grapefruit essential oil

Known for its tangy taste and sweet and energizing scent, grapefruit is a  fruit of an evergreen citrus tree. Grapefruit essential oil, also known as Shaddock, is derived from the rind of this citrus fruit.

The stimulating and energizing aroma of this oil makes it a popular ingredient in lotions, shampoos, body washes, and even scented candles.

However, this is not the only benefits that this citrus-scented oil offers. The diuretic, antiseptic, stimulant, antidepressant and disinfectant properties of grapefruit oil provide numerous health benefits.

Read on to learn more about what is grapefruit essential oil and what health benefits it offers.

What is grapefruit essential oil?

Grapefruit essential oil (Citrus Paradisi) is extracted from the glands located on the peels of the grapefruit through cold pressing.

The oil glands in grapefruit are located deeper in the peel as compared to other citrus fruits, so it is more difficult to extract this oil.

When compared to other citrus fruits like orange and lemon, grapefruit produces much lesser essential oil, which is the reason why it is more expensive.

This orange-tinted, citrus-scented oil is rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.

This essential oil is composed of limonene, sabinene, alpha-pinene, myrcene, geraniol, linalool, citronellal, decyl acetate, neryl acetate, and terpineol.

Its main chemical component, limonene, is known for its tumor-fighting and cancer-preventive properties.

Health benefits of grapefruit essential oil

1. Reduces stress

Grapefruit essential oil is a natural antidepressant, which helps relieve anxiety and stress. Its citrusy scent has an uplifting effect, and it relaxes the mind.

According to a 2002 study from Yokohama, Japan,  fragrance inhalation of grapefruit essential oil resulted in a 1.5 to 2.5 times increase in relative sympathetic activity, which reduces stress and enhances mood (1).

2. Helps fight infections

Grapefruit oil has potent antibacterial and antifungal properties. Several studies have shown that essential oil of grapefruit has antimicrobial properties against several harmful bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus epidermis, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Serratia marcescens and Proteus vulgaris (2, 3, 4).

MRSA is a group of bacteria that is difficult to treat as it is resistant to common antibiotics. A 2004 study showed that a combination of grapefruit essential oil and geranium oil is the greatest antibacterial effect against MRSA (5).

Grapefruit essential oil can also fight fungal infection like Candida albicans.

3. Promotes weight loss

Active ingredients of grapefruit essential oil help to boost metabolism and reduce craving, which helps in weight loss.

According to a 2005 study on rats, the scent of grapefruit oil and its primary component limonene, affects autonomic nerves, enhances lipolysis through a histaminergic response and reduces appetite and body weight (6).

According to one animal-based study, the scent of grapefruit oil stimulates the breakdown of fat tissue and reduces cravings (7). 

Grapefruit essential oil is also an excellent diuretic and lymphatic stimulant. It is a vital ingredient for many cellulite creams.

4. Lowers blood pressure

High blood pressure is a common health problem that affects one in three adults in the US. Studies have shown that essential oils can reduce stress and control hypertension (8).

During a 2012 study, people with high blood pressure wore a necklace containing essential oils for 24 hours. They experienced a decrease in day time systolic blood pressure and a decline in cortisol.

During another study, researchers observed that the scent of grapefruit and its active component limonene, affect autonomic neurotransmission and blood pressure (9).

5. Boosts circulation

Grapefruit essential oil promotes healthy blood circulation and lowers inflammation. Limonene, the active component of this oil, helps reduce inflammation, regulates the body’s cytokine production or its immune response (10).

This vessel-dilating property of grapefruit oil makes it an effective natural remedy for muscle pain, fatigue, bloating, headaches and PMS cramps.

6. Treats acne

Grapefruit essential oil regulates the sebum production and prevents acne. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effect of this oil also prevents infection and inflammation. It also cleanses the oil, dirt and dead cells from the skin and allows the glands to drain well.

One study examined ten different essential oils for their activity against P acnes, bacteria that causes acne. The results found that grapefruit essential oil does have some antibacterial activity against acne, but not as strong as that of thyme and cinnamon essential oils (11).

7. Improves digestion

Grapefruit essential oil improves digestion by promoting the production of gastric juices and bile. It also stimulates the movement of ingested food through the intestines.

