Researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture have confirmed that the juice from Owari Satsuma mandarins grown in Placer County, California orchards contains significant amounts of synephrine, a natural product that can help relieve the symptoms of colds and allergies. Dr. Andrew P. Breksa III, who conducted the study last winter with researchers Klaus Dragull and Brian Cain through USDA’s Western Regional Research Center in Albany, California, presented the study results this week to mandarin growers and other agricultural leaders in Lincoln. “Our results show great promise in that the synephrine concentrations from mandarins grown in the Placer County orchards we tested were up to six times higher than values previously determined for orange juices,” Dr. Breksa said. The next step could be a bioavailability study that will measure the rate at which synephrine enters the blood stream after a person drinks mandarin orange juice from these Placer County orchards, and how long that synephrine remains in the blood stream. Agricultural advocate Joanne Neft, a champion of Placer County mandarins and other local agricultural marketing interests for more than 20 years, raised the money and coordinated the study pro bono with the High Sierra Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization which works with USDA. “The Placer County mandarin synephrine study suggests that there may be a natural remedy for the symptoms of allergies and the common cold, a remedy that is easy to peel, easy to eat, and right in our own backyards,” Neft said. “Every child’s parents should be thrilled with this news.” “Placer County is very proud of the excellent mandarins that are grown here, and very pleased to learn they could bring extended health benefits as well,” declared Board of Supervisors Chairman Jim Holmes. "We are blessed in Placer County to have the potential to grow such a wide range of quality agricultural products,” declared Placer County Supervisor Robert Weygandt, a strong advocate of Placer County agriculture for many years. “This study highlights another tremendous opportunity for local growers and residents who appreciate our agricultural heritage." The goals of the High Sierra Resource Conservation and Development Council are to help strengthen the local economy, rural heritage, conservation and management of natural resources. High Sierra served as fiscal agent for the initial study. Funding came from several private donors, the Placer County Board of Supervisors, Mountain Mandarin Growers, Newcastle Area Business Association and the Placer County Farm Bureau. The full report has been released in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry and is available online.