Six-day randomized safety trial of intravaginal lime juice

Christine K. Mauck, Susan A. Ballagh, Mitchell D Creinin, Debra H. Weiner, Gustavo F. Doncel, Raina N. Fichorova, Jill L. Schwartz, Neelima Chandra, Marianne M. Callahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Nigerian women reportedly apply lime juice intravaginally to protect themselves against HIV. In vitro data suggest that lime juice is virucidal, but only at cytotoxic concentrations. This is the first controlled, randomized safety trial of lime juice applied to the human vagina. Forty-seven women were randomized to apply water or lime juice (25%, 50%, or undiluted.) intravaginally twice daily for two 6-day intervals, separated by a 3-week, washout period. Product application, also was randomized: during 1 interval, product was applied using a saturated tampon and in the other by douche. Vaginal pH, symptoms, signs of irritation observed via naked eye examination, and colposcopy, microflora, and markers of inflammation, in cervicovaginal lavages were evaluated, after 1 hour and on days 3 and 7. The largest reduction in pH was about one-half a pH unit, seen 1 hour after douching with 100% lime juice. We observed a dose-dependent pattern of symptoms and clinical and laboratory findings that were consistent with, a compromised vaginal barrier function. The brief reduction in pH after vaginal lime juice application is unlikely to be virucidal in the presence of semen. Lime juice is unlikely to protect against HIV and. may actually be harmful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-250
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical trial
  • HIV
  • Lime
  • Microbicide
  • Safety
  • Vaginal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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