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Herbs & Supplements «Bitter Orange Extract»

Bitter Orange, also known as Bigarade Orange or Neroli, has served many ancient cultures for its medicine effects in treating a large variety of health disorders. Today bitter orange teas, tinctures, and extracts are still used in connection with gastrointestinal disorders, insomnia, head aches, and obesity.

Bitter Orange for Better Health

Bitter orange has a complex chemical makeup. 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. The peel contains flavones, the alkaloids synephrine, octopamine, and N-methyltyramine, and carotenoids.

Only the peel of bitter orange has proven medicinal value, mainly for digestive problems and a few other health concerns. However, in folk medicine the flower of bitter orange is also used. Folk medicine uses the flower not only to treat gastrointestinal disorders, but to treat a myriad of health problems ranging from nervousness and insomnia, to gout and sore throat, and even for obesity. In oriental medicine, the flower of the bitter orange is used for poor appetite, chest and stomach pain, and vomiting. Homeopathic practitioners use both the peel and the flower to remedy both headaches and pain.

Today bitter orange continues to be employed in a wide variety of traditions. In Latin America, the leaf of the bitter orange plant is prepared as a tonic and used as a laxative, a sedative for insomnia, and to calm anxiety. The peel of the fruit is used to treat stomach aches and high blood pressure. Some cultures use bitter orange peel as an anti-spasmodic. In traditional oriental medicine, the bitter orange peal is used for indigestion, abdominal pain, constipation, and dysenteric diarrhea. Bitter orange is still used throughout the world as a remedy for insomnia and indigestion.

Bitter Orange for Weight Loss

Bitter orange contains several chemical compounds believed to stimulate metabolic rate, which may increase calorie burning in the body. While no clinical trails have substantiated the effectiveness of bitter orange as weight loss supplement, it appears to be effective in combination with St. John's wort and caffeine.

Dosage and Administration

Many health professionals recommend 1 to 2 grams of dried bitter orange peel simmered for 10 to 15 minutes in a cup of water. Three cups are usually recommended as a daily dosage. As a tincture, 2 to 3 ml is usually recommended, also to be taken three times a day. Supplementing with pure bitter orange oil is usually avoided.

Supporting Literature

Martinez M. Las Plantas Medicinales de Mexico. Mexico City: Libreria y Ediciones Botas, 1991.

Bejar E, Bussmann R, Roa C, Sharon D. Herbs of Southern Ecuador: A Field Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Vilcabamba. Spring Valley, CA: LH Press, 2001.

Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. 1999.

Gonzalez-Ferrara MM. Plantas medicinales del noreste de Mexico. Monterey, Mexico: Grupo Vitro, 1998.

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