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Orange (Santra): Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more

Introduction: 

Orange, also known as santra or naranga, is a famous fruit. We all know that orange is rich in vitamin C and has several health benefits. Let’s get some deep insight into how enjoying a glass of fresh orange juice or munching on some of these delicious slices can help us and shields our body from various diseases.1,2 Santra/naranga is a round citrus fruit. It is orange in colour, same as its pulpy flesh and has fine-textured skin.1

orange benefits

The botanical name of orange is Citrus sinesis and it belongs to the family Rutaceae. More than 130 countries cultivate oranges, including Spain, China, US, UK, Holland, Brazil, India, Germany, France, etc. There are numerous species of orange, such as Citrus aurantium, Citrus grandis, Citrus tangerine, Citrus aurantifolia and many others.1

The whole orange plant has been used for thousands of years for its potential benefits. The vernacular names of orange are kamla, musambi, nembu in Bengali; naranga in Oriya; nagarukam in Tamil; naranga, kittalu in Kannada; nagaranga in Malayalam; mosambi in Marathi; Malta in Punjabi; santra, naringi in Gujarati.1 Traditionally, orange has been used to help with cramps, constipation, diarrhoea, colic, cough, colds, bronchitis, depression, anxiety, stress, anxiety, hypertension, and angina.2

Did you know?

Nutritional Value of Orange: 

Orange zest is not only flavourful, but it is also rich in antioxidants such as carotenoids, flavonoids and vitamin C, which contribute to the prevention of cancer and heart diseases.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

The nutritive values of oranges are:3 

Nutrient Amount (per 100 g) 
Carbohydrates 11.8 g 
Protein 0.91 g 
Fats 0.15 g 
Energy 52 kcal 
Water  86.7 g 
Fibre 2 g 
Total sugar 8.57 g 
Sodium 9 mg 
Potassium 166 mg 
Calcium 43 mg 
Magnesium 10.7 mg 
Iron  0.33 mg 
Phosphorus 23 mg 
Manganese  0.029 mg 
Copper  0.064 mg 
Zinc 0.11 mg 
Vitamin C 59.1 mg 
Vitamin B1 0.068 mg 
Vitamin B2 0.051 mg 
Vitamin B3 0.425 mg 
Vitamin B5 0.261 mg 
Vitamin B6 0.079 mg 
Vitamin B9 25  µg 

Also Read: Lychee: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Properties of Orange:

Not only sweet but bitter oranges have amazing health benefits too. Bitter oranges preferably reduce the risk of osteoporosis and make your bones much stronger and healthier compared to sweet oranges.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

The beneficial properties  of oranges are as follows:

  • It may show antioxidant activity
  • It may show anti-inflammatory property
  • It may show anti-arthritic activity
  • It may show anticancer activity
  • It may show anti-ulcer activity
  • It may show anti-typhoid activity
  • It may show anti-anxiety activity
  • It may show heart protective property
  • It may show anti-bacterial property
  • It may show anti-fungal property
  • It may show anti-diabetic activity
  • It may also show larvicidal (insecticidal) activity
  • It may show antiparasitic (kills parasite) activity
  • It may help manage obesity
  • It may help strengthen bones and manage osteoporosis
  • It may show relaxant property
  • It may have sedative potential1,2

Also Read: Beetroot: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Potential Uses of Oranges

Red or blood oranges, as they are called, are not only delicious but are also loaded with antioxidants which are anti-cancerous and anti-inflammatory in nature.

Dr. Smita barode, BAMS

As oranges may be having numerous beneficial properties they may be used as follows:

1. Potential Uses of Orange for Heart

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), citrus fruits lower the homocysteine (an amino acid) level and may protect the heart from heart disease. Orange has constituents like vitamin C, flavonoids, and carotenoids that may act as heart-protective agents. Orange peel contains PMFs (polymethoxylated flavones) that may help lower cholesterol. To enjoy its potential cholesterol lowering benefits along with its tangy taste, you may grate some orange peel in food items like soup, salad, rice, yoghurt, and flavour your teas.1 However more studies are required to support its  use in human heart health. Therefore, if you are suffering from any heart condition, you must consult with your doctor first before using any natural remedies.

2. Potential Uses of Orange for Cancer

Orange contains limonene, one of the chief constituents, reported to lower the risk of skin, mouth, breast, lung, colon, and stomach cancer. The anti-cancer activity in orange depends on its antioxidant activity1. Therefore, consuming oranges may lower the risks of cancer. However, you are advised to consult your doctor before using oranges or any other fruit as medicine.

3. Potential Uses of Orange for Ulcer

Regular consumption of orange juice is reported to reduce the incidence of infection caused by Helicobacter pylori (bacteria) that causes stomach ulcers in studies. Therefore, enjoying a glass of fresh orange juice daily might have some effect on ulcer development.1 If you are suffering from ulcers, you still need to adhere to the doctor’s advice and avoid using any fruit or herb without consulting your doctor.

