Bitter Orange [citrus aurantium] or Seville Orange is an evergreen tree up to 30ft tall, with leathery, dark green leaves, fragrant white flowers, and orange fruit.
The Bitter Orange has provided food and medicine for thousands of years - fruit, peel, leaves, flowers, seeds are all used : Neroli oil is extracted from the flowers, Petitgrain oil from the leaves and young shoots, and Bergamot oil is distilled from the fruit. The distilled flower water is antispasmodic and sedative.
The bitter orange fruit, perhaps best known in the form of Marmalade, is an acidic fruit, which stimluates the digestion and relieves flatulence, and is a remedy for travel and morning sickness. An infusion of the fruit helps to lower fevers, calm palpitations and soothe headaches.
Bitter Orange is a stimulating tonic remedy - it is often used in cough remedies as it increases the coughing response. The juice helps the body elminate waste and is rich in vitamin C, although it should not be taken in excess as the high acid content can exacerberate arthritis. Resent research suggests that the bitter orange can reduce high blood pressure, it has also been shown to stimulate urination.