Grapefruit is widely used in mainstream media to promote weight loss. Its essential oil boasts these same benefits and more. Among other things, this potent extract is used to stimulate the immune system, alleviate stress and anxiety, and reduce sugar cravings.
The History of Red Grapefruit Essential Oil
The grapefruit is actually a hybrid of a pomelo and a sweet orange. The existence of the fruit was first documented in 1750 by Rev. Griffith Hughes while observing specimens in Barbados. 1 Originally known as the “forbidden fruit” of Barbados, grapefruit didn’t receive its name until around 1814. The name "grapefruit" is thought to be a reference to the fruit growing in grape-like clusters. 2
The scientific name of the fruit is C itrus x paradisi, and the essential oil is extracted from the peel of the fruit by means of cold compression, also referred to as "expression." The resulting oil is a pale yellow color with sweet, citrusy, and tangy notes. 3
Chemical Composition of Red Grapefruit Essential Oil
The healing properties of red grapefruit essential oil come from the chemical compounds that compose it, including:
Grapefruit essential oil contains between 88 and 95 percent limonene, which is found in most citrus fruits and is known for supporting the immune system, alleviating stress and anxiety, reducing inflammation, and supporting weight loss. 5
The combination of these compounds results in a powerful essential oil that is an antimicrobial, antibacterial, astringent, antiseptic, antioxidant, diuretic, disinfectant, and stimulant. 6
Common Uses for Grapefruit Essential Oil
Promote Weight Loss
You’re likely familiar with the popular fad of starting the day with a grapefruit to help promote weight loss. This is because grapefruit helps boost your metabolism and curb appetite. 7 For a quick and easy way to lower cravings, add a drop of red grapefruit essential oil to your water, diffuse throughout a room of your home, or dab a drop or two behind your ears or onto your wrists.
Red grapefruit essential oil also helps reduce fluid retention, allowing for weight loss and increased energy. Because fluid retention often results from inflammation or congestion in the lymphatic system, using grapefruit oil helps reduce inflammation and stimulate the lymphatic system.
Reduce sugar cravings
A study conducted by the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation showed that simply inhaling a culinary scent—such as grapefruit—before a meal can help curb cravings and reduce appetite. For optimum results, the aroma of the essential oil should be breathed directly from the bottle.
Alleviate stress and increase energy
The scent of grapefruit is fresh, uplifting, and soothing. The aroma of grapefruit essential oil can help to stimulate the nervous system, leading to increased focus and alertness. It also stimulates the endocrine system, promoting optimal metabolic activity. Red grapefruit essential oil also helps increase blood and lymphatic circulation, supplying oxygen to vital organs and removing toxins. 9
To reduce stress, alleviate anxiety, or regain focus, diffuse red grapefruit essential oil throughout the home, add a few drops of the oil into a bath, mix with a carrier oil to massage onto the skin, or dab a few drops behind the ears or onto the wrists. For a quick pick-me-up, you can even breathe it in directly from the bottle.
If you have greasy hair, adding a few drops of red grapefruit essential oil to your shampoo can help reduce oil and keep your hair clean and shiny. If you have color-treated hair, grapefruit essential oil can also help protect it from sun damage.
Red grapefruit essential oil contains an anti-inflammatory enzyme called bromelain, which is especially good at breaking down cellulite. This essential oil also helps remove toxins stored in the fat cells, which can prevent cellulite from developing.
For smoother skin and reduced cellulite, mix about 30 drops of red grapefruit essential oil with one cup of coconut oil. Massage onto the area daily for best results. 10
Heal Minor Wounds and Prevent Infection
Red grapefruit essential oil’s antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral properties make it especially effective in preventing and treating infections. It is particularly good at treating infections in the intestines, stomach, urinary tract, colon, and kidneys.
Treating minor cuts, bruises, burns, and bites with red grapefruit essential oil reduce the chances of getting a bacterial infection.
For use as an antiseptic, apply red grapefruit essential oil mixed with a carrier oil directly to the affected areas, or simply add a few drops of this oil into a relaxing bath.
If you drank too much the night before and wake up hungover and with a headache, red grapefruit essential oil helps to stimulate both the liver and gallbladder, alleviating these symptoms. The essential oil’s diuretic properties also increase the frequency of urination, detoxifying the system. 11
To serve this purpose, use the oil topically onto your chest, neck, and behind your ears.
Red grapefruit essential oil’s antibacterial properties help fight the bacteria that causes acne. Red grapefruit essential oil can decrease the production of sebum, which causes acne when overproduced by the oil glands in the skin. It also helps cleanse the skin of oil, dirt, and dead skin cells, unclogging pores. Using this essential oil topically is also a great way to keep your skin safe from UV light damage.
To fight acne, apply a few drops of the oil onto the affected area with a cotton swab. Always be cautious when applying citrus oils topically to the skin, as they can be phototoxic—sensitive when exposed to the sun. To reduce the chances of adverse effects, dilute the red grapefruit essential oil with a carrier oil and avoid direct sunlight for at least 12 hours after application.
Like the fruit, red grapefruit essential oil is high in antioxidants. This makes it especially effective at supporting the immune system and fighting the damage caused to cells by free radicals.
Alternative Uses of Red Grapefruit Essential Oil
Red grapefruit essential oil is a great way to clean surfaces, giving the home a fresh, clean fragrance. For a quick and easy cleaning solution, mix about 10 drops of essential oil into a mixture of water and white vinegar. This solution can be used to clean kitchen countertops, toilet bowls, and even showers with this mixture.
Because this particular essential oil is non-toxic and safe for internal use, this mixture can also be used as a fruit and vegetable wash.
If the air in your home smells a bit stale, you can freshen it up by diffusing red grapefruit essential oil throughout a few rooms or mix 5-10 drops of the oil in a spray bottle with water and spray directly on surfaces.
Because red grapefruit essential oil is concentrated, only a few drops are needed to obtain a strong citrus flavor. Consider adding a few drops of this essential oil to water, smoothies, or your favorite citrus dessert.
When used with caution, red grapefruit essential oil is safe for topical, internal and aromatic use.
If you are currently taking medication, consult with your doctor before using red grapefruit essential oil as it can negatively interact with some medications.
As always, and especially if you are going to be ingesting the oil, it is advisable to purchase 100% therapeutic grade oil for the highest quality and best results.
As with most citrus oils, direct sunlight should be avoided for at least 12 hours after topical use. If you have particularly sensitive skin, you should always dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil before use. Conduct a patch test to test for sensitivity before applying to larger areas of skin.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking any medication you should always speak with a doctor before beginning use of any essential oils.
Final Thoughts About Red Grapefruit Essential Oil
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, boost your immune system, or reduce stress and anxiety, red grapefruit essential oil is a powerful solution.
Consider adding this potent essential oil to lotions, body scrubs, bath salts, massage oils, and cleaning products for a cleansing, revitalizing experience. Just a whiff of this essential oil can awaken your senses and give you the boost you need to get through the day.