Overview

Bitter orange is a tree native to Asia. The peel, flower, leaf, fruit, and fruit juice are used to make medicine. Bitter orange oil is made from the peel and/or flower.

People use bitter orange for obesity, athletic performance, indigestion (dyspepsia), and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support its use.

Bitter orange contains an active ingredient called synephrine that is similar to ephedra. In 2004, the FDA banned ephedra due to serious effects on the heart. Many weight loss and bodybuilding products contain bitter orange and caffeine, which can cause high blood pressure and increased heart rate in healthy adults. There is concern that using bitter orange might cause heart problems.

Bitter orange (synephrine) is considered a banned substance by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

In foods, bitter orange oil is used as a flavoring agent. The fruit is used for making marmalades and liqueurs such as Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, and Curacao. Because the fruit is so sour and bitter, it is rarely eaten, except in Iran and Mexico. The dried peel of the fruit is also used as a seasoning.

How does it work ?

Bitter orange has many chemicals that affect the nervous system. The concentration and effect of these chemicals can change based on the part of the plant used and how it was prepared. These chemicals can squeeze blood vessels, increase blood pressure, and cause the heart to beat faster.

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