4. Potential Uses of Orange for Anxiety

Many researchers have observed that sweet orange oil may act as an anxiolytic (lowers anxiety) agent. Several aromatherapists utilise orange oil to reduce anxiety as it may act as a tranquilliser and ease anxiety/tension.1 However, if  you are suffering from anxiety, you should talk to your doctor or a psychiatrist for consultation. Avoid using orange oil on your own, without consulting with a doctor.

5. Potential Uses of Orange for Diabetes

Orange (Santra) peels have bioflavonoids (vitamins) that may show blood glucose-lowering activity. The peels were tested on animals with diabetes, where it was found to regulate the glucose regulatory enzyme and this might be helpful for persons with diabetes. Both orange juice and peel may help in converting complex carbohydrates to glucose, may stimulate the secretion of insulin, may have some effect on increasing glycogen content in the liver and repair the secretory defects in the pancreas.1 If you are suffering from diabetes, you need to strictly adhere to doctor’s advice and treatment. Consult with a doctor before using oranges or any fruit against diabetes.

Check out the best glucometers here

6. Potential Uses of Orange for Typhoid

A bacteria, Salmonella typhi, causes typhoid fever. Certain constituents found in oranges such as flavonoids (citbrasine, citacridone) and saponin may show anti-typhoid activity.1 However, typhoid is a serious infection, and you should consult with your doctor and get a proper treatment. Avoid using oranges or any fruits against typhoid before consulting with your doctor first.   

7. Potential Uses of Orange for Arthritis

The phytonutrients (zeaxanthin, carotenoids, beta-cryptoxanthin) may help alleviate the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. In a human study, people consuming cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin exhibited 52% fewer chances of progressing rheumatoid arthritis.1 Therefore, oranges might show benefit in persons with arthritis, but more studies are needed to confirm the same. Make sure to consult your doctor or healthcare provider before using any herbal remedy for arthritis.

8. Potential Uses of Orange for Malaria

Orange extract was studied for its antimalarial activity and was found to exhibit moderate antimalarial activity. However, further studies are required to confirm the effectiveness of oranges in fighting malaria.2 Therefore, you are advised not to use oranges for malaria without consulting with a doctor. Oranges should not be used as an alternative to medicines.  

9. Potential Uses of Orange for Weight Loss

In recent years, various studies have tested the properties of oranges in managing weight and obesity. Orange peel, seed, and flesh extract were tested for anti-obesity activity in animals during a  trial. It was observed that orangeshey could lower body weight, total cholesterol, glucose, and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels. These promising results suggest that orange extract may improve metabolic disease and obesity. However, large scale human studies are required to confirm its effectiveness.2 Therefore, reach out to your doctor or nutritionist before making any changes to your diet. They will be able to guide you better about the limitations and effects of a particular fruit in your diet.

10. Potential Uses of Orange for other diseases

An orange a day fulfils 116% of the daily vitamin C requirement. Vitamin C is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system and may help prevent recurrent ear infections, coughs, and colds. When orange juice is taken without sugar and salt, it may lower the severity of inflammatory diseases like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.1 In the British Journal of Nutrition, a study reported that a woman who drank orange juice daily had higher excretion of citric acid and urinary pH value, thus alleviating the risk of stone formation in kidney.1 Roasted pulp of orange is used to make a poultice that may be applied to skin diseases. In France and Italy, the dried flowers and a decoction of leaves is used as heart-protective, antiemetic (treat vomiting and nausea), and antispasmodic (relieve muscle spasm) agent. Fresh orange peels may be rubbed on acne and also used against fungal infections.1 However, it is required that you consult a doctor or healthcare provider before using orange against any health conditions.

Though there are studies that show the benefits of oranges in various conditions. However, these studies are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of oranges on human health.  

Also Read: Apple: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and More!

How to Use Orange:

You can use oranges in various forms such as:

  • Ripe and unripe fruit
  • Orange juice
  • Leaves
  • Flowers
  • Orange peels
  • Orange oil

Various dishes can be made using oranges, such as custard, salad, jellies, curd, blossom water, ice cream, chocolate, biscuit, and orange chicken.1

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking oranges or any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.  

Also Read: What is a Kumquat? Exploring the Unique Characteristics and Benefits

Side Effects of Orange:

Allergic reactions are reported in sensitive people after eating oranges like sleepiness and yellowing of the skin of arms or legs.1

If you experience any of these side effects or other allergic reactions after eating oranges, you must reach out to your healthcare provider immediately. Also, avoid using oranges or other fruits as medicine without talking to your doctor first. 

Also Read: Blueberries: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, And More!

Precautions to Take with Orange:

Here some general precautions you need to take when using oranges.

