In Song dynasty, Zhongyan Fan, a famous official’s mother was sick, but she didn’t want to take Chinese medicine. Zhongyan Fan was worried. One day he went to see a doctor for his mother and the doctor asked him to fertilise Glutinous rice together with an herb for her mother. His mother drank this herbal tea and got better gradually. This herb was Chen Pi.
Another story about Chen Pi was over two thousand years ago. A couple of Phoenixes was taking a citrus plant from heaven to earth. When they passed in Xin Hui a place in Guang Zhong province, they were amazed by the beauty of the scenery: a winding river surrounded the green mountains, sunset was falling on the lake, the water was sparkling as a diamond. They left the plant there and started to play. They went back to heaven when it was dark and forgot the citrus plant. Then the two plants grew by the lake in Xin Hui. The local people found out later that this orange skins had a great flavour, helped digestion, removed dampness and phlegm.
The third story was about Chen Pi and a famous Chinese medicine doctor Hua Tuo. One day Hua Tuo were doing home visits. When the boat passed Gang Jiang, he was suddenly ill caused by cold wind there. He had fever, coughing, dry mouth. At that time, his herbs for cold were run out. He saw the orange trees along the shore and thought that oranges can help reduce thirsty. He ate a few whole oranges with the skins. By the evening, he felt better not coughing that much. He was wondered if the oranges can be effective for coughing. Next day, the two boatmen were sick with coughing. He gave them orange to eat. But one boatman’s coughing stopped, but the other one’s didn’t. He asked them and found that the one who ate orange skin stopped coughing, the other one didn’t eat the orange skin. Since then, he kept the orange skin whenever he ate oranges and he found that the longer the orange skin was kept, the better it stopped coughing. This was why the aged orange skin was called Chen Pi meaning aged orange skin.
Citri Reticulatae Pericarpium is found mainly in major citrus-producing areas such as the Guangdong, Guangxi, Sichuan, Fujian, and Zhejiang Provinces of China. It has been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine prescription for about 2000 years up to now and has the function of strengthening spleen and stomach qi, eliminating dampness and phlegm. It is bitter in flavour and warm in nature. Daily dose is 3-10 g.
They have been broadly used in clinical practice to treat nausea, vomiting, indigestion, diarrhea, loss of appetite, cough with phlegm.
Other pharmacological effects include having a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular, digestive, and respiratory systems, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, and a protective effect on the liver and nerve.
Xin Yu et al. J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Jun 28;220:265-282.
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