By Joanne Neft
It’s the season for cold damp weather. As the rains fall and chilly nights become more common, local elementary schools and the work place seem to quietly breed the first of the year’s sniffles and common colds.
Fortunately, Mother Nature blesses us at this time of year with the perfect natural remedy. Within a few weeks time mandarin orange trees will have ripened fruit that provides relief to those who suffer from a head cold and runny nose.
A recent study by the U. S. Department of Agriculture titled Synephrine Content of Juice from Satsuma Mandarins confirms that Placer County’s popular Owari Satsuma mandarins pack a big jolt of synephrine, a natural decongestant that relieves common cold and allergy symptoms.
Research shows that juice from Placer mandarins contains up to six times as much synephrine as the same quantity of orange juice, the only other citrus previous tested. Ten ounces of mandarin juice contain as much synephrine as one over-the-counter decongestant pill, according to the study.
It’s simple to alleviate cold symptoms: give a child two or three mandarins to peel and eat when sniffles appear. And don’t forget to freeze the juice for drinking in April and May when allergies seem to make everyone sneeze and have runny eyes. Just defrost the juice and sip away allergies.
An even better idea is for business owners to have a box of mandarins in the lunch room. Throughout mandarin season, a Penryn electrical contractor sends his trucks out every day with a bag of mandarins on the front seat. The business owner is convinced it’s the reason his employees have not lost a day of work for the last five years.
They snack on mandarins all through the workday.
The first Placer County Owari Satsuma mandarins of the season are for sale at the Mountain Mandarin Festival, November 19 – 21, at the Gold Country Fair Grounds in Auburn. It’s a tradition for regional visitors to load up the family car the weekend before Thanksgiving and head to the foothills to celebrate Placer County’s little orange gem.
For details www.mandarinfestival.com.
Placer County is home to almost seventy mandarin orchards and many orchards are open to the public beginning November 19th into early January. A ten pound box or orange-mesh bag of mandarins is a gift of health to share at home or ship to family or friends.
To download the USDA study, click here.
Joanne Neft is a Placer County agriculture advocate and author of the Placer County
Real Food cookbook.
Mandarin photo by Laura Bell.