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Grapefruit essential oil - the health benefits and aromatherapy properties of grapefruit oil

Updated on July 22, 2013


While grapefruit is undoubtedly a popular food, grapefruit essential oil offers incredible health and well-being benefits.

Grapefruit oil (the word is derived from the Latin name Citrus Paradisi) is a refreshing and revitalizing essential oil that can help boost the body's feelings of energy and happiness.

As a member of the Rutaceae family, grapefruit essential oil is also referred to as shaddock, citrus racemosa, C.maxima, or racemosa.

Grapefruit essential oil, which is extracted from the peel of the fruit, not the juice or pith inside, using a cold compress, has a yellow color and water-like consistency. It is to be distinguished from grapefruit seed oil, produced from the insides of a grapefruit.

Typically, consumers should enjoy the benefits of their grapefruit plant oil within six months of its extraction.The benefits lessen thereafter.

This article is about the advantages, health benefits and aromatherapy properties of grapefruit essential oil.

A grapefruit cut in half, ready to be eaten. This image is in the public domain.
A grapefruit cut in half, ready to be eaten. This image is in the public domain.

Historical Use of Grapefruit Essential Oil

Grapefruit is native to the tropical regions of Asia, and is said to have been brought to European regions by medieval Arab traders. It appears to have been available throughout the major centres of Europe at the time, at an astonishingly high price.

Interestingly, while the grapefruit family of plants was originally discovered in Asia, some studies suggest that the actual grapefruit itself did not evolve until it cross-pollinated with other species in their family once the plant was brought to Europe.

As the exact records and accounts of this fruit's development are not clearly recorded, researchers can only speculate about its actual origins and evolution.

Similarly, there are no clear records indicating the historic uses of this plant oil; however, many believe that grapefruit oil was used in baths to treat the skin, enhance the appearance of people's hair, and possibly as a cleaning agent for both people and their houses.

Benefits of Grapefruit Oil

Today, grapefruit oil is used in a number of different ways. Among the many powers of the essential oil are:

  • Antiseptic / disinfectant

  • Diuretic

  • Tonic

  • Lymphatic stimulant

  • Toner for the skin

The derived benefits from grapefruit essential oil include:

  • Infection prevention

  • Antidepressant treatment

  • Increased immunity health / functioning

  • Protects the body from flu / cold / illnesses

  • Helps reduce cellulite and water retention

  • Reduces muscle aches, fatigue, and stiffness / pain

  • Reduces the oil production in the skin, while potentially aiding in the reduction of acne

  • Stimulates hair growth

  • Reduces stress, nervousness, and tension

  • Reduces physical fatigue

  • Reduces headaches

  • Boosts the health and function of the nervous system

Map showing world-wide grapefruit agriculture, compared with the top producer, the USA.
Map showing world-wide grapefruit agriculture, compared with the top producer, the USA.

Grapefruit Oil and Weight Loss

While grapefruit essential oil can be used for a variety of intended purposes, some people sing loudly about the incredible weight loss advantages of using grapefruit oil.

Studies have found that grapefruit oil has the power to regulate the body's blood sugar and glucose responses.

As a result, people taking grapefruit essential oil can better control their appetite and fat storage responses, aiding in the body's overall weight loss endeavors.

Furthermore, some studies suggest that grapefruit oil may help to combat obesity with its cleansing effects on the kidneys.

However, there are numerous attempts to cash in on these properties of the fruit and oil, and a number of expensive and unwise "grapefruit diets" and weight-loss programmes which are crash and faddy diets.

Grapefruit Oil and Skin Health

By using grapefruit oil as directed, many people suffering from acne and / or oily skin may notice significant improvements.

With its powerful vitamin C and citrus components, grapefruit oil can help alleviate the skin's over-production of oil, helping to dry out greasy areas of both the face and the scalp.

In addition, grapefruit oil can reduce and/or eliminate breakouts and pimples.

Because of these advantages, as well as using the oil directly on the face and head, grapefruit soap and grapefruit shampoo are also available, with the oil already blended into the products.

Grapefruit oil in aromatherapy products

Grapefruit oil is often found in aromatherapy products designed to uplift and energise.

To take advantage of the many grapefruit oil benefits, aromatherapists commonly add grapefruit oil to aromatherapy burners or vaporizers.

When used in this manner, grapefruit oil can help treat symptoms of a hangover or illness, headaches, mental fatigue, and so forth.

Adding to this, grapefruit oil can be massaged into the body's skin and muscle tissues, as this process will help reduce the signs of cellulite, colds, flu, exhaustion, jet lag, and other concerns.

Similarly, grapefruit oil can also be applied to the skin through the use of a lotion or aromatherapy product containing grapefruit, either on its own, or in an aromatherapy blend with other essential oils.

Potential Dangers of Grapefruit Essential Oil

Since grapefruit oil is naturally extracted from the grapefruit's peel and seeds, there are no commonly known dangers of using this essential oil externally.

Consumers, however, should always be aware of using low-quality essential oils and / or grapefruit oil schemes. People should be careful when considering buying a grapefruit oil “fad diet.”

In addition, grapefruit oil should only be used as directed, as following the instructions will help prevent irritation and / or side effects.

Adding to this, people using the oil to reduce skin-related issues and oils may notice that the grapefruit oil might have an over-drying effect on the skin. If this occurs, the person should simply reduce the frequency of their grapefruit oil use.

Grapefruit and drug interactions

Grapefruit, and grapefruit juice, can interact with some drugs. In particuar, people on high doses of hormone-related drugs containing estrogen should avoid not just grapefruit oil, but eating and drinking too much (or any) grapefruit or grapefruit juice.

The link to the right of this text includes information on this issue. Drugs which are affected should state the grapefruit interaction in the patient information leaflet, too.


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