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Yuzu

Citrus ichangensis x Citrus reticulata var. austera

Herbs gallery - Yuzu

Common names

  • Japanese Grapefruit
  • Yuzu

Yuzu, scientific name Citrus ichangensis x Citrus reticulata var. austera, is a citrus fruit. These plants have their origin in East Asia and are thought to be a cross between Ichang papeda and sour mandarin. Normally, yuzu trees are low height trees, growing up to a height of anything between 6 feet (2 meters) and 25 feet (a little over 8 meters). The citrus fruits of this tree generally ripen during the end of fall, a little before several other citrus fruits.

The appearance of yuzu fruit is somewhat akin to that of a grapefruit, but it is comparatively very small and has a smooth skin. The color of yuzu may vary from green to yellow, subject to the fruit's maturity. Yuzu fruits are extremely aromatic. Generally, yuzu fruits measure anything between 5.5 cm and 7.5 cm across. However, some fruits can grow as big as the standard grapefruit measuring up to 10 cm in diameter or even larger.

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The yuzu plants are straight growing shrubs or petite trees that bear several large thorns. The leaves of this tree are notable owing to their large petioles, whose appearance is akin to those of closely related plants ichang papeda and kaffir lime. The yuzu tree leaves are extremely aromatic.

In several ways, yuzu bears a close resemblance to a Japanese citrus native to Tokushima Prefecture called sudachi. While both these citrus fruits have the same mandarin-ichang papeda lineage, when the sudachi ripens, its color changes to orange. In addition, the flavours of both these fruits too are slightly different.

Having its origin in China, yuzu is also found growing in the wild in central China as well as Tibet. During the Tang Dynasty, this plant was taken to Japan and Korea. As of now, the yuzu tree has been cultivated extensively in these countries.

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The history of the yuzu tree dates back to more than 1200 years. Native to the region around the Yangtze River in China, this citrus fruit was introduced into Japan through the Korean peninsula. After the fruit was introduced in Japan in the Nara Period (710 A.D.), local farmers cultivated the plants for their fruits for three main purposes - culinary, therapeutic and hot bathing.

The yuzu tree remains attractive throughout the year. The foliage of the tree produces white enchanting flowers during spring. The green yuzu fruits appear in summer contributing to the tree's texture. The sliced as well as grated raw fruit is used in salads and along with sashimi dishes. The fruits offer a spicy citrus flavour that is very delectable. The yuzu fruit ripens in winter and its color changes to vivid golden-yellow - something characteristic of this ornamental tree that is used for numerous purposes.

Apart from consuming the fruit raw as well as after cooking, people in Japan use the yuzu fruit for preparing an unusual hot bath.

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It is a tradition in Japan to take a hot yuzu bath on the occasion of the winter solstice. Traditionally, people of Japan are of the view that taking a hot yuzu bath helps to protect against colds and flu that affect us and also aid in healing the chapped skin. In fact, when the yuzu fruit is put in hot water, it emits a very pleasing aroma. A substance called "nomilin", which is a constituent of the oil obtained from yuzu fruit rinds, is said to relax the body and mind, in addition to promoting circulation throughout the body. Hence, applying yuzu oil on the skin helps to make it extremely soft after the hot bath. In addition, people believe that taking a hot yuzu bath ensures plenty of good health. You are advised not to use any other citrus fruit like orange or lemon as a substitute for yuzu for a hot bath, as no other citrus fruit offers the same levels of aroma or health benefits as the yuzu fruit.

Parts used

Fruits, seeds, rind.

Uses

The yuzu fruit is extensively used for culinary purposes, in manufacturing cosmetics as well as scientific studies. Apart from these, the fruit is used medicinally for its therapeutic properties and also in several ancient rituals. The oil extracted from the rind of the yuzu fruit is sold in the form of an aroma. These fruits have been used to keep the body warm, protect people against common colds and flu as well as relaxing the mind. The aroma obtained from yuzu fruit was employed to make several products, including perfumes, soaps and lotions.

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There is an unusual use of the yuzu fruits - they are used in a hot water bath with a view to prevent common colds, flu as well as heal chapped skin. In addition, the hot bath also promotes circulation throughout the body, thereby ensuring better health. Yuzu encloses high levels of vitamin C. Precisely speaking, 100 grams of this fruit offers 150 mg of vitamin C.

