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Benefits of Grapefruit Essential Oil and Uses

Grapefruit essential oil, also known as Citrus paradisi, provides several health benefits.

It can help with everything from lowering blood pressure to relieving stress to treating and protecting your skin.

It is extracted by cold-pressing the glands in the fruit’s peel.

For thousands of years, people have used it in topical ointments and skin creams, as well as in aromatherapy.

May Relieve anxiety

Many people are seeking alternative remedies because of the side effects of some medications to treat anxiety and depression (1).

Studies show that aromatherapy can be a helpful therapy to balance mood and relieve anxiety (2).

There are insufficient studies, specifically on the effects of grapefruit essential oil.

However, studies link citrus essential oils, which contain the same compounds as grapefruit essential oil, to treating anxiety (3).

Therefore, the calming effects are attributed to limonene, a chemical compound found in the peels of citrus fruits and other plants (4).

Studies on treating anxiety with grapefruit essential oil are limited; however, it has a positive effect on mood.

May Reduce Appetite

A study suggests that grapefruit oil aromatherapy can be useful for those trying to reduce appetite.

One animal study found that rats exposed to the fragrance of grapefruit essential oil for 15 minutes, three days a week, had reductions in appetite, food consumption, and body weight (5).

Another recent study has shown that the scent of grapefruit oil in rodents has increased activity in the gastric vagal nerve, resulting in lower appetite (6).

This nerve plays an important part in stimulating the development of digestive stomach juices.

The same study also investigated the effects of limonene fragrance, which is an important part of grapefruit oil. The effects of smelling limonene on appetite suppression are similar.

However, these findings are limited to animals only. We need further research on the effects of essential grapefruit oil on humans.

May Promote Weight Loss

Grapefruit essential oil can help you lose weight, although there is a lack of research in this field. One rat study showed that the smell of grapefruit oil triggered fat tissue breakdown and contributed to a reduction in calorie intake (6).

Similarly, a test-tube analysis in rat fat cells showed grapefruit oil added directly to the cells inhibited fatty tissue formation (7).

A study of postmenopausal women, for example, tested the use of abdominal essential oil massages on weight loss (8).

Participants massaged their abdomens twice daily for five days each week using grapefruit oil, cypress oil, and three other oils once a week.

Estimates at the end of the six-week study showed not only a decrease in abdominal fat but also a reduction in the group’s waist circumference using the essential oils.

However, it is impossible to say whether the results can be specifically attributed to grapefruit oil.

The evidence of any weight loss benefits from grapefruit essential oil is minimal and of poor quality. To confirm these effects, we need more studies before we can make any claims.

May Have Antibacterial Effects

Grapefruit oil has antibacterial and antimicrobial effects. Test-tube experiments show antimicrobial properties against potentially harmful bacteria, such as Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli (9, 10).

One study comparing five essential oils found essential grapefruit oil was one of the most potent in terms of its antimicrobial effects on MRSA, a group of bacteria that is typically more difficult to treat as it is often resistant to specific antibiotics (11, 12).

A test-tube analysis investigating the properties of 60 essential oils, for example, found that basic white grapefruit oil had antibacterial activity against Helicobacter pylori (13).

Research shows that grapefruit essential oil may also be effective in resisting certain fungal strains, such as Candida albicans, a yeast that can cause infection in humans, particularly in those with weakened immune systems (14, 15).

It is hard to believe whether the topical application of essential grapefruit oil would have an effect on Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Essential oils are dangerous and even life-threatening to ingest.

May Treat Acne

Grapefruit essential oil may treat skin disorders such as acne. (16).

Because of its refreshing scent and potent antibacterial and antioxidant activity, many brands of face lotions and creams include citrus essential oils.

These oils keep your skin free from bacteria, which can further promote the healing of acne.

One test-tube study monitored 10 essential oils for antibacterial activity against Propionibacterium acnes (P. acne), a bacteria commonly associated with acne development (17).

Researchers determined that essential grapefruit oil has antibacterial activity against P. acnes.

The effect was not as strong as that of other essential oils like thyme and cinnamon.

We need further research to determine whether topical use of essential oil from grapefruit is an effective home remedy for acne.

May Reduce Blood Pressure

Some researchers suggest aromatherapy can help control blood pressure and stress levels (18).

For example, a recent clinical study showed that the essential oils from citrus and lavender had immediate and long-term effects on reducing blood pressure and stress (17).

Participants wore a 24-hour bracelet containing the essential oils and reported a significant decrease in daytime systolic blood pressure.

They have shown a decline in cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress.

In another study, grapefruit essential oil increased nerve activity in rats, which helped lower blood pressure (18).

Researchers determined that limonene, the primary active ingredient, was possibly contributing to those findings. Still, there is no research to confirm whether grapefruit oil alone can solve high blood pressure in humans.

How to use grapefruit essential oil?

If you want to reduce your appetite, add 1–2 drops of grapefruit oil to your carrier oil. Inhale it directly from the bottle. You can also diffuse 5 drops into your office or home, or massage 2-3 drops into your chest and wrists when a craving hits you.

Reducing blood pressure: Diffuse 5 drops of essential oil into your home or topically apply 1–2 drops to your temples and neck.

For skin health: Combine 1–2 drops of grapefruit oil with around half a teaspoon of nourishing coconut oil or jojoba oil as a natural acne treatment or skin lotion. Then apply the mixture to the affected area once or twice a day.

For stress release, add 2–3 drops and a touch of coconut oil to a sterile cotton ball. Then rub it into your hands, neck, or arms. Diffuse 5 drops of grapefruit essential oil or inhale it directly from the bottle.


Grapefruit essential oils applied topically or in aromatherapy can have household effects on others, including pets.

Pets may have greater sensitivity to essential oils than humans.

Although most essential oils are safe to use in topical and aromatherapy applications, It’s dangerous to ingest essential oils, even in small doses.

Although grapefruit oil is relatively safe to use on the skin or by inhalation. Do not eat essential oils at all.


Grapefruit essential oil provides numerous health advantages, including improved skin health, stress relief, blood pressure reduction, and hunger control.

More studies are needed to support its beneficial effects.

However, when used in combination with more conventional treatments, grapefruit oil can be a beneficial natural solution.

Naeem Durrani BSc
I am a retired pharmacist, nutritionist, and food system expert. My interests include medical research and the scientific evidence around effective wellness practices that empower people to transform their lives.


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