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Citrus Aurantium. Orange Peel.

Description: Natural Order, Aurantiaceae. The genus to which the orange belongs is composed of small evergreen trees, native to China and India, but now completely domesticated in Southern Europe, and both American continents in the warm latitudes. Its leaves are ovate and shining, its flowers very fragrant, and its fruit large, bright-colored, succulent, fragrant, and usually of a grateful acid taste. Besides the two varieties of sweet and bitter oranges, the genus embraces limes, shaddocks, citrons, lemons, bergamots, and lunes. The C. aurantium is the sweet orange. Tree about fifteen feet high; trunk round and much branched, covered with a shining greenish-brown bark. Leaves ovate, entire, pointed, smooth, filled with very small pellucid oil- glands, fragrant when rubbed; on winged petioles an inch long. Flowers large, white, very fragrant, single or in clusters; calyx broad and flat, toothed; petals oblong, concave, glandular; filaments di- or triadelphous at base. The fruit is our well-known orange, which has internally the structure botanically classed as a berry, (as in the gooseberry;) the outer rind being fragrant and medicinal, and the inner rind fungous and insipid. The C. bigaradia is a variety of this, known as the bitter or Seville orange, and differs from the former only in its outer rind having a bitter taste added to its aroma.

Orange flowers yield, on distillation, a small quantity of the oil neroli–a remarkably fragrant oil much used in perfumery. A somewhat different aroma is obtained by distilling water from off the flowers at a moderate temperature-the water itself being deeply impregnated with the volatile perfume. Both these preparations are made in Italy and France from the flowers of the Seville orange. The rind (or peel) also contains an essential oil, which may be obtained by distillation or expression. It has a flavor similar to the oil of lemons, and is used in perfumery and confectionery. It soon acquires a turpentine smell. The outer peel of the orange is of a warming taste, that of the Seville variety being rather bitter. It yields its properties to water and alcohol. Heat greatly impairs its qualities.

Properties and Uses: This article is a mild and grateful aromatic stimulant and relaxant, of moderate tonic properties. It warms the stomach, improves the appetite, and aids the expulsion of wind. It is rarely used alone; but is employed almost exclusively as an adjunct to the very bitter tonics and strong cathartics, to relieve their unpleasant taste and counterbalance their too local action. It is an excellent article for this purpose, being effective, and at the same time grateful to the stomach. It is chiefly employed thus in compounds of gentian, cinchona, quassia, and horseradish; though a small quantity of it is a grateful addition to many milder tonics. In substance, from ten to twenty grains may be given three times a day. The orange-flower water is used as a flavoring material in cerates and other preparations.

Pharmaceutical Preparations: I. Confection. Grate one pound of the fresh outer peel of orange; and slowly add to and beat in with it three pounds of pulverized sugar. It is a pleasant vehicle in which to exhibit very bitter powders.

II. An Infusion is prepared by macerating for fifteen minutes, in a covered vessel, with a pint of hot water, two drachms of lemon-peel, half an ounce of orange-peel, and a drachm of cloves. One or two fluid ounces of this may be used three times a day in languid conditions of the stomach, or any suitable tonic, as liriodendron or columba, may be infused with it.

III. Sirup. Add a pint of boiling water to two ounces of dried orange-peel, well bruised; macerate in a covered vessel for twelve hours; strain off with pressure, and dissolve in it two and a half pounds of white sugar. Two fluid ounces of proof spirit may be added. Or a sirup may be prepared by adding a fluid ounce of the tincture to a pint of simple sirup. It is used only as an adjuvant, or a vehicle for administering other agents.

IV. Tincture. Dried orange-peel, three and a half ounces; diluted alcohol, two pints. Macerate for seven days, express and filter. It is used as an adjuvant with cinchona, gentiana, and other tonic preparations.


The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com



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