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La piel de mandarina en la Medicina Tradicional China

Tangerine peel in Traditional Chinese Medicine

In China, the sun-dried mandarin peel sun-dried mandarin peel is used as seasoning e.g. in soups, stews, desserts, dressings, herbal teas, etc. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the peels of this delicious fruit have been used for more than 2,000 years as a remedy for various diseases.

A distinction is made between the peels of the green fruit, Qing Pi (which is harvested between May and June), and of the ripe fruit, Chen Pi (which is harvested between July and August). They are very similar but one of the important differences is that the green peel contains some amino acids such as aspartic acid, glutamic acid and proline and the amount of synephrine (a nervous system stimulant that is also used in slimming treatments) is higher.

Shennong Ben Cao Jing - First Chinese Pharmacopoeia

The peel of tangerines has a warming, antibacterial, toning and bitter effect.

In Chinese medicine, tangerine peel is associated with the spleen and lung meridians. It is used to regulate the flow of Qi (vital energy), dry dampness, treat nausea and eliminate phlegm. The recommended dosage is between 3 and 9 grams.

Traditionally mandarin peels are used in infusions, pills, extracts or juice, in combination with other medicinal plants, to remedy the following conditions:

  • pain caused by hernias
  • spasms, menstruation pains
  • dyspepsia
  • chest or abdominal pains, bloating, lack of appetite
  • lack of appetite (also for infants and children with lack of appetite)
  • productive cough with phlegm, pressure in the chest area
  • digestive problems, flatulence, diarrhea
  • nausea and hiccups
  • respiratory tract affections, asthma, chronic bronchitis
  • weakness, tiredness
  • low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • arthritis, atherosclerosis
  • etc.

As an example we can mention a treatment against pain caused by hernias consisting of a combination of dried tangerine peels (Qing Pi), lindera root (Wu Yao), fennel seed (Xiao Hui Xiang) and costus root (Mu Xiang). Another formula used in cases of dyspepsia, qi stagnation, abdominal pain and bloating, is composed of dried mandarin peels (Qing Pi), fermented dough (Shen Qu), hawthorn (Shan Zha) and barley malt (Mai Ya).

More recent studies

There are many studies on the medicinal properties of citrus peels in general, here we want to mention a few although there is still a lot of research to be done in this field.

A 2001 study by BioMed Central Dermatology reveals that a combination of hot black tea with citrus peels can reduce the risk of skin cancer by 70% while hot tea alone reduces the risk by only 40%.

A 2004 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Canadian researchers mentioned the ability of tangerine peels to lower cholesterol levels.

More recent studies have confirmed that hesperidin, a substance contained in citrus peels, can increase blood flow, resist adrenaline-induced vasoconstriction, dilate coronary arteries and lower blood pressure. In addition, coumarin and other active substances have anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and cholagogue (stimulates the evacuation of bile) effects.

Recent studies conducted by different researchers from Tianjin and Hebei, China, confirm that flavonoids contained in citrus peels have potent anticancer properties. They seem to block metastasis, inhibit the mobility of cancer cells in the circulatory system, facilitate apoptosis (programmed cell death), etc. But more scientific studies are needed for the prevention and treatment of this disease.

A study published by the Beijing Academy of Food Sciences also gives convincing evidence that some flavonoids contained in citrus peel, such as nobiletin and citrus peel extract (CPE) have significant anticarcinogenic effects in cases of skin, colon, prostate, lung and liver cancer. More research on these properties is still needed.

Different studies also suggest that pectin, contained in both citrus peels and pulp, could be effective against cancer cell growth and metastasis. Here, too, more studies are needed.

Western scientists are analyzing each substance separately to find out what effects it has on health. But perhaps it is the natural combination of all the substances contained in citrus peels that makes them so valuable as a therapeutic remedy.

Where to get dried mandarin peels?

Do it yourself: Dry tangerine peels in the sun, in the oven or on radiators. You can remove the white inner layer or not (it has a more bitter taste). Always use oranges that have not undergone any kind of post-treatment, such as ours from Once the peels are completely dry, you can store them in a glass container. They keep very well for a long time. What's more, it is said that the peels improve with age, just like wine.

You can also buy dried tangerine peels in pharmacies where they sell Chinese medicine, but be aware that some varieties are quite expensive.

Recipes for infusions

Tangerine peels are not only very healthy and recommended for certain conditions, they also give a delicious flavor to herbal teas, teas, soups, desserts, etc.. Simply add a few pieces of the peels along with the other herbs and let them infuse for a few minutes.

  1. Infusion to fight cough: Ginger and dried mandarin peels
  2. Abdominal pains and bloating: Licorice and dried tangerine peels.
  3. Detoxification: dried tangerine peels (with white skin) and red tea
  4. To improve digestion: dried tangerine peels and green tea

To know how to make and use powder of oranges or mandarin oranges, we recommend you to click here.

Do not hesitate, mandarins and all citrus fruits have numerous beneficial properties for our health. As with other fruits, many of them are found in the peels. It would be a shame to throw them away. Our oranges and tangerines do not undergo any chemical post-treatment, so you can use the peels with complete peace of mind. Here here are some additional ideas on how to use them.

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Cover photo, photos from and

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