It increases blood to the stomach, kidneys, liver, and bladder, which helps with the detoxification process. Grapefruit essential oil also prevents fluid retention and fights the infections in the digestive organs.

8. Improves hair health

Grapefruit essential oil can add a shine to your hair without causing an oily build-up. It also stimulates the hair follicles and keeps them healthy.

Besides keeping your hair smelling fresh, it also helps prevent dry, frizzy hair. If you color your hair, this oil helps prevent hair damage from the sun. Thanks to its antibacterial properties, it also prevents infections in the scalp (12).

9. Relieves hangover symptoms

Grapefruit essential oil has an energizing aroma which helps improve alertness. It also stimulates the gall bladder and liver, which can help stop headaches, craving, and sluggishness associated with hangovers.

It also helps prevent changes in the blood sugar levels resulting from alcohol consumption (13).

10. Boosts energy

Grapefruit essential oil helps uplift the mood and refresh you. It has powerful stimulating properties that reduce headaches, sleepiness, mental fatigue, and brain fog.

It can also be beneficial for healing adrenal fatigue which can lead to aches, sluggishness, and low motivation.

According to a study from Japan, grapefruit essential oil inhibits acetylcholinesterase activity. AChE hydrolyzes acetylcholine within the brain.

This increases the level and duration of action of the neurotransmitter, which in turn affects brain fog, fatigue, stress and depression (14).

Ways to use

We can use grapefruit essential oil aromatically, topically and internally to gain its numerous health benefits. You can combine it with basil oil, orange oil, peppermint oil, bergamot oil, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, and lemon essential oil.

  1. Cravings – to curb food cravings apply one or two drops of grapefruit essential oil on your stomach or back of your neck. You can also inhale this oil directly from the bottle.
  2. Hangover – Add one or two drops to a glass of water and drink it. You can also diffuse this oil using a diffuser. Apply two drops of this essential oil to your temples and neck.
  3. Mental stress – Diffuse this oil throughout your room. Add it to your bathwater. Rub a mixture of grapefruit oil and coconut oil over your wrists, neck, and chest.
  4. Acne – Add two drops of grapefruit oil to a ½ teaspoon of jojoba oil and apply it once or twice daily on the area affected by acne.
  5. Digestion – Add a few drops to water and drink it. Add two drops to coconut oil and massage over the stomach.
  6. Hair – Add two or three drops to your shampoo or conditioner and massage on your hair and rinse it off. Add one or two drops to coconut oil and rub on to damp hair after bathing.
  7. Circulation – Rub one or two drops of grapefruit oil on your wrists. Add a few drops of grapefruit oil to your bathwater.
  8. PMS – Massage a few drops of this oil over your lower abdomen, solar plexus, and the soles of your feet.
  9. Cellulite – Mix one or two drops in coconut oil and massage it in a kneading motion.
  10. Headaches – Massage a few drops on your forehead. Diffuse this oil in your room.

Side effects and precautions

Grapeseed oil is generally considered safe for use. However, you must check with your health care provider before taking this oil if you have sensitive skin or are taking any medication.

Always dilute the essential oil with carrier oils like jojoba oil or coconut oil, before topical application to ensure that you do not have any adverse skin reaction.

In case you are using grapeseed essential oil for the first time, do a patch test.

Grapefruit essential oil can increase your photosensitivity, which makes you more prone to skin discoloration and burning. If you have used this oil on your skin, wait for at least one hour before going out.

Grapefruit essential oil can interact with antidepressant and blood pressure medications.

Consuming large quantities of grapefruit oil can overstimulate the gall bladder and cause digestive issues. So, always use the recommended amounts of this oil in diluted form.

Pets may be more sensitive to essential oil as compared to humans, so keep them away if you have diffused the oil in your room.

Final thoughts

Grapefruit essential oil is extracted from grapefruit peels through cold pressing. This citrusy oil has diuretic, antiseptic, stimulant, antidepressant and disinfectant properties offer numerous health benefits.

It helps to reduce stress, fight infections, promote weight loss, lower blood pressure, improve circulation, treat acne, improve digestion and boost immunity.

Grapefruit oil can be used topically, aromatically and internally. However, you must always use the recommended quantities of grapefruit oil in diluted form.