Health Canada recently approved Mandarin Skin Plus (MS+™) as a Natural Health Product to improve digestive symptoms.1 MS+™ is a capsule containing an extract of dry-aged mandarin orange peel (chenpi). Chenpi has been in use for more than one thousand years as a seasoning in cooking and as a traditional Chinese medicine to treat acute bloating, indigestion, nausea, and upset stomach. In Chinese culture, dried mandarin peels are highly prized and sometimes part of the family heirlooms, where the aged peels can also fetch hundreds of dollars per pound in the marketplace.
To receive a Natural Health Product licence in Canada, a product must “be safe, effective, of high quality and carry detailed label information to let people make safe and informed choices.”2 Licenced products include a Natural Health Product number (NPN-80040015) on packaging and Health Canada maintains an online database of such products.
Chenpi contains high levels of flavonoids and other potentially beneficial polyphenols. Most fruits and vegetables also contain varying types and levels of polyphenols. Research using animal subjects suggests that some of these compounds reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the digestive tract, which could promote a healthy microbiome.3
Individuals usually consume chenpi steeped in boiling water as tea. To increase the content of beneficial polyphenols, traditional makers dry the peels for 10-20 years before consuming them. The manufacturer of MS+™, Tait Laboratories Inc., is a Canadian company based in British Columbia that has developed a water extraction process that dries the peels in a small fraction of that time. They use no toxic solvents in this process and the product contains no corn, wheat, dairy, or any other animal products.
MS+™ capsule contents are water-soluble, so if you’d rather not swallow the capsule whole, you can open them up and mix the contents in water or juice before consuming. Compared to some other powdered chenpi products on the market, MS+™ does not contain high levels of additives (to prevent clumping or increase shelf life) and they test the product for heavy metals, pesticides, and microbial contaminants.
MS+™ is available for purchase online at www.taitlabs.ca. If you are taking other prescription or over-the-counter products for your digestive condition, you should speak with your health care provider before using this product. Please also note that there are currently no tests on the safety of this product for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
First published in the Inside Tract® newsletter issue 190 – 2014
The GI Society/CSIR receive no financial compensation for product reviews.
1. Health Canada. Licensed Natural Health Products Database. http://webprod5.hc-sc.gc.ca/lnhpd-bdpsnh/info.do?licence=80040015&lang=eng. Accessed 2014-06-09.
2. Health Canada. About Natural Health Products Page. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/about-apropos/cons-eng.php. Accessed 2014-06-12.
3. Taitlabs.ca. Sciences Page. http://www.taitlabs.ca/innovations/sciences/. Accessed 2014-06-12.