If you can’t deal with fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, no worries. You can still enjoy some of the citrus fruit’s benefits via its essential oil.
Grapefruit essential oil is made through a process called cold-pressing, where oils are extracted from the fruit’s peel. This oil can then be used in aromatherapy or applied topically to potentially benefit your health.
While research suggests there are health benefits, the FDA doesn’t monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. It’s important to talk with a healthcare professional before you begin using essential oils and be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. Always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.
What are the benefits of grapefruit essential oil?
Although more research is needed to prove just how effective grapefruit essential oil is, potential benefits include:
- boosts mood
- relieves stress
- promotes weight loss
- curbs appetite
- regulates blood pressure
- improves skin health
- reduces inflammation
- acts as an antibacterial or antimicrobial
- acts as an antifungal
So what does the science actually have to say about grapefruit essential oil benefits? Unfortunately, it’s not super clear what it can do for you.
Here’s what we do know about the *potential* benefits of grapefruit essential oil.
1. Boosts your mood
Some folks swear smelling citrus essential oils help them feel uplifted and energized.
An older study from 2008 found folks who inhaled lemon essential oil felt an increase in positive mood. Because grapefruit contains similar compounds to its citrus fruit sibling, it may be able to produce a similar effect.
For now this benefit is mostly anecdotal since we lack recent data and there also isn’t much info specifically on grapefruit essential oil.
2. Relieves stress
Wanna chill out? Grapefruit essential oil may help you stress less.
A recent study showed both grapefruit and lavender essential oils helped lower stress levels in healthy participants who inhaled them regularly over 6 weeks.
Older research adds to this, suggesting that citrus-based essential oils may aid in lowering your levels of cortisol (a stress hormone).
3. Promotes weight loss
Some studies suggest that grapefruit oil may also help weight loss.
A 2014 animal study found that breathing in grapefruit oil may help stimulate fat breakdown, while a 2010 test-tube study linked applying grapefruit oil possibly stopping fatty tissue from forming.
When it comes to humans, however, the research is limited and the results are somewhat skewed. While a 6-week study on postmenopausal women did suggest grapefruit oil aromatherapy may contribute to weight loss, a mixture of several oils was used.
4. Curbs appetite
If you’re looking for a way to stave off snacking, could you try smelling some grapefruit oil?
While human research is still needed, animal studies have shown some results. In a 2014 study, rodents exposed to the scent of grapefruit essential oil ate less.
An older animal study had similar findings. After regular exposure to the smell of grapefruit essential oil, rats showed signs of reduced appetite, lower food intake, and decreased body weight.
But, obviously people aren’t rats, so there’s no way to know for sure if this has the same effect on humans.
5. Regulate blood pressure
High blood pressure can be serious, and some research suggests that inhaling citrus oils can help lower blood pressure and keep it down.
With these mixed findings we definitely need more information on whether or not grapefruit oil can help maintain healthy blood pressure levels. You should never substitute your blood pressure medication for grapefruit oil.
6. Improves skin health
Grapefruit essential oil might be the secret to a healthy glow. While more research still needs to be done, studies do show grapefruit oil’s antibacterial properties may be able to help treat and prevent certain skin conditions — including acne — when applied topically.
With its ability to keep bacteria at bay, it’s no wonder any beauty brands have used grapefruit and other citrus oils in their products.
7. Reduces inflammation
Citrus essential oils, like grapefruit, are often used as a natural anti-inflammatory, thanks to a compound they contain called limonene. While animal studies have shown the benefits of citrus oils on reducing inflammation, more research is needed to support their effectiveness on humans.
8. Acts as an antibacterial or antimicrobial
Grapefruit oil may also have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
In a 2011 lab study, researchers found grapefruit essential oil had an antimicrobial effect against numerous bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus (staph), Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Salmonella typhimurium (salmonella).
New studies have found similar results. According to 2020 research, grapefruit essential oil had the best antimicrobial effects on Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis), followed by E. coli, staph, and salmonella.
While we still need more research, grapefruit oil appears to be so effective against bacteria that researchers are focusing on other ways to maximize its abilities.
9. Acts as an antifungal
Grapefruit essential oil is a powerful antifungal agent.
A 2017 review on essential oils and fungus found that grapefruit essential oil in particular can help heal and prevent fungal infections, including yeast infection-causing Candida albicans.
A 2016 study also found grapefruit oil is one of several essential oils that can prevent Candida albicans growth by as much as 35 percent.
Grapefruit essential oil is generally considered safe when diluted for topical use or as part of aromatherapy. However, ingesting any essential oil can be toxic. Don’t do it!
Here are a few things to keep in mind for safe essential oil use:
- Pregnancy. Even though certain essential oils are considered safe to use while pregnant, it’s best to check in with your doc first — just in case. There are many essential oils that not safe during pregnancy.
- Kids and infants. For safety reasons, it’s recommended that you consult your pediatrician or healthcare professional before using essential oils on your littles.
- Pets. Do NOT use essential oils on your pets. Your fur-babies are often more sensitive to essential oils than humans, and some of them are highly toxic to pets. So it’s best to talk with your vet before using around Fido or Fluffy to keep them safe.
- Sunlight. If you’re about to bask in some serious sunlight, skip the essential oils — especially citrus oils like grapefruit. They can cause photosensitivity or cause you to burn when exposed to the sun.
- Allergies. If you have an allergy to grapefruit or other citrus fruits, it’s best to avoid citrus-based essential oils.
- Respiratory probs: Essential oils are very potent and can irritate some folks’ respiratory system when inhaled.
From inhaling it to rubbing it on your bod, here’s how you can take advantage of grapefruit oil’s benefits, but first: Always do a patch test before trying any new-to-you essential oil.
- Diffuse it. Aromatherapy can give you all the inhalation benefits, without having to worry about accidentally ingesting anything. Breathe in the grape-fruity goodness as your fave diffuser spreads the oil into the air.
- Massage it in. Mix a few drops of essential oil into your massage carrier oil of choice and use it to rub out any knots and tension.
- Wear it as a perfume. Apply carrier oil diluted grapefruit essential oil to your skin, either on a dry patch of skin for softness or on your wrists, neck, temples, or behind your ears. Because grapefruit is a top note the scent won’t last quite as long as other essential oils but it makes for an energizing and uplifting scent while it lasts.
- Rub a dub in the tub. Bathtime is peak self-care time for many, and adding some essential oil into your bath can help you soak up its benefits while getting your relaxation on.
- Relaxing hand or foot soak. Popping a few drops of essential oil to your preferred soak is a great way to have an aromatherapy sesh while smoothing and toning your skin.
Dilute, dilute, dilute!
Essential oils are pretty potent, so it’s important to make sure you’re using a carrier oil before putting them on your skin. Carrier oils — like coconut oil, jojoba, sweet almond oil, or grapeseed oil — dilute essential oils and reduce the risk of irritation, while usually providing moisturizing properties.
Grapefruit essential oil is derived from grapefruit peels and generally used on the skin or inhaled.
Studies suggest that grapefruit essential oil has many potential benefits, including easing stress, fighting bacteria, and lowering blood pressure. But we need a lot more research to prove it works.