The word Azahar comes from the Arabic az-zahr which means flowers. This term can refer to the blossoms of el naranja, el limonero (Citrus × Limon), or even the cidro or citrón (Citrus medica) tree. Most often, Flor de Azahar refers to sweet orange flowers (Citrus × Sinensis) rather than bitter orange (Citrus × Aurantium). However bitter orange blossom is the preferred ingredient for the Mexican pastry pan de muerto.
Citrus trees are not native to Mexico. They arrived with the Spaniards in the 1500s and were embraced as both a flavoring and a medicinal component. One account of the town of Chapala records that Father Sebastián de Párraga arrived in 1562 and planted the first orange trees in the area.
Flor de Azahar is used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and as a digestive stimulate in traditional Mexican remedies. A tea made from blossoms and leaves is used as a remedy for anger issues known as muina or coraje. Adding 7 drops of rum or brandy to Té de Flor de Azahar (Orange Blossom Tea) is thought to help menopausal hot flashes and alleviate menstrual cramps.
Flor de Azahar is also used to treat tuberculosis in some areas of Mexico. Bitter orange (citrus × Aurantium) and sweet orange (citrus × Sinensis) have been shown to have anticancer, antianxiety, antiobesity, antibacterial, antioxidant, pesticidal, antimycotic, and antidiabetic activities. They have mild sedative effects, supporting their use in insomnia and anxiety treatments. Sweet orange (citrus × Sinensis) is an effective treatment for infectious diarrhea and both sweet and bitter orange have antimycobacterial activity supporting their use as a treatment for respiratory issues including tuberculosis.
Here are some simple remedies you can make using Flor de Azahar.
Boil ¼ liter of water. Add:
- 1 tablespoon Flores de Azahar (Citrus × Aurantium)
Sweeten with honey. Drink 3 cups per day. The last cup should be drunk right before bed.
- 1 liter of water
- 4 to 6 tablespoons of flores de Azahar (Citrus × Sinensis)
- 1 ½ kilo of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of rum
Boil until it gets syrupy. Take 1 tablespoon after each meal.
Boil ¼ liter of water. Add:
- 1 tablespoon of Flor de Tila (Ternstroemia lineata)
- 1 tablespoon of Flor de Azahar (Citrus × Sinensis)
- Sprinkle with canela (cinnamon)
Stress Headache Tea
Boil 1 liter of water. Add:
- 1 tablespoon Flores de Azahar (Citrus x Aurantium)
- 1 tablespoon Passiflora (Passiflora edulis)
- 1 tablespoon Flor de Tila (Ternstroemia lineata)
- 1 tablespoon Manzanilla (Matricaria chamomilla)
Steep for 10 minutes. Strain and enjoy.
Interested in natural remedies? Uncover herbal remedies from traditional Mexican sources for healing and wellness in the Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico series.