Grapefruit essential oil boasts a long list of documented properties that makes it one of the most sought-after essential oils these days. The oil contains various phytochemicals that are known for its anticarcinogenic, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antioxidant, diuretic, stimulant and tonic properties. In more recent years, however, it has been highly celebrated for its ability to aid in weight loss.
Grapefruit essential oil is created through the mechanical compression of the rind of the fruit. This production process uses no heat or chemicals and preserves the integrity of the oil as well as the efficacy of the various volatile compounds found in its essence. The oil from grapefruit is found deep in its peel, making the extraction of the oil more difficult and the yield far less compared with other citrus fruits’ essential oils. The aroma of the essential oil smells exactly like the fruit: sweet, citrusy and a little bit bitter. It also has more therapeutic and practical applications than the fruit itself.
- Uses and Benefits
- Removes toxins and excess body fluid
- Mood uplifter and energy booster
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Boosts immunity
- Natural antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antiviral agent
- Helps treat oily skin and acne
- Fights cancer
- Helps with weight loss
- Fragrant home disinfectant
- All-natural hair care
- Invigorating grapefruit body scrub
- Refreshing diffuser blend
- Romantic grapefruit bath
- Homemade surface cleaner
- Grapefruit body butter and lotion
- Facial cleanser and toner
- Best Blends
The main chemical constituent of grapefruit oil is limonene. It comprises 88 to 95% of all the chemicals found in the oil. This compound is also commonly found in other citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges. The other known major components of grapefruit essential oil are alpha-pinene, sabinene, geraniol, linalool, thujene, myrcene, terpinene, pinene, citronellol, caprinaldehyde, decyl acetate and neryl acetate. Similar to the fruit, grapefruit essential oil is also rich in antioxidants, most especially vitamin C. It also contains vitamin A and lycopene, but in lower concentrations. Grapefruit essential oil possesses diverse practical and industrial uses which we will discuss in detail further on in this article.
Little is known about the historical uses and benefits of grapefruit essential oil and of grapefruit itself. This is likely because it is a relative newcomer in the citrus family. Originally, the fruit was believed to have risen from the pomelo fruit. In 1837, James MacFayden separated grapefruit from the pomelo and gave it its botanical name, Citrus parasidi. However, it wasn’t until about 1948 that the true origins of grapefruit was determined. The grapefruit is actually a hybrid of the pomelo (Citrus maxima) and sweet orange (Citrus sinensis).
The first documentation of the fruit was in 1750 by Rev. Griffith Hughes. He named it the “forbidden fruit” of Barbados. In 1789, Patrick Browne referred to the fruit as “smaller shaddock.” This carried on until the 1800s. The fruit first came to be known as grapefruit in 1814. It was named by botanist John Lunan and was featured in his work, Hortus Jamaicanensis. Its name was said to have been an allusion to how the fruits appear as they grow, which is in grape-like clusters. However, Lunan stated that the fruit was "known by the name of grape-fruit, on account of its resemblance in flavor to the grape."
So, yes, grapefruit is not actually native to the United States. It was brought to Florida, where it is now widely grown, by the French Count Philippe Odet in 1823. Around 50 years later, Florida made its first shipment of the fruit to New York and Philadelphia. This was the dawn of the huge commercial grapefruit industry in Florida.
The United States remains to be the world’s largest supplier of grapefruit. China and South America come next.
Uses and Benefits
Removes toxins and excess body fluid
Do you often feel tired and sluggish for no apparent reason? You’re not really sick but it feels like you are, and you’re just constantly out of energy. Do you seem more irritable than usual? Are you suffering from headaches and swollen lymph nodes? If so, then perhaps you need some serious body cleansing. Or, as we call it these days, a detox. See, the symptoms mentioned are the most common for a clogged-up lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system is considered the drainage or sewage system in our body. It plays an active role in promoting healthy bodily functions and in eliminating toxins in the body.
Grapefruit essential oil is reputed to have beneficial effects to the lymphatic system. It helps boost activity in the lymph gland, ease up the lymphatic flow and reduce inflammation in the system. These functions aid in helping the body rid itself of toxins and fight problems like fluid retention, cellulite, blood urea and renal calculi.
