Herbal Profile: Orange Peel |

Herbal Profile: Orange Peel

Sarena-Rae Santos October 4, 2023

What is Orange Peel

Orange peel, sometimes referred to by its scientific name Citrus x aurantium,​​ is the rind of the orange fruit. Oranges have a fleshy and juicy middle (the most commonly consumed part of the fruit). Then there’s the orange pith, the white spongy substance you see after peeling the fruit (1). The orange pith is considered the inner part of the orange peel. Then, of course, there’s the orange peel containing the oil sac (2). Most don’t know that the entire orange fruit is edible, including the often discarded peel.

Health Benefits of Orange Peel

Although the orange’s peel is often discarded, it’s brimming with health benefits, some greater than the fruit itself. Some benefits of orange peels include: 

Rich in Nutrients

Our body needs nutrients to flourish. Without vital vitamins and minerals, our bodies won’t function properly. Orange peels are a rich source of fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate, and vitamins A  and C (3). Although oranges are known for being rich in vitamin C, amongst other benefits, orange peel provides nearly 3x more vitamin C and about 4x more fiber than the inner fruit (4). If you read our blog, What You Need to Know About Vitamin C Supplements, you already know the importance of vitamin C.

Antioxidant Properties

Antioxidants can help fight damage from harmful free radicals. The buildup of free radicals has been linked to chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease (5). Orange peel’s vitamin C content may reduce oxidative stress levels (6). Orange peels are significantly higher in polyphenol content and activity than the actual fruit (7). One study found sweet orange peel extracts to have the highest antioxidant capacities compared to the other citrus fruits tested (8). 

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Although inflammation is a natural bodily response, chronic inflammation can lead to detrimental health effects. Chronic inflammation has been linked with many diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, and certain cancers (9). Thankfully, orange peels may help reduce inflammation (10). One study found citrus peel extract exhibited protective effects on T cell-dependent hepatitis, possibly by suppressing inflammatory mediators (11). Another study 

demonstrated how substances produced in the gut from citrus compounds decrease inflammation in the colon associated with diseases like irritable bowel disease and colorectal cancer (12).

May Support the Immune System

The immune system protects the body from outside invaders, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins (13). When you support your immune system, you potentially support your body’s ability to fight sickness. Orange peel’s vitamin C content may shorten and reduce the severity of common colds (14). One study demonstrated the positive effects of orange peels derived pectin on Nile tilapia’s innate immune response, disease resistance, and growth performance (15). Another study indicated that orange peel extract has a powerful antibacterial effect against enteric pathogens, which can enhance the digestive and immune systems (16). 

May Promote Heart Health

Unfortunately, heart disease is the world’s number one cause of death (17). Due to the incredibly complex determinants of heart disease and various possible contributions, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact way to prevent it. Still, you can at least take steps to lower your overall risk. That’s where orange peel’s nutritional content may come in.

Studies show high vitamin C and fiber diets may promote heart health (18,19). Studies have found orange juice consumption positively impacts blood pressure levels (20). Since these benefits likely come from the orange’s vitamin C content, assuming the same benefits would occur from the fruit’s peel is safe. Additionally, in animal studies, orange peel oil reduced systolic pressure (SP) and diastolic pressure (DP) in hypertensive rats (21). 

May Support Brain Health 

Brain health refers to cognitive health, motor functions, emotional functions, and tactile functions. Brain functions may decrease across several areas as we age due to neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or even amyloid plaques (22). Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia, multiple sclerosis (MS), and other brain diseases are associated with inflammation (23,24,25). 

Thankfully, consuming citrus fruits and juices can positively impact brain health and reduce the risk of degenerative diseases (26). One study found orange peel’s polyphenol content may help protect against neurodegenerative diseases (27). Interestingly, studies have found that vitamin C deficiency in the brain is associated with reduced angiogenesis and vascular dysfunction (28).

