top of page

Ask an Aromatherapist: I Love Grapefruit Essential Oil, What Are its Benefits?

Grapefruit essential oil is a huge hit. Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi or Citrus paradisi) is a hybrid originating from a cross between sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) and pomelo (Citrus maxima). Grapefruit gets its name from the way the fruit clusters on the tree, often similar to grapes. Grapefruits come in many varieties. One way to distinguish is by the color of the fruit flesh they produce. The most popular varieties are red, white, and pink hues. (1)

Grapefruit essential oil is typically cold pressed from the peel and flesh of the grapefruit and characterized as coming from rose or white fruit. The fruit and juice contain bergamottin (C21H22O4), which has been found to interact with numerous drugs and cause adverse effects, but the essential oil does not. Thus grapefruit essential oil does not affect the metabolism of pharmaceutical drugs and is thus safe to use.

The aroma of grapefruit is sweet, citrusy, and pleasant. Both rose and white grapefruit essential oils are abundantly rich in d-limonene typically containing greater than 90% of the aromatic compound along with small amounts of b-myrcene, a-pinene, sabinene, and nootkatone.

Limonene offers a plethora of benefits: it has been shown to activate white blood cells (2), is analgesic (3), anti-inflammatory (4), anti-bacterial (5), and a skin penetration enhancer (6). B-myrcene offers analgesic (7), anti-inflammatory (8), and sedative (9) properties and a-pinene offers anti-inflammatory (10), anti-microbial (11), and anti-spasmodic (12) support.

The aromatic compounds in grapefruit make it an excellent choice immune support, to enhance the absorption of other essential oils, to soothe aches, to fight germs, and relax cramps.

The aroma of grapefruit is very uplifting and supports a positive mood. It is said to be cleansing and reduce feelings of tension. Grapefruit is said to support the liver and is excellent in a diffuser, aroma inhaler, or room spray.

Grapefruit has been found to tone and contract tissue and is useful in blends for oily skin and acne but carries a low risk of phototoxicity and should not be used at more than 4% for topical applications (less than 24 drops per ounce of carrier oil or lotion). Grapefruit may cause skin sensitization if oxidized. Grapefruit has also been found to be beneficial to the digestive system and can have a cleansing effect on the kidneys, liver, and gall bladder (13). This may be one reason many people enjoy adding grapefruit to sugar scrubs and body products and apply to body areas that appear bloated for dimpled.

Grapefruit blends well with other citrus fruit oils, basil, cedarwood, frankincense, and spice oils such as cardamom and ginger.

How to use:

Aromatically: Add to a diffuser for a mood boost: add 3-5 drops grapefruit, 3-5 drops of orange, and a drop or two of lime or bergamot. Enjoy! You can also add the oils to an aroma inhaler -- using a total of 15-20 drops in your favorite ratio. This blend will uplift your mood and support your immune system. Since limonene has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects it may also soothe aches.

Topically : I love adding grapefruit to sugar scrubs and body products. Try adding sugar to a two ounce jar (fill 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full), add jojoba or other carrier oil to fill the jar (adjust your oil to sugar ratio to get the consistency you like), add 20-24 drops of essential oils to get a 2% dilution. One of my favorite combinations is grapefruit, orange, and rosemary. Try adding 8 drops of each citrus oil and 4 drops of rosemary. If you'd like a cooling effect try adding a bit of peppermint. Massage a bit of the scrub gently into the skin avoiding face and eye area. Grapefruit can support detoxifying the body, ease aches, boost mood, and support immune health.

So grapefruit essential oil is not only delightful but beneficial in many ways. If you have more questions about grapefruit essential oils or aromatherapy contact Tricia. If you'd like to try citrus sugar scrubs or any of our other handcrafted aromatherapy products visit the web store.


2. Li Q, Nakadai A, Matsushima H (2006) Phytoncides (wood essential oils) induce human natural killer cell activity. Immunopharmacology & Immunotoxicology 28:319-333

3. Do Amaral JF, Silva MI, Neto MR et al (2007) Antinociceptive effect of the monoterpene R-(+)-limonene in mice. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 30:1217-1220

4. Souza MC, Siani AC, Ramos MF et al (2003) Evaluation of anti-inflammatory activity of essential oils from two Asteraceae species. Pharmazie 58:582-586

5. Deans S G, Svoboda K P (1988) Antibacterial activity of French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus Linn.) essential oil and its constituents during ontology. Journal of Horticultural Science 63:503-508

6. Almirall M, et al (1996) Effect of d-limonene, α-pinene and cineole on the in vitro transdermal human skin penetration of chlorpromazine and haloperidol. Arzneimittel-Forschung 46:676-680

7. Lorenzetti BB, Souza GE, Sarti SJ et al (1991) Myrcene mimics the peripheral analgesic activity of lemongrass tea. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 34:43-48

8. Souza MC, Siani AC, Ramos MF et al (2003) Evaluation of anti-inflammatory activity of essential oils from two Asteraceae species. Pharmazie 58:582-586

9. Do Vale TG, Furtado EC, Santos JG et al (2002) Central effects of citral, myrcene and limonene, constituents of essential oil chemotypes from Lippia alba (Mill.) n.e. Brown. Phytomedicine 9:709-714

10. Neves A Rosa S, Goncalves J et al (2009) Screening of five essential oils for identification of potential inhibitors of IL-1-induced Nf-kappaB activation and no production in human chondrocytes: characterization of the inhibitory activity of alpha-pinene. Planta Medica

11. Astani A, Reichling J, Schnitzler P (2009) Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils. Phytotherapy Research.

12. Camara CC, Nascimento NR, Macedo-Filho CL et al (2003) Antispasmodic effect of the essential oil of Plectranthus barbatus and some major constituents on the guinea-pig ileum. Planta Medica 69:1080-1085

13. Purchon, N. and Cantele, L The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook, 2014, Robert Rose, Ontario, Canada

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page