Bitter Orange Extract
The Health Benefits of Bitter Orange Extract
Bitter orange, also known as Chongcao, Citrus aurantium, Fructus aurantii, Green Orange, Kijitsu, Seville Orange, Sour Orange and Zhi Shi is believed to be a native to eastern Africa and tropical Asia. However, today it is grown throughout the Mediterranean region, India, South America, the southwestern United States, and the islands of the Caribbean.
In traditional medicine the parts of plant that is used medicinally include the flowers, fruits, leaves, and peels of bitter orange and it is used to treat a number of conditions including insomnia and gastrointestinal complaints such as indigestion and diarrhea.
For example, in Latin America the bitter orange leaf is used as a tonic, as a laxative, as a sedative for insomnia, and to calm frazzled nerves of anxiety. The peel of the fruit of bitter orange is used to treat high blood pressure and stomach aches. In traditional Chinese medicine, the peel of the bitter orange immature fruit is used for dysenteric diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, and abdominal pain. The Basque people in Europe also value the benefits of bitter orange extract. They use the bitter orange peel as an anti-spasmodic and the leaves for stomach aches, insomnia, and palpitations. In homeopathy, bitter orange flowers and peel are used to relieve headaches and pain.
However, the peel, also known as chen-pi is the only part proven for its medicinal value and mainly for digestive complaints.
Nonetheless, today bitter orange continues to be employed similarly in a wide variety of traditions such as those we mentioned above.
It's important to note that bitter orange is loaded with vitamin C and, as such, it may be helpful for anemia if vitamin C's properties, more specifically if vitamin C is needed to provide the acidic environment necessary for iron absorption.
Other uses of the medicinal benefits of bitter orange extract include: nausea, bloating, gas, heartburn, loss of appetite, nasal congestion, and weight loss.
Now, before we delve deeper into bitter orange extract for weight loss, let's provide you with some general information on bitter orange.
Bitter Orange Extract – General Info
Bitter orange is noted to have a complex chemical makeup, but it is most prized for its volatile oil found in the peel as it accounts for many health enhancing effects. This volatile oil also gives bitter orange its strong flavor as well as its odor.
The valuable medicinal properties found in bitter orange besides its volatile oil include flavones, the alkaloids synephrine, octopamine, and N-methyltyramine, and carotenoids.
Benefits of Bitter Orange for Weight Loss
Very recently, bitter orange extract replaced the herb ephedra as a main ingredient for many weight-loss products. This had much to do with the herb ephedra, more specifically its active medicinal property known as ephedrine, which got caught up in a highly controversial storm about its safety.
Bitter orange is believed to stimulate the metabolic rate which may increase the rate that calories are burned. However, the effect in weight reduction is still controversial and awaits clinical trials for assessment. One the other hand, it appears to be an effective weight loss supplement in combination with St. John's Wort and caffeine.
Bitter Orange Weight Loss Supplement Safety
Currently there is little evidence that bitter orange is safer to use than ephedra. In addition, consumers do need to be cautious when purchasing bitter orange as a supplement.
Some supplements contain only bitter orange extract when it has been shown to have greater weight-loss effects in combination formulas with other supporting herbs, not in isolation.
It's also important to note that dietary supplements are not strictly regulated in the U.S. and, as such, manufacturers do not have to prove their products are safe, effective, or contain what is stated on the label. Needless to say, many products on the market harbor toxic contaminants and/or do not contain the amount of ingredients listed on the label. Also, keep in mind that a poorly formulated supplement can do more harm than good.
Precautions on Bitter Orange Supplements
Bitter orange or bitter orange extract supplements should not be used with cocaine, codeine, or other narcotic pain relievers.
In addition, if you are on any prescription medications, pregnant or nursing, or have any health condition consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any bitter orange supplements.
Consumers should always follow the dosage recommendations given on the product label.
Always talk to a qualified health care provider about any complementary and alternative practices you are planning to use.
Tips on Choosing a Bitter Orange Ephedra-Free Weight Loss Supplement
1. Select a comprehensive ephedra-free weight-loss product that contains bitter orange extract along with other natural herbs and supplements.
2. Select a ephedra-free weight loss supplement from a highly credentialed formulator -- someone who is qualified to create a supplement with ingredients that work together synergistically in a perfect balance to offer the maximum results.
3. Be sure to read the product label! Are there any warnings listed?
4. Select a supplement from a manufacturer that follows pharmaceutical GMP compliance, which is the highest standard possible. Put simply, pharmaceutical GMP compliance facilities adhere to the strictest regulatory standards for the manufacture of dietary supplements.
This is CRUCIAL because as we mentioned earlier, dietary supplements in the U.S. are unregulated. As such, purity and quality has been reported as a very serious issue.
In fact, consumers only have a 1 in 5 chance of buying a product that actually contains the amount of ingredients stated on the label or one that is not contaminated.
We hope this webpage discussing the benefits of bitter orange was useful to you.
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More than Bitter Orange Extract can be found at our Herbal Guide web-page