Grapefruit essential oil is extracted from the outer skin of grapefruit or Citrus x paradise. This large-sized fruit is a hybrid of sweet orange and pomelo and combines the best features of both. Although the existence of this accidental hybrid in the Barbados Island was not known until the 17th century, its medicinal properties quickly gained attention. But it is the weight loss effect that made the fruit––and the essential oil–– popular.
The best quality grapefruit essential oil is extracted by compression as in the case of most citrus oils. Since no heat or chemicals are used, it helps preserve the integrity of the oil and the efficacy of its various volatile components. The bitter oil has a refreshing citrusy aroma that can be described as sweet and tangy.
Grapefruit oil has a cleansing and detoxifying effect on everything it comes in contact with, be it industrial surfaces or household objects or the human body. Its main component is Limonene, which constitutes 90-95% of the oil. It also contains alpha pinene, sabinene, myrcene, geraniol, linalool and citronellol among others.
Thanks to all the phytochemicals in the oil, it displays powerful antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. It can be applied topically when diluted and used in diffusers.
1. Grapefruit oil is an energy booster
Inhaling grapefruit essential oil has far reaching effects on the body and mind. It stimulates the nervous system, increasing alertness and focus. It activates the endocrine system, improving the secretion enzymes and hormones that drive the metabolic activities of the body.
Grapefruit oil relieves adrenal fatigue that makes one lethargic. By increasing blood circulation and lymphatic circulation, it energizes the body by supplying oxygen to every tissue and organ system and removing toxins that clog them. Being a liver stimulant, it can also help you overcome a hangover.
2. Grapefruit oil acts as an effective antidepressant
The soothing aroma of grapefruit oil can improve mood and relieve depression. The antidepressant effect can be experienced by diffusing the oil or inhaling it directly from the bottle. You can dab it on your wrist, behind your ears, under your feet, and other important pulse points in the body. In case you’re taking antidepressants, use of the oil may require you to cut down on the dosage. Discuss it with your physician.
3. Grapefruit essential oil is an excellent detoxifier
Grapefruit oil has diuretic properties that help flush out toxins from the body through urine. It stimulates the circulatory system, which increases the reach of blood to every cell and tissue of the body. This results in a better collection of metabolic waste, which can then be removed from the body. Roping in the lymphatic system is a big plus because it is another important route of waste collection and disposal.
4. Grapefruit oil reduces fluid retention
Fluid retention in the body may be due to many reasons, but two main causes are inflammation and lymphatic congestion. Extra fluid in the body can make us heavy and lethargic, and put great strain on the heart. It is a risk factor for hypertension.
Grapefruit oil reduces inflammation and eases up the lymphatic flow. Being a diuretic, it also facilitates the elimination of extra fluid through urine.
5. Grapefruit oil fights inflammation
Grapefruit oil has high antioxidant value, surprisingly, even higher than that of lemon oil. Antioxidants reduce the oxidative stress caused by highly reactive radicals that can cause cellular damage. Injuries to the tissues and organs by these radicals are a major cause of widespread inflammation in the body, which, in turn, increases the risk of metabolic and cardiovascular disorders.
The antioxidant capacity of grapefruit oil can reduce inflammation, if not prevent it. Regular use of the oil can probably afford protection from a host of degenerative conditions associated with chronic inflammation, including loss of eyesight from macular degeneration, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
6. Grapefruit oil stimulates the immune system
All citrus oils, including grapefruit oil, act as immune system stimulants. Regular use can protect you against seasonal ailments. Combined with the strong antimicrobial property, this can ensure the general good health and excellent protection from diseases.
7. Grapefruit oil can suppress appetite and cravings
Normally, after we have eaten sufficient amount of food, signals indicating fullness reaches the brain and triggers the release of chemicals suppressing appetite. However, you could overeat in the time it takes the brain to register fullness and respond to it. Grapefruit oil is an effective tool to suppress appetite because it directly acts on the satiety center in the hypothalamus. This is good news for people with eating disorders.
According to a clinical study at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, the smell of grapefruit oil had such dramatic effect on the brain that it could control calorie intake better than any other method. All you have to do is take a drop of the oil in the palm, rub the palms together, and inhale deeply for 2-5 minutes. This should ideally be done 15-20 minutes before mealtime.
