Bitter Orange

Bitter Orange or Seville orange, as it is more popularly known, belongs to the family Rutaceae, genus Citrus and species aurantium. The tree has oval leaves and white blossoms which is highly fragrant. The fruit produced by the plant are called “Oranges” that bear an aromatic outer rind that is bitter in taste and an inner fruit that is acidic in nature and has a tangy taste, thus the popular name Bitter Orange.

The leaves, fruit, stems, flowers and the peel all are said to possess medicinal properties. Other common names of this herb are Sour Orange, Zhi shi, Seville orange. Though a native of tropical Asia, it is being widely cultivated in the Mediterranean zones. Bitter orange has been used by the Chinese, in the field of medicine, for over thousand years now. It is also grown in South America, India, southwestern U.S. and the Caribbean islands.

The herb is found to hold astringent, diuretic, aromatic, expectorant, and carminative properties. Some of the main medicinal uniqueness of this herb is as outlined below:

  • Help in lowering blood pressure.
  • Improve digestion.
  • Peel contains anti-inflammatory, choleretic, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
  • Prevents increase in cholesterol levels.
  • Treatment of heart burns, stomach upsets and loose motions.
  • Unripe fruit aids in weight loss and aids in controlling flatulence and bloating.
  • Peel is usually used in boosting appetite and cure dyspeptic disorders.
  • The peel hold some non acrid flavonoids has venotonic nature and are put to commercial use in cosmetic industry thereby preventing fragility of capillaries and aids in cellulite treatments.
  • Due to its aromatic quality essential oils like Neroli, (flower extract), petitgrain (foliage & brushwood), Bergamot (peel) are used in aromatherapy. Neroli oil is known to have a tranquil effect and elevate our spirits, reduces apprehension, dejection and distress. This oil has aphrodisiac properties and is helpful in easing premenstrual tension.
  • Improves skin elasticity and stimulates cellular action and development of fresh cells.
  • It is used as a bactericide, anti-spasmodic, antiseptic based on its cordial, carminative, deodorant, cytophylactic, sedative, emollient, digestive, and tonic characteristics.
  • Petitgrain oil is known for its soothing result on the nerves and aid in clearing pimples and acne.
  • Bergamot oil aids in curing SAD also known as the Seasonal Affected Disorder. Also used in eczema, chicken pox, psoriasis, cold sores acne and common wounds.

Though safe when consumed in small amounts through food it is said to contain components that can cause hypertension and cardiovascular toxicity.

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