  • While drinking orange juice, use a straw, as the acid in the juice may erode the tooth enamel.1
  • You can drink orange juice during pregnancy4, but you must take it in moderation. Also, it is better to consult your doctor and get detailed information before taking orange juice.

If you want to use oranges for any health conditions, make sure you have consulted with your healthcare provider first. Avoid using any fruit or herb for a disease condition without consulting with your doctor first.

Interactions with Other Drugs:

Orange juice show interaction with the following medicines.

  • Aluminium-containing antacid: orange juice boosts the absorption of aluminium and can increase aluminium toxicity.
  • Ferrous fumarate: orange juice lowers the absorption of ferrous fumarate and increases its iron absorption.
  • Orange juice decreases the absorption and effectiveness of drugs such as high blood pressure medicine (aliskiren, celiprolol, atenolol), montelukast (asthma treatment), clofazimine (medicine for treating leprosy), alendronate (helps in osteoporosis), fluoroquinolones (treats bacterial infections).5

If you are taking medication for any health condition, make sure you consult with the doctor about the possible interactions of the medication with any herb or fruit. It will help you avoid potential interactions of the drugs.   

Also Read: Apricot: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is orange (Santra) good for the immune system?

Orange may have some beneficial effects on immune system. Orange is rich in vitamin C, which is known to be a powerful natural antioxidant that helps build the immune system.2 However, you are advised not to use oranges as medicine without consulting with your doctor first.

Does orange help in diabetes?

Orange may help with diabetes. Orange peels were tested on animals for diabetes during a lab trial, where they were found to be beneficial for diabetes.1 However, human studies are required to evaluate its diabetic effect on humans. Therefore, you should avoid using fruit or herbal remedy for diabetes, without consulting with your diabetes.

Is orange good for weight loss?

Orange might help in weight loss. Orange peel, seed, and flesh extract were tested for anti-obesity activity in animals. They were all found to lower parameters like body weight, total cholesterol, glucose, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. This indicated that the orange extract might improve metabolic disease and obesity. Nevertheless, its testing on humans is needed to prove its usefulness.2 Moreover, before using any fruit or vegetable for weight loss, you should consult with your dietician or nutritionist. Do not make any changes to your diet without consulting with them.

Does orange improve anxiety?

Oranges might help to improve anxiety. Lots of researchers have observed that sweet orange oil may aid in lowering anxiety. Quite a few aromatherapists use orange oil to reduce anxiety, as orange may act as a tranquillizer.1 However, if you experience any signs of anxiety, you should talk to a doctor or psychiatrist, as they will be able to guide you better. Also, avoid using fruits for any health conditions without consulting with your doctor first.

Can I drink orange juice during pregnancy?

Yes, you can drink orange juice during pregnancy4, only in moderation. Additionally, it is essential to consult your doctor and get detailed information before taking orange juice during pregnancy. However, pregnant women should consult with their doctors before using and fruit or herb for its benefits.  

Can all the parts of the orange plant be taken?

Yes, different parts of orange plants can be taken, such as orange juice, ripe and unripe fruit, leaves, orange peels, flowers and orange oil.1 However, you need to consult with a doctor before you use oranges or any of its parts for its health effects.

Orange is rich in which vitamin?

Orange is rich in Vitamin B (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9) and C. It also contains other nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, fats, water, fibre, energy, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc.3

Also Read: Cranberry: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More!

References:

1.          Milind P, Dev C. Orange: Range of Benefits. Irjp [Internet]. 2012;2012(7):3–4. Available from: https://www.irjponline.com/admin/php/uploads/1212_pdf.pdf

2.          Favela-Hernández J, González-Santiago O, Ramírez-Cabrera M, Esquivel-Ferriño P, Camacho-Corona M. Chemistry and Pharmacology of Citrus sinensis. Molecules. 2016 Feb 22;21(2):247. Available from: http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/21/2/247

3.          Oranges, raw, navels [Internet]. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2019. p. 1–3. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/746771/nutrients

4.          Pregnancy : Nutrition [Internet]. Cleveland clinic. 2018. p. 1–12. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/12593-pregnancy-nutrition

5.          Chen M, Zhou S, Fabriaga E, Zhang P, Zhou Q. Food-drug interactions precipitated by fruit juices other than grapefruit juice: An update review. J Food Drug Anal. 2018 Apr;26(2):S61–71. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfda.2018.01.009

Disclaimer:  The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

Links and product recommendations in the information provided here are advertisements of third-party products available on the website. PharmEasy does not make any representation on the accuracy or suitability of such products/services. Advertisements do not influence the editorial decisions or content. The information in this blog is subject to change without notice. The authors and administrators reserve the right to modify, add, or remove content without notification. It is your responsibility to review this disclaimer regularly for any changes.

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