Whether you enjoy eating grapefruit or not, you’re going to love the beautiful White Grapefruit Essential Oil. A native to tropical Asia and the West Indies, grapefruit is a large tree with shiny green leaves and large yellow fruit1.
There are two different varieties of grapefruit - pink and white. There is not a big difference between these, other than the colour of the fruit and white grapefruit having a slightly more tart aroma2. Otherwise, the composition of the two oil varieties and their benefits are very similar. At Zea, we stock white grapefruit as it is now cultivated in Australia.
Grapefruit is fresh and cleansing - a gorgeous citrus essential oil to have in the home.
It is truly a beautiful oil to invigorate and energise both mind and body. So if you are looking for help with detoxification, or would like to view the world more positively, then grapefruit is definitely an essential oil for you.
About Grapefruit Oil
Let’s look a little at the history of Grapefruit Essential Oil. It is a relatively new addition to the citrus oils and is thought to be a hybrid of sweet orange and pomelo fruits. The tree was originally from Asia and was discovered in the 1700s. Grapefruit - formerly known as “the Forbidden Fruit” or “the fruit of the Garden of Eden” - was named as such as it was seized upon by those searching for the identity of the original tree of good and evil in The Garden of Eden1.
The grapefruit was named due to the way it grows in groups that - when small, green and unripe - look similar to a bunch of grapes3.
The oil from the grapefruit is yellowish to greenish or, sometimes, yellow-orange in colour and is extracted through cold pressing the rind of the fruit. This method does not use heat so, therefore, preserves the integrity and efficacy of the essential oil.
Grapefruit oil is high in D-limonene, which is also found in oranges and lemons. It is, however, “nootkatone” that gives grapefruit its characteristic taste; nothing like grapes, incidentally. Over 100 compounds have been detected, with monoterpenes accounting for about 95%, including D-limonene up to 95%2.
Similar to the fruit, Grapefruit Essential Oil is also rich in antioxidants, especially Vitamin C. It also contains Vitamin A and Lycopene, but in lower concentrations. It has become a popular ingredient in food, cosmetics and perfumes2.
Essential Oil Facts
Botanical Name: Citrus paradise
Common Name(s): Grapefruit, White Grapefruit, The Forbidden Fruit
Extraction Method: Cold pressing the peel of the fruit
Strength of Aroma: Medium-Strong
Aromatic Scent: Tangy, yet sweet, citrus aroma
Typical Chemical Composition: alpha-pine (0.38%), beta-pinene (0.02%), sabinene (0.42%), myrcene (1.37%), d-limonene (84.0%), citronellal (0.1%), decanol (0.4%), linalool (0.1%), nootkatone (0.1%)
Safety Information: Grapefruit oil is relatively safe but always dilute before use in a carrier oil when applying to the skin and patch test. It is also phototoxic so best to avoid sun exposure for 24 hours after using oil on the skin6.
7 Uses of Grapefruit Oil
Grapefruit Oil is commonly used as an antidepressant, antiseptic, disinfectant, hepatoprotective and general body stimulant, as it stimulates nerves and has an uplifting and reviving effect on the mind, giving a feeling of slight euphoria5.
Let's take a closer look at some of the possible ways you can use this beautiful oil.
1) Increase Energy and Concentration
As Grapefruit oil stimulates the nervous system, it is a wonderful oil to use in your diffuser if you are studying or needing to focus or increase alertness.
You can use it on its own or perhaps blend with Bergamot or Lemon to improve memory and concentration. If you are feeling fatigued and without motivation, blend a few drops in base oil and apply to wrists.
Grapefruit - along with Bergamot, Basil, Kunzea and Lemon - is a key ingredient in our Mental Clarity Lifestyle Blend for improving focus and concentration.
2) Reduce Stress and Sadness
Grapefruit oil has been shown to help control the production of stress hormones, such as cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that causes a variety of health complications when it remains elevated for a long period of time. This includes chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, depression, and impaired immunity.
Stress can also be associated with anger or resentment and I have found Grapefruit oil can help to shift these emotions to a more uplifted, euphoric state. This may be associated with its hepatoprotective properties.
In Chinese medicine, the liver can be associated with anger and bitterness, so it seems appropriate to consider that - as grapefruit can help balance the liver physically - it may also help balance the correlating emotions associated with the liver.
With its uplifting effect Grapefruit oil is valuable for treating stress, depression, and nervous exhaustion2.
“Grapefruit oil, like all citrus oils, has the ability to soothe the flow of stagnant Qi which is associated with the Wood element. This helps to alleviate feelings of frustration, irritability and tension5”
- Gabriel Mojay, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit
Furthermore, Mojay explains that people with a grapefruit personality may resort to “comfort eating’ when under pressure - that these people have high expectations, however, whenever reality fails to meet their goals and desires, they tend to react with anger, blame and self-criticism.
Grapefruit oil helps to clear psychological heat that results from deep-seated frustration and self-blame.
3) Detoxify and Help Lymphatics
If you are feeling constantly tired, appear to be getting sick more frequently, or don’t feel as positive and vibrant as you once were, it may mean that you need help with detoxifying the body. Usually, prolonged tiredness and sluggishness is a sign that your lymphatic system needs a boost, as the lymphatics and skin along with the liver are the most important elimination channels in the body.
If these elimination channels are not efficiently removing toxins, then these toxins will continue to build and lead to further fatigue and health concerns. Grapefruit oil is a lymphatic stimulant and is indicated for cellulite, obesity and water retention as it aids in assisting with detoxification2.
To aid in circulation or cellulite mix a few drops of Grapefruit oil into a base oil and massage into areas of concern or onto the soles of the feet to aid in circulation and lymphatic flow.
