Bitter Orange

Also indexed as:Citrus X Aurantium
Bitter Orange: Main Image © Martin Wall
Botanical names:
Citrus X Aurantium

How It Works

Bitter orange has a complex chemical makeup, though it is perhaps most known for the volatile oil in the peel. The familiar oily residue that appears after peeling citrus fruit, including bitter orange, is this volatile oil. It gives bitter orange its strong odor and flavor, and accounts for many of its medicinal effects. Besides the volatile oil, the peel contains flavones, the alkaloids synephrine, octopamine, and N-methyltyramine, and carotenoids.18, 19

How to Use It

Usually 1 to 2 grams of dried peel is simmered for 10 to 15 minutes in a cup of water; three cups are drunk daily. As a tincture, 2 to 3 ml (with a weight-to-volume ratio ranging from 1:1 to 1:5) is often recommended for use three times per day. 20 The purified volatile oil is generally avoided for reasons discussed in the side effects section.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.