Mood uplifter and energy booster
When you’re feeling down in the dumps and need a little pick-me-up, whip out a bottle of grapefruit essential oil. It is a great natural treatment for depression, stress, fatigue, sluggishness and other adrenal fatigue symptoms. Its soothing aroma has uplifting and relaxing effects to the mind. When inhaled, it helps stimulate the nervous system, thereby increasing alertness and improving focus. It also helps increase your body’s metabolic rate by improving the secretion of enzymes and hormones in the endocrine system. When applied on the wrist and other pulse points in the body, it helps it re-energize by improving the blood and lymphatic circulation.
In a study conducted by the Cancer Prevention Research, the administration of limonene, which is the major component of grapefruit essential oil, caused a significant decrease in adrenal steroid hormones. The body is equipped with hormones and enzymes that help maintain equilibrium in the body. When a person is stressed out, the adrenal glands secrete greater quantities of cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that causes a variety of health complications when it remains elevated for a long period of time. This includes chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, depression and impaired immunity.
Whether it’s an inflamed skin from an infected wound or a more serious inflammatory condition such as arthritis, grapefruit essential oil can potentially be a great solution. The oil is composed of organic compounds that have effective anti-inflammatory properties.The antioxidants found in the oil can help reduce and prevent inflammation. Limonene is known to have inhibitory effects on various pro-inflammatory chemicals found in the body. When used regularly, the oil can help prevent and treat rheumatoid arthritis and degenerative conditions associated with chronic depression such as dementia, macular degeneration and Alzheimer’s disease.
There is no shortcut to better immunity. It can be a long process that requires more than just taking an essential oil. But if a little boost to get there is available, why not go for it?
Like all other citrus oils, grapefruit essential oil is rich in antioxidants, most particularly, in vitamin C. The oil is packed with bioflavonoids that are known for its immune-boosting properties and for helping the body fight against free radicals. Along with its antimicrobial property, the oil helps promote good health and protection against various diseases and oxidation-related damage, such as premature aging, macular degeneration and poor hearing, among many others.
Feeling like you’re about to get sick? A good dose of vitamin C from grapefruit essential oil can help stop it before it even happens.
Natural antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antiviral agent
From scrapes to fungal nail infections, there is nothing that a dose of grapefruit essential oil cannot help. Grapefruit essential oil has strong antimicrobial properties, and it can be used to help deter and kill various harmful strains of bacteria, fungi and viruses that threaten the body. It is not only great for treating skin infections, it is also a natural remedy for gastrointestinal and respiratory infections.
Research shows that the the oil has a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity against six strains of bacteria. This includes Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, S. epidermidis, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Serratia marcescens and Proteus vulgaris.
Helps treat oily skin and acne
“Beauty is only skin deep,” an old adage goes. Agreed. This doesn’t mean, however, that we need not take care of our looks, especially our skin. Having oily skin or acne can cause serious self-esteem problems not only for teenagers and young adults but also for older people.
Acne is a chronic inflammatory skin problem that is common amongst teenagers but can affect people of all ages as well. It is caused by the blockage of hair follicles with excess oil and dead skin cells. There are three factors that trigger acne: excess oil production, poor skin care regimen, and increased bacteria and androgen levels.
Grapefruit essential oil can help in the prevention and management of acne. The oil downregulates the activity of the sebaceous glands, reducing sebum or oil production. It also helps cleanse the skin and get rid of excess oil, dirt and dead skin cells. This allows the glands to drain well. Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects also aid in the management of the condition.
Incorporating the oil into your daily skin care regimen can potentially do wonders for your skin. You can add 3 drops of the oil in your preferred facial wash or apply the diluted grapefruit essential oil (3 drops of grapefruit essential oil and a tablespoon of joojoba oil) directly onto the skin after washing. This regimen can help prevent acne or, if you already have it, help shrink the pimple and prevent infection and scarring.
Cancer. Just hearing the word itself would make you want to grab a bottle of grapefruit oil to inhale and help calm you down. It has taken a lot of lives and has caused such great devastation in the lives of the family members of those who has it. But did you know that grapefruit essential oil has been known to help fight cancer? No? Well, now you do.
A study published by the Cancer Prevention Research showed that limonene, the major component of grapefruit essential oil, was effective in the prevention of the division and reproduction of cancer cells in the 43 women with breast cancer that they tested. The size of the existing tumors in the subjects were also reduced.
Helps with weight loss
If you haven’t incorporated grapefruit into your weight-loss diet yet, then you are behind the trend. Or actually, we all are, because though that trend’s been getting more attention nowadays, it’s in fact a decades-old fact about this fruit.
