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Buddha hand (Citron)

Buddha hand is a type of citrus. It is a very strange and wonderful tree that is better known to most consumers in its preserved rather than fresh form. Citron is its another name; however, it is called in French, cedrat, cidratier, citronnier des Juifs; in Spanish, cidra, poncil, poncidre, cedro limón.

It is a slow growing tree reaching to 8 to 15 ft high with very stiff branches with many short or long spines in the leaf axil. The fruit is very fragrant and has the lemon scent, so that we can call it the lemon ancestor. Fruit has a very thick and fleshy yellow peel that is the source of lemon fragrance.

Food Use

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*

Moisture 87.1 g
Protein 0.081 g
Fat 0.04 g
Fiber 1.1 g
Ash 0.41 g
Calcium 36.5 mg
Phosphorus 16.0 mg
Iron 0.55 mg
Carotene 0.009 mg
Thiamine 0.052 mg
Riboflavin 0.029 mg
Niacin 0.125 mg
Ascorbic Acid 368 mg

The most important part of buddha hand is peel which is intensely fragrant. The peels are candied in a strong sugar solution. Then the candied peels are sun-dried or kept in jars for future use. The candied peels can be used in food, especially as an ingredient in fruit cake, pudding, sweet rolls, and candy. In Indonesia, buddha hand peel is used raw with rice. In Guatemala, the juice is used to flavor carbonated soft-drink. In Malaya, the juice is used as a substitute for the lemon juice. In France, the juice is used to flavor wine and vermouth. In Spain, a syrup made from the peel is used to flavor unpalatable medical preparation.

Other use

Buddha hand is symbol of happiness and long life in china. In China and Japan, people give the fruit as a gift because of its fragrance. They also use the ripe fruit to perfume the air of a room. They also use dried peel to repel moths in stored clothing. The essential oil in peel is also used to make perfume. In some of the South Pacific islands, the oil extracted from the leaves and twigs is used in French perfume industry.

Medicinal Use

In ancient times, the buddha hand was used as a remedy or seasickness, pulmonary troubles, intestinal ailments and other disorders. In India, people use the peel as a remedy for dysentery and is eaten to overcome halitosis. The candied peel is sold in China as a stomachic, stimulant, expectorant and tonic. In Africa, buddha hand is used as a medicine against rheumatism. The essential oil of the peel is considered antibiotic.