Herb: Bitter Orange


Latin name: Poncirus trifoliata


Synonyms: Aegle sepiaria, Citrus trifoliata


Family: Rutaceae (Rue Family, Citrus Family)



Medicinal use of Bitter Orange:

The thorns are used in the treatment of toothache. The stem bark is used in the treatment of colds. The fruits contain a number of medically active constituents including flavonoids, coumarins, monoterpenes and alkaloids. The fruit, with the endocarp and seeds removed, is carminative, deobstruent and expectorant. It is used in the treatment of dyspepsia, constipation and abdominal distension, stuffy sensation in the chest, prolapse of the uterus, rectum and stomach. It is milder in effect than the immature fruit and is better used for removing stagnancy of food and vital energy in the spleen and stomach. The unripe fruit is antidiarrheic, antiemetic, antispasmodic, deobstruent, digestive, diuretic, laxative, stimulant, stomachic and vasoconstrictor. It is used in the treatment of dyspepsia, constipation and abdominal distension, stuffy sensation in the chest, prolapse of the uterus, rectum and stomach, shock.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Shrub

Height:
3 m
(9 3/4 foot)

Flovering:
April
to May


Scent:
Scented
Shrub

Habitat of the herb:

Hedgerows. Woods in mountains and hills in Korea.

Edible parts of Bitter Orange:

Fruit - cooked. A bitter and acrid flavour, but it can be used to make a marmalade. The fruit is also used to make a refreshing drink. The freshly picked fruit yields little juice but if stored for 2 weeks it will yield about 20% juice, which is rich in vitamin C. Yields of up to 14 kilos of fruit per plant have been achieved in America. The fruit is 2 - 3cm wide, though most of this is the skin. The fruit peel can be used as a flavouring. Young leaves - cooked.

Other uses of the herb:

Used as a rootstock for Citrus species (oranges, lemons etc). It confers an extra 3C resistance to the cold. The plant is very thorny and makes an excellent impenetrable barrier or hedge, though this barrier is not very dense. The plants are very tolerant of pruning, they are best clipped in early summer shortly after flowering.

Propagation of Bitter Orange:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Cold stratify stored seed for 4 weeks and sow early spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, June/July in a frame.

Cultivation of the herb:

Hedgerows. Woods in mountains and hills in Korea.

Known hazards of Poncirus trifoliata:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.