The active ingredients found in grapefruit essential oil is not only known to boost metabolism, it is also known to help suppress the appetite and food cravings, especially of sugar. It acts directly on the hypothalamus, the satiety center of the brain, when doing so.
In a study conducted by the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, the aroma of grapefruit essential oil has been found to help control calorie intake. To take advantage of this potential benefit, take a drop of the oil in your palm and rub it between your hands. Inhale deeply for 3 to 5 minutes. Do this at least 15 minutes before meal time.
Fragrant home disinfectant
Why use chemical room fresheners that may have harmful side effects when inhaled? Make your own disinfectant at home simply by mixing 5-10 drops of the oil with distilled water in a glass spritzer bottle. The oil has a biofilm-diluting property that helps make it easier to remove dirt and grime. Spray it around or use it to wipe countertops, kitchen appliances and the like to get rid of microbes responsible for the foul smell in your home.
All-natural hair care
Grapefruit essential oil is also reputed to help improve one’s hair. It can help manage dandruff by helping reduce the irritation and inflammation caused by the growth and presence of fungus or bacteria in the scalp.
It is also a great hair cleanser. It helps get rid of dirt and excess oil on your hair while leaving it smelling fresh and fragrant. The oil can also help improve your hair’s texture by keeping it smooth and shiny without making it too oily.
Interestingly, grapefruit essential oil has been found helpful in treating hair loss by stimulating hair growth and fighting inflammation of the follicles.
Invigorating grapefruit body scrub
After a tiring and stressful weekday, what could be better than an invigorating scrub to smoothen your skin and feel refreshed? Try this easy-peasy scrub recipe at home.
What you’ll need:
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 10 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- 25 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil
- Airtight glass container*
What to do:
Mix all ingredients together in the glass container. During your daily bath or shower, massage the scrub all over your body in a soft, circular motion. Store in a cool, dry place after use.
*Being a citrus, grapefruit’s essential oil can be especially acidic and may corrode materials like plastic or ordinary glass. Cold-pressed citrus essential oils are also photosensitive, and prolonged exposure to the sun may cause them to oxidize if left in a non-UV-filtering container.
Refreshing diffuser blend
Air fresheners are getting obsolete. They aren’t just expensive, they may also contain chemicals that are harmful to you and the environment. As an alternative, re-energize yourself and your home by diffusing this awesome blend of essential oils instead.
Romantic grapefruit bath
It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day for you to treat your partner to a sexy, romantic bath at home. Get into action by creating this pampering and soothing bath salt that is sure to relax those tensed muscles and give you and your partner a nice relaxing bath.
What you’ll need:
- 10 drops Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
- 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil
- 15 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil
- 2 cups epsom salt
What to do:
Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour under running hot water in a bath. Let it dissolve completely before dipping in.
Homemade surface cleaner
Tired of store-bought cleaning agents that smell a tad too unnatural? Give this extra refreshing and fragrant surface cleaner recipe a try!
What you’ll need:
- 5 ml Grapefruit Essential Oil
- 4 ml Lavender Essential Oil
- 1 2/3 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon sodium borate (Borax)
- 1/4 teaspoon unscented liquid soap, Castile-type
- 16-ounce spray bottle
What to do:
Combine all the ingredients in the bottle. Shake vigorously until everything is thoroughly mixed. To use, spray on desired surface and wipe it clean with a cloth. Store the remaining mixture in a dry place. Keep out of children’s reach.
Grapefruit body butter and lotion
Say goodbye to dry skin and feel revived all day long with this must-try grapefruit body butter and lotion recipe. It does not only smell amazing, it’s packed with antioxidants that gets you that beautiful, young, supple skin you’ve always wanted!
What you’ll need:
- 3 oz of Unrefined Shea Butter
- 1.5 oz of Unrefined Organic Coconut OIl
- 1 tbsp of Sweet Almond Oil
- 20 drops of Grapefruit Essential Oil
- A half-pint mason jar
- Double boiler or 2 pans (1 large and 1 small)
- Wooden ladle
- Hand mixer
What to do:
Over a double boiler, combine the shea butter, coconut oil and sweet almond oil. Allow all the ingredients to melt completely. Once melted, let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes. Add 20 drops of grapefruit essential oil and mix thoroughly. Transfer the mixture into the jar and wait for it to slightly solidify. This could take around 30 minutes or more. Once slightly solid, whip the mixture for at least 5 minutes until it’s light and fluffy. If desired, add 3 drops of pink colorant. Add one drop at a time and mix after each addition until you get your desired color.
