The Grapefruit is a citrus hybrid originating in Barbados as an accidental cross between two introduced species, sweet orange and pomelo, both of which were introduced from Asia in the seventeenth century. Upon its discovery it was nicknamed the "forbidden fruit”, in comparison to the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" in the Garden of Eden.
As an excellent source of many important nutrients and phytochemicals, the Grapefruit comes in many varieties, determined by colour, which is caused by the pigmentation of the fruit in respect of both its state of ripeness and genetic bent.
This nutrient dense fruit is extremely high in immune boosting vitamin C, with just half a Grapefruit providing around 65 percent of the RDA (recommended daily allowance).
Crucial to the overall health of the body in its efforts to fight off infections – both bacterial and viral – white blood cells contain 20 times the amount of vitamin C than other cells and require constant replenishment to keep the immune system working to its optimum capacity.
Vitamin C affects several components of the human immune system. It has been shown to stimulate both the production and function of leukocytes, a type of white blood cell that is essential to the immune system. They are crucial to the body's ability to effectively fight off bacteria and disease-causing pathogens, thus preventing infections and disease. Vitamin C, through its antioxidant functions, has also been shown to protect leukocytes from self-inflicted oxidative damage.
Furthermore, there have been several studies that show vitamin C can speed up one’s recovery from coughs, colds and flu. A 2006 study published in the “Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism” found that adequate intake of vitamin C and zinc "ameliorate symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections including the common cold. Furthermore, vitamin C and zinc reduce the incidence and improve the outcome of pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhoea infections."
Healthy Weight Loss
There have been many diets with Grapefruit at their core – the “Grapefruit Diet” dates back to the 1930’s and has outlasted many fad diets. There are several studies that show people who eat half a Grapefruit or drink the juice before a meal lose more weight than those who do not.
Even Grapefruit essential oil can reduce the appetite and contribute to weight loss, according to several studies. A 2014 study published in “Autonomic Neuroscience” found that inhaling the scent of Grapefruit essential oil increased that activity of the gastric vagal nerve, resulting in a reduction in appetite. This nerve also stimulates the production of the gastric juices that are needed for digestion. The essential oil is rich in the active compound limonene which has been shown to suppress the appetite, thus limiting food intake.
As a lymphatic stimulant with a diuretic action, Grapefruit essential oil can help rid the body of excessive weight from water and help to kick-start a sluggish lymphatic system.
Inhaling Grapefruit essential oil before a meal relaxes the parasympathetic gastric nerve, which in turn will reduce the compulsion to overeat. This is because it suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin.
Grapefruit essential oil can also be applied topically (diluted in a carrier oil), to suppress the appetite and reduce food cravings.
Grapefruits – especially the red variety – are high in potassium, a mineral that helps to neutralise the negative effects of too much sodium. This allows the blood to flow freely to the vital organs and naturally lowers blood pressure.
Grapefruit also helps to flush sodium through the kidneys, reducing water retention and lowering blood pressure.
Additionally, it has been found to lower blood triglyceride levels. Again, it is the red Grapefruit that appears to be the most beneficial. A 2006 study found that; “Diet supplemented with fresh red Grapefruit positively influences serum lipid levels of all fractions, especially serum triglycerides and also serum antioxidant activity. The addition of fresh red Grapefruit to generally accepted diets could be beneficial for hyperlipidaemic, especially hyper triglyceridemic, patients suffering from coronary atherosclerosis.”
The reason that red Grapefruits are more effective is thought to be that they contain higher levels of antioxidants than in the white and pink varieties.
The fresh, zingy and uplifting scent of Grapefruit essential oil soothes the spirit by promoting feelings of peace and relaxation.
In a study looking at the effect of several essential oils on sympathetic activity (fight or flight stress response of the nervous system), it was found that adults who inhaled Grapefruit essential oil experienced a 1.5 to 2.5 increase in relative sympathetic activity. This correlated with improved mood and a reduction in stressful feelings. There was also a noticeable reduction in systolic blood pressure.
The powerful antibacterial and antimicrobial action of Grapefruit essential oil has been tested in many studies.
It has been shown to be effective against the harmful bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecali and Escherichia coli. For example, boils, impetigo, food poisoning, cellulitis, and toxic shock syndrome are all diseases that can be caused by Staphylococcus.
This makes Grapefruit essential oil a fantastic, potent ingredient to use in natural cleaning products.
The Grapefruit was first documented in 1750 by Reverend Griffith Hughes who was describing specimens from Barbados. Known as the shaddock or shattuck until the 1800s, its current name alludes to clusters of the fruit on the tree, which appear similar to grapes. The name Grapefruit first appeared in English in a work by botanist John Lunan, Hortus Jamaicanensis (1814).
The Grapefruit first appeared in the USA in 1823, when Count Odette Phillipe brought the seeds from the Bahamas to Safety Harbour near Tampa, Florida. Like so many other foods introduced into the United Sates from distant countries, the fruit did not gain immediate popularity. One American gardening encyclopaedia referred to it as "thick-skinned and worthless."
Luckily, this sentiment did not last for long and its popularity grew over the decades. Grapefruit is now enjoyed all over the world for its sharp, tangy flavour and multitude of health benefits.
Monoterpenes as limonene, aldehydes as citronellal, citral, sinensal, esters as geranyl acetate, alcohols as paradisol, geraniol, ketones, lactones and coumarins, limettin, sesquiterpenes as cadidene.
Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before application to the skin. Avoid direct sun exposure if applied to the skin.
Please consult your healthcare practitioner if you are taking prescription medications - especially blood pressure or antidepressant medication.