Another interesting effect of the essential oil is that it helps you overcome food cravings, especially the craving for sugary foods. Carry a small bottle of the essential oil itself, and take a sniff whenever you crave for a snack.
8. Grapefruit oil promotes fat loss
We know grapefruit is a great addition to weight loss diet. The essential oil also has a similar effect. It works in multiple ways to bring about this desirable change. First and foremost, it increases metabolism, which results in more calorie burning. It also helps with calorie restriction by reducing appetite. Succumbing to cravings and binge eating is one of the main reasons why most calorie-restrictive diets fail. As we have seen before, grapefruit oil can help overcome cravings too.
The diuretic effect of the oil and its stimulation of the lymphatic system also contribute to the weight loss effect by removing excess water weight from the body. A lighter body and the energy boosting the effect of the oil encourage physical activity.
There’s another unique way in which grapefruit oil facilitates weight loss. The smell activates the sympathetic nervous system, which is directly involved in fat burning. Increased sympathetic activity is associated with increased lipolysis, so the stimulation of this nervous system by grapefruit oil can promote fat loss.
9. Grapefruit oil has powerful antimicrobial action
Grapefruit oil is as strongly antimicrobial as lemon oil and other citrus oils. It can be used to disinfect cuts and bruises on the skin. Since the oil has been found to be effective against several strains of pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, S. epidermidis, Klebsiella spp., Shigella spp., Enterococcus spp., E. coli, and Salmonella, it can prevent not only skin infections but respiratory and gastrointestinal infections as well.
In the case of respiratory tract infections, an oral route can be avoided, since inhaling the vapors may be sufficient to help combat the pathogens. Grapefruit oil can also protect against urinary tract infections and fungal infections caused by Candida, Penicillium and Aspergillus niger.
10. Grapefruit oil can help control acne
Grapefruit oil is good for preventing and managing acne. It can help on many different levels, starting from the cause of acne. Overproduction of sebum by the skin glands and blockage of the pores that lead out of them trigger pimples. The trapped sebum becomes a good breeding ground for bacteria, and pimples get filled with pus. The infection inflames the surrounding tissue, giving the acne the characteristic angry red look.
Grapefruit oil can downregulate the function of the sebaceous glands and reduce sebum production. It can cleanse the skin of oil, dirt, and dead cells, and allow the glands to drain well. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effect can prevent infection and inflammation.
Use grapefruit oil in water as an oil-cutting and disinfecting face wash for dry skin. Three drops in a cup of water should suffice. Oil can be added to your regular face wash too. Touch existing acne with a cotton ear bud dipped in the essential oil. This may help shrink the acne and prevent infections that cause scarring.
Acne can also develop because of overly dry skin since dehydrated skin can induce the glands to secrete more sebum to compensate. Mix 2-3 drops of grapefruit oil in a tablespoon of almond oil or jojoba oil and apply on your face after washing. This seals in the moisture and keeps the skin hydrated.
11. Grapefruit oil can be used to disinfect and refresh your home
Like any other citrus oil, grapefruit oil can help get rid of foul odors from your home and fill it with a refreshing fragrance. Add 5-10 drops into a spritz bottle containing water and spray around. Unlike the chemical room fresheners that simply mask unpleasant smells with their overpowering scents, this citrus oil gets to work immediately, ridding the place of microbes responsible for the bad odors.
Make a disinfectant solution with five drops of grapefruit oil in a mug of water and wipe down surfaces with it. The oil has an oil-cutting property similar to lemon oil, which makes it easy to remove all the dirt and grime. Since the oil is non-toxic and edible, it is safe to use on kitchen appliances and counters. There’s no need to rinse it off.
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Warning: Grapefruit essential oil is safe in small quantities, but it can interfere with the metabolism of many drugs. Consult a physician about potential drug interactions before using the oil therapeutically. Avoid excessive use since overstimulation of the gallbladder may result in gallbladder stones and other serious problems with bile secretion.
Always do a patch test before using grapefruit essential oil topically. Sun exposure should be avoided after applying it on the skin since it increases photosensitivity.