14 August 2008

Other Common Names : Kuang chu, naranja agria, neroli, amara, hua chu hung, citrus bergamia, citrus bigaradia, citrus vulgaris, Seville orange, zhi shi, petit grain, chongcao, bigarade orange, sour orange.

Plant Parts Used : The dried outer peel of the fruit, with the white pulp layer removed, is used medicinally. The leaves and flowers are also commonly used in many folk traditions. The small, unripened fruit are a traditional flavoring in the liquor Curacao.
  • Habitat : Bitter Orange is a plant or a tree that belongs to the Rutaceae Family. It is a flowering evergreen tree which bears fruit and is native to tropical Asia, but is widely cultivated now in the Mediterranean region.
  • Of particular value is the oil that is extracted from the peel of bitter orange. This oil gives bitter orange a strong odor and flavor and is used as a remedy for a variety of health problems

Health Benefits of Citrus aurantium
  • Only the peel of bitter orange has proven medicinal value, mainly for digestive problems and a few other health concerns.
  • The flower of bitter orange is also used for treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, nervousness and insomnia, gout and sore throat, and even for obesity and it used to increase appetite and to ease chest and stomach pain, and vomiting.
  • Homeopathic practitioners use both the peel and the flower to remedy headaches, aid weight loss, indigestion, abdominal pain (epigastric), constipation, dysenteric diarrhea and high blood pressure.
  • The leaf is prepared as a tonic and used as a laxative, a sedative for insomnia, and to calm anxiety.
Composition-Active Ingredients
  • Bitter orange has a complex chemical makeup. The peel contains flavones, the alkaloids synephrine, octopamine, and N-methyltyramine and carotenoids.
  • Extracts from bitter orange contain a rare combination of five adrenergic amines: synephrine, N-methyltyramine, hordenine, octopamine, and tyramine.
  • Octopamine does not have lipolytic effects in human adipocytes.
  • The amines in bitter orange stimulate beta-3 cell receptors with less of an effect on other alpha and beta receptors. Stimulation of these beta-3 receptors elicits the breakdown of fat. Simultaneously, this stimulation causes an increase in the metabolic rate – thermogenesis – which burns calories.
  • Bitter orange contains synephrine (oxedrine), which is structurally similar to epinephrine has lipolytic effects in human fat cells only at high doses.
  • Although no adverse events have been associated with ingestion of bitter orange products thus far, synephrine increases blood pressure in humans and other species, and has the potential to increase cardiovascular events.
  • Bitter orange contains 6',7'-dihydroxybergamottin and bergapten, both of which inhibit cytochrome P450-3A, and would be expected to increase serum levels of many drugs.
  • The amines in bitter orange stimulate beta-3 cell receptors with less of an effect on other alpha and beta receptors. Stimulation of these beta-3 receptors elicits the breakdown of fat. Simultaneously, this stimulation causes an increase in the metabolic rate – thermogenesis – which burns calories. Bitter orange may also act as an appetite suppressant.
Dosage Information

Customary daily dosages are :
  • Crushed peel : 4 to 6 grams (about 1 teaspoonful) simmered for 10 to 15 minutes in a cup of water. 3 times per day.
  • Tincture : 2 to 3 grams (about one-half teaspoonful). 3 times per day. Extract: 1 to 2 grams (about one-quarter teaspoonful).
  • Weight loss remedies usually contain between 100 – 200 mg of bitter orange extract in combination with other herbs. Bitter orange extract commonly contains from 1.5 to 6% synephrine.
  • High doses of bitter orange can increase heart rate and increase metabolism.
Warning and Potential Side Effect
  • Bitter orange is safe in the small amounts found in foods. However, bitter orange is not safe when used in high doses. Bitter orange, which contains synephrine and N-methyltyramine, can cause hypertension and cardiovascular toxicity. Frequent contact with bitter orange peel or oil can also cause adverse skin reactions, which include sensitivity to the sun, blisters, pigment spots, and others. Large amounts of bitter orange peel ingested by children can cause intestinal colic, convulsions, and even result in death so caution is advised.
  • They may interact with some other medicines and can cause adverse effects. Some of these medications include : Ulcer medications, Anti-anxiety medication, Blood pressure medications, Cholesterol medications, Allergy medication, Fungal medications, HIV medications, Sedation medication, Anti-nausea medication and Weight loss medication
  • Children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use this herb.
  • People suffering from hypertension, tachyarrhythmia, or other heart disease, narrow-angle glaucoma should stay clear from bitter orange.
  • Increased body temperature may occur as the bitter orange dose is increased. Drink plenty of cold water.
  • Do not take bitter orange daily for many weeks or months without a break

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