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Finger lime, Lyudè. The green caviar from Australia to Sicily for cosmetics

The properties of green caviar, beyond the food industry. Finger lime, in synergy with other active ingredients of natural origin, regenerates the skin by stimulating new collagen fibres

The caviar of vegetables: finger lime and its history

A native of the lowland subtropical rainforests of coastal Australia, the Citrus Australasica, also known as finger lime, has been a valuable source of medicine and food for Aboriginal people for thousands of years. Nowadays, finger lime is gaining popularity also in Western countries. Here, it has become one of the most sought-after ingredients by Michelin star restaurants and skincare brands worldwide. Francesco Coppolino, CEO at Lyudè Cosmetics, founded the Italian brand that bases its products on this ingredient and recently launched a line of skincare.

Known also as caviar lime or green caviar for its similarity with sturgeon roe, finger lime tastes like a combination of limes and lemons. But the texture of their pulp makes all the difference. These citrus fruits contain the caviar-like pulp used to garnish dishes, ensuring a burst of acidic flavor. Despite their rise to fame among chefs, finger limes are an ancient fruit utilized for thousands of years in Australia. This fruit has been a source of nourishment and medicine for natives. They, in fact, ate it for its taste and used it for its ability to ward off disease. In addition, they applied the pulp and juice of finger limes as an antiseptic to infected sores and wounds. 

Finger lime cultivations around the world to Western countries

Nowadays there is almost no wild harvest of the plant anymore. One can rarely find finger limes growing naturally due to European deforestation that devastated the land where wild citrus trees once grew spontaneously. Commercial plantings occur predominantly in the natural reach. Although, there are a few plantings along the coast. The industry is growing, but still it remains small. Grafted finger lime trees, however, have made their way to other subtropical and tropical regions, such as southern Europe and the US.

Moving the finger lime cultivation to Western countries with similar climate conditions doesn’t change that Australia is amidst a deforestation and land clearing crisis, with an MCG-sized area of forests and bushlands destroyed every two minutes. Just fifty percent of Australia’s forests and bushlands has remained intact, compared with pre-European arrival. While the other fifty percent have been either permanently destroyed and replaced with another land use. In this way, forests of native species, such as finger lime, are commonly replaced by other land uses that generate higher short-term returns.

Finger lime cultivations around the world

To cope with this issue and make finger lime less expensive and more available for the Western market, finger lime cultivations spread in regions like southern Italy and California. Since finger lime arrived in Europe, it has caught the attention of different industries, such as cuisine and beauty ones. This despite the high prices.

Because of its peculiar appearance, which resembles caviar, chefs worldwide started adopting this ingredient in their menus. Finger lime’s peculiar taste and texture are gaining popularity in high-class restaurants. Chefs, in fact, began to grow the crops to avoid shortages and skip long delivery times.

Another industry that showed interest in this fruit is the beauty and cosmetic one. These fruits have high Vitamin C content, to be rich in folate, potassium, vitamin E, and α-hydroxy acids, famous to play a crucial role in stimulating the skin to produce new collagen fibers.

Lyudè cosmetic products-Lampoon
Lyudè cosmetic products: Luxe revitalizing cream, Luxe eyes contour cream, Luxe radiance serum

Lampoon review: Lyudè and the use of the Australian lime

Thi is the reason why this Australian lime caught the attention of Francesco Coppolino. Coppolino’s family has been working in floriculture for over thirty years, producing citrus and ornamental olive trees in the Messina area. They’re no new to finger lime, since they imported the product from Australia. Ten years ago, they also started the first cultivation of this fruit in Sicily, where they live.

Knowing the valuable properties of this plant and the high concentration of vitamin c, Coppolino also discovered the Aboriginal traditional medicine. He identified the possibility of using it in the cosmetic industry. After the analysis by a team of experts, he created the brand Lyudè. A Made in Italy skincare line that exploits the main characteristics of finger lime and translates into anti-aging action.

Lyudè’s commitment in emissions reduction

Using the finger lime cultivated in their own fields, Lyudè helps reduce the emissions related to shipping these fruits from Australia, which comes at a high cost for the environment. Transportation has a significant impact. Products, in fact, are often shipped long distances and not infrequently via air. Mainly when it comes to fresh products, like tropical fruits. Transporting food over long distances generates carbon dioxide emissions, with airfreight generating fifty times more CO2 than sea shipping. And since sea shipping is slow, fresh products are increasingly shipped faster, and in more polluting ways such as highway vehicles, trains, and planes. These engines emit high quantities of nitrous oxides and particulates. These produce air pollution and affect air quality causing damage to human health.

All these toxic air pollutants are closely related to the cause of cancer, cardiovascular (heart arteries, capillaries, and veins), respiratory and neurological diseases. However, the most significant emissions component is from keeping the products refrigerated in the containers. This results in excess carbon emissions that contribute to the climate crisis. Fresh perishable goods, in fact, must be refrigerated to prevent decay. For this reason, they are stored in a refrigerated warehouse before being transported in a plane and then sent to another refrigerated warehouse at the arrival. The main issue with refrigerated containment systems is that they emit hydrofluorocarbons. These are greenhouse gases estimated to be nine thousand times more harmful than CO2 for the atmosphere. 

On-site cultivation to cut costs and emissions

Many sustainable brands decide to move the cultivation of raw materials on-site. The aim is to cut costs and carbon emissions while also being more environmentally friendly and monitor the quality of products and, not less important, of workers’ conditions. By choosing to cultivate their finger lime in Italy ten years ago, Lyudè committed to this approach. So did when they created Luxe. This product line employs the properties of finger lime to help improve skin hydration and support collagen production. While also helping to reduce oil build-up, acne, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. 

Luxe line features three skincare products: Luxe radiance serum, Luxe revitalizing cream and Luxe eyes contour serum. But they are already working on specific products for facial cleansing. These revitalizing and anti-age skincare products combine finger lime’s benefits in synergy with other nourishing and high-quality ingredients. These help improve microcirculation and skin moisturization and promote cell renewal.

Lyudé line doesn’t use only finger lime. It also combines its properties with other natural ingredients, such as shea butter, avocado oil, and stem cells extracted from vines, to mention some. They create a mix that regenerates the skin by stimulating new collagen fibres. The anti-aging action is due to the α-hydroxy acids contained in finger limes. These are highly delicate and provide a gentle exfoliation through the stimulation of TRPV3 receptors located on the keratocytes of the skin. The activation of these receptors causes the passage of calcium ions, eliminating the superficial layer of dead cells. Through the stimulation of new collagen fibers, the skin appears day after day more toned, luminous and youthful.

Lyudè

CEO at Lyudè Cosmetics, Francesco Coppolino created Lyudè, a Made in Italy skincare range of products that exploit the main characteristics of Citrus Australasica (Australian Finger Lime) with particular extraction methods and translate into Luxe, an anti-aging skincare line.

Matteo Mammoli

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

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check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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