For optimum effect, use a dry skin brush before showering to remove dead skin cells and stimulate lymphatics and, after showering, massage Grapefruit oil into areas of stagnation and concern.
4) Antiseptic and Antibacterial Properties
Grapefruit oil, with its strong antibacterial and antiviral properties, can help with skin infections, respiratory complaints, and other illnesses. It has been found to have antimicrobial, antiseptic and hepatoprotective qualities and studies confirm its considerable antimicrobial activity with testing against Candida albicans, A.niger and Pseudomonas aeruginosa2.
Pop a few drops into a diffuser to aid in respiratory or immune concerns, or dilute into a small amount of base oil to apply to wounds for healing. You can choose any base oil such as jojoba, coconut, sweet almond or grapeseed and add 5 drops to 10ml of your chosen base.
5) Balances Digestion and may Assist Weight Loss
Grapefruit oil balances and tones digestion. It cleanses the kidneys and vascular system and tones the liver. It is a popular diet aid as it stimulates bile secretion which aids the digestion of fats and is helpful in regulating eating disorders where psychological factors are at work4.
It also contains high levels of compounds, such as D-Limonene, that supports healthy metabolism function.
The recommendation on how to use it for this is adding 2-4 drops to an aroma diffuser and diffusing it in your home or office during the day. An alternative option would be adding a few drops into a carrier oil and applying to the chest or wrists when a craving starts, so try diffusing grapefruit oil at home to aid in suppressing appetite.
6) Treat Oily Skin and Hair
Grapefruit oil can help with treating problems associated with oily skin and hair. It can help with acne, and by using the oil daily in skin cleansing may help control oil production which can exacerbate acne but can also help heal with its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Likewise, it can help oily hair problems by adding a few drops to your shampoo.
7) Household Cleaner and Deodoriser
With its fresh citrus notes and its antibacterial properties, grapefruit oil is a wonderful oil to use in the family home. In a diffuser, it will help to rid of those stubborn smells in the home caused by cooking or pets. It can also be added to water to mop floors or benchtops to work as a disinfectant. I particularly love to use grapefruit with eucalyptus for cleaning and deodorising when cleaning in the home.
Blending with Grapefruit
Among other essential oils, Grapefruit blends beautifully with Lime, Sweet Orange, Eucalyptus, Black Spruce and White Cypress. Here are some great DIY blends that you can try at home, or you make like to experiment with your own combinations:
For Energy and Vitality
4 drops x Grapefruit
3 drops x Lemon
1 drop x Spearmint
For Stress and Nervous Tension
4 drops x Grapefruit
2 drops x Rose Geranium
2 drops x Lavender
For Home and Cleaning
3 drops x Grapefruit
1 drop x Eucalyptus
1 drop x Coastal Tea Tree
For Fatigue and Pain
3 drops x Grapefruit
2 drops x Kunzea
2 drops x Rosalina
1 drop x Lemon
For Memory and Focus
4 drops x Grapefruit
2 drops x Lemon
1 drop x Bergamot
Michelle’s Special Suggestion
Our Kunzea Bath Salts contain magnesium with Kunzea and Lavender for an anti-inflammatory effect to help reduce aches and pains in joints and muscles.
By mixing 3-5 drops of Grapefruit Essential Oil to a cup of these salts before adding to your bath, it may also help with detoxifying and stimulating lymphatics if you are looking for assistance in detox or weight loss.
The Essence of Grapefruit
As an aromatherapist, I like to use Grapefruit Essential Oil when confidence is depleted or lethargy creeps in, either due to depression or physical fatigue. I find grapefruit to be revitalising and I believe this is due to its action on liver energy to help balance anger and resentment but also due to its uplifting and joyous energy.
Grapefruit oil helps to clear psychological heat that results from deep-seated frustration and self blame5. If you feel sad, frustrated, lethargic or moody, grapefruit oil may help.
About the Author - Michelle Brass ND
With over 25 years of experience in the natural health industry, Michelle has dedicated her life to helping others embrace the therapeutic benefits of nature. Throughout her time as a health practitioner, she has used and recommended countless traditional and conventional treatments to her clients - as she believes an integrative approach to health and wellness is very important. Michelle is passionate about using and promoting essential oils and, in particular, Kunzea Oil, as she has seen them help thousands of people over the years. She knows that using essential oils in your daily life can help bring balance to the mind, body and soul. She is constantly trialling and testing new products with her loyal clients.
To learn more about Michelle, go to her full bio page.
- Morton, J. Grapefruit. p. 152–158. In: Fruits of warm climates. Purdue University; 1987.
- Battaglia S. The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. 3rd ed. Black Pepper Creative Pty Ltd; 2018.
- Library of Congress. How did the grapefruit get its name? It doesn't look like a grape. https://www.loc.gov/everyday-mysteries/item/how-did-grapefruit-get-its-name-it-doesnt-look-like-a-grape/. Accessed April 14, 2020.
- Douglas J. The Australian Book of Aromatherapy. Hale & Iremonger; 1994.
- Mojay G. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils. Healing Arts Press; 2000.
- Tisserand R, Young R, Williamson E. Essential Oil Safety. Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier; 2014.
- Healthline. 6 Benefits and Uses of Grapefruit Essential Oil. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/grapefruit-essential-oil. Accessed April 14, 2020.
- Shen J, Niijima A, Tanida M, Horii Y, Maeda K, Nagai K. Olfactory stimulation with scent of grapefruit oil affects autonomic nerves, lipolysis and appetite in rats. Neuroscience letters; 2005 Jun 3;380(3):289-94.