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Chen Pi (dried tangerine peel; Citrus reticulata)

Clinical use in Chinese medicine

Chen Pi has been used in Chinese Medicine for over two thousand years as a Qi moving herb. This herb has clinical functions of regulating Qi, enhancing digestive functions, eliminating Dampness and Phlegm in terms of the concept of Chinese medicine. It is commonly used for improving digestion, relieving some digestive or respiratory conditions due to Dampness or Phlegm stagnation, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating, diarrhea, or cough.


Some pharmacological actions    

  • Help digestive system: play a role of up or down regulation of intestinal smooth muscles. This mean that it can promote sluggish motility or inhibit hyperactive motility of the gastrointestinal tract. It also helps digestion by stimulating secretion of the gastric juice. 

  • Relieve cough and wheezing via relaxing branchial smooth muscle, inhibiting pathogenic microorganism and inflammation, and eliminating phlegm.

  • Inhibit multiple bacteria and fungi. 

  • Anticancer: laboratory studies showed that Chen Pi has anticancer action on cancer cells of liver, lung, breast, colon etc. This action might be associated with apoptotic induction and cell cycle arrest. 


Use with caution

Chen Pi appears to be extremely safe and is well tolerated by most people. However, clinical use of Chen Pi is based on the different individuals and is usually prescribed as a part of a complex herbal formulation. Therefore, you should consult and be supervised by a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner if you are interested in taking this herb.

A qualified Chinese medicine practitioner in Australia must be registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia. This health care profession includes acupuncturists, Chinese herbal medicine practitioners and herbal dispensers.



  • Zhong, G. (2016). Chinese Materia Medica (10th ed.). Beijing: China Traditional Chinese Medicine Press.

  • Li, X., Zhang, Z., Wang, H., Ye, F., Li, H., & Ye, X. (2014). Research progress of Chenpi. Jiangxi Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 45(375), 76-78.

  • Wu, M., Liu, J., & Chen, D. (2017). Research progress on anti-oxidation and anti-tumour effects of citrus flavonoids. Asia-Pacific Traditional Medicine, 13(1), 83-85.

  • Wen, G., & Zhou, X. (2011). Study on the role of active ingredients of dried tangerine peel in respiratory system. Modern Journal of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, 23(3), 385-386.

  • The State Pharmacopoeia Commission of the P.R. China. (2015). Pharmacopoeia of the P.R. China (1st ed., Vol. 1). Beijing: China Medical Science and Technology Press.

  • Xia, L. (2005). Modern Toxicology of Chinese Materia Medica (1st ed.). Tianjin: Tianjin Science and Technology Translation Publishing Company.



The content of this website has been developed by Dr Henry Liang and is based on his opinion and some available published literature. It does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects or interactions of this herb. Information contained in this website is intended for use as an educational aid, and NOT to replace medical advice. Any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical or health care practitioner.

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