This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Aurantia & arantia malus. Citrus Au-rantia Linn. Orange tree: a beautiful evergreen tree or shrub; with numerous, flexible, somewhat prickly branches; smooth, firm, broad leaves, having each two heart-like appendages on the pedicle; pentapetalous white flowers, set thick together among the leaves; and a large round yellow fruit, divided internally into eight cells, filled with a juicy pulp and whitish seeds. It is a native of the warmer climates, and scarcely bears the winters of ours without artificial shelter.
1. Aurantium hispalense, Pharm. Lond. & Edinb. Mains aurantia major C. B. Seville orange: with dark yellow warty fruit, containing an acid juice.
The flowers of this tree are highly odoriferous; and, on account of their fine smell, have been used in perfumes, and as a flavouring ingredient in medicinal compositions: their taste is slightly bitterish. They communicate their smell and taste both to water and rectified spirit, most perfectly to the latter: the watery infusion is of a brownish, the spirituous of a yellow colour. In distillation with water, they impregnate the aqueous fluid strongly with their agreeable odour, and yield a small quantity of a fragrant essential oil: the dislilled water and oil, the preparations principally made use of, are generally brought to us from Italy and France, being rarely prepared in this country on account of the scarcity of the flowers. The watery decoction, infpiffated, yields an extract unpleasantly bitterish: an extract made by rectified spirit retains, along with the bitterish matter, a moderate share of the fine flavour of the flowers.
Aq. naphae Ph. Paris.
Ol. feu esser.-tia Neroli.
The leaves also have a pleasant though weak smell, and a bitterish taste. Viewed against the light, they exhibit numerous transparent specks, which appear to be little vesicles filled with essential oil. In distillation with water, a small portion of oil separates, of an agreeable flavour, but less so than that of the flowers.
The yellow rind of the fruit, carefully freed from the fungous white matter underneath, is a grateful warm aromatic bitter, of frequent use as a stomachic and corroborant, and for giving an agreeable flavour to other medicines. It is warmer than the peel of lemons, of a more durable flavour, and abounds more with a light fragrant essential oil; which is lodged in distinct cells on the surface of the peel, and exudes upon wounding it. It may be made into a conserve by beating it into a pulp with triple the weight of double refined sugar.
Infused in boiling water, it gives out nearly the whole of its smell and taste, together with a bright yellow tincture: eight ounces of the fresh rind give a strong impregnation to four pints of water; and by dissolving in this infusion a proper quantity of sugar, an agreeable syrup is prepared in the shops. Cold water, on the other hand, extracts chiefly the bitter matter, leaving the aromatic behind: hence when the fresh peel is steeped by the confectioners, for making a sweetmeat, till it has loft its bitterness, it still retains a great share of its peculiar flavour: when large quantities are macerated, a portion of of oil is found floating on the surface, from some of the cells having been distended and burst by the aqueous fluid.
Conserv. cort. exter. aurantii hif-palens. Ph. Lond.
Conserva aurantiorum Ph. E4.
Syrup. e cort. aurantiorum. Ph. Lond. & Ed.
In distillation with water, the essential oil, in which the flavour of the peel resides, totally arises, leaving only the bitter matter behind in the decoction. Both the oil and distilled water are very grateful: a spirituous water, moderately impregnated with the flavour of the orange peel, by distilling a gallon of proof spirit from six ounces of the dry rind, is an elegant cordial: and a simple water, more lightly flavoured with it, by drawing over a gallon of water from four ounces of the dry peel, is an useful diluent in fevers, and other diseases, where the stomach and palate are apt to receive quick disgust.
Rectified spirit of wine, digested on orange peel, extracts its virtues more perfectly than water, and receives from it a like yellow tincture: after the action of the spirit the peel remains crisp, after water tough. The spirit, drawn off by distillation, tastes considerably of the peel, but discovers little or nothing of its smell: the remaining extract contains, along with its bitterness, great part of its aromatic flavour, but is less agreeable than the rind in substance.
The juice of oranges is a grateful acid, of great use in inflammatory and putrid disorders both acute and chronical. Its acid matter differs in some of its pharmaceutical properties, both from the fermented acid of vinegar, and from the native acid salts of the leaves of plants, at least of such as have been examined; - from the former, in its not being volatile, or not exhaling upon infpiffating the juice, nor rising in distillation with the heat of boiling water; from the latter, in its being soluble in spirit of wine; the infpiffated juice, at least all its saline matter, dissolving readily in this menstruum as well as in water, and liquefying also in the air. These properties afford commodious means of preserving the acidity of the orange for many years; either in the form of a thick extract, or of a more dilute spirituous solution. The in-fpiffation of the juice mull: be performed with a very gentle heat, especially towards the end of the process, when the matter begins to grow thick, as it is then not only liable to contract an empyreuma, but at the same time to have great part of its acidity destroyed.
The young unripe fruit, commonly called Curaffoa apples, (Aurantia curaslaventia Pharm. Edinb. Aurantia enascentia & immatura Pharm. Paris.) is a grateful aromatic bitter, of a flavour different from that of the peel of the ripe fruit, and without acidity; when fresh, it has a little tartness, which in drying is in great measure loft. It readily gives out to rectified spirit the whole of its bitterness and flavour, together with a fine green tincture: water extracts its virtue less perfectly. Distilled with water, it yields a considerable quantity of yellow essential oil, of an agreeable and very fragrant smell. The spirit, distilled from the spirituous tincture, brings over likewise some share of its flavour, leaving however the greatest part concentrated in the extract, which proves an elegant, mild, aromatic bitter.
2. Aurantia sinensis. Aurantia dulcis. Aurantium dulci medulla vulgare Ferrant. hesperid. & Pharm. Paris. China or sweet orange: with bright yellow smooth fruit, containing a sweet juice.
The rind of this kind of orage has a weak smell, and very little bitterness; and is scarcely ever employed for any medicinal use. The juice, of a grateful subacid sweetness, agrees, in its general qualities, with the fructus horaei of our own climate; and like them, if taken immoderately, produces gripes and fluxes. It is a useful refrigerant in inflammatory dispositions, and an excellent antiseptic in scorbutic and other putrid disorders.