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Citrus aurantium
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Citrus aurantium?

Citrus aurantiumis the Latin name for a fruit called Seville orange, or bitter orange. The juice, peel, and essential oil have all been used medicinally. Traditionally uses include digestive problems, epilepsy, fatigue, insomnia, infections, respiratory problems, skin problems, and many other uses. As a flavoring, essence of bitter orange is found in the drinks Triple Sec and Cointreau.

Citrus aurantiumjuice and peel contain the stimulant chemical synephrine as well as related stimulants such as octopamine, tyramine, N-methyltyramine, and hordeline. On this basis, Citrus aurantiumhas been widely marketed as a weight-loss product . However, there is no reliable evidence that Citrus aurantiumis effective, and considerable reason to worry that it may cause harm (see Safety Issues ). The reassuring statement made by some manufacturers that Citrus aurantiumoffers the “benefits of ephedra without the risks” is not supported by scientific evidence.

The only published double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on Citrus aurantiumjuice did not test the herb alone, but rather evaluated a combination product that also contained caffeine and St. John's wort . 1...

Safety Issues

Most of the safety concerns regarding citrus aurantium relate to its stimulant constituents.

The drug synephrine is known to produce many unpleasant and possibly dangerous side effects, including headache, agitation, rapid heart rate, and heart palpitations. In some people, it can cause angina pectoris , kidney damage, increased pressure in the eye, and reduced blood circulation to the heart and the extremities. The other stimulant amines in Citrus aurantiummay increase such effects. There is one case report of a heart attack that appears possibly related to use of a citrus aurantium supplement, 2 and another that links the herb to stroke. 3 Citrus aurantiumjuice or concentrated extracts can raise blood pressure and increase heart rate 4 and therefore...