Some 16 species of small, evergreen trees and shrubs comprise this genus, native to SE Asia and E Pacific islands. Most citruses have been cultivated for so long that their origins are obscure. The species are very closely related, with numerous hybrids and cultivars. Citruses were unknown in Europe in Classical times, through C. aurantium and C. bergamia were first mentioned in Chinese medicine in the first century CE. The first citrus to arrive in Europe was the bitter orange, C. aurantium, probably brought by the Portuguese from the East Indies. It was followed by C. limon, probably from China, somewhere between tthe 11th and 13th centuries. Medicinal uses of citruses are complex. Various parts of the tree are used, and also various parts of the fruit at different stages of ripeness. Commonly, the leaves, fruits, juice and bark are used, while in China several quite different drugs are prepared from the fruits alone - one of the most valuable being the peel of C. reticulata, which becomes more potent with age. The related Poncirus trifoliata (hardy orange, Japanese bitter orange) is used in identical ways to C. aurantium. Citruses are high in vitamin C, flavonoids, acids, and volatile oils. They also contain coumarins, such as bergapten, which sensitize the skin to sunlight. Bergapten is sometimes added to tanning preparations and may cause dermatitis or allergic responses. The most recent uses of citruses are anti-oxidants and chemical exfoliants in cosmetics.

An evergreen tree with shiny leaves, white flowers and large yellow fruits, which are much larger than oranges.

Common Name:
Botanical Name:
Citrus paradisi
United States, Brazil, California, Florida.
Parts Used:
Fruit, Peel
Color and Odor:
The essential oil is yellow in color with a light, fresh, tangy, sweet aroma.
Grapefruit is widely used as a breakfast fruit and also for its juice. The essential oil is used in perfumery, especially toilet water.
Antidepressant, antiseptic, diuretic, stimulant, tonic
  • Digestive System—Stimulates the appetite, acts as a tonic to the stomach and liver and promotes digestive secretions.
  • Urinary System—Promotes kidney function by helping to eliminate water, therefore useful for obesity and water retention. Also has a cleansing effect on the kidneys, helping to eliminate toxins from the body.
  • Emotions—Grapefruit ahs a balancing effect on the emotions. It is uplifting, brightening up dark, depressive moods and boosting confidence. It helps with procrastination, frustration, and bitterness. May even help stabalize manic depression.
Grapefruit 7 Grapefruit 7 Grapefruit 7
Coriander 3 Juniper 3 Sandalwood 3
Carrot 2 Fennel 2 Lavender 2
Aromatherapy Blends and recipes by Franzesca Watson Copyright © 1995 Thorsons, Harper Parker Publishing Inc. Pp 110-111