Bitter Orange Peel

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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Volatile Oils

The orange peel is the fresh or dried outer part of the pericarp of Citrus aurantium Linn, belonging to family Rutaceae.






Citrus vulgaris, Citrus bigaradia, Citrus aurantium amara, Biga-rade orange, Bitter orange, Seville orange, (Sweet) Portugal orange, China orange, Citrus dulcis, Cortex aurantii amar L, Seville orange peel.


Biological Sources


The orange peel is the fresh or dried outer part of the pericarp of Citrus aurantium Linn, belonging to family Rutaceae.


Geographical Source


It is mainly cultivated in India, China, Spain, Madeira, Sicily, Malla, and Morocco.


Cultivation and Collection


The tree requires a dry soil. It bears flowers after three years of grafting and the yield is increasing every year till it reaches its maximum, at about twenty years. A full grown tree yield on an average 50 to 60 lb of blossoms. One hundred orange trees, at the age of 10 years, will occupy nearly an acre of land and will produce about 2,200 lb of orange flowers in a season. May is the flowering season, and the flowers are gathered two or three times a week, after sunrise. When the autumn is mild and atmospheric conditions are favourable, flowering takes place in October, and this supplementary harvest continues until January or till flowering is stopped. The autumn flowers have much less perfume than those of the spring, and their value is also one-half the price of May flowers. The Bitter Orange and Edible Orange trees resemble each other, but their leafstalks show a marked difference. The Bitter Orange is broadened out in the shape of a heart. The yield of oil is greatly influenced by the temperature and atmospheric conditions prevailing at the time of gathering. Such as damp, cool, and changeable weather, considerable diminution is experienced. The dried orange peel is prepared by cutting with hand taking care that oil glands are not ruptured. Orange peel is dried in shade and stored in airtight containers at low temperature.




It is a small tree with a smooth, greyish brown bark and branches that spread into a regular hemisphere. The leaves are oval, alternate, evergreen, size ranging from 3 to 4 inches long, rarely with a spine in the axil. They are glossy, dark green on the upper surface, and lighter beneath. The calyx is cup-shaped and the thick, fleshy petals, five in number, are intensely white and curl back. The fruit is earth-shaped, a little rougher and darker than the common, sweet orange: the flowers are more strongly scented, and the glands in the rind are concave instead of convex. The dried peel is brittle and hard, dark orange red in colour, the surface is rough with oil glands which are slightly raised. The inner surface is yellowish white with pithy on them. It has an aromatic odour, bitter and aromatic taste. The oil of Bitter Orange Peel is pale yellow liquid; it is soluble in four volumes of alcohol. Neutral to litmus paper and specific gravity at 25°C is 0.842 to 0.848.


                                  Citrus aurantium

Chemical Constituents


Bitter orange peel contains of 1 to 2.5% volatile oil. The principle component of volatile oil is 90% limonene and small quantities of aldehydes citral, citronellal, bitter amorphous glycoside like aurantiamarin and it’s acid; hesperidin, isohesperidin, vitamin C, and Pectin.





It is used as aromatic, stomachic, carminative, and flavouring agent, it is used particularly in fish liver oil preparations and liver extract. The oil is used chiefly as a flavouring agent, used in the oil of turpentine in chronic bronchitis. It is nonirritant to the kidneys and pleasant to take.


Marketed Products


It is one of the ingredients of the preparations known as Dabur Vatika Body and Bounce Shampoo (Dabur).


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