Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis
- Bali Lemon
- Chinese Grapefruit
- Lusho Fruit
Pomelo (botanical name Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis) is a large citrus fruit having a light green to yellow exterior when ripe. Its flesh is white or sometimes pink or rarely red with a sweet flavour, while the rind pith or albedo is very thick. Pomelo usually measures anything between 15 cm and 25 cm (5.9 inches and 9.8 inches) across and weighs about 1 kg to 2 kg (2.2 lbs to 4.4 lbs). The leaf petioles of this citrus tree are markedly winged.
Pomelo tastes similar to a sweet, mild grapefruit – in fact, it is believed that grapefruit itself is a cross between orange and Citrus maxima. However, a normal pomelo is very large compared to the grapefruit. At the same time, pomelo does not have any of the sourness of the grapefruit. Nevertheless, the membranous material that envelopes the segments of this fruit is bitter and, therefore, not edible. This part of the fruit is generally discarded. Sometimes, people use the peel of pomelo to make marmalade. Alternatively, it can also be dipped in chocolate or candied. In Brazil, people use the thick peel of pomelo to prepare a sweet conserve, while discarding the middle portion of the fruit.
Generally, Citrus maxima or pomelo is propagated by grafting its cuttings onto the rootstocks of other citrus trees. Alternatively, you can also grow pomelo trees from their seeds, provided the seeds do not desiccate prior to sowing.
It is worth mentioning here that pomelo is among the four original citrus species. The other three include papeda, mandarin and citron. These species form the basis from which other citrus cultivars have been hybridized. The grapefruit and common orange are believed to be the naturally occurring hybrids of mandarin and pomelo. It is said that the firmness and larger size of these hybrids are attributed to pomelo.
Pomelo is widely exported across the globe and this has made it readily available in most regions of the world. One can find this fruit being grown in orchards in various places having warmer climatic conditions, from Florida to Australia. However, this citrus fruit is most liked by people in Asia, who, apart from eating it raw, also use it in their cuisines. In the West, pomelo is perhaps best known as one of the parents of the more common grapefruit. As discussed earlier, grapefruit is believed to be a naturally occurring cross between orange and pomelo.
People in the Caribbean Islands often refer to pomelo as shaddock – this has reference to the noted English naval Captain Shaddock. It is widely believed that Captain Shaddock introduced pomelo to the Caribbean Islands. He brought the fruit from Asia to his homeland (England).
The rind of pomelo is somewhat thick, while the fruit inside is divided into segments – very similar to that of lemon or orange. The flesh of the fruit turns pale pink when it is completely ripe. The pith around the segments is usually very sour and unfit for consumption. However, the flesh of the fruit is rather sweet. The fruit can either be sliced into smaller pieces or broken into its segments. Normally, ripened pomelo is consumed raw.
Fruits, peel, bark, leaves.
Pomelo offers several health benefits and, hence, this citrus fruit is used for treating a number of health conditions, including diabetes, various infections, heart diseases and even cancer. Drinking one glassful of the juice extracted from pomelo fruit is said to be adequate for reinforcing the immune system to deal with a variety of critical health problems.
Available documents suggest that in ancient alternative medicine, pomelo may perhaps been used to treat coughs and seizures. In fact, even today some parts of this tree are employed for these purposes. For instance, in some areas of Brazil, pharmacists generally blend the sap and bark of this citrus tree to prepare a thick cough syrup. In a number of Asian countries, medical practitioners may also topically apply a formulation of the wide leaves of pomelo tree to skin swellings with a view to treat rashes as well as ulcers.
Infection of the urinary tract is attributed to bacteria and it has a very serious effect on the urinary system. As pomelo contains high levels of vitamin C, consumption of the fruit or drinking its juice augments the levels of acid in urine, which, in turn, restricts the bacterial development in the urinary tract.
Deficiency of vitamin C may often result in bleeding and loose gums. In fact, development of collagen is not only necessary for the health of the skin, but also vital for developing balanced and healthy gums and teeth. Consumption of pomelo fruit and its juice helps to strengthen the gums, which warding off teeth problems.
Pomelo also contains elevated amounts of potassium. Similar to vitamin C, potassium is also vital for the health of our heart. It is an essential mineral that keeps the blood pressure levels in check. The juice of pomelo contains copious amounts of pectin, which helps to remove the arterial deposits in our body. This, in turn, lessens the impurities and helps people suffering from hypertension. In addition, pomelo also lowers the bad cholesterol (LDL) count in the blood stream, while promoting good cholesterol (HDL).
Findings of several researches have demonstrated that vitamin C helps to improve the body’s ability to absorb iron. Often, deficiency of iron in the body results in anemia – scarcity of blood in the body. Taking a vitamin C rich diet aids in preventing loss of iron and, at the same time, improve the flow of blood throughout the body.
Consumption of fresh pomelo fruit or its juice can aid in putting off accumulation of toxic substances and free radicals in our body. Presence of excessive free radicals in our body may result in various ailments including asthma, cold, flu, allergies, bacterial infections and others. It has been established that vitamin C promotes antibody actions and makes the immune cells active. Together, they help to protect the body against bacterial infections that are responsible for colds and flu.
