Benefits of Grapefruit Essential Oil and Uses

benefits of grapefruit essential oil

The grapefruit essential oil is citrus-scented oil, which is often used in aromatherapy. The oil is extracted from glands found in the grapefruit peel by a process known as cold-pressing. The grapefruit essential oil can offer a variety of health benefits. Here are benefits of grapefruit essential oil.

Can Relieve anxiety

Many people are seeking alternative remedies because of the side effects of some medications to treat anxiety and depression. Studies show that aromatherapy can be a helpful complementary therapy to balance mood and relieve anxiety (1, 2).

There are insufficient studies, specifically on the effects of grapefruit essential oil. However, studies link citrus essential oils containing the same compounds as grapefruit oil to anti-anxiety effects (3).

They attribute the calming effects to limonene, a chemical found in the peels of citrus fruits and other plants (4).

Studies show that citrus essential oils can have positive effects on mood and anxiety. However, research on specific effects of grapefruit oil is limited.

Suppresses Appetite

Research suggests that grapefruit oil aromatherapy can be useful for those trying to reduce an overactive appetite. One study found that rats exposed to the fragrance of grapefruit essential oil for 15 minutes 3 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. This nerve plays an important part in stimulating the development of digestive stomach juices.

The same research also investigated the effects of limonene fragrance, which is an important component of basic grapefruit oil. Smelling limonene has had similar effects on suppression of appetite and consumption of food (6).

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

They confine research to animal studies but shows that the scent of grapefruit oil may suppress appetite.

Promotes 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 the fat tissue breakdown and contributed to a reduction in calorie intake (7).

Similarly, a test-tube analysis in rat fat cells showed that grapefruit oil added directly to the cells inhibited fatty tissue formation. A study of postmenopausal women, for example, tested the use of abdominal essential oil massages on weight loss (8, 9).

Participants massaged their abdomen twice daily for five days each week using grapefruit oil, cypress, and three other oils once a week. Tests 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 (10, 11).

Using different oils however makes it impossible to say whether the results can be specifically attributed to grapefruit oil. Remember, 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. The experts do not recommend it for humans to eat essential oils in supplementary doses.

Studies on rodents and test tubes have shown that grapefruit essential oil can decrease fat tissue and reduce appetite. One human study found its use in massage therapy may help to reduce abdominal fat, but we need more studies.

Antibacterial Effects

The grapefruit oil has antibacterial and antimicrobials effects. Test-tube experiments show antimicrobial properties against potentially harmful bacteria such as Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli (12, 13).

One research comparing five essential oils found that 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 (14, 15).

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 (16).

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 (17, 18).

It is, however, unknown whether the essential grapefruit oil would influence Helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori). Essential oils are dangerous to eat.

Grapefruit essential oil provides similar antimicrobial and antibacterial effects comparable to other ointments.

May Treat Acne

The grapefruit oil may contribute to a healthy skin by preventing and treating skin conditions such as acne. Because of its refreshing scent and potent antibacterial and antioxidant activity, many brands of face lotions and creams include citrus essential oils (19).

These oils could help keep your skin free from bacteria, which can promote healing acne. One test-tube study monitored 10 essential oils for antibacterial activity against Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), bacteria commonly associated with acne development (20).

Researchers determined that essential grapefruit oil has antibacterial activity against P. acnes. This activity, however, was not as potent as other essential oils, such as thyme and cinnamon essential oils. We need further research to determine whether essential oil from grapefruit is an effective home remedy for acne.

Grapefruit essential oil appears promising in both prevention and treatment of acne despite its potent antibacterial activity.

May Help Reduce Blood Pressure

Many people use natural therapies to help lower their blood pressure either with prescription drugs, or to avoid drugs altogether. Some researchers suggest aromatherapy can help control blood pressure and stress levels.

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 (21).

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 (22, 23).

In another study, grapefruit essential oil increased nerve activity in rats, which helped lower blood pressure. Researchers determined that limonene, the primary active ingredient, was possibly contributing to those findings (24).

Still, there is no research to confirm whether grapefruit oil alone can solve high blood pressure in humans.

Initial research shows that essential oil from grapefruit can be effective in lowering blood pressure and stress levels.

How to use it?

Reduce Cravings: Add 1–2 drops of grapefruit oil to your water, inhale it directly from the bottle, diffuse 5 drops into your office or home, or massage 2-3 drops into your chest and wrists when a craving hits you.

Ease Hangover: Diffuse 5 drops of grapefruit essential oil into your home, add 1–2 drops to a glass of water or topically apply 1–2 drops to your temples and neck.

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

Relief Stress: Add 2–3 drops and a touch of coconut oil to a sterile cotton ball. Then rub it into your hands, neck or arms. You can also diffuse 5 drops of grapefruit oil directly from the bottle or inhale it.

Aid Digestion: Make a homemade massage lotion with 3–5 drops of grapefruit oil and coconut or jojoba oil on equal parts. Then scrub the mixture on the abdomen to help with digestion.

Improve Hair Health: Add your shampoo or conditioner with 2-3 drops of grapefruit oil and massage it into your scalp and hair. You can also add 1-2 drops of grapefruit to a slight amount of coconut oil, and after bathing, rub the mixture into your clean, damp hair.

Grapefruit Oil Precautions

Using essential oils topically or in aromatherapy can have household effects on others, including pets. Pets may have greater sensitivity to essential oils than humans (25).

Although most essential oils are safe to use in topical and aromatherapy applications, they are not safe to consume. It’s dangerous to ingest essential oils, and even dangerous in small doses (26, 27).

Although grapefruit oil is relatively safe to use on the skin or by inhalation, some precautions may be best taken. Do not eat essential oils at all.

The Bottom Line

The grapefruit essential oil is commonly used both in topical and aromatherapy applications. Research shows using this citrus oil can improve mood, lower blood pressure and ease stress. The grapefruit oil also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can help treat uncommon conditions, such as acne and ulcers in the stomach. We need more studies to support its beneficial properties. However, when used in combination with more conventional treatments, grapefruit oil can be a beneficial natural solution.

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Naeem Durrani BSc
Naeem Durrani is a freelance journalist who specializes in health and wellness innovation. His interests include medical research, nutrition, and the scientific evidence around effective wellness practices that empower people to positively transform their lives.
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