Orange (Citrus sinensis): Central Nervous System Effects

weight lossCitrus sinensis are a large cultivar of trees that bear orange fruits. Citrus trees were originally thought to be native to Asia, but have now spread throughout the World, due to their huge commercial value. Citrus sinensis is consumes as a food all over the World and in this regard is an excellent source of vitamin C. Extracts of oranges may have a number of pharmacological effects including antimicrobial, antifungal, antiparasitic, anticancer, hypocholesterolaemic, anti-obesity, antiosteroporotic, and antioxidant effects. However, orange extracts are also able to modify the central nervous system, and in this regard may be anxiolytic and sedative agents. Exposure to the odour of oranges, in the form of orange essential oil, induces sedation and relaxation, and this has been shown in animals and humans. Citrus sinensis essential oil therefore has sedative and relaxant effects. It is unclear which component is responsible for the sedation, but a large number of volatile components have been identified in the essential oil.

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Oranges contain a large number of phytochemicals in their fruits including flavonoids, steroids, hydroxylamines, alkanes, fatty acids, coumarins, peptides, carbohydrates, carotenoids, as well as minerals including potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium. The volatile oils of oranges, particularly from the flowers and fruit peel, contain a large number of phytochemicals some of which may be responsible for the relaxing and sedative effects of the essential oils. Within the essential oils are volatile components such as limonene, pinene, neral, carvone, vanillin and synephrine.

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Favela-Hernández, J. M. J., González-Santiago, O., Ramírez-Cabrera, M. A., Esquivel-Ferriño, P. C. and Camacho-Corona, M. D. R. 2016. Chemistry and Pharmacology of Citrus sinensis. Molecules. 21(2): 247

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Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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