Latin Name: Citrus sinensis

What is an Orange?
Oranges are thought to be an ancient hybrid between the mandarin and the pomelo, cultivated in Southeast Asia, their name deriving from the Sanskrit for “orange tree.” They have since spread all over the world, their main producers now being Brazil, the United States, Mexico, India, and China. There are a wide variety of oranges, ranging in shape, in color, and taste. Back in 1818, the scientists Risso and Piteau documented as many as 169 varieties.

Though we normally eat oranges or drink their juice, they are also used in many other products that are completely unrelated to food. Orange oil is a main ingredient in perfumes, aromatherapy, and some cleaning products, in which it acts as a solvent to remove grease build-up. Its peel can be used as a slug repellant; orange leaves and flowers are perfect for tea, too.

What are the health benefits of Oranges?
Considered cooling in nature, oranges are used by traditional Chinese medicine to lubricate the lungs, rid the body of mucus, increase appetite, quench thirst, and treat hernias.

Oranges, and especially their pith, are very high in phytonutrients, particularly flavanon and herperidin, which are anti-inflammatory. These phytonutrients also lower both cholesterol and high blood pressure. Oranges are famous for having lots of vitamin C, one of the most powerful antioxidants. Eating just one orange provides over 100% of the recommended daily value for vitamin C consumption. These antioxidants prevent cell damage, thus protecting cells and DNA from the mutations that cause cancer. Vitamin C also supports the immune system and the cardiovascular system, preventing the oxidation and hardening of cholesterol, risk factors in stroke and heart attack.

The anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin C work against arthritis and asthma. In general, citrus consumption has been found to help prevent kidney stones, gingivitis, ulcers, gallstones, macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cataracts, cholera, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline, colitis, and Crohn’s disease. An orange’s content of limonin combats cancers of the skin, lung, breast, stomach colon, and mouth.

More information about the healing powers of Orange Peel can be found in the Herb section.

Where can I find Oranges?
Oranges can be found in most grocery stores and can sometimes be purchased through mail order, fresh from Florida or California, often in the winter.

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This entry was posted in Foods, Natural Health Dictionary.