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TANGERINE (ORANGE) PEEL [ 陳皮, CHEN PI]

Name : Tangerine (Orange) PeelDSC04744_opt

Chinese Name : 陳皮

Latin Name : Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae

Overview

This herb is the dried peel of the ripe fruit of Citrus reticulata Blanco and many other species of the citrus genus of the family Rutaceae. Several species, with many varieties, all indigenous to China  and  the East Indies. The plant is mainly grown in the Fujian, Guangdong, and Sichuan provinces of China. The peel is collected from the ripe fruit, dried, cut into shreds, and used unprepared.

Tangerine peel is also called orange peel. The herb is considered  by Chinese doctors as a panacea for all sorts of ills. It is a stomachic, stimulative, antispasmodic, antiphlogistic, and dissipates phlegm. Also, it is used for marasmus in children, dyspnea in the elderly, for fish and crab poisoning, pinworms, and mastitis due to stagnation of milk in the breast. It is commonly used in pills and as a decoction with ginger and other carminatives. Tangerine peel is a carminative, Qi-regulating stomachic, and mild expectorant for many gastrointestinal and respiratory tract disorders.

Use of Tangerine (Orange) Peel in TCM

Pungent, bitter in taste, and warm, it acts on the spleen and lung meridians.

Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations

  1. Helps regulate Qi and normalize the functions of the spleen and stomach: for abdominal distension, belching, nausea, and vomiting, which are symptoms of the stagnation of Qi, tangerine peel is dispensed alone or with aucklandia root, amomum fruit, and bitter orange. If lassitude and tiredness are present in addition to these symptoms because of stagnation and deficiency of  Stomach-Qi and Spleen-Qi, tangerine peel is prescribed with the Qi-invigorating herbs of codonopsis, white atractylodes, and licorice root, as in Yi Gong San.
  2. Eliminates dampness and resolves phlegm:
  • For a heavy, pressured feeling in the chest, abdominal distension, poor appetite, listlessness, loose stools, and a thick greasy coating of the tongue due to retention of Dampness in the Middle-Jiao, tangerine peel is blended with atractylodes rhizome, licorice root, and magnolia bark, as in Ping Wei San (R-59).
  • For accumulation of phlegm in the lungs, coughing, profuse sputum, and a full and oppressed feeling in the chest, tangerine peel is mixed with pinellia tuber and poria, as in Er Chen Tang.
  1. Tangerine peel has other notable uses, including for alcoholic intoxication and acute mastitis caused by hyperlactation.

Dosage

In a decoction of 3 to 9 g.

Precautions

Tangerine peel is pungent and warm. It should not be administered to those who suffer from the excess type of  interior Heat, yin deficiency, blood spitting, or those who have a dry cough.

Side Effects and Toxicity

The therapeutic dose is safe. No undesirable side effects or toxicity have been reported at the therapeutic dose in classical Chinese materia medica. In toxicological tests, no acute toxicity was observed in animals when the decoction was given orally or intravenously.

Chemical Constituents

Orange peel contains 1 to 2 percent essential oil, with d-limonene and citrol as the major components of  the oil. Other components in the oil include isopropenyltoluene, delta-elemene, alpha-copaene, alpha-humulene, beta-sesquiphol-landrene, alpha-humulenol acetate, and 1,8 menthadien-10-ol-acetate. Flavonoids (hesperidin, neohesperidin, narigin,tangeretin, auranetin, and nobiletin) and other components of hesperidin, carotene, cryptosanthin, vitamin B, C, and P, alkaloid synephrine, and N-methyltyra-mine have been isolated.

Pharmacological Findings

  1. General findings:
  • The volatile oil of tangerine peel stimulates the gastrointestinal tract, eliminates accumulated toxic gas, and increases the secretion of gastric juice.
  • The volatile oil is an antitussive and mild expectorant.
  • Fresh tangerine peel showed antiasthmatic activity.
  1. Action on the cardiovascular system:
  • Increases blood pressure and stimulates the activity of the heart, although a large dose may be inhibitory.
  • Decreases the fragility of blood vessels and reduces bleeding time.
  1. Acts as an anti-inflammatory and reduces edema. The flavon component of nobiletin significantly inhibited the egg-white-induced allergic contraction of isolated ileum and bronchus of a guinea pig.
  2. Antibacterial.