‘Clean’ TCM: Tait Labs eyes Asia collaboration around citrus peel extraction method, plans to launch prebiotic supplement to China

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

MS+ Mandarin Skin Plus is a natural health product for improving digestion, made from an extract of mandarin skins that have been upcycled from crop leftovers of the juicing and canning industry ©Tait Labs
MS+ Mandarin Skin Plus is a natural health product for improving digestion, made from an extract of mandarin skins that have been upcycled from crop leftovers of the juicing and canning industry ©Tait Labs

Related tags orange peel TCM Prebiotic

Canada’s Tait Laboratories is planning to export its digestive health supplement to China as well as pushing the concept of ‘clean’ TCM ingredients in the region on the back of a new patent for its extraction technology for citrus peels.

Citrus peels contain polyphenols, carotenoids, and essential oils which have desirable heath benefits such as improving digestion, and relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Typically, citrus peel extraction use alcohol as a solvent in the extraction process. For Tait Labs, its technology called MPMB Citrus does not use alcohol, instead uses an alkaline and water combination, which is said to increase the overall yield and double the polyphenol and bioflavonoids content.

The process creates an extract that has more than 90% solubility, and can be used in powders, beverages, and other formats.

MPMB Citrus was recently awarded a patent in the US. As its name suggests, it can be used for citrus fruits such as orange, lemon, limes, and grapefruits.

Taking the example of orange peel, around four million metric tons of mandarin orange peel are wasted globally, so the firm wants to partner companies looking for clean ingredients derived from food waste.

Customers whether in the US or China are wanting clean ingredients, yet without sacrificing their beneficial health effect​,” Dr Andrew Tait, president and director at Tait Laboratories said. It is looking to work with companies in the food, beverage, supplement, and herbal medicine space.

In Asia, it is in discussion with several companies to use its niche technology, including companies from the Philippines, to assess how food waste can be used to develop new ingredients for health products.

Besides licensing the technology, the company is open to supply its ingredient developed from the same technology.

The prebiotic ingredient Mandrimax is derived from mandarin orange peel extract. It is a patent-pending extract available in a clean power ingredient for application in dietary supplements, food and beverages.

This ingredient is also used in the firm’s dietary supplement product, MS+ Mandarin Skin Plus, for digestive health.

Users of its dietary supplement reported relief from the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome such as chronic diarrhoea.

Originated from TCM

According to Tait, orange peel also known as chenpi in China is traditionally used as a TCM ingredient to relieve digestive disorders.

Orange peel contains high amount of polymethoxylated flavones, nobiletin and tangeritin, which are anti-inflammatory and may have neurological benefit for memory.

The firm had previously published a study on the anti-inflammatory properties​ found in orange peel extract from Sichuan and Xinhui Province in China.

In animal studies, the nobiletin compound in orange peel was found to improve memory and cognitive functions in mice.

In Peru, the firm has conducted a pilot study on its MS+ Mandarin Skin Plus supplement.

We did a small pilot study on people with chronic diarrhoea who were given the supplement to take for one month. Nine out of 10 people were found to recover from their symptoms​,” Tait said.

He intends to explore more human clinical trials in the future: “Especially now, where there is the sustainability aspect in valorising food waste to provide clean-label ingredients with new health benefits, the true value is in promoting TCM to the globe where the value has been known for centuries, but still not widely appreciated yet​.”

Supplement export

Currently, Tait Labs’ dietary supplement is available in Canada, US, and Peru through online platforms such as Amazon, and offline including pharmacies.

It is planning to launch into China having registered a trademark. “Our entry into the Chinese market will likely be online first, partnering with a large online platform. Our strategy will ultimately be a combination of online and offline there.”


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