Citrus x microcarpa, commonly known as the calamondin, is a citrus plant belonging to the Rutaceae family (Chen et al., 2013). It is believed to have originated in China as a natural hybrid between the present day mandarin and kumquat. It is currently grown in tropical and subtropical areas including India, Hawaii and Southern Asia (Chen et al., 2013).
Although calamondin is grown as an ornamental plant, it produces small, edible mandarin-like fruits (Tatum & Berry, 1978). These fruits are initially green and as they ripe, they turn orange (Chen et al., 2013). The fruit and the peel are eaten together and the flesh of the fruit is sour to the taste. In Taiwan, the fruit is mainly used for its juice and is favoured as a fruit tea for its low sugar content, aroma qualities and high acidity. Fruit tea is typically prepared by adding boiling water to the fruit which increases the yield of essential oils from the fruit and peel (Chen et al., 2013). The Taiwanese believe that the hot drink provides many health benefits and serves as an antioxidant due to the flavonoid compounds found in the citrus peel (Lou, Hsu, & Ho, 2014).
Aside from its culinary uses, the fruit’s juice serves a wide range of purposes. The juice can be applied after shampooing to relieve itchiness from the scalp and promote hair growth (Morton, 1987). The juice can also be applied to an insect bite, to eliminate the irritation and itchiness. In the Philippines, the juice is used to bleach freckles and ink stains from fabrics, while also serving as a body deodorant. When diluted and drunk warm, the juices serve as a laxative (Morton, 1987).
Chen, H., Peng, L., Sheu, M., Lin, L., Chiang, H., Wu, C., … Chen, Y. (2013). Effects of hot water treatment on the essential oils of calamondin. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, 21, 363-368.
Lou, S., Hsu, Y., & Ho, C. (2014). Flavonoid compositions and antioxidant activity of calamondin extracts prepared using different solvents. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, 22, 290-295.
Morton, J. (1987). Calamondin. Fruits of warm climates, 176-178.
Tatum, J. H., & Berry, R. E. (1977). Flavonoids of the citrus cultivar calamondin and synthetic 2′, β-dihydroxychalcones. Phytochemistry, 17, 447-449.