A Haitian Treasure: Chadek (Grapefruit)

Grapefruit, Citrus x paradisi, is a sour citrus fruit that grows easily in most countries. Grapefruit is called chadek in Haitian Kreyol (chadeque in French). This fragrant fruit is actually a genetic cross between Jamaican sour orange and a South Asian fruit called pomelo or shaddock. The word chadek, thus, is the Haitian Kreyol adaptation of the word shaddock. Grapefruit originated in Barbados, and was nicknamed "the forbidden fruit" or one of the "seven wonders of Barbados" back in the 1700's. Since then, grapefruit has spread all over the world, including Haiti. Over the centuries, various cultures have explored and embraced the numerous healing benefits of grapefruit.
Image Source: Google Images
Chadek is very commonly consumed in Haiti, as it grows abundantly in Haiti's beautiful tropical climate. While some Haitians enjoy eating grapefruit as it is, many Haitians more frequently use grapefruit for dried fruit candies, juice, tea, or in baths. As a kid, I used to hate when my grandma made grapefruit juice. She would always insist that it's good for me, but I was way too put off by the sour taste. Now that I'm older and can appreciate the healing benefits of this gem of a fruit, I frequently drink grapefruit juice.

Side note: Grapefruit is consumed perhaps most commonly in Haiti as a delicious jelly delicacy called "konfiti" (confiture in French). This jelly confection is often combined with other warming herbs, such as star anise, cinnamon, and ginger, as well as sugar and other ingredients. It is absolutely delicious.

Picture of konfiti. Image Source: Pinterest

Like all other citrus fruits, grapefruit has very high levels of Vitamin C, a ton of healthy fiber, and is jam packed with anti-oxidants. Grapefruit has been scientifically shown to reduce cholesterol levels and to boost metabolism as well.

When we talk about grapefruit, we are usually referring to the actual fruit. But, grapefruit peel has amazing healing properties as well. Grapefruit peel contains bromelian, an important enzyme which reduces inflammation and promotes cellular healing. Fun fact; pineapple is also high in bromelain. Grapefruit has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, which is very useful when managing blood sugar levels.
The photo is my property.
Perhaps the most important thing I can tell you about consuming grapefruit, is that you must make sure grapefruit does not have any interactions with your medications. As a holistic practitioner, I pay special attention to drug-herb interactions, and grapefruit, although a fruit, is one of the interactions that I frequently check for.

Grapefruit contains furanocoumarins, compounds which impact an enzyme called cytochrome P450 3A4. CYP450 is incredibly important for regulating drugs, and actually has an effect on almost 50% of all drugs, meaning it could increase or decrease the action of the drug you are on. So, it's very important that you communicate to your healthcare provider whether you regularly consume grapefruit. It will help us help you more.
Image source: Google Images

Now that we've talked a ton about the cultural and medicinal benefits of grapefruit, I want to share a grapefruit tea recipe I love to make.

Grapefruit tea:
1 stick of cinnamon
Skin of 1 small grapefruit
1 tablespoon hawthorne berries
1 small piece of ginger
1 tsp honey

Combine all ingredients (except honey) in a small pot. Add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Let the mixture cool. Strain into cup. Add honey. Enjoy!

In health,
Dr. Naika

The "Haitian Treasures" series was created by Dr. Naika in 2012. This series explores the magnificent benefits and uses of Haiti's natural resources, which Dr. Naika calls "Haitian Treasures". In this series, Dr. Naika explores the tie between Haiti's natural resources and natural, traditional, and holistic healing.

This blog post was originally posted on Dr. Naika's lifestyle blog, Naika in Balance. Dr. Naika's work is copyrighted. Please do not copy or repost Dr. Naika's work without citing her content as the original source.