Herbal Supplements
How Can Bitter Orange Support Your Heart

Though Bitter orange is a popular herbal option for weight-loss it is also considered to be helpful in supporting your heart.

Biological Description
There are plenty varieties of bitter oranges, most of them are used in herbal medicine, flavoring and perfume. Bitter orange is also called Sour orange, which explains why it is not a popular fruit for eating.  Its other names are Seville orange and Bigarade orange.

These oranges are fruits (or berries) of citrus tree Citrus aurantium that belongs to Rutaceae family. They are considered to be barriers as they are soft and fresh, and with seeds inside them.

The tree is rather small, grows up to 7 m in height, with rather big ovate glossy evergreen leaves. The fruit has rather thick peel. The taste of the fruit is sour and bitter, not everyone can really appreciate and like it.

Growing
Bitter orange tree is native to tropical Asia and Africa. Nowadays it is cultivated in different Mediterranean regions all over the world. It is best grown in a well-draining soil and sunny location.

Parts Used
The whole fruit is used for herbal properties, especially seeds, that are called pips, and peels. Leaves, stems, flowers and pith (very thing white ‘cloth’ inside of a peel around the fruit) are also used.

Market
The dried bitter orange and its peel are used in different forms: as a fruit, in tablets, capsules and as an extract. Oil from bitter orange is also very popular, it can be extracted from the fruit itself, from the leaves of the bitter orange tree (called ‘petitgrain’) and from its flowers (called ‘neroli’). Orange flower water is one more available product. Bitter orange juice is rather popular as a drink in hot summer days.

Action
The ingredient that causes so much debates is one of the dominant alkaloids called synephrine. It is considered to be similar to ephedrine (chemical that is used to suppress appetite), but while it both act as a stimulant they are not the same. Unlike ephedrine, synephrine affects only receptors that are responsible for burning fat, and not those that are responsible for cardiac functions (ephedrine usage is connected with possible risk of heart problems and stroke). Nevertheless, some studies claim it still is very useful for your heart.

Bitter orange is very rich in vitamin C, in flavonoids (especially hesperidin), folic acid and content of fiber (pectin).

Health Benefits
Bitter orange can be rather beneficial for your heart and don’t increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke (as where explained above).  Bitter orange products lower blood sugar. It has diuretic, carminative and expectorant properties that actually help to lower blood pressure. It also purifies blood. Eating one orange a day (as well as different drinks based on citrus) is a vey good habit, that greatly minimize the risk of developing stroke (according to different studies).

Due to the active component of its peel it helps to control (and to lower) cholesterol levels, and to increase the content of so-called good cholesterol at the same time.

High levels of fiber and folic acid are also very beneficial for your heart. Pectin generally stabilizes blood sugar and also cholesterol levels in your blood. Folic acid plays an important role in regulation different complex processes in the body that also improves your heart health (especially in people with already existing heart diseases).

Moreover, bitter orange oils have antidepressant and sedative properties, and help to calm your emotions, lift up your mood and relax your nervous system, that brings a positive effect on you heart as well.

While using bitter orange products remember that they may contain some other ingredients that may speed up your heart rate (especially caffeine). Better do not use dietary supplement when you need to get benefits for your heart (and not to loose weight), as it may also contain lots of other potentially risky components for you. If you already have high blood pressure, or taking some medication, or if you are pregnant, better consult your doctor before taking any of bitter orange products.

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