It’s time! You’ve patiently waited, and now your favorite part of the day has arrived… snack time! You’ve brought the perfect little jewel known as the tangerine with you. Now all you have to do is peel it to get the juicy goodness inside. But hold up!
Do NOT throw those peels away. Those peels are worth their weight in gold, and you will be glad you saved them when cold and flu season comes around.
Tangerine peel health benefits are well understood in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In fact, TCM practitioners have used citrus peel extracts and teas, including tangerine peel tea, for thousands of years to treat different ailments. Chinese traditions also associate the gifting of tangerines and oranges with the abundance of happiness and prosperity. Happy and healthy? Sounds pretty good, right?
So, what exactly is a tangerine?
Technically, tangerine is a type of orange, but just like flowers and other fruits, there are subclasses of oranges. And though tangerine is technically a type of mandarin orange, not all mandarin oranges are tangerines. Tangerine mandarins are darker in color and sweeter in taste than other mandarins.
Now that that’s settled, let’s examine some of the potential tangerine peel health benefits. Citrus peels, in general, have a lot of medicinal qualities. And the tangerine peel is no exception… especially if you’re looking for effective cough and cold remedies.
Tangerine Peel Benefits
The peel of the tangerine contains a bit more than vitamins and minerals, which are also great benefits of tangerine peel. Like other citrus peels, tangerines have very high levels of vitamins C, A and B along with powerful carotenoids, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which lend to the tangerine’s beautiful rich color.
But arguably, the most potent healing aspect of the tangerine peel comes from three naturally occurring chemicals—hesperidin, tangeretin, and nobiletin. These three constituents work cohesively with the vitamins and antioxidants in tangerines to form an arsenal for combating cough and cold symptoms. These disease-fighting flavonoids are found in higher concentrations in peels than in the juice or even the flesh of tangerines, and your body easily absorbs them.
Tangerine peels have the noble ability to help:
- Detox the liver
- Stimulate lymphatic drainage
- Knock out cough, cold, flu, and infection
- Boost immunity
- Reduce inflammation
- Lower cholesterol
- Lower blood sugar
- Dry up mucus and phlegm
The role of nutrition has been grossly underrated in preventing illness. In fact, recent studies at the University of Verona conclude that certain foods naturally rich in the substances mentioned above have many potential benefits for health. Also, the naturally occurring chemicals in tangerine peels could have anti-viral action and can be paramount in modulating the immune system and defending cells from the oxidative stress associated with infection—including viruses.
The anti-inflammatory activity of citrus peel extracts correlates strongly with the content of nobiletin and tangeretin. It’s also been noted that inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in inflammatory cells and increased airway production of nitric oxide (NO) are well-recognized as key events in inflammation-related respiratory tract diseases. In other words, nobiletin and tangeretin can help reduce inflammation in the lungs and bronchial tubes, possibly preventing symptoms from hitting a boiling point where they are no longer manageable at home.
Interestingly, if you heat these two flavonoids to at least 202℉, they become significantly stronger. It’s true!
And in this recipe, we are tincturing our tangerine peels, which also makes them stronger. The takeaway… add your tangerine tincture to a cup of hot tea, and voila! You have yourself a mighty strong little cough and cold remedy.
Tangerine Peel Tincture
**Quick Note: Citrus peels, like other fruit peels, can have a TON of pesticides sprayed on them. Therefore, it’s imperative to buy organic and non-GMO fruit, especially when you are making herbal tinctures out of them.
You will need:
- 2-3 tangerines (you only need the peels)
- 1 cup of high-proof grain alcohol or pure vodka
- 2 pint-sized jars and 1 ring to fit
- 6×6 square of cheesecloth
- Storage bottles
- Dehydrator (optional)
- Wash your tangerines well with cold water. Then peel them and set the peels aside. You can eat the inner parts or throw them away. We will not be using them.
- Place the tangerine peels in the dehydrator for two to three hours. If you do not have a dehydrator, it’s okay. You can let the peels air dry. Instead of the dehydrator, just spread them out on a towel in a warm, dry place for 24-48 hours. Once they become stiff, they are good to use for your tincture.
- Remove the tangerine peels from the dehydrator tray and place them in a jar.
- Cover the peels with a cup of grain alcohol or vodka, whichever you choose to use. If it’s not enough, just add more. You may need to add more alcohol throughout the tincturing process as alcohol does tend to evaporate. You can also choose a lid instead of cheesecloth, but the alcohol may cause the ring to rust when the jar forms condensation.
- Place the jar in a cool dark place like a cupboard for four to six weeks.
- After four to six weeks, your tincture is ready. It should be a dark yellow to orange color. Remove the jar from the cabinet and pour the contents into the second jar.
- Divide the tangerine tincture into dropper bottles if desired. You can also keep it in the jar if you want. It should last up to two years when stored in a cool dry place.
Using a dropper, drip 5-10 drops of tincture into a hot cup of tea or water. Try adding ginger, cinnamon, or honey for a delicious healing tonic!
It would be best if you didn’t use this tonic on children under two years old. Kids under the age of twelve should only use 5-7 drops. It should go without saying, but the younger the child, the fewer drops are needed.
Hot water evaporates the alcohol. Remember that hot water also makes the tincture stronger!
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