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Discover the benefits of the orange peel

Published:Wednesday | April 4, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Tracey-Ann Brown


In a prime example of the meeting of two worlds or in this case, the meeting of two traditional medicines, we have what is known as chen pi in traditional Chinese medicine and orange peel in Jamaican ethno-medicine, found in many a Jamaican kitchen being hung out to dry. (Tangerine peel also has the same benefits).

As in traditional Chinese medicine and Jamaican ethno-medicine, the health benefits of chen pi are many, making it a staple in the homes of both the East and West. Its main benefits lie in its aid of digestive and respiratory functions. This is in addition to being a very aromatic and pleasant-smelling herb.

Digestive benefits

In Chinese medicine, we talk about the stagnation of the free flow of energy (qi) in the digestive system. This results in the reversal of the intended downward flow of digestive qi, known as 'rebellious qi', leading to symptoms such as belching, nausea, vomiting, abdominal fullness, distension and even pain. In some cases, there is also a poor appetite, indigestion, a feeling of oppression in the chest and loose stool. Chen pi helps to relieve these symptoms by regulating and improving the transporting function of the digestive system.

Respiratory benefits

Mucus, 'cold' or phlegm is a common complaint, whether manifesting as a post-nasal drip, nasal congestion, sinus congestion, hawking or coughing up of mucus which seems to be lodged in either the throat or chest area. Benefit is derived as chen pi helps to not only relieve coughing symptoms, but also to dry and dissolve mucus. This herb is not indicated for coughs that are dry, hot or produce blood or yellow/green mucus.

Fruit selection

In the selection of any herb or fruit good quality is key. It is important to ensure that the fruit is free of pesticides and other chemicals which may be harmful. So, if you or your neighbour has an orange or tangerine tree free of chemical treatment, feel free to try this as a home remedy.

Tea preparation & dosage

1. Once you have selected your ripe fruit, peel it and hang to dry. This does not mean that you cannot use the fresh skin, but the dried skin is preferable, as chen pi, literally means 'aged peel', so the longer it is stored and aged the stronger its functions.

2. Boil the peel of one medium-sized orange in approximately four cups of water for 15 minutes.

3. This tea may be taken up to three times daily over two days.


As with any food or herbal tea being ingested, persons with certain pre-existing conditions will need to exercise caution when consuming. If you spit up blood, experience extreme fatigue or feelings of heat and/or dryness along with coughing or are hypertensive you should first consult an oriental medicine practitioner or medical doctor.

Orange trees are abundant in Jamaica, so enjoy and discover a new path to health and well-being!

Dr Tracey-Ann Brown is an oriental medicine practitioner, herbalist and doctor of acupuncture; email: