a hand with fingers, either opened or closed. Unlike other citrus fruit, the citron has a rather thick pith (the white inner part of the rind) and very little pulp (some varieties of the fruit have none, such as the Yemenite citron). The thick, predominant spongy white rind is also the biggest difference between citron and lemons and the easiest way to tell the two apart when you have citrons that look a lot like lemons. The fruit usually contains a lot of seeds which are either colorless or white with a darker interior.

What does the citron fruit taste like? There are three varieties of citron: sweet, acidic and bitter. Sweet citrons have a lower acidic content and are thus sweeter. Varieties include the Moroccan and the Corsican citrons. Acidic citrons are those with a high acid content. Varieties include the Balady, Greek, Diamante and Florentine citrons. Pulpless citrons, such as the Yemenite citron, have no pulp, just a lot of bitter pith.

What are citrons used for?

Citrons are widely used as candied sweets, preferably while green and unripe. Some pickle the fruit, while others use the peel to flavor all sorts of dishes, from rice to sweets. Unfortunately, few people eat them fresh. And there are plenty of reasons why you should eat fresh citron. Find out below what are the top 9 health benefits of citron:


1) Excellent natural pain reliever. If you have a headache, drink a glass of water with some freshly-squeezed citron juice. Citrons possess anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties which should make your headache go away naturally. What helps treat minor headaches and even tension headaches is the vitamin C in citron. In larger amounts, vitamin C can reduce arthritis pain and inflammation and improve joint mobility and life quality.

2) Natural diarrhea and constipation treatment. The thick white pith from underneath the rind is a rich source of pectin, a type of soluble dietary fiber. Pectin is known to help combat diarrhea and constipation and, as a result, the pith can be consumed for this purpose. Common preparations include ground citron rind, candied citron rind and citron jam. The pulp can further help with diarrhea because of its astringent properties.

3) Good for colds. Seeing they are rich in vitamin C, an incredibly potent natural immune system booster with antibiotic-like properties, citrons help prevent and reduce the severity of respiratory infections such as colds as well as speed healing. Just add a few drops of juice to a cup of tea that has reached room temperature. The reason you should allow the tea to cool down is because heat destroys vitamin C and its beneficial properties.

4) Offers anticancer protection. Citrons are a rich source of potent antioxidants such as vitamin C, a nutrient shown to drastically reduce cancer risks. Eating fresh vitamin C-rich foods such as citron can contribute to better health and cancer protection. Moreover, the albedo or the pith (the white part in between the rind and the pulp) has been shown to contain impressive antioxidants as well, further supporting the anticancer effects of the fruit.

5) Maintains healthy teeth and gums. The generous amounts of vitamin C in citron pulp contribute to teeth and gum health as well and help prevent the dreaded scurvy, provided the fruit is consumed fresh (cooking heat destroys vitamins). However, the acidity of the fruit may, in time, damage teeth enamel and cause teeth sensitivity. Also see why lemon water is bad for you.

6) Promotes cardiovascular health. Citrons were shown to contain good amounts of potassium and magnesium, two dietary minerals of unimaginable importance for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. While magnesium maintains the health of the heart muscle, potassium helps regulate blood pressure, counteracting high sodium levels and lowering high blood pressure, promoting cardiovascular health.

7) Useful for insect bites and small cuts. Citron fruit and leaves give off a strong lemony odor which easily impregnates clothes. While it is pleasant for us, the smell efficiently repels mosquitoes, moths and other insects. Rubbing a couple of drops of citron juice onto a mosquito bite is said to help reduce the itching sensation. And if you add a few drops of juice to a small cut, it should help stop the bleeding almost immediately.

8) Natural remedy for bad breath. Citron pulp, juice, extract or seeds are believed to help improve bad breath naturally. However, because bad breath is often but a symptom of an underlying medical condition, this is only a temporary solution.

9) Other uses. Because of its high vitamin C content, citrons were used in the past to prevent and treat seasickness, scurvy and associated nausea and vomiting. Moreover, they were recommended for the treatment of skin diseases and hemorrhoids. The scientific explanation for this is that vitamin C contributes to maintaining skin and blood vessel integrity and thus helps skin heal and prevents hemorrhoids, which are essentially swollen blood vessels, from bleeding. Citron essential oil, made from the rind of the fruit, was believed to possess potent antimicrobial and antibiotic properties and would be employed for external use in various therapies.

What are the side effects?

The acidic pulp is bad for tooth enamel, causing tooth sensitivity over time, but only if excessive amounts are consumed every day. The naturally-occurring citric acid and other fruit acids can irritate the stomach lining which makes citron bad for teeth sensitivity or stomach problems like gastritis or acid reflux. See what foods to eat and to avoid for acid reflux.


While it may be just a dry citrus fruit, often too acidic or bitter to be worth eating, keep in mind that citron is an incredibly healthy food that brings about many wonderful health benefits. The acidic pulp, the chewy white pith and even the rind holds great uses and help with a variety of health problems. Just know that regular consumption of citrus fruits, which are acidic, can damage tooth enamel over time and upset gastritis.

This post was updated on Saturday / July 11th, 2020 at 11:30 PM

11 thoughts on “Properties and Benefits of Citron”

  1. Very nice information, in fact, I had a severe headache. With dizziness. A glass of citron juice with a pinch of salt immediately relieved my headache. That was due to the pith. Cheers to the citron lime. And nice to know so many benefit it has.

    • I’m really happy to hear that citron juice helped you. The fruit is surprisingly healthy and rich in important nutrients, so its juice shares its benefits too. And thank you for sharing your headache relief solution with us. I’m thinking of trying it too next time I get a headache.

