Grapefruit and Pink Grapefruit Essential Oil: Valuable Medicinal Food and Mood-Enhancing Essential Oil

I recently listened to a talk by Dr. Ellen Tart-Jensen at the International Iridology Practitioners Association (IIPA) conference in San Diego. I was impressed with how she recommends foods as medicines to help people heal. It's something I want to get better at because I believe we should make food our primary medicine. Grapefruit is a good example of a food that can also be used as a medicine.

Health Benefits of Grapefruit

Pink Grapefruit SegmentsGrapefruit is a low-calorie food with a high content of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and other nutrients. For example, just one-half of a grapefruit supplies the entire RDA for vitamin C. I think getting vitamins from food rather than from supplements is better because of all the co-factors found in foods that aid the body in utilizing the nutrients.

Grapefruit has also been used to aid weight loss. I remember my dad eating grapefruit to help him lose weight when I was a teenager.

Besides using grapefruit as a low glycemic food to help you lose weight (and control your blood sugar), studies suggest that eating grapefruit lowers your risk of cancer and heart disease. This is probably because it’s a good source of antioxidants. Grapefruit also helps boost the immune system to help fight off viral infections.

One caution about grapefruit, it interferes with certain metabolic pathways in the liver that detoxify certain compounds. For instance, it appears to interfere with the breakdown of estrogens, which may be a good thing for women going through menopause because it enhances the action of estrogen. It isn't a good thing for men suffering from low testosterone, erectile dysfunction, or BPH.

One of my favorite herbalists, Stephen Harrod Buhner, wrote in his book The Natural Testosterone Plan, “I am pleased to finally find a good reason for my long dislike of grapefruit,” then goes on to state how it can upregulate estrogen levels in men. So, while I don’t share his dislike of grapefruit, I decided to stop eating it as I’m trying to avoid anything that enhances estrogen because of my age.

The Food and Drug Administration requires some medications to list whether it's unsafe to consume grapefruit while taking them. It’s probably a good idea not to eat a lot of grapefruit if you have abnormal heart rhythm, have symptoms of estrogen dominance, or are taking estrogen hormone replacement therapy.

Grape Seeds, Pith, and Peels

Grapefruit TreeThe peels and seeds of grapefruit appear to have disinfectant, antioxidant, and wound-healing properties. However, avoid extracts that are made using chemical extraction methods, something that applies to many commercial grapefruit seed extract products.

You can use the seeds, pith, and peels as a medicine provided the grapefruits are organic so you aren’t getting any pesticides or chemicals on the peels. You can always eat a little bit of the bitter white pith when eating the grapefruit and you can include a little pith and some seeds when juicing the fruit to get this immune-boosting effect. You can also dry the peels and use them in herbal formulas in a similar manner to using lemon peel or other citrus peels.

Pink Grapefruit Essential Oil

Pink Grapefruit Essential OilThe most commonly used medicinal part of pink grapefruit is the essential oil. The oil, extracted from the peels, is sweet and citrusy, with a cooling and relaxing effect. Grapefruit EO can help to relax muscle tension and ease stress. It can also help to cool down the body and is one of the oils that can be used to help ease irritability and hot flashes during menopause.

Emotionally, pink grapefruit has a child-like, playful quality about it. It can help a person feel happier and more relaxed when they are stressed, tense, frustrated, irritable, or moody. It’s one of the oils I consider a remedy for bringing out what I call the playful, inner child. It can calm down angry feelings, ease feelings of depression, and calm feelings of anxiety, making it an emotionally-centering remedy. In their place, it promotes feelings of self-confidence and well-being, being mildly euphoric.

It is specifically helpful for the wintertime blues when people feel depressed and lethargic in the dark months of winter. It’s also specifically helpful for people who eat for comfort when they feel stressed. It’s also helpful for people whose expectations of life, themselves, and other people are too high, causing them to feel let down when these expectations aren’t met.

Using Grapefruit

Pink grapefruit EO can be applied topically (neat or diluted) for lymphatic congestion, water retention, cellulite, stretch marks, and herpes. You can inhale or diffuse the oil to help reduce anger and irritability during PMS or menopause. Smelling the oil appears to reduce testosterone and enhance estrogen (or at least provides a similar effect). It can also be used to cool down the body during a hot flash.

The oil can be taken internally for short periods (no more than two weeks). Dilute the oil for internal use adding 1-2 drops to a teaspoon of coconut or olive oil. It can be used to stimulate appetite, ease indigestion, and reduce nausea and vomiting.

Besides using grapefruit pulp and juice as food, you can also experiment with using the seeds and peels as medicine. You can crush them and apply them topically to help soothe irritation, fight infection, and promote healing in skin conditions. You can also dry the peels and use them in teas, tinctures, or glycerites as an antioxidant, antimicrobial, and tissue healing remedy.

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