We’ve known for decades that grapefruit can benefit weight loss, but the popularity of using concentrated grapefruit essential oil for the same effects is now becoming more popular. Grapefruit essential oil is a potent extract derived from the Citrus paradisi grapefruit plant. Having been used for centuries to help beat inflammation, weight gain, sugar cravings and even hangover symptoms, it’s considered a natural stress-fighter, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant food and anticarcinogenic.
Even though the pulp of grapefruit has plenty of its own benefits — including being a popular fat-burning food — grapefruit essential oil actually comes from the peel of the fruit, which holds a range of beneficial volatile compounds. As one of the most versatile essential oils, the aroma of grapefruit oil is clean, fresh and a little bit bitter, just like the actual fruit itself. It has the signature taste and smell of citrus fruits, which is why many people like to use it in natural household cleaner products and homemade beauty lotions, soaps or cosmetics.
Grapefruit Essential Oil Benefits
Grapefruit essential oil benefits include:
- Disinfecting surfaces
- Cleansing the body
- Reducing depression
- Stimulating the immune system
- Decreasing fluid retention
- Curbing sugar cravings
- Helping with weight loss
Grapefruit oil is naturally high in antioxidants and phytochemicals that reduce oxidative stress and disease-causing inflammation. Many of grapefruit essential oil’s benefits are due to one of its main constituents called limonene (which makes up about 88 percent to 95 percent of the oil). Limonene is known to be a tumor-fighting, cancer-preventative phytochemical that protects DNA and cells from damage. In addition to limonene, grapefruit essential oil contains other powerful antioxidants, including vitamin C, myrcene, terpinene, pinene and citronellol.
Most commonly, grapefruit oil is used to fight throat and respiratory infections, fatigue, muscle aches, as well as a natural remedy for arthritis. It’s also been used consistently by those working to lose weight. It’s said to help increase energy levels and metabolism, plus it also can help curb sugar cravings.
As a natural detoxification agent, grapefruit oil can help the liver cleanse the body of toxins and waste, plus it can activate your lymphatic system and control fluid retention.
13 Grapefruit Essential Oil Uses
1. Weight Loss Booster
Ever been told that grapefruit is one of the best fruits to eat for weight loss and fat-burning? Well, that’s because some of grapefruit’s active ingredients are super beneficial to boost metabolism and reduce your appetite. When mixed with patchouli oil, grapefruit oil is known to lower cravings and hunger, which makes it a great tool to lose weight fast in a healthy way. Add several drops to your water, diffuse it in your office or home, or massage some onto your chest and wrists when a craving strikes.
When applied topically to the skin in small amounts, grapefruit essential oil is an excellent diuretic and lymphatic stimulant. This is one reason why it’s included in many cellulite creams and blends that are used for dry brushing. Additionally, grapefruit can be very effective for shedding excess water weight loss since it helps kick-start a sluggish lymphatic system.
2. Natural Antibacterial
Grapefruit oil has antimicrobial effects that help reduce or eliminate harmful strains of bacteria that can enter the body through contaminated foods, water or parasites. Research shows that grapefruit oil can even fight strong bacterial strains that are responsible for food-born illnesses, including E. Coli and salmonella. Grapefruit is also used to kill skin or internal bacteria and fungus, fight mold growth, kill parasites in animal feeds, preserve food, and disinfect water.
3. Candida Killer
Another benefit of grapefruit oil is that it has antifungal abilities and is able to reduce yeast and bacteria that are responsible for causing candida virus symptoms, a common condition affecting gut health that can cause cravings. Research shows that grapefruit is effective at fighting urinary tract infections too and might even be “comparable to that of proven antibacterial drugs.” In addition, grapefruit vapors have also been shown to help treat lung and nasal infections when inhaled.
4. Stress Buster
The smell of grapefruit is uplifting, soothing and clarifying. It’s known to bust stress and works great when it’s diffused, added to bath wash or dabbed on skin just like perfume. Add several drops to a sterile cotton ball along with a touch of coconut oil; then rub it into your wrists, neck or chest.
5. Hangover Cure
Grapefruit oil is a powerful gallbladder and liver stimulant, so it can help stop headaches, cravings and sluggishness following a day of drinking alcohol. To help alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal, you can diffuse grapefruit essential oil in your home, add one to two drops to water or use it topically over your skin, such as on your throat and neck. It works to increase detoxification and urination, while putting a hold on cravings that can occur due to hormonal and blood sugar level changes resulting from alcohol.