  2. Such an informative article. Thank you for posting!

  3. Just finished the Jewish holidays, where Citron was used. Heard about the medicinal properties and wanted to do something with a few of them. I opened them up and noticed that very little juice would come, so I food processed the whole fruit and cooked it up with water and some honey.
    Just checking to make sure its ok to drink a bit since I guess was quite concentrated (depending on how much water one added).
    I strained it and put the juice away in containers and also froze some.
    Since I have never worked with citron, is all this ok to consume? The whole rind was processed and cooked.
    Please answer. Thank you so much.

    • Hello, Esther. It’s ok to cook and eat the thick white inner rind of the fruit. You can also candy it in sugar, pickle it, make it into jam. You can use the inner rind to flavor various dishes. I’m sure it was delicious the way you cooked it.

  4. Can this citron juice help in weight loss and melt the fat inside the body? I’m too fat that’s why I’m asking. I’m expecting the helpful reply.

    • Hello, Mohammed. Citron and citron juice can help you lose weight if you incorporate them into your diet, but you have to pay attention at all the other things you eat as well. It’s the whole diet that matters if you want to lose weight. Losing weight is 70 or 80% about what you eat, how much you eat and how you eat. For example, if you have a glass of citron juice, a plain yogurt and some plain oats cereal in the morning, then continue with some grilled chicken and a salad in the afternoon and some boiled cod or other fish in the evening with some lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil, then you can lose weight. You can eat a fruit or two in between meals or some nuts or seeds as a snack. This is how you need to eat if you want to lose weight: small meals and clean, simple eating. Food has to be fresh, simple, low in fats, but also nutritious to keep you healthy. When I wanted to lose weight, I changed my eating completely. Nothing processed, no baked goods, no cookies, no biscuits, no candy, no cooking with butter or margarine, no frying, no white bread, no chips, no croissants, nothing already processed and ready to eat and reduced my salt intake considerably. This is how I avoided hidden calories, fats and a lot of unhealthy preservatives, not to mention water retention. You can see a dietitian and have him or her give you a detailed meal plan or simply eat healthier food prepared at home. The simpler the dish, the better. I lost an extra 12 kilograms by eating plenty of vegetables, some fresh fruit when I had a craving for something sweet, moderate amounts of whole grains, raw, unsalted nuts and seeds as snacks and moderate amounts of eggs, fish and chicken. I made sure I ate whenever I felt hungry and the more natural I ate, the more energy I had and the better I felt both physically and mentally.
      If you want to lose weight, you have to change your diet, not just incorporate citron juice in it. You can drink citron juice as part of a healthier diet to include a greater variety of quality foods that will help you maintain a healthy weight and good health. Wishing you lots of health.

  5. We’ve got some Citrons growing. Can we make a juice of the entire fruit (rind, pith and all) and drink it raw with some seasoning?

    • Hello, Nirmala. It would be best to make citron juice from pulp and pith and you can drink it raw. Personally, I like my citrus fruit either plain or with a bit of peppermint for flavor, but you can flavor it with anything you may like, really. The rind is inedible, although we may tolerate extremely small amounts like a bit of citron zest for flavor (similar to lemon zest). You can however make candied citron rind or a great citron rind jam or citron rind marmalade. After all, the pulp with its juice and the pith are the parts of the fruit which hold the most nutritional value and provide the most benefits. The rind not so much in the form it is present in the fruit because there is the issue of not being able to digest it properly and without this, you can’t absorb antioxidants or other nutritional elements. Also, remember that it’s best to always make the juice fresh and drink it right away. Juicing extracts nutrients and makes more easy to assimilate but, at the same time, it leaves them more vulnerable to light and other external factors. The longer a juice if left to sit, the more antioxidants it loses. Hope this helps.

  6. Honey citron and ginger help for loose weight and good for diabetic? Somebody give me review, please.

    • Hello, Kamel. Honey is basically just concentrated natural sugars (glucose and fructose mainly, the same two simple sugars that make up table sugar). If you are diabetic, eating honey will raise blood sugar levels, so it’s best avoided. You can still have a taste from time to time, but nothing more. As for weight loss, no, honey doesn’t promote weight loss.

      Citron is a good citrus fruit, overall healthy and it doesn’t cause weight gain because it’s relatively low in calories. But it doesn’t help you lose weight by itself either. All of your diet is important when you try to loose weight, not just one food. As for diabetes, citron is neither particularly good, nor bad. It’s a fruit so it’s best eaten in moderate amounts, but has plenty of vitamin C which helps with wound healing in diabetes.
      To my knowledge, citron rind is what most people eat from the fruit. The rind is cooked and candied, so it’s full of sugar. If you are a diabetic, it’d be wise to avoid candied citron rind, citron rind jams and products like these.

      Lastly, while ginger does have some effects on diabetes such as reducing fasting blood glucose levels and initiating mechanisms that allow for weight management, anti-inflammatory activity, these effects are minimal. Not to mention that the amounts required to produce any visible effects may be too much for some people and cause side effects of the likes of acid reflux, heartburn, hemorrhoids upset etc. In other words, while studies show ginger holds some beneficial activity with regards to type 2 diabetes, it is not a cure for diabetes.

      Diabetes is a disease of the metabolism. One food will not reverse it or cure it, be it honey, citron, ginger or others. Instead, the diabetic person needs to eat healthy overall and limit their intake of carbohydrates per day and per meal to prevent excessive blood sugar rises and the side effects that come with them. If you are diabetic, see your doctor or a nutrition expert for a personalized eating plan that includes recommendations for daily carbohydrate content and carbohydrate content per meal. Exercising and taking the medication your doctor prescribed you are just as important as eating right. Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health!

Comments are closed.