Bitter Orange | Benefits of Orange Peel | Seville Orange

Bitter Orange or Citrus aurantium is a common herbal ingredient in ayurvedic preparations for a variety of health concerns. Nutrients in Seville orange are diverse and plentiful. Benefits of orange peel are widely accepted for numerous medicinal purposes, including beauty products. Bitter orange is extensively used in naturally boosting one's immunity and overall health. Orange fruits are used to treat headaches and heart palpitations in a natural way and without side effects.

Bitter Orange, Seville orange, Citrus aurantium, benefits of orange

Citrus aurantium Rutaceae Also called Seville orange.

A native evergreen of India, bitter orange is now cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region. It can grow to a height if 10m. Its dark green leaves are shiny and tough, and have a distinctive winged leafstalk. Groups if sweet-smelling, white flowers emerge at the point where the leafitalks join the stem.The fruit is similar to a sweet orange, only smaller.

Parts used

Leaves, flowers and fruits (peel)

The bitter-tasting leaves are gathered, and then dried in the open air. They are mainly used for infusions.

The strongly scented flowers are picked in the morning before them have fully opened, then dried out of direct sunlight. They are used to prepare orange flower water.The peel, which has a strong smell and very bitter taste, is taken from the fruit when it is not quite ripe and then dried in the open air.The essential oil and flavonoids are extracted from the peel, which is also rich in vitamin C.


The leaves contain a small quantity of an essential oil called petitgrain. The essential oil from the flowers is called neroli. The oil from the peel is composed of 90 per cent limonene.

Medicinal uses

Bitter orange flowers are used to treat nervous agitation and minor sleeping difficulties. In 2002 Brazilian scientists showed that essential oil from the leaves enhanced the effects of barbiturates in prolonging sleep. The bitter leaves stimulate digestion and the flowers are antispasmodic and so relieve digestive disorders. The fruits have been used to treat headaches and heart palpitations.

Bitter orange is also antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory, and has a diuretic action.


For internal use

TO TREAT nervous agitation, sleeping problems ORANGE FLOWER WATER Put 20g of dried flowers into 150m I of boiling water. Take in the evening before going to bed.

TO TREAT sluggish digestion INFUSION Put 5g of dried flowers into 1 litre of boiling water. Cover. Leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Strain. Drink 3 cups a day after meals.

For external use

To relax after a long day ESSENTIAL OIL Add 4 drops of neroli to your bath water.



Plant in a sheltered, sunny spot in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. The tree requires a good supply of water.


Bitter orange flowers and leaves have no known adverse side effects.

The essential oil should not be taken internally without medical supervision.

The fruit may not be suitable for people with rheumatic complaints.


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