Bitter Orange (Citrus Aurantium)
- The bitter orange tree is native to eastern Africa and tropical Asia. Today, it is grown throughout the Mediterranean region and elsewhere, including California and Florida.
- Bitter orange oil is used in foods, cosmetics, and aromatherapy products. Bitter orange oil from the tree’s leaves is called petitgrain, and oil from the flowers is called neroli.
- Bitter orange has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and by indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest for nausea, indigestion, and constipation.
- Current folk or traditional uses of bitter orange are for heartburn, loss of appetite, nasal congestion, and weight loss.
- It is also applied to the skin for fungal infections such as ringworm and athlete’s foot.
- The dried fruit and peel (and sometimes flowers and leaves) are taken by mouth in extracts, tablets, and capsules. Bitter orange oil can be applied to the skin.
- Many herbal weight-loss products now use concentrated extracts of bitter orange peel in place of ephedra. However, bitter orange contains the chemical synephrine, which is similar to the main chemical in ephedra. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned ephedra because it raises blood pressure and is linked to heart attacks and strokes; it is unclear whether bitter orange has similar effects. There is currently little evidence that bitter orange is safer to use than ephedra.
- Because bitter orange contains chemicals that may speed up the heart rate and raise blood pressure, it may not be safe to use as a dietary supplement. There have been reports of fainting, heart attack, and stroke in healthy people after taking bitter orange supplements alone or combined with caffeine. People should avoid taking bitter orange supplements if they have a heart condition or high blood pressure, or if they are taking medications (such as MAO inhibitors), caffeine, or other herbs/supplements that speed up the heart rate.
- Due to lack of safety evidence, pregnant women or nursing mothers should avoid products that contain bitter orange.
- Bitter orange oil used on the skin may increase the risk of sunburn, particularly in light-skinned people.
Aurantii Fructus, Aurantii fructus immaturus, Aurantii pericarpium, Aurantium, Bigarade, Bitter Orange Flower, Bitter Orange Peel, Chao Zhi Ke, Chisil, Citrus amara, Citrus Aurantium Fruit, Citrus bigarradia, Citrus vulgaris, Extrait de Zeste d’Orange, Fleur d’Orange Amère, Flos Citri Auranti, Fructus Aurantii, Fructus Aurantii Immaturus, Green Orange, Kijitsu, Methyl-Synephrine, Methyl-Synephrine HCl, Méthyl-Synéphrine HCl, Methyl Synephrine, N-Methyltyramine, Naranja Amarga, Neroli Oil, Norsynephrine, Octopamine, Octopamine HCl, Orange Amère, Orange de Séville, Orange Peel Extract, Orange Verte, Seville Orange, Shangzhou Zhiqiao, Sour Orange, Synephrine, Synéphrine, Synephrine HCl, Synéphrine HCl, Synephrine Hydrochloride, Zeste d’Orange Amère, Zhi Ke, Zhi Qiao, Zhi Shi.
Source: WEBMD, “Bitter Orange”, www.webmd.com
See Also: Citrus Aurantium