sliced pink grapefruit

Grapefruit is the offspring of two common citrus species. Around 1700, pummelo seeds were brought from the East Indies to the West Indies by an English ship commander named Captain Shaddock. There, either by horticultural accident or deliberate hybridization, they were crossed with a variety of orange fruit to bear forth a new unique sweet and sour-flavored citrus. The new citrus was given the name 'grapefruit' for its tendency to grow in grape-like clusters on the tree, but it is also known as 'shaddock' or 'pomelo' fruit. 

Grapefruit has a long history of use in traditional naturopathy. In traditional Chinese medicine, grapefruit is classified as a cold or Yin food. With its predominant bitter and sour flavors, it aids the Liver and Gallbladder organ system in circulating qi and blood, improving metabolism and digestion, and purifying the body of toxins.

The familiar sour and bitter tastes of grapefruit increases saliva and gastric juices, stimulating persistalsis and supporting optimal digestive function. The sour and bitter tastes also stimulate the flow of bile, which cleans the Liver of congestion and prevents the formation of fat deposits in the Gallbladder.

sliced pink grapefruits

Key therapeutic characteristics include dispersing heat, quenching dryness, cooling and tonifying the Liver, aiding digestion, and resolving toxicity. It is rich in vitamins A and C, and citric acids and their salts, making grapefruits a powerful dissolver and eliminator of toxic material from the body. It also is rich in calcium and potassium. It can be used alsone as an everyday food, but generally it is combined with other foods and medicinal herbs to enhance its therapeutic actions and treat or prevent a wide number of illnesses.

It can be paired with fresh ginger (Sheng Jiang) to stimulate digestion, expel cold pathogens, and detoxify the body. Honey (Feng Mi) can also be added to help harmonize and strengthen digestion, with the added benefits of nourishing yin (dryness). To further move Liver qi, improve circulation, vent heat and toxicity, and aid digestion, add fresh spearmint.

How to Make Honey Minted Grapefruit Zinger Tea

pitcher and cup of grapefruit zinger tea

Grapefruit ginger, and spearmint pair well together and make an ideal warm beverage for cool winter mornings and nights. Can also be drank as a cold beverage for post-workout thirst quenching. Excellent tea to support detoxifcation, boost the immune system, and enhance relaxation and sleep.


  • 8 cups water
  • 4 ruby red grapefruits (4 cups fresh sqeezed grapefruit juice)
  • 4 sprigs of fresh mint (extra for garnish, if desired)
  • 5-8 one inch (1") pieces of fresh ginger
  • Honey (to taste)
  • Crystalized honey-ginger or ginger chips (optional)



  1. Pour water into large pot
  2. Add ginger pieces
  3. Bring water to a boil
  4. While the water is boiling, cut the grapefruit(s) in half and juice 2 cups
  5. Once the water is boiling, reduce to a simmer
  6. Add 2-4 sprigs of mint, and cover pot. Simmer for 2-3 minutes
  7. Turn off heat. Let sit covered for 2-3 minutes
  8. Remove mint and ginger pieces
  9. Add grapefruit juice and stir
  10. Stir in honey to taste; if you want more ginger zing, stir in crystalized honey-ginger or ginger chips
  11. Pour contents of pot into carafe or heat-resistant pitcher
  12. Pour into a mug and enjoy (add mint garnish if desired)
  13. OPTIONAL: to serve chilled, let carafe cool down then put in refrigerator over night

About the Author

authorRene M. Rodriguez is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and board licensed acupuncturist with 20 years experience in alternative natural medicine. He's in private practice in Los Angeles, CA, specializing in digestive disorders, skin conditions, infections, environmental illness, and mind-body health and wellness. For more information, please click here.

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