The now widely beloved Grapefruit is believed to have originated by mistake. It is a hybrid that botanists believe was created through the accidental crossing of sweet orange and pomelo.
Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi), is a subtropical tree in the Rutaceae family. It is a citrus hybrid originating from a cross between the Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) and the Pomelo (Citrus maxima). The trees usually grow to around 20 to 30 feet in height with some trees reaching up to 50 feet. Grapefruit trees have dense foliage with long, thin, glossy leaves. The fruit are large with yellow-orange skin and segmented interior flesh that varies in color and flavor depending on the cultivar. The color of the flesh can range from pale yellow to red and from sour to semi-sweet in taste, with redder varieties generally being sweeter. The fruits grow in grape-like clusters on the tree which is the source of the plant’s name. Grapefruit trees mature quickly, producing substantial crops within 4 to 6 years of being planted. A mature grapefruit tree at the height of its production can yield 1200 to 1500 pounds of fruit each season.
Grapefruit is one of the more recently discovered citrus fruits, being first recorded in 1750 on the island of Barbados. Welsh naturalist, Reverend Griffith Hughes, traveled to Barbados in search of the tree that was in the Garden of Eden. He published The Natural History of Barbados, in which he wrote the first description of the grapefruit, nicknaming it the “forbidden fruit”. Possibly because of this, the belief that grapefruit is linked to the original tree of good and evil has followed it throughout history. By 1789, grapefruit’s moniker of the “forbidden fruit” had spread to Jamaica. There it was also referred to as the “smaller shaddock”, shaddock being another term for pomelo. In 1814 Jamaican, planter John Lunan described the grapefruit in his writings, the Hortus Jamaicanensis. This is where it was first referred to as grapefruit because it grows on the tree in clusters, similar to grapes.
The grapefruit was introduced to Florida in 1823 by Odet Phillipe, a French immigrant who was one of the first permanent settlers to Pinellas County. It was grown first only as a novelty in Florida before its consumption and benefits became more widespread. In 1870, Florida settler John MacDonald planted the first grapefruit nursery in Orange County. The grapefruit was still botanically classified with the pomelo until 1837. It was then that botanist James MacFayden separated and differentiated the two fruits. In his publication, Flora of Jamaica, he gave it the botanical name of Citrus paradisi, meaning the “fruit of paradise.” Although it is a relative newcomer among citrus fruits, the healing benefits of grapefruit essential oil were quickly realized. It was first discovered to be an excellent antiseptic wash for sore throats and treatment for skin blemishes.
Grapefruits cultivated for essential oil production are harvested when the fruit is ripe and the peel begins to turn yellow. The popular modern method for harvesting grapefruits is still to pick them by hand, using ladders to access the higher branches. Grapefruit essential oil is extracted from the peel of the fruit through the cold pressing method. Extracting the essential oil from grapefruit can be more difficult than with other citrus fruits because the oil glands are located much deeper in the peel. This makes the extraction process lengthier and more intricate compared to other citrus fruits. Grapefruit essential oil has a sweet citrusy aroma and can range in color from pale to darker yellow.
Benefits and Uses
Grapefruit essential oil has a stimulating aroma making it great for giving us an energized and uplifted outlook. It has been shown to increase mental focus and boost the mood to leave us feeling refreshed and renewed. Grapefruit essential oil also works to balance cortisol levels, working to reduce stress and anxiety and clear the mind of negativity. Grapefruit essential oil may be most widely loved and regarded for its benefits that support healthy weight loss and management. It works to boost the metabolism while also helping to curb the appetite and reduce cravings. Grapefruit is also a diuretic and lymphatic stimulant that can help to flush out toxins and excess water from our system. Like many other citrus oils, grapefruit essential oil boasts powerful antibacterial and antimicrobial effects, making it great for protecting both our bodies and homes. It can eliminate harmful bacteria from surfaces when added to household cleaners. Grapefruit also works to protect our bodies from infection for faster healing. Grapefruit essential oil also possesses lymphatic properties that have been known to strengthen the immune system, helping to defend our bodies against illness. Grapefruit essential oil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can be utilized for a variety of uses. It can help to increase circulation and provide relief for aches and pains. This can work to reduce bloating and cramps associated with menstruation as well as ease headaches and soothe muscle pain. Antioxidant effects also help grapefruit essential oil to combat those pesky headaches and even help to relieve fatigue. With its powerful cleansing and balancing benefits, grapefruit essential oil is valued for its skincare uses. It can help to promote skin cell rejuvenation and balance uneven skin tone for a clearer, healthier complexion. These cleansing effects can also help clear out blemishes and reduce the appearance of dark spots.
When used topically, grapefruit essential oil can be photosensitizing to the skin. Be sure to always dilute the oil to the correct percentage with a skin-safe carrier oil before using it topically. To avoid possible sensitizing effects, it is best to avoid sun exposure soon after using grapefruit essential oil on the skin.
Here are some recipes using Grapefruit essential oil that we love...
Mental Energy Diffuser Blend
- 4 drops of Grapefruit Essential Oil
- 3 drops of Bergamot Essential Oil
- 2 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
Metabolism Boosting Roll-On
- 10 ml Amber Glass Roll-On Bottle
- 10 ml of Fractionated Coconut oil
- 7 drops of Grapefruit Essential Oil
- 3 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
Add the essential oils to the bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle to the top with fractionated coconut oil, leaving enough room to shake and insert rollerball. Replace the rollerball and cap, gently shake, and roll across your skin.
Brightening Foaming Facial Cleanser
- 16oz Foaming Soap Dispenser
- ½ cup Unscented Liquid Castile Soap
- ½ cup Distilled Water
- 1 tablespoon Sweet Almond Oil
- 1 tablespoon Aloe Vera Oil
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable Glycerin
- 10 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil
- 5 drops Frankincense Essential Oil
Add all the ingredients to the foaming soap dispenser, replace the top, and shake well to combine.
Inflammation Eliminator Detox Bath
- ½ cup Coarse Mineral Sea Salt
- ½ cup Epsom Salt
- ½ cup Loose Green Tea
- 1 cup Baking Soda
- 20 drops Jojoba Oil
- 10 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil
Add all ingredients to a large jar and stir thoroughly to combine. Add about one cup of the mixture to a warm bath and soak for 30 minutes to an hour.