Citrus Aurantium’s natural habitat is India and China, but it is cultivated throughout the Mediterranean.
Citrus aurantium is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, and both flower and peel contain flavonoids - potentially health-promoting compounds that give the plant its vibrant colour - alkaloids, and carotenoids. Synephrine, tyramine, octopamine, hordenine and n-methyltyramine are present in the fruits, and these constituents, especially the active ingredient synephrine, act as a mild stimulant that boosts the metabolic rate, expends calories, and increases energy. This stimulation of the fat metabolism does not have negative cardiovascular or central nervous system effects, since only the beta-3 receptors are stimulated, without affecting other alpha and beta receptors which are related to heart rate and blood pressure. The substances tyramine and octopamine play an important role in controlling and suppressing the appetite.
Bitter orange is perhaps most known for the volatile oil in the peel, which gives bitter orange its strong odour and flavour, and accounts for many of its medicinal effects.
Some naturopaths recommend bitter orange oil for upset stomachs, sore throats and insomnia. It is used similarly in a wide variety of traditions - in traditional Chinese medicine, it is used to prevent vomiting, treat colds, indigestion, abdominal pain, constipation, and dysenteric diarrhoea. The milder, more mature fruit is used for the same effects on weak patients. In Europe, the herb is approved for treating upset stomachs and increasing appetite. In Mexico and South America, the leaf is used as a tonic, laxative, sedative for insomnia, and to calm the nerves, and the peel of the fruit is used for stomachaches and high blood pressure. The Basque people in Europe use the leaves for stomachaches, insomnia, and palpitations, and the bitter orange peel as an anti-spasmodic. Bitter orange continues to be widely used for insomnia and indigestion in many parts of the world.
Possible overall benefits include;
Increases metabolism and calorie expenditure
Promotes weight loss and accelerates removal of unwanted fat
Increases energy and physical performance
Acts as an appetite suppressant
Treats chest congestion and is a good expectorant for coughs
Stimulates gastrointestinal functions
Aids digestive disorders such as nausea, bloating, indigestion, abdominal pain and constipation