May Support Healthy Digestion

The digestion process breaks down food into smaller components that can be absorbed into the bloodstream and turned into nutrition (29). When food isn’t digested properly, digestive troubles like heartburn may occur. Bitter-tasting herbs, such as orange peels, have supported upper digestive activity in many cultures; studies confirm this benefit (30). One study concluded that orange peel pectin extract (OPPE) is important in gastrointestinal motility regulation and lends pharmacological credence to the suggested use of natural pectin for constipation (31).

Anticancer Properties

Statistics say that 158.3 of every 100,000 individuals will die from cancer, but what if they didn’t have to (32)? Thankfully, orange peel’s vitamin C and fiber content may protect against certain types of cancer (33,34). Additionally, orange peels are a good source of the polyphenols hesperidin and polymethoxyflavones (PMFs), which have been studied for their potential anticancer effects (35,36,37).

Safety Concerns

Shockingly, the mainstream says eating orange peel is perfectly healthy and safe. However, they do warn the peel is fairly bitter, which means it’s not the sort of food you’d want to eat in large amounts. Instead, they recommend adding its zest to foods and drinks (38). My favorite way to use orange peel is by blending it and using it as a vitamin C supplement in smoothies.  

When it comes to orange essential oil, there are three types: bitter, blood, and sweet orange. Trusted aromatherapist Wendy Robbins says to avoid oxidized bitter and blood orange essential oil due to a greater risk of skin sensitization. She recommends a dermal maximum of 1.25% when using bitter orange essential oil to avoid the risk of a phototoxic reaction. She indicates no special precautions when using sweet or blood orange essential oil (39,40,41).

How to Use Orange Peel

You can find orange peel in dried bulk, pills, powders, teas, extracts, or tinctures. Tinctures always contain the most concentrated amount of herbs. Teas and soups are also options, especially when following Ayurvedic medicine recipes. If you’re a DIY person, some great starter recipes are:

Follow the recommendations of any supplement; some of my recommendations include:

  • Earthley’s Anti-Inflammatory was created for the common inflammation that can flare up from low immunity or an illness. This herbal extract helps to calm the body, reduce inflammation, and provide immune support. It can even help improve your mood!
  • Earthley’s Bloom Joy Tea brews into a beautiful, delicious, and lightly floral blend. Supports a healthy immune system. Great hot or iced.
  • Earthley’s Digest-Support {Digestive Bitters} relieves gas, bloating, and digestive distress. These natural bitters promote better nutrient absorption –alleviating symptoms like gas, bloating, indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea.
  • Earthley’s Elderberry Elixir is a liquid supplement that combines elderberries and other immune-supporting herbs for everyday wellness. It’s an elderberry tincture (not syrup) that’s a potent cold and flu fighter, shelf-stable for up to 2 years, and super concentrated, which makes it the most cost-effective option.
  • Earthley’s Immune-Aid Vitamin C Powder is a vitamin C supplement made with 100% real food. Organic berries and orange peel provide natural vitamin C to support your immune system. This powder makes the perfect nutrient-rich addition to your daily routine. Also available in capsules.
  • Earthley’s Morning Burst Essential Oil is designed to start the day feeling happy and refreshed. Fresh, sweet citrus peel combines with citrus blossoms for the best get-going blend. Start your morning with this invigorating and uplifting blend. 
  • Earthley’s Prebiotic Mask helps feed your skin’s microbiome. Enjoy glowing, even-toned skin with Earthley’s luxury botanical skin care. Your skin has natural bacteria on it, just like your gut. So don’t forget to show your skin’s microbiome some love too.
  • Earthley’s Vita-C Tincture is a whole food form of vitamin C extracted from amla berries, orange peel, and dandelion leaves. This bioavailable herbal liquid remedy is minimally processed and easy to use. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. In its whole plant form (not an isolate), it’s unstoppable!

If you have orange peel in your natural medicine cabinet, how do you use it?

This is the writings of:

Sarena-Rae Santos
Sarena-Rae Santos' journey to natural health began in 2019 when she swayed away from allopathic medicine after becoming wheelchair-bound due to the side effects of 20+ medications. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and dizziness due to nystagmus were the sources of her many health complications. Sarena's symptoms diminished after adopting a healthier lifestyle surrounding whole foods and herbs, leaving her a fantastic quality of life and a passion for educating people.

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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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