6. Sugar-Craving Stopper
Feel like you’re always looking for something sweet? Grapefruit oil is known to lower sugar cravings and help kick that sugar addiction when you inhale it directly. Sniff the oil directly from the bottle whenever your cravings hit, or try creating a natural supplement using several drops in water or tea that you can drink throughout the day.
7. Air Freshener
To get rid of unpleasant odors in your kitchen, appliances and bathrooms, diffuse some grapefruit oil along with other citrus scents like lemon essential oil and orange oil. While your house fills with a clean scent, you also eliminate odor-causing bacteria from the air. Additionally, you can use a small amount of grapefruit essential oil on wooden surfaces, countertops, floors or in household appliances to kill bacteria and odor naturally.
8. Circulation Booster
Nearly all therapeutic-grade citrus essential oils are capable of helping lower inflammation and increase blood flow. The blood vessel-dilating effects of grapefruit are useful as a natural remedy for PMS cramps, headaches, bloating, fatigue and muscle pains. Add a few drops to a nightly bath, place some on your shirt collar or dap some onto your wrists.
Increased blood to the digestive organs — including the bladder, liver, stomach and kidneys — means that grapefruit oil also helps with detoxification. It has a positive effect on digestion; can help you shed fluid retention; and fights microbes within the intestines, gut and other digestive organs. You can make a homemade massage lotion with grapefruit and coconut or jojoba oil and rub the mixture onto your abdomen.
10. Natural Energizer
As one of the most popular oils used in aromatherapy, grapefruit oil can increase your mental focus and give you a natural pick-me-up. When inhaled, its stimulating effects also make it effective for reducing headaches, sleepiness, “brain fog,” mental fatigue and even poor moods.
It’s even beneficial for healing adrenal fatigue symptoms like low motivation, aches and sluggishness. Some people like to use grapefruit as a mild, natural antidepressant since it can increase alertness while also calming nerves. Use some while working, showering in the morning, or combined with other perfumes and beauty products.
11. Acne Fighter and Skin Saver
Many commercially made lotions and soaps add citrus oils to their blends because of their antibacterial, skin-boosting properties. Not only is grapefruit essential oil able to help fight bacteria and greasiness that can cause acne blemishes, but it’s also useful for keeping skin’s immunity strong against indoor and outdoor air pollution and UV light damage — plus helps you get rid of cellulite.
It’s also been found to help heal wounds, cuts, bites and to prevent skin infections. As a natural acne treatment or skin salve, use grapefruit oil along with nourishing coconut or jojoba oil once or twice daily on the affected area.
12. Hair Cleanser
You can add a few drops of grapefruit essential oil to your shampoo or conditioner to help reduce grease, sweat and bacteria while adding volume and shine. If you color your hair, grapefruit oil might also be able to protect strands from sunlight damage.
13. Flavor Enhancer
You can use grapefruit oil naturally add a touch of citrus flavor of meals, seltzer, smoothies and water. This increases your satiety after eating, helps curb cravings for carbs and sweets, and improves digestion after a meal.
Grapefruit Essential Oil Studies and Research
Research suggests that inhaling grapefruit oil or using it for aromatherapy within your home can help turn on relaxation responses within the brain and even lower your blood pressure naturally. Inhaling grapefruit vapors can quickly and directly transmit messages to your brain region involved in controlling emotional responses. A 2002 study published in the Journal of Japanese Pharmacology investigated the effects of grapefruit oil fragrance inhalation on sympathetic brain activity in normal adults and found that grapefruit oil (along with other essential oils like peppermint oil, estragon, fennel and rose essential oil) significantly affected brain activity and relaxation.
The adults who inhaled the oils experienced a 1.5- to 2.5-fold increase in relative sympathetic activity that improved their mood and reduced stressful feelings. They also experienced a noticeable reduction in systolic blood pressure compared with inhalation of an odorless solvent.
Findings from other studies show similar results: Citrus fragrances can restore stress-induced immuno-suppression and induce calm behavior, as observed in studies using mice. For example, in a study using rats that were forced to undergo a swim test, citrus fragrance reduced the time they were immobile and made them more reactive and alert. Researchers believe that the application of citrus fragrances for depressive patients can help reduce the doses of antidepressants needed by naturally lifting their mood, energy and motivation.
