Bitter Orange

Latin name: Citrus aurantium
Chinese name: zhi shi
Other name: bigarade orange, Seville orange

What is Bitter Orange?
Bitter orange has been used as a medicinal herb by many cultures for hundreds of years. The bitter orange tree is native to Eastern Africa, Arabia, Syria, India, and China; it is also cultivated in Spain, Italy, and North America. The powerful scent and flavor of bitter orange comes from the oil within its peel. The dried outer peel of the unripe fruit of bitter orange is most often used medicinally. The leaves and flowers are also commonly used in many folk traditions. Bitter orange teas, tinctures, and extracts have been popularly used to treat gastrointestinal disorders, insomnia, headaches, and obesity.

What are the health benefits of Bitter Orange?
In traditional Chinese medicine, the bitter orange peel is used in combination with other herbs to ease indigestion, abdominal pain, constipation, and dysenteric diarrhea. In addition to remedying indigestion, bitter orange is also used throughout the world to relieve insomnia and to stimulate metabolism. Homeopathic practitioners use both the peel and the flower to remedy headaches and other physical pains. In Latin America, the leaf of the bitter orange plant is prepared as a tonic and used as a laxative, as well as a sedative to calm anxiety and relieve insomnia. Bitter orange peel is sometimes employed to treat high blood pressure.

What are the guidelines for taking Bitter Orange?
To prepare tea, boil 3 to 6 grams of dried bitter orange peel in 2 cups of water for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink up to three cups per day. As a tincture, 2 to 3 milliliters, three times a day, is the usual recommendation. Supplementing with pure bitter orange oil is usually avoided.

Where can I find Bitter Orange?

Bitter orange can be found in health food stores, Asian specialty stores, as well as at the offices of herbalists and traditional Chinese medical practitioners.

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This entry was posted in Herbs, Natural Health Dictionary.