º Chen Pi (aged ripe tangerine peel) aka Citri reticulatae pericarpium:
- Properties: acrid, bitter, warm, aromatic
- Channels: Lung, Spleen, Stomach
- Functions: regulate Qi, dry Damp, dissolve Phlegm, prevent Stagnation. Aged, ripe tangerine peel would be awesome if you had a little stomach bloat, nausea or vomiting, or any phlegmy-type, cold-like symptoms.
º Qing Pi (dried immature/green tangerine peel) aka Citri reticulatae viride pericarpium:
- Temperature: warm
- Channels: Liver, Gall Bladder, Stomach
- Taste: bitter, spicy
- Functions: spread Liver Qi, break up stagnation (think about using your green peel discards if you have food stagnation or find yourself getting more & more irritable, sighing a lot, tense & uptight, PMS-ish, usually signs of “Liver Qi stagnation”).
Some Interesting Facts About Citrus Peel:
*The older the peel, the more potent (“Traditionally the newly collected peels are considered spicy & acrid with a violently drying quality; the aged peels are therefore preferred” – Bensky, Materia Medica).
* In Chinese Medicine formulas, we have variations of aged peel – some formulas require a dry fried version (Zhi Chen Pi) versus a charred version (Chen Pi tan). Using the white part of the peel now makes it Citri reticulatae exocarpium album, or Ju Bai, and modifies its healing properties to make it less drying and more harmonizing to the Stomach channel. Ju Luo is the pith part of the fruit and is great for phlegmy conditions that make you cough so much your ribs hurt. One fruit, many uses…..How awesome is that!
* Citrus peel is actually higher in Vitamin C, flavonoids & enzymes than the pulpy fruit itself;
* Lemon peel has been used to reduce cholesterol and is known to contain potassium which can help lower blood pressure. Research has also shown that it contains limonene & salve sterol Q40, 2 compounds that help fight cancer.
* Citrus seed (Ju He) has been reported to have analgesic & carminative (anti-gas J) properties and to also treat lumbago because of its properties (“bitter & neutral to move Qi, dissolve clumps & stop pain”). It’s usually crushed before use & maybe stir-fried with salt to enhance its ability to work on the Kidney & Bladder channels.
* Yup, even the leaf of the tangerine plant (Citri reticulatae folium aka JuYe) have medicinal benefits, and is used in our medicine to help treat breast issues as it targets the Liver channel ….Liver you say?.... What does “Liver channel” have to do with the breast you ask? Ah hah! That’s where you ask your Acupuncturist about the beauty of Chinese medicine on your next visit J.
* Although citrus peel is relatively safe, you do have to be careful if you have dry cough or Heat conditions.
Common Household Uses:
Add a strip or 2 of citrus peel to chicken or beef dishes; grate the peel (zest) & add to cakes & custards; chop up & make some marmalade (my favorite homemade summer recipe includes grapefruit, orange & lemon peels with basil leaves – check out the picture below), or steep your peel with lemongrass, mint &/or ginger for a soothing and aromatic herbal tea.
- Health remedies:
For a quick and easy “Immune Tonic”, boil orange peel, a cinnamon stick or 2, a piece of ginger root, some elderberries & a few cardamom seeds then strain & drink a couple shots of this concoction during cold & flu season. Because citrus peel is loaded with vitamin C, which enhances the action of Calcium, you could consider including it when you take your calcium supplement (synergistic effect) to help improve the health of your bones and to prevent gum/dental problems.
- And here’s an absolutely awesome facial treatment: to help treat acne, pimples or dark spots: mix the chopped up peels with the juice of the fruit & a teaspoon of honey, apply to your face for about 5 minutes then rinse - voila! Beautiful, clear, supple skin!
* Always go organic if you're eating peels
* If you're susceptible to kidney/gallstones, avoid eating lemon peels as they contain high amounts of oxalate.
Other "Throwaways" to Consider:
- Pineapple &/or ginger peels: boil separately or together, strain & sweeten then serve over ice to make your own "ade" or ginger "beer ".
- Grape seeds: forget seedless grapes; go for the original God-made version instead & chew or blend your seeded grapes in your next smoothie for their wonderful antioxidant properties. I have friends who spend beau-coup bucks buying grape/grapefruit seed extract (granted it’s in its concentrated form), but when Mother Nature supplies you with her healing properties through the seeds for free/cheap, I’m all for that! So, how do you use citrus peel/seed in your household? Do you have a particular cleaning formula or beauty tip you’d like to share with fellow readers? Please feel free to add this in the comment section below. Until next time, happy weed’n, happy healing!
Audrey Steele, L.Ac.
When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade! Use the seeds to plant a whole orchard…. Or you could just stay on the Destiny Bus & drink lemonade someone else made – FROM A CAN!” :-) (Anthoy St. Maarten).