Limestone, commonly known as chuna in Hindi, is a type of sedimentary rock. The use of limestone as a building material is profound. It is also a popular ingredient in the chemical industry for the production of lime.

The major ways of formation of limestone are either through evaporation or with the help of living organisms. The main constituents of limestone are marine organisms like molluscs, forams, and corals. Crystal forms of the compound calcium carbonate like calcite and aragonite are the major minerals that make limestone.

Limestone has been mentioned in the Ayurveda for its various health benefits. Maharishi Bhagbata in his scripture ‘Ashtanga Hridayam’ mentioned that limestone could be used to cure about seventy diseases in human beings.

Several therapies also recommend the use of limestone for the abundant minerals present in it. A rich source of calcium, limestone has numerous benefits which have been discussed in this article.

Some basic facts about limestone

  • Chemical Name: Calcium carbonate
  • Chemical Formula: CaCO3
  • Common Name: Chuna, limestone
  • Mostly found: In coastal areas, near the seashore
  1. Health benefits of limestone
  2. Other benefits of limestone
  3. Limestone powder
  4. Side effects of limestone

Limestone is chemically called calcium carbonate and is thus, abundantly rich in calcium. Besides this, a host of other minerals are present in it, making it suitable for good health. The practice of eating limestone with betel leaves (paan) is common in India. The major health benefits associated with limestone have been discussed below.

Limestone for stronger bones

Adequate dietary calcium is essential for growing kids as it lays the foundation of the future bone structure. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in bone. It is present in large amounts in limestone and thus, is deemed ideal for growing kids.

Studies have found that inclusion of limestone in the diet in the recommended doses can help in the appropriate development of bones in kids. Proper calcium levels further ensure that children attain the proper height with age.

It is usually suggested that limestone mixed with water, curd, or pulses can be given to young children.

Limestone for teeth

Calcium is required for the formation of a proper set of teeth. Calcium deficiency gives rise to a number of teeth and gum problems. The jaw bones that are required for holding the teeth in place are also strengthened by calcium.

The high content of calcium in limestone makes it a favourite ingredient in most of the toothpaste available these days. Limestone also helps in the prevention of mouth odour when used regularly.

Addition of a pinch of limestone with toothpaste is recommended for healthy teeth and gums.

Limestone for inflammation of joints

A predominant symptom of diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis is the inflammation (painful swelling) of joints. These diseases are often caused due to a deficiency of calcium and Vitamin D in the body.

Studies have found that inclusion of limestone in the diet can prevent such diseases due to a better supply of calcium. It also reduces inflammation by improving bone mass density in these patients. The antioxidant property of limestone also plays a role in the reduction of inflammation in joints. 

Limestone for pregnancy

Another major benefit of calcium is among pregnant women. The calcium content of limestone will help in increasing the bone strength of foetus and promote its healthier growth. Also, it has been suggested that intake of limestone in the diet will ensure a normal delivery with a reduction in labour pain.

It is recommended that pregnant women should consume a pinch of limestone with pomegranate juice every day for the best results. This hypothesis, however, requires the support of further studies.

(Read more: How to get pregnant)

Limestone for memory

Calcium and Vitamin D play an important role in the functioning of the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain. Unregulated levels of calcium metabolism have been found to be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. It could lead to the production of proteins such as tau and amyloid beta peptides, that are associated with the development of Alzheimer's. This may affect the cognitive (related to memory and brain) functioning of the individual.

Limestone, being rich in calcium can prevent such conditions and could be beneficial in boosting memory.

Intake of limestone in an advancing age may have a protective role in brain functioning.

Limestone for digestion

The increase in calcium intake causes an increase in the levels of gastric juices by stimulating their secretion. This can help in the process of digestion.

Studies have found that calcium carbonate causes the inner lining of the stomach to increase the secretion of acids and gastric juices aiding in digestion. The inclusion of limestone can, therefore, prevent digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and constipation.

Limestone is also believed to improve the metabolic activity of the liver. It is thus recommended to be consumed with sugarcane juice, for the management of liver function disorders such as jaundice. However, further studies are required to confirm this hypothesis.

Limestone for the skin

The use of limestone paste is recommended in case of skin conditions such as acne which develop majorly in oily skin types. Calcium present in limestone is antioxidising in actions and can help in the treatment of acne. Antioxidants also help in preventing tissue damage and cause delaying in ageing of the skin.

A mixture of honey and limestone has been found to be effective in the treatment of acne.

(Read more: Antioxidant foods)

Limestone for wound healing

The antioxidising property of limestone is helpful for the healing of wounds. It is as an excellent remedy for treating cuts or burns while acting as an antiseptic. This helps wounds to dry quickly and reduces their healing time. Due to these reasons, various ointments for wounds already have limestone or calcium carbonate as a key ingredient.

A mixture of limestone and honey can also be applied to fresh cuts for an effective healing.

Besides health, limestone also offers a wide variety of benefits in day-to-day life. The benefits of life, other than in health, have been discussed in detail below.

  • Water treatment: The water sources in many rural communities are mostly wells, which have acidic water due to high amounts of iron.  Acidic water is a nuisance and causes corrosion in the pipes, especially those made of copper. Water treatment with the help of limestone is a common practice as they help in maintaining the acid balance of the water and aid in the removal of iron and its by-products.
  • Healthy water bodies: Limestone is an excellent agent for supplementing water bodies such as ponds. Adding limestone in ponds increases the availability of nutrients for both the plants and the fish living in it. Limestone should, however, be added in appropriate amounts to prevent toxicity.
  • Improving soil quality: Limestone is used for restoring the acidic soil. Crops cannot withstand highly acidic soil since it hinders their growth. Limestone can thus be added to lands with highly acidic soils. It will help in the neutralization of the acidic content. It is, however, important to check the existing soil quality and then add limestone accordingly. Also, the acidity of the soil should be modified keeping in mind the crops being cultivated and the right soil conditions required for them.

Limestone is basically a sedimentary rock and is available in chunks in the raw form. The large rocks are broken into smaller parts and crushed to make limestone powder.

The powder is usually available in the packeted form in the market.

Limestone powder can be mixed with water, curd, honey etc. according to the remedy it is used for.

Limestone has great benefits for health when taken in minimal prescribed doses. However, unregulated use of limestone can cause several side effects which have been discussed below.

  • Some people may experience symptoms such as loss of appetite, unusual loss of weight, vomiting, nausea, pain in the muscles and bone, headache and increased thirst and urination. Experiencing weakness and fatigue has also been observed among people consuming limestone as a supplement. It is, therefore, recommended that you consult a physician before starting consumption of limestone.
  • Unmonitored usage of limestone may cause conditions such as gas and bloating in the stomach.
  • An excess amount of calcium in the body is harmful to the kidneys. Certain people may experience signs of kidney damage such as alteration in the amount of urine. This side effect is very rare with the use of liemstone.
  • Allergic reactions such as swellingdizzinessbreathing difficultyitching or rash, especially in the tongue, throat, and facial areas if observed with the use of limestone, must be immediately reported to a health professional.


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