Grapefruit essential oil also inhibits acetylcholinesterase activity, also known as AChE, according to research done by the Department of Applied Chemistry at Kinki University in Japan. AChE hydrolyzes the neurotransmitter acetylcholine within the brain and is found mainly at neuromuscular junctions and brain synapses. Because grapefruit inhibits the acetylcholinesterase enzyme from breaking down acetylcholine, both the level and duration of action of the neurotransmitter increases — which results in a person’s mood improving. This effect can help fight fatigue, brain fog, stress and depression symptoms.
Because cravings — especially for sugar, salt, fats and carbs — are closely related to stressful feelings, grapefruit can help minimize emotional eating. But according to study findings, the smell of grapefruit oil has even more powerful effects when it comes to fat-burning responses within the brain.
Researchers from the Nagata University School of Medicine in Japan found that grapefruit has a refreshing and exciting effect when inhaled, which suggests an activation of sympathetic nerve activity that helps control body weight. The researchers found that grapefruit’s activation of sympathetic nerve activity has an effect on white adipose tissue (WAT) within the body that’s responsible for lipolysis. When rats inhaled the grapefruit oil, they experienced increased lipolysis, which resulted in a suppression in body weight gain.
DIY Grapefruit Essential Oil Recipes
- Aromatically: Can be diffused throughout your home using an oil diffuser or inhaled directly from the bottle. Try this method by inhaling grapefruit vapors to help the body let go of bloating and retained water, headaches, stress, and depression.
- Topically: Should be diluted with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil in a 1:1 ratio before applying to skin. Combine the two, and then rub them onto any area in need, including sore muscles, acne-prone skin or your abdomen to improve digestion.
- Internally: It’s ONLY recommended for internal use when you purchase a very high-quality oil brand. Add a drop to water, or take as dietary supplement mixing with honey or smoothie. It’s recognized as safe for consumption by the FDA, but only when you use a 100 percent pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil that only includes one ingredient: grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) rind oil.
Grapefruit essential oil works well with lots of other oils depending on what you’re using it for. Try combing it with basil oil, orange oil, peppermint oil, bergamot oil, eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil or lemon essential oil. You can find out more about making your own recipes using all of these oils within my essential oils guide. Keep in mind that all citrus essentials oils are highly concentrated and are full of healthy acidic properties. Because of this, we recommend you use glass containers when storing them so they don’t eat away any of the plastic.
Cellulite creams can be expensive and full of chemicals, so instead try this natural grapefruit cellulite cream recipe you can make at home using only pure ingredients. With two ingredient that act like natural cellulite remedies, coconut oil helps hydrate the skin while grapefruit essential oil contains large amounts of the anti-inflammatory enzyme bromelain, which helps break down cellulite.
Total Time: 2 minutes
- 30 drops grapefruit essential oil
- 1 cup coconut oil
- glass jar
Mix grapefruit essential oil and coconut oil together. Store in glass container. Rub into areas of cellulite for 5 minutes daily.
Interactions and Side Effects of Grapefruit Oil
Grapefruit essential oil is considered safe, but it might interact with certain medications, including antidepressants and blood pressure medications. Before adding grapefruit to your diet or using grapefruit oil as a natural medicinal remedy, check with your health care provider if you take medications or have sensitive skin.
You also want to avoid direct sun exposure if you use grapefruit oil topically, since it can make skin more sensitive to UV light and sunburns. When using the oil on your skin, wait at least one hour before going into the sun. Also keep in mind that some people with sensitive skin might experience irritation or an allergic reaction when applying grapefruit essential oil, so a skin patch test should be done first to check for your reaction (the same applies to starting use with any new essential oil since essential oils all differ in terms of ingredients and chemical properties).
Finally, be careful to avoid any misleading information on the Internet about using high quantities of grapefruit oil for weight loss, especially low-quality brands that might contain dangerous additives and fillers. Some sources claim that up to half a bottle per day should be taken for best results — but this is dangerous, potentially toxic and will very likely cause negative reactions. Overly consuming grapefruit oil can overstimulate the gallbladder and cause spasms and serious digestive issues like gallstones or changes in bile ducts, so use caution and only use grapefruit or any essential oil in small recommended doses.
If you feel like you could use some more in depth information on essential oils, Dr. Josh Axe is hosting a free webinar going over, in great detail, uses and tips for using essential oils. Click below to learn more.