Traditional Chinese陳皮
Simplified Chinese陈皮
Literal meaningpreserved peel
Gwo Pei
Traditional Chinese果皮
Literal meaningfruit peel
Second alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese橘皮
Simplified Chinese桔皮
Literal meaningmandarin orange peel

Chenpi, chen pi, or chimpi is sun-dried mandarin orange peel used as a traditional seasoning in Chinese cooking and traditional medicine. It is aged by storing them dry. The taste is first slightly sweet, but the aftertaste is pungent and bitter. According to Chinese herbology, its attribute is warm. Chenpi has a common name, 'ju pi' or mandarin orange peel.[1]

Chenpi contains volatile oils which include the chemical compounds nobiletin, hesperidin, neohesperidin, tangeretin, citromitin, synephrine, carotene, cryptoxanthin, inositol, vitamin B1, and vitamin C.[2] Traditional Chinese herbal medicine uses the alcohol extracts of several citrus peels, including those extracted from mandarin orange and bitter orange.


Sun-dried tangerine peels (chenpi)

Since the products produced in Xinhui are purported to be the best quality, it is often called Xinhui Pi (新會皮) or Guang Chen Pi (廣陳皮). It is normally cut into shreds before serving and presenting in the raw form.[3][unreliable source?]


The practice of using citrus peels in traditional Chinese medicine originated in the Song dynasty and has lasted for seven hundred years. Chenpi was of high popularity through the Ming and Qing dynasties. It was shipped to foreign provinces by businessmen from Xinhui in Guangdong. A famous Qing doctor named Ye Gui (1667–1746) prescribed chenpi as one of the ingredients in 'Erchen Tang', a decoction consisting of two old drugs. Chenpi business brought wealth to Xinhui peasants and it also extended to food processing, logistics areas which form a food production chain. However, chenpi business declined in the 1990s until late 2002 when chenpi farmers helped set up the Chenpi Industrial Association with support from Xinhui Agriculture Bureau and Business Federation, and chenpi has regained its popularity since.[4]

Production method

Xinhui chenpi is famous for its special production technique, where emphasis is put on peeling and storage methods. People can also do it at home.[5]


Prior to consumption, chenpi is soaked and rinsed with cold water until it becomes soft; the soaking time is recommended to be no longer than half an hour with a view to retaining its flavor.[6] Afterwards, the white pith is gently scraped off from the softened peel.[citation needed]



Some tong sui desserts such as red bean soup will use this ingredient occasionally. Chenpi is used to make the Hunanese dish orange chicken.[7] It can be also used for other kinds of food and beverages such as porridge, duck, pigeon,[8] mooncakes, green bean soup, jam, and wine. Chenpi-infused tea can also be prepared.[citation needed]

In Japanese cuisine, chenpi (pronounced "chimpi" in Japanese) is a common ingredient in shichimi tōgarashi, a traditional spice mix.[9]


Chenpi is a common ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is believed that it regulates qi, fortifies the spleen, eliminates dampness, improves abdominal distension, enhances digestion, and reduces phlegm.[10] There is a well-known chenpi-derived medicine named 'snake gallbladder and tangerine peel powder'. The powder is used for heart disharmonies.[11]

It is one of the most frequently used Chinese herbs in the recovery stage of the Covid-19 to potentially improve the symptoms.[12]


Traditional Chinese medicine urges caution in using chenpi when red symptoms occur, such as red tongue or redness in the face.[citation needed]


Whole citrus peel is readily available from most herbal markets and specialty food stores. Some stores also sell citrus peel powder or capsules.

Starting from around 2010, extensive land development for commercial and residential use in China has caused the decrease of farmland, especially in Xinhui, affecting the supply of Xinhui citrus and consequently chenpi production. This in turn has contributed to a steep increase in the price of chenpi.[13] Based on data in late 2014, Xinhui chenpi aged one year costs around 140 HKD per kilogram while those aged 10 years cost 600 to 800 HKD per kilo. Chenpi stored for more than 20 years can reach nearly 24,000 RMB per kilogram. 65-year chenpi even costs 23,000 RMB per tael. Wholesale price of chenpi costs 40 to 70 HKD per pound.[6][14]

See also


  1. ^ Balch, Phyllis A. (2002). Prescription for Herbal Healing. Penguin. p. 47. ISBN 9780895298690.
  2. ^ Xu Li (2002). Chinese Materia Medica: Combinations and Applications. Elsevier Health Sciences. pp. 272–273. ISBN 1901149021.
  3. ^ "Citrus Peel (Chen Pi)". Retrieved 2016-03-24.
  4. ^ "景盛庄". Archived from the original on 2016-04-09. Retrieved 2016-03-24.
  5. ^ "新會廣陳皮網 陳皮 新會陳皮 新會特產 陳皮網 新會柑 新會皮 柑皮 陳皮文化 茶枝柑廣陳皮產地 陳皮原料 陳皮食療 陳皮功效 中藥陳皮 廣東特產". Archived from the original on 2016-04-04. Retrieved 2016-03-24.
  6. ^ a b Lee, Sharon (10 September 2012). "Herb: Dried Tangerine Peel". Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  7. ^ Lo, Eileen Yin-Fei (1999). "Poultry and Other Fowl". The Chinese Kitchen. calligraphy by San Yan Wong (1st ed.). New York, New York: William Morrow and Company. p. 314. ISBN 0-688-15826-9. ORANGE CHICKEN Chun Pei Gai Pan Traditionally this Hunan recipe contained what is called chun pei, or 'old skin,' to describe the dried citrus peel used in its preparation.
  8. ^ Liu Yanze; Wang Zhimin; Zhang Junzeng (18 May 2015). Dietary Chinese Herbs: Chemistry, Pharmacology and Clinical Evidence. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 335–337. ISBN 9783211994481.
  9. ^ "What is Shichimi Togarashi?". Yawataya Isogorō corporate web site. Yawataya Isogorō. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  10. ^ Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. 1985. Los Angeles: Institute of Chinese Medicine.
  11. ^ Zhu, Chun-Han (1 January 1989). Clinical Handbook of Chinese Prepared Medicines. Paradigm Publications. p. 80. ISBN 9780912111438.
  12. ^ Ziping, Li (20 October 2021). "Chinese Herbs Have The Potential To Help Improve COVID-19 Symptoms Based On Syndrome Differentiation". Bentham Science. Retrieved 21 Feb 2023.
  13. ^ "陳皮有價有市 愈老愈值錢 - 東方日報". 5 May 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  14. ^ "吳煒龍: 陳皮的價值". 信報. Retrieved 2016-03-24.