Aside from the pulp, even the peel of pomelo contains rich amounts of bioflavonoids that are useful in neutralizing cancerous cells and also lessen breast, intestinal, and pancreatic cancers. At the same time, the bioflavonoids present in pomelo also inhibit the spread of cancer by facilitating the body to get rid of too much estrogen. Pomelo peel also contains dietary fiber, which helps to protect us from colon cancer.
Similar to grapefruit, pomelo also contains a substance called spermadine, which is responsible for protecting the cells from aging processes as well as cell damage. Spermadine also works to combat various signs of aging on the skin, including wrinkles. At the same time, it makes the skin soft, fair and look youthful. Consumption of pomelo fruit and drinking its juice also helps to flush out free radicals that damage the skin, in addition to facilitating the body to perk up collagen production.
Dietary fiber is very effective for weight loss and, hence, nearly all weight loss diets include lots of dietary fiber. Foods containing elevated levels of dietary fiber remain in the stomach for a prolonged period, thereby reducing the craving for food. In addition, such foods also require additional time to chew, thereby giving our body a feeling of satisfaction and lessening the chances of overeating. Pomelo also possesses qualities that aid in burning up fat, thereby lessening the body’s sugar and starch content.
If osteoporosis is not checked or treated, it may have an adverse effect on the posture, and movements as well as flexibility of the body. If your bones are brittle, it can be treated by taking a diet containing high levels of calcium and other essential minerals, which promote new bone development, while strengthening the existing bones. The flesh of pomelo fruit improves the health of our bones, while diminishing the chances of the bones becoming brittle.
Pomelo contains rich amounts of vitamin C, which helps to retain the suppleness of the arteries, while enhancing the digestive system. Despite the fact that this fruit contains elevated levels of ascorbic acid, it causes alkaline reactions after being digested. Pomelo is loaded with dietary fiber, which helps in maintaining the normal bowel movements and also prevent hemorrhoids.
Apart from the pomelo fruit, the tree that produces this citrus fruit also has some cosmetic uses. In Vietnam, people often collect the flowers of pomelo tree to make a natural perfume. In addition, the juice as well as the essential oil extracted from pomelo fruit is used in making soaps, and ointments, while the seeds of the fruit are frequently pounded and the powder is used in the form of an exfoliating scrub to cleanse the skin.
Apart from its therapeutic uses, pomelo is also used for culinary purposes, especially in Asia. Many people in Asia eat pomelo along with their meals – especially with desserts. In addition, pomelo is frequently doused in saline broth, drizzled in syrup, or used in the form of toppings on cakes and different confections. However, most commonly, ripened pomelo is consumed raw in the form of a snack.
Many innovate chefs have also invented several new uses of the fruit’s thick rind. Normally, the rind is boiled and employed to flavour soups as well as stews. Alternatively, the boiled rind is also pickled and used in the form of a tasty garnish. A candy is prepared by simmering the pomelo rind in syrup. Such candies are very popular in several places, especially when the candy is dipped in chocolate or rolled in sugar. Alternatively, the thick rind of pomelo can also be used to make marmalades.
Habitat and cultivation
Pomelo, the largest existing citrus fruit, has its origin in South East Asia. This fruit is extensively grown in countries like China, India, Fiji, Japan, the Caribbean and the United States of America and the trees possess the aptitude to adapt well to arid climatic conditions. Pomelo is a very exotic citrus fruit whose appearance resembles the grapefruit’s ancestor. The color of the pulp or flesh of this citrus fruit varies from light yellow to pink to rarely red.
It has been found that pomelo trees thrive best in tropical climatic conditions or those that are close to the tropical climates. In other words, very few pomelo trees are found growing naturally in places located very far off north from the equator.
Similar to majority of the citrus fruits, pomelo also matures during the winter months. Many orchards in mainland Asia cultivate pomelo trees commercially and the fruits from these trees are widely exported to different regions of the globe during winter. As a result of the advancement in cold storage technology, these days, pomelo fruits are usually available throughout the year. However, much of the fruit’s availability is subject to the location.
Similar to all other citrus fruits, the health benefits of eating pomelo are mainly attributed to its rich vitamin C content. Pomelo also contains satisfactory amounts of vitamin B. Since the beta carotene and folic acid content of pomelo is very high, this fruit is extremely useful for women during pregnancy. In addition, pomelo contains adequate amounts of the essential mineral potassium, making it an excellent food for the health of our heart. Aside from these nutrients, pomelo also contains vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, bioflavonoid, antioxidants, dietary fiber, enzymes, healthy fats as well as protein.
Side effects and cautions
Despite its several health benefits, pomelo should be consumed with some amount of caution, as a number of drugs may interact harmfully with this citrus fruit and some of its hybrids, such as grapefruit, some oranges and limes.
While most people are interested in pomelo’s relationship with grapefruit, people taking drugs that have harmful interactions with grapefruit may also suffer from serious medical consequences when they eat pomelo. Incidentally, many pharmaceutical companies in countries where Citrus maxima is uncommon usually list grapefruit as one of the foods that people should avoid while taking specific medications, it is very likely that even pomelo may prove to be equally harmful for such patients. Drug interactions with pomelo are usually very common with medications that contain carbamazepine, a compound that is employed for treating manic depressions and seizures. Nevertheless, if you are worried about any potential negative effects of eating pomelo while using any specific drug, you should essentially check with your physician prior to consuming pomelo or its juice.