Medicinal plants



It produces fruits known and appreciated all over the world. We are talking about orange, a tree that gives us its very tasty and juicy fruit every winter: the orange, known for its pulp, to be enjoyed as a winter dessert, and for its juice, used in the cold season as a strengthening of the immune system. and to prevent colds and flu. From this we understand how the phytotherapeutic use of orange has now become established. Due to its properties and the substances it contains, orange is used in human nutrition, in the confectionery industry, in the manufacture of liqueurs, in the pharmaceutical industry and in herbal medicine. The parts of the plant used in all these areas are the fruit (pulp and peel), the juice and the flowers, from which essences are also obtained.


As mentioned in the first paragraph, orange is a tree. This tree species belongs to the Citrus genus and to the Rutaceae family. Lemon, cedar and grapefruit also belong to the genus Citrus, commonly known as citrus fruits, due to the slightly acrid taste of their juice. Probably, the orange we all know is a hybrid derived from the crossing of two other citrus fruits, mandarin and pomelo or pummelo, the latter similar to a large lemon. But the history of the hybrid is not yet fully confirmed and it is possible that some varieties of orange have also appeared spontaneously. The tree is native to Asia and precisely from China, can reach heights between ten and twelve meters, produces white and fragrant flowers and fruits known as oranges. The leaves of the orange are leathery and fleshy, pointed and dark green. The fruit is composed of an internal part, the pulp, called the endocarp and a rough orange peel, called the pericarp. Orange blooms and bears fruit at the same time. Overall, its vegetative activity lasts three months. The fruits are harvested from November to May.

Origins and production

Orange is a species of Asian origin, introduced to Europe by the Portuguese. Some sources reveal that the orange was cultivated in Sicily as early as the first century BC, but there is no certain confirmation on this. Probably, during the trade with the East, the Europeans introduced the orange in the Mediterranean areas of Europe. It is also possible that the European spread of orange has stopped in Sicily, but it is also possible that the cultivation of this plant on the island was introduced by the Arabs. This land is also one of the major producers of oranges, which also enjoy prestigious quality brands, such as DOP and IGP. Orange can produce red-fleshed, yellow or blond-fleshed fruits. Among the former are the tarocco, sanguinello and moro varieties, known for their high antioxidant properties and for the presence of anthocyanins which would play a decisive role in the prevention of tumors. Navel is one of the varieties with blond pulp. These varieties are often intended for pressing, from which orange juices are obtained.


Orange includes two main varieties, the citrus aurantium or bitter orange, and the citrus x sinensis or sweet orange. The fruit peels of the two varieties are used to extract aromatic substances and essential oils with digestive properties. Liqueurs and paint solvents are also obtained from the essential oils of the orange peel. The flowers of the bitter orange are also used by the cosmetic industry for the production of perfumes.

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