Grapefruit – Citrus Paradicii - Citrus
Blending Note: Top
Main Benefits: Refreshing, Mood Elevating
Other producers are: China, India, South Africa and in some South America Israel, Brazil
Allergy Warning: Mild Phototoxic, Avoid exposure to sunlight or sunbed rays for 12 hours after use
Short History of Grapefruit
The pomelo is an ancient variety of grapefruit which was bought to Spain from tropical Asia by Arab traders in the 12th Century. From there it is introduced into the West Indies. The pomelo used to be called a shaddock, or shattuck until about the mid 19th century. An Englishman named captain Shaddock supposedly left shaddock seeds in Barbados or Jamaica, depending on the source of information during the mid 18th century, and is given credit for the creation of the grapefruit.
This soon led to the cultivation and hybridization of grapefruits in the new world. Today many hybrid varieties of the fruit including the pink grapefruit are grown commercially in Florida, where the industry first developed. The grapefruit is first documented in 1750 by Rev. Griffith Huges in the book the Natural History of Barbados, ). It has also been stated that grapefruits are a hybrid of the sweet orange and the pomelo, but since the history of this fruit is so shrouded in mystery, I'm going to guess that the creator, not an Englishman, decided to put grapefruits on earth for our eating and smelling pleasure.
Like its other relatives within the citrus group, the Grapefruit is a small evergreen tree with glossy, oval shaped leaves and white star shaped flowers which appear in the never ending succession at the same time as the fruit. The flowers are not as heavily scented as those of other citrus plants but nonetheless sweet. The modern grapefruit is a hybrid between the sweet orange and the pomelo. The highest quality essential oil of grapefruit is captured by cold expression of the fresh peel of the fruit. This is a process where the peel is ruptured and the essence or zest pressed out. An oil is also obtained by steam distillation of the peel and the fruit pulp as by product of the fruit juice industry. The expressed oil of grapefruit is a pale yellow or greenish liquid with a fresh sweet citrus fragrance.
The steam distilled oil has a similar hue and chemical composition to the expressed oil, although the fragrance is sweeter and much less zingy. The distilled oil is the type usually available in the high street. Although it has emotional benefits similar to the expressed oil, aromatherapists tend to favour the fresh smelling expressed oil, the only drawback that it is mildly phototoxic. This means it increases the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight which can result in unsightly brown blotches.
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