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Seville Orange – Benefits and Uses


Scientific Name: Citrus aurantium L.

Synonyms: Citrus vulgaris (Risso.).

Botanical Family: Rutaceae

Other Names: Bitter orange, Sour orange, Orange, Neroli, Bigarade Orange, Naranja, Loisel.

The plant is found in Africa, tropical Asia and is widely cultivated in other regions today.

Medicinal Part(s) Used

The fruit and leaf, fresh and dried fruit peel (the rind), the flowers, the seeds and the extracted essential oil.

Traditional Uses

Jamaican cultural uses and beliefs: The leaf and fruit skin are used to prepare a regular tea. The juice makes lemonade that has ‘vitamin C.’ The fruit juice can clear rust from a utensil. Burning the dry fruit skin chases away mosquitoes. Animals are bathed with the fruit juice to treat mange and fleas. The inner part of the fruit is roasted for goats when their feet hurt.

Jamaican medicinal uses: Sour orange is a popular remedy for the common cold in both Kingston and Windsor Forest.

Major uses (mentioned by more than 20% of people):
Common cold (including cough): The fruit is roasted in the fire after which the juice is squeezed and honey is added; 2 teaspoons are taken. Or, the juice is drunk with salt. The roasted flesh can be scraped and eaten with sugar. Alternatively, a tea is boiled with the leaves.

Minor uses (mentioned by more than 5% of people, but less than 20%):

Fever (and to keep cool): The roasted fruit is eaten, or used to bathe. The fruit is roasted in the fire and the juice is drunk with salt or mixed with Dragon stout.

Seville Orange
Seville Orange

Reported traditional medicine uses across the Caribbean:
According to the Caribbean pharmacopeia, the plant is recommended for colic (fresh leaf decoction or infusion), cough (fruit juice), inflammation of the eye (conjunctivitis) (juice), diarrhea (juice), fever (fresh leaf decoction or infusion; fruit peel decoction), flatulence (fruit peel infusion), flu (fresh leaf decoction or infusion; juice), headache (fresh leaf decoction or infusion), and intestinal parasites (fresh leaf decoction). (These recommendations are based on TRAMIL surveys, toxicity studies, scientific validation and available scientifc information Germosén-Robineau, 2014).

Reported traditional medicine uses internationally:
In Africa, the cut-open fruit is applied directly to ulcers, yaws (a type of chronic bacterial infection), and areas of the body affected by arthritis (Morton, 2013).

In Latin America and Italy, a leaf decoction is used as an anti-spasmodic, diaphoretic (induces sweating), stimulant, stomachic (improves action of the stomach) and increases appetite and tonic. The flowers are prepared as a syrup with reported sedative properties for nervous disorders and to help induce sleep. Infusions of the bitter bark are prepared and taken as an anti-pyretic (to reduce fever), stimulant, tonic and vermifuge (to expel intestinal worms) (Morton, 2013).

In China, Citrus aurantium preparations have a history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for the treatment of a number of health conditions, including constipation, diarrhea, dysentery, indigestion, and as an expectorant (clears mucus) (Stohs and Shara, 2007). The dried fruit, and, less commonly, the peel are used to treat a prolapsed uterus and anus, and for blood in the stool (Leung and Foster, 1996). In Chinese medicine uses also include pain in the epigastrum, vomiting and anorexia.

In the USA, Citrus aurantium was traditionally used by the Eclectic physicians (early American herbalists) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a digestive tonic and a flavouring agent for other herbal medicines (Blumenthal, 2004; 2005)

In Europe, the peel of Citrus aurantium is traditionally used to treat indigestion and related conditions; in Germany, as a supportive measure in treating stomach complaints, such as insufficient formation of gastric juice, and as an appetite stimulant (Bisset and Wichtl, 1994). The German Commission E Monographs recognize the medicinal value of Citrus aurantium peel in the treatment of appetite loss and digestive complaints (Blumenthal et al., 1998).

The great herbalist, Dr Sebi (the African Biomineral Balance), noted that if you squeeze the juice of the Seville orange over the head, this could cause mucus to drain from the head.

Dr Shooks noted in Elementary Treatise in herbology:
“For aiding digestion and assimilation, we find Bitter Orange peel to be of great benefit”.

Preparation and Dosage

Preparation and use include as drops, tonics, oil, teas, and tinctures.

Daily dosage: 1 to 2 g of dried Seville 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. Extract: 1 to 2 g; Tea: 1 cup 1 hour before meals.

Infusion of Seville Orange Peel

1 ounce Seville Orange Peel(cut)
1 pint distilled water

1. Boil the water and pour over the Orange Peel.
2. Let stand until cool.
3. Strain and bottle.
Use granite-ware utensils always, and keep covered well to preserve the oil and medicinal contents.

Dose: 4 to 8 drams as desired.


Toxicology: The Caribbean pharmacopeia, based on toxicity studies, has validated the safe use of several traditional preparations of Citrus aurantium, namely, fresh leaf decoction and infusion, fruit peel decoction and infusion, and fresh juice (Germosén-Rob-ineau, 2014).

A review of Citrus aurantium and p-syneph-rine concluded that bitter orange extract is safe for human consumption, and that there are no credible adverse effects associated with oral ingestion of bitter orange or p-synephrine (Stohs and Preuss, 2010).

Bitter orange flower and flower oil: No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages. An elevation of UV-sensitivity is possible with light-skinned individuals due to the phototoxic effect of the furocoumarins. Frequent contact with the volatile oil (such as the exposure experienced by workers in the liquor industry) can cause a sensitization that results in erythema, swelling, blisters, pustules, dermatoses leading to scab formation and pigment spots.

An overview of Citrus aurantium used in treatment of various diseases

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PDR for Herbal Medicine
Dr Shooks: Elementary Treatise on Herbology

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