Facial cleanser and toner
Get young and beautiful skin with this 3-in-1 facial cleanser recipe. It has great toning, anti-aging and acne-fighting properties.
What you’ll need:
- 30 drops of Grapefruit Essential Oil
- 20 drops of Bergamot Essential Oil
- ¼ cup jojoba oil
- ¼ cup natural aloe vera gel
- 1 cup liquid castile soap
- Glass pump bottle
- Wooden spoon
- Large bowl
What to do:
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Transfer to a pump bottle and use as a facial cleanser. Avoid sun exposure after using the cleanser as grapefruit essential oil on skin can cause photosensitivity. The cleanser is best used at night.
Due to its extraction process, grapefruit essential oil is highly concentrated. It should never be used without diluting it with carrier oils such as coconut oil, almond oil and jojoba oil. Prior to usage, it is advised to do a skin patch test first to ensure that the consumer is not allergic to the oil. This is done by applying a small amount of grapefruit essential oil to a relatively small surface are on the skin and observing for any untoward reaction.
Although it has a GRAS status with the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is therefore relatively safe for ingestion, it is imperative to consult a health professional or an experienced aromatherapist especially if you are taking any medications.
The oil is phototoxic as well. If used topically, photosensitivity or sensitivity to ultraviolet rays may occur. It is best to avoid sun exposure for at least 24 hours after using the oil.
There is little evidence to suggest that the oil is safe for use by pregnant and breastfeeding women. Although it has been reported that the oil aids in alleviating morning sickness in pregnant women, it is imperative to consult your physician prior to using the oil. Extreme caution for essential oil’s use in children is also recommended.
Bergamot (Citrus), Black Pepper, Citronella, Cornmint, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Geranium (Rose), Ginger, Gingergrass, Helichrysum (Italicum), Helichrysum (Rambiazina), Lavender, Lemongrass, Lime, Litsea, Palmarosa, Patchouli, Sage (Clary), Tangerine, Ylang Ylang.
Given grapefruit essential oil’s popularity with most millennials, primarily for its weight loss properties, it can well be considered as the millennial oil. Its wide array of benefits makes it a must-have in every household.
It’s easy to get lazy and just head to the store to grab the most common over-the-counter remedy for your health and household problem. But the long-term effects of even just the mere manufacturing of these products is more than just alarming. It threatens not just our overall well-being with all the synthetic chemicals found in them but the environment as well. Can you just imagine what the carbon emissions must be from all the factories that manufacture these products?
Even the least bit of effort can go a long way in helping the environment if done enmass. You can help do your part by going all natural, not just with therapeutic remedies but also with your practical household supplies. Your body and the environment will thank you later.
Check out the array of high-quality products in Aroma Foundry’s shop for the best deals in essential oils. We give detailed guidelines on the history, uses and benefits, as well as recipes on all the essential oils we offer.
- "10 Wonderful Benefits of Grapefruit Essential Oil." Organic Facts. December 15, 2017. Accessed April 9, 2018. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/grapefruit-essential-oil.html.
- "11 Reasons You Need A Bottle of Grapefruit Essential Oil In Your Home." Natural Living Ideas. August 09, 2016. Accessed April 9, 2018. http://www.naturallivingideas.com/grapefruit-essential-oil-benefits-uses/.
- "7 Ways Grapefruit Essential Oil Can Boost Your Health." The Truth About Cancer. March 27, 2018. Accessed April 9, 2018. https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/grapefruit-essential-oil/.
- Babcock, Jillian. "13 Grapefruit Essential Oil Benefits - Starting with Weight Loss." Dr. Axe. September 12, 2017. Accessed April 9, 2018. https://draxe.com/grapefruit-essential-oil/.
- "Grapefruit." Grapefruit - New World Encyclopedia. Accessed April 9, 2018. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Grapefruit.
- "Grapefruit Oil: The Citrus Extract to Help Activate Your Lymphatic System." Mercola.com. Accessed April 9, 2018. https://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/grapefruit-oil.aspx.
- Morton, Julia F. "Grapefruit." In Fruits of Warm Climates, 152-58. Miami, Florida, 1987. Accessed April 9, 2018. https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/grapefruit.html.