Citrus peel medicine! 🍊🍊🍊
The dried peel of mandarin or clementine oranges (Citrus reticulata) and of tangerines (C. tangerina) is used in Chinese medicine as a warming digestive bitter. It regulates Qi in the body and helps move a sluggish or stagnant digestive system. It helps resolve “Rebellious Qi”—conditions such as GERD, hiccoughs, and nausea or vomiting. It dries dampness in the digestive system and calms flatulence. It is also sometimes used for cold-damp coughs and as a liver tonic.
The mandarin orange peel goes by the name Chen Pi, and if used green (unripe), which is slightly more bitter and also considered a stronger medicine, it is called Qing Pi. Because citrus peel usually contains pesticide residue, it is far better to use organic oranges of any orange variety than to use non-organic. Sweet orange (Citrus x sinensus), Seville or bitter orange (C. x aurantium), and even Calamondin orange (C. microcarpa) may be used. So save your organic orange peels and dehydrate them!
In Chinese medicine orange peel is typically one ingredient in a larger formula, rarely used alone. However, it can easily be used in cooking as well. Add it to sauces for meat and poultry dishes, to vegetables, and to grain pilafs. You can also powder the dried peel and infuse along with other ingredients for a tea.
Orange peel is an ingredient in the popular tea blend known as “Constant Comment.” Here is a homemade version of that tea blend:
1/4 cup black tea such as Darjeeling
12-15 cloves, crushed
1-2 inch piece of cinnamon, crushed
1 T crushed dried orange peel
Optional: for a slightly smokey flavor add 2 T lapsang souchong tea
Mix all ingredients well, and use a heaping teaspoon per cup for strong tea.