Yuzu is known to rejuvenate the mature/ aging skin. In fact, consumption of this fruit facilitates cell activation as well as fat burning. Vitamin P contained by yuzu fruits is responsible for encouraging healthy circulation all over the body, thereby alleviating muscle aches and relaxing the muscles of the body.

In very early times, people used the yuzu seeds in the form of a natural medication for treating itchiness and skin irritations. In addition, consumption of yuzu fruits is beneficial for people who want to overcome their drug addiction.

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In Japan, people take a traditional hot yuzu bath on the winter solstice day to put off colds and flues, but you may enjoy this healthy and refreshing bath at any time of the year with a view to treat a number of health conditions like common aches and pains, rheumatism and arthritis. The oil extracted from yuzu rind is said to have a stimulating effect and it helps to improve the circulatory as well as the digestive systems.

The essential oil of yuzu is obtained from the rind of the fruit by a process known as cold expression. The process yields a light yellowish essential oil having a wonderful citrus fragrance. The aroma of this essential oil can be described as a scent that lies somewhere between those of mandarin and grapefruit, along with slight connotation of lime and bergamot. Yuzu essential oil is extremely dry as well as tangy and it reminds one of floral scents - something extremely enjoyable.

The essential oil extracted from yuzu is also employed in aromatherapy. This oil's action is very much same as that of bergamot oil. It has a stimulating as well as elevating effect on our body and, at the same time, it helps the mind to calm down. Similar to the bergamot essential oil, yuzu oil too is a potent antioxidant and is strongly anti-bacterial, making this oil very useful for treating common colds and flu. Perhaps this is one reason why yuzu is so popular as well as successful in Japanese folk remedy for so long.

Yuzu essential oil is highly effectual for treating anxiety, stress, nervous tension and burn-outs, as its use helps in soothing as well as calming the tense nerves and normalizing emotions. In the same way, yuzu essential oil also uplifts the depressed mind, helps to overcome frustration and regret. This oil is also effective in boosting one's confidence levels.

In olden days, people used the seeds of yuzu fruit in the form of a natural remedy for skin irritation as well as itchiness. The seeds were preserved with Shochu (a Japanese distilled beverage) or Sake. Currently, the seeds are used to make natural cosmetics meant for toning up the skin. In addition, consumption of yuzu fruits also helps the body to assimilate vitamin C as well as encourage healthy circulation of blood throughout the body - something that helps to prevent various health conditions.

Culinary uses

The yuzu is a citrus fruit that is also used for culinary purposes. The flavour of this fruit is something like a blend of mandarin, lemon and grapefruit. It has now been introduced in Western cuisine and is being used for flavoring several items, which includes beer, cocktails, vinegar and chewing gum. Precisely speaking, both the rind as well as the fruit juice is added to flavourings and beverages.

In Japan, the yuzu fruit juice as well as the rind are very popular among the folks and they extensively use both as flavoring agents. The juice and rind of this citrus fruit impart a very delectable, floral and lemon fruit-like tang to foods to which they are added. Apart from these, the juice and rind of yuzu are also employed to make a beverage similar to lemonade, marmalade, added to salad dressings and also included in ice creams.

Habitat and cultivation

The yuzu tree has its origin in China and is now cultivated commercially in Japan. This plant possesses the aptitude to adapt to a wide range of climatic conditions right from the tropical climates to sub-tropical climatic conditions and the Mediterranean. The yuzu trees need to be watered all through their growing season and, especially during the arid months of the year. The trees do not have the capacity to withstand prolonged periods of droughts.

Yuzu trees are generally propagated by their seeds and also through grafts. Generally speaking, almost all citrus trees are inclined to be hybridized. Although the yuzu trees produced from the seeds bear a very close resemblance to their parent plants, you can also hybridize the offsprings when you are growing this citrus variety from its seeds.

Constituents

Chemical analysis of the yuzu fruit has revealed that it encloses flavonoids, vitamin C and collagen. Both flavonoids and vitamin C possess antioxidant actions. In addition, yuzu also encloses malic acid (also known as fruit acid), which is helpful in treating muscle aches. Citric acid contained by the fruit has a vital role in promoting digestion.

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