Synephrine: properties, use and contraindications

Curated by Maria Rita Insolera, Naturopath

Synephrine is a substance present in the bitter orange peel ( Citrus aurantium ) and is used mainly for slimming purposes. Let's find out better.

Property of the Synephrine

Synephrine is a sympathomimetic amine commonly used for slimming purposes and extracted from the immature fruit of Citrus aurantium (bitter orange).

We talk about amine because this substance contains a nitrogen atom, and sympathomimetic because it causes reactions similar to those regulated by the sympathetic nervous system: stimulants, exciters and contractors .

The slimming properties of the synephrine also derive from its stimulatory effect on thermogenesis which, increasing the production of body heat, consequently brings an increase in caloric consumption and a much more marked lipolysis.

Synephrine reduces appetite and excites basal metabolism, increasing energy consumption at rest. Metabolic excitation is correlated not only to the increase in heart rate but also (to a lesser extent) to the increase in thermogenesis (production of heat) by stimulation of brown adipose tissue.

Method of use

The extract of Citrus aurantium is indicated to facilitate weight loss in those with overweight or obesity, who have been assigned an appropriate weight loss diet by a specialist.

In most supplements used for weight loss, Citrus aurantium extract is present in combination with other substances, in particular caffeine and green tea extracts.

It is the quantity of synephrine that is relevant, not the amount of dry extract. It is advisable to follow the doses indicated on the labels of the individual supplements.

We dissolve abdominal fat with Citrus aurantium

Contraindications of synephrine

The use of supplements based on bitter orange can be dangerous in subjects at cardiovascular risk (hypertensive, cardiopathic, obese, hyperthyroid), in children under 12 years, in pregnant women and during lactation.

Synephrine, like all other sympathomimetic drugs, can be used in important doses to produce various side effects such as tachycardia, hyperagitation, arrhythmias, hypertensive crises and heart problems in general.

At the doses present in the supplements (10-15 mg / day), the likelihood that tachycardia, heart disease, dry mouth and increased blood pressure (hypertension) appear is very low. This risk increases if the subject takes on other substances that stimulate the central nervous system (caffeine, green tea extracts, etc.).

Regarding the possible side effects of synephrine, it is necessary to remember a decrease in the magnesium content of muscle tissue .

Description of the plant

Bitter orange ( Citrus aurantium ), is a small tree that can reach a height of 10 meters. The leaves have an intense green color, ovate and pointed at the apex, provided with large fins on the petiole.

The most vigorous branches are very thorny; it has a robust root system with taproot. The flowers are white and very similar to those of the sweet orange, like the fruits that are more wrinkled and rich in essential oils. The pulp is sour, bitter and rich in seeds; the epicarp is quite thin. The fruits, orange in color, last long on the plant.

Synephrine habitat

Citrus aurantium (bitter orange) belongs to the Rutaceae family. Originally from India, this small tree grows in regions with a subtropical climate, including Spain and southern Italy.


Synephrine was first extracted in 1964 from the rind of citrus aurantium and has been used for years as a drug (Sympathol®) to raise blood pressure in patients with low blood pressure at risk of collapse.

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