Monday, December 17, 2007

Alternative medicine: Grapefruit

Grapefruit, the 'forbidden fruit' of Barbados is recommended for lowering blood cholesterol levels due to its fat metabolism effects. Botanical: Citrus paradisi Family: N.O. Rutaceae Habitat: Grapefruit is believed to be native to Jamaica. Description: It is a sub-tropical citrus tree, originally named as the 'forbidden fruit' of Barbados. The evergreen grapefruit tree can grow to a height of 5-6 meters. Grapefruits are round with thin yellow or yellow with a pinkish hue peel. It is more or less acidic, sweet, and fragrant. Part Used Medicinally: Fruit Constituents: Grapefruit is a rich source of many nutrients and phytochemicals; it is a good source of vitamin C, pectin fiber, and the beneficial antioxidant lycopene. A cup of unsweetened grapefruit juice has 95mg of vitamin C. It contains considerable amounts of carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and fiber. Pink and red varieties are high in beta carotene, a vitamin A precursor. Grapefruit seed has low antioxidant properties. Medicinal Uses: Grapefruit lowers cholesterol.
It contains bioflavonoids and other plant chemicals which protect the body against cancer and heart disease. Grapefruit seed extract is a strong antimicrobial. Grapefruit flower essence helps overcome insomnia. Grapefruit pulp is an effective treatment for urinary disorders. Leaf extractions have antibiotic activity. Grapefruit stimulates the appetite and is used for its digestive, stomachic and diuretic qualities. Daily consumption of grapefruit helps alleviate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other inflammatory disorders. Caution : Allergic individuals to citrus fruits are likely to react to grapefruit. Scientists believe the daily consumption of a quarter of grapefruit is associated with a 30% increase in breast cancer risk in post-menopausal women. Grapefruit often increase the effective potency of several drugs by blocking a special enzyme in the intestines, which may lead to toxicity and other side effects. Taking such medications along with grapefruit juice can damage organs or impair their normal function. Reported drug interactions with the fruit include: Statins (Baycol (Cerivastatin), Mevacor (Lovastatin), Lipitor (Atorvastatin), Zocor (Simvastatin)), Antihistamines (Ebastine, Seldane (Terfenadine)), Calcium Channel Blockers (Blood Pressure Drugs) (Nimotop (Nimodipine), Nitrendipine, Plendil (Felodipine)), Psychiatric Medications (Buspar (Buspirone), Halcion (Triazolam), Tegretol (Carbamazepine), Valium (Diazepam), Versed (Midazolam)), Intestinal Medication (Propulsid (Cisapride)), Immune Suppressants (Neoral (Cyclosporine), Prograf (Tacrolimus)), Pain Medication (Methadone).

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