Citrus Peel Medicine

Discover the tradition of healing with citrus peel—the zesty, invigorating flavor can help support your health.


| October/November 2010


People have used citrus fruits as a source of medicines for thousands of years, but not in the citrus-flavored foods familiar to us today, like orange juice, key lime pie or lemon slices on slabs of salmon. While we usually consume the flesh and nectar of these succulent fruits as food, herbalists have used the rinds as medicine for numerous maladies throughout history.

In some cases, these discoveries in the apothecary led to innovation in the kitchen. For example, in Asia, the use of orange zest, lemon zest and dried orange peel in cooking developed out of the knowledge of their application as remedies for digestive disorders. A little citrus peel in your diet can go a long way.

Zesty Citrus Recipes 

• Citrus Baked Black Cod
• Turkey-Carrot Soup With Citrus Peel 
• Citrus Peel Coffee 
• Lemon Cookie Crumble Ice Dream
• Cinnamon Ice Dream 

Ancient Healing: Traditional Uses of Peel

Traditional Chinese herbal medicine uses several citrus peels for specific health support, including those of mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata ‘Blanco’) and bitter orange (C. aurantium). 



For hundreds of years, herbalists trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have used mature mandarin orange peel, known as chen pi or ju pi in Chinese medicine, to improve digestion, relieve intestinal gas and bloating, and resolve phlegm. This peel acts primarily on the digestive and respiratory systems. We apply it in conditions involving a sense of distension and fullness in the chest and upper middle abdomen combined with loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea, or coughs with copious phlegm.

Immature mandarin orange peel, known as qing pi in Chinese medicine, acts primarily on the liver and stomach to promote digestion, relieve food retention and abdominal distension, and promote good liver function. Practitioners of Chinese herbology use this herb when the sense of distension and discomfort lies primarily under the rib cage rather than the central abdomen. 






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