Some plants were born to be superstars. Lately, hemp and cannabis have been hogging the news, but it's time to honor the orange. Besides delicious fruit and everyone's favorite breakfast juice, oranges have dozens of uses.
Here are three of our favorites you may be overlooking.
1. Make Orange Vinegar for the Freshest House In Town
Orange-scented cleaning products seem to have replaced lemon. The smell is great, but the chemicals in commercial products aren't always something you really should be spreading all over the house.
There's a natural alternative that does the trick just as well. It's so cheap it's almost free, too. Make an orange-scented vinegar solution for cleaning. Save those orange peels until you can fill a glass container with a lid. Stuff them in, and cover with white vinegar. Now seal the lid and send the bottle to storage for two weeks to a month. A dark corner of the cupboard is fine. To use the solution, strain out all the orange peels.
You can put ¼ cup to ½ cup of your new vinegar essence in water for a great all-purpose cleaner. And once you've strained out the orange peels, they make great garbage disposal deodorizer-cleaners, too.
By the way, if you like something a little more complex, add some sprigs of rosemary, cedar, or pine to spike your orange scent. You'll love how the house smells. But warning, it could make you hungry!
2. Work Out Your Arthritis Kinks
There are drugs and natural remedies to treat the pain of arthritis. But even with those in your medicine cabinet for pain or swelling, a little self-management can go a long way to keeping your fingers and hands functioning smoothly.
These routines will leave you feeling more like you had a massage than a workout. You can do them with a tennis ball, but an orange is even friendlier to hurting hands.
The easiest one is the big squeeze. Palm the orange and wrap your fingers around it evenly. Now squeeze gently if you are really sore. Hold each squeeze to the count of 5 then release. Repeat 10 times. On your good days, you can squeeze with all your might to build hand strength.
Now try the claw pinch. Put all your fingers together and place your clustered fingertips down on the top of the orange. Put the tip of your thumb below. Pinch the orange as if trying to dent it. Gently if needed. Hard if you can. Hold each pinch 5 seconds and do 10 of them altogether.
Next come the solo finger presses... Put your thumb under the orange and place just your index fingertip on top, opposite your thumb. Keep the other fingers relaxed, they'll have to wait for their turn Now squeeze your thumb and index finger together for 5 seconds. When your index finger is done, move on to your middle finger and thumb. When that's done, do a press with your thumb and ring finger. Finish up with a thumb and pinky face off, and you've completed the first series. Try to reach 10 series of finger presses, 15 if you're feeling spunky.
Finish your routine with the unbender, because all you need after this squeezing is a good stretch. Put the orange in the palm of one hand. Place the index finger of your other hand on top of the orange. Keep your finger straight, and use the orange to push your finger back as far as you can comfortably move it.
People usually do this last exercise by pushing on the fingers of one hand with the other, but it's easier to overdo it that way. The orange keeps it gentle.
3. Eat Them
Not exactly a new use, you say. Maybe so, but we're going to add an orange twist. Eat the peel.
Orange peels are rich in nutrients. Gram for gram, the peel of an orange contains about twice as much vitamin C as the fruit. Orange peels also include the B-complex vitamins riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, pyridoxine, and folate along with Vitamin A.
Needless to say, but we'll say it anyway—only eat the peels of organic oranges. And wash them first.
Oranges are powerful. In addition to all those vitamins, they are a natural source for diosmin, a flavone with a strong pharmaceutical demand, especially for achy legs.
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