Mountain Rose Herbs

Orange, Bitter Peel

Also known as

Citrus aurantium, Seville orange, sour orange


The bitter orange is native to Africa, Arabia, and Syria. It was brought to the Mediterranean and southern Europe in 1200 C.E. by traders. It is an evergreen tree with long spines and incredibly fragrant flowers. The membranes and pulp of the fruit, however, are very sour and bitter (hence the name). It is now widely cultivated in China, India, and the U.S. It is used as a flavoring agent in many foods, and for its fragrance in bath and body care products.

Parts Used

The entire fruit, including the peel, fresh flowers, and the leaves and twigs, are all used for various commercial products.

Typical Preparations

Bitter orange peel, and the oil derived from it, is used in many different things. As a flavoring agent it can be used in a wide variety of foods, and is used in liqueurs (most notably Triple Sec), desserts, candies, gelatins and puddings. It is used to cover up the taste of pharmaceuticals, as well as being a key ingredient in marmalade. The peel is used in teas.


Neroli and Petitgrain essential oils are both derived from the bitter orange tree, specifically from the fresh flowers (Neroli), and the leaves and twigs (Petitgrain).


Photosensitization is possible in some individuals, but this has mainly been found in the whole raw fruit. It is not recommended during pregnancy, and it should not be used by children.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

These pages are best viewed while sipping tea