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  • Writer's pictureJane Wheeler

Tangerine Peel

I turned the car around and there she was standing in the middle of the road with a bag in hand.

I had been visiting my friend and on my way out she showed me a bag of dried tangerine peels. She had been in Edmonton and in the China section of the store, people were picking up lots of these bags. She asked someone what they did with them. Turns out tangerine peel tea is excellent for colds and flu.

She was standing in the road to catch me and give me some to try.

I had to do some deep research on Tangerine peels and what I found was really quite remarkable! And it is Tangerine season, what more could we ask for?

Tangerine peels are found more in traditional Chinese medicine rather than Western so we did not sell these in the Health Food Store. But I think they should, and maybe by the end of the article, you will be asking them to get them in, you can also purchase them online or check the Chinese food section of the grocery stores. In Chinese cooking, chopped up tangerine peels, both fresh and dried, are added to meat dishes and other foods to enhance the flavours. Orange chicken, mulled apple juice or cider, add citrus peels to salads or soups.

Why dried tangerine peels?

Oranges and tangerine peels have huge health benefits that you might not have heard of. In the district of Xinhui, in China the tangerines are often grown for the skins, not the inside fruit that you and I eat. They harvest them green and sour for drying the skins.

Orange and tangerine peels contain flavonoids, phytochemical compounds, and these antioxidants can help prevent many health conditions. The peels also contain Vitamin C, copper, calcium, magnesium and Vitamin A.

Oranges and tangerines are different varieties of the same species. Tangerines are named as such because their place of origin was Tangier, in Morocco. Tangerines, satsumas, and clementines are classified as mandarins, with clementines being the smallest fruit.

What exactly do the peels help with:

According to several studies that I have noted at the bottom, Orange and Tangerine peels support a healthy heart, can help detox the liver, give relief to asthma sufferers, give allergy folks a hand at fighting by preventing histamine release, slow down the growth of cancer cells, they can increase your metabolism for weight loss, help with indigestion, works with blood sugar levels, helps with chemotherapy side effects, is touted as an excellent hangover cure in the form of peel tea, treats bad breath, boosts immune system, can seriously help with skin conditions and can brighten your skin as well as promote hair growth and adds luster and shine to your hair.  Why have we not been using these?

One of the medical studies I looked at says that early research shows that tangerines lowers the risk of several cancers, because tangerine peel seems to stop the growth of cancer cells. In the Journal of Bio Med Central Dermatology it was shown that drinking tangerine and black tea can lower the risk of squamous cell skin cancer by 70%! That is absolutely staggering!

In a study on animals it was shown that tangerine peel lowered cholesterol by 40%.

A cup of tangerine peel tea can help with nausea and maybe be helpful for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness. It is totally a natural remedy: water, tangerine peel.

Tangerine peel tea can help break up mucus for colds, flu and asthma.

The peel contains 20 times more antioxidants that tangerine juice.

Then there is the skin and hair side of tangerine peels: tangerine peel oil helps with acne, brighten dark spots, and can promote hair growth, help with dandruff and give your hair luster and shine. I found several companies who have tangerine peel added to their cosmetic products and one article that said even rubbing fresh tangerine peel over your face is effective.

To make dried tangerine peels is very easy. I would try to find organic tangerines, but wash the fruit and after peeling, eat the tangerine and keep as much “pith” the white stuff on the skin and then lay the peels out on parchment paper on the counter or in the pantry for 5-6 days and there you have it – dried tangerine peels.

I got these particular peels from my friend and if you know me, you know I had to try out some of these things.

First, I steeped 1 tsp. of dried tangerine peel into some water and boiled it for 20 minutes, making a tea. I was not prepared for the amazing aroma of the tea, absolutely heavenly. I drank the tea, it is really mild, pleasant and easy to drink.

Second, I wanted to try to make tangerine peel powder and use it on my face. I used a coffee grinder but found I needed to start with a food processor and then switch to the coffee grinder to get a fine powder. The bigger chunks were scratchy. I put 1 tsp of powder into grapeseed oil and rubbed it all over my face and neck. I kept it on for 10 minutes and hopped into the shower.

Third, I mixed 1 tsp of powder and some honey together and rubbed that all over my hair. What a sticky gooey mess that was. I left it on for 10 minutes.

My results:

I will be drinking tangerine peel tea regularly – I like it. Judging from the medical studies and historical use of this tea in China, why wouldn’t I?  I may mix it up with other herbs, my taste buds are thinking mint and tangerine could be quite awesome!

The face mask – I was not sold on it. My skin felt lovely and soft but it was scratchy and seemed harsh.

The hair mask, which was the biggest sticky mess was hard to put all over your hair, I might add  a bit of oil, grapeseed, avocado, even olive oil to the mix and that might make it spread easier. However, I would do this again because my hair came out so shiny and soft – I noticed the difference after 1 time.

There you have it, help from God’s pharmacy: nature, it never ceases to amaze me.

Studies For further reading:


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