The Benefits and Uses of Grapefruit Essential Oil

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Grapefruit essential oil is a type of essential oil commonly used in aromatherapy. Sourced from the peel of the Citrus paradisi fruit, proponents suggest that breathing in the oil's tangy scent can help lift your mood and offer a variety of benefits.

Grapefruit essential oil contains a number of compounds thought to enhance health, such as limonene.

Grapefruit next to grapefruit essential oil
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How It Works

In aromatherapy, inhaling the aroma of grapefruit essential oil (or absorbing grapefruit essential oil through the skin) is thought to transmit messages to a brain region involved in controlling emotions.

Known as the limbic system, this brain region also influences the nervous system. Aromatherapy proponents suggest that essential oils may affect a number of biological factors, including:

  • Heart rate
  • Stress levels
  • Blood pressure
  • Breathing
  • Immune function


In aromatherapy, grapefruit essential oil is typically used for:

Grapefruit essential oil is also used to reduce stress, stimulate circulation, increase energy, enhance mood, and improve digestion.

When used as an ingredient in personal-care products, grapefruit essential oil is said to treat oily hair and skin.


Although very few scientific studies have tested the aromatherapeutic power of grapefruit essential oil, some preliminary research indicates that the oil may offer certain benefits.

For example, a rat-based study published in Brain Research found that inhaling the scent of grapefruit essential oil stimulated activity in the sympathetic nervous system, which activates the body's "fight-or-flight" response to stress.

In addition, a number of preliminary studies suggest that grapefruit essential oil may act as an antimicrobial (which destroys or suppresses the growth of microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi).

However, it should be noted that these studies did not test the aromatherapeutic use of grapefruit essential oil.

Tips on Using It

When combined with a carrier oil (such as jojoba, sweet almond, or avocado), grapefruit essential oil can be applied directly to the skin or added to baths.

Grapefruit essential oil also can be inhaled after sprinkling a few drops of the oil onto a cloth or tissue, or by using an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporizer.

Possible Side Effects

Grapefruit essential oil should not be taken internally without the supervision of a health professional. Internal use of grapefruit essential oil may have toxic effects.

In addition, some people experience irritation or an allergic reaction when applying grapefruit essential oil to the skin. A skin patch test should be done before using any new essential oil. Essential oils are absorbed through the skin, so the topical application should not exceed safe use.

Before applying any type of essential oil to your skin, make sure to blend it with a carrier oil (such as sweet almond oil or jojoba oil).

There's also some concern that applying grapefruit essential oil to the skin may increase your sensitivity to ultraviolet light emitted by the sun and—as a result—raise your risk of skin cancer.

When using grapefruit essential oil on your skin, it's crucial to protect against ultraviolet light exposure by applying sunblock.

Pregnant women and children should consult their primary healthcare providers prior to using essential oils.

Keep in mind that alternative medicine should not be used as a substitute for standard care. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Where to Find It

Widely available for purchase online, grapefruit essential oil is sold in many natural-foods stores and in stores specializing in self-care products.

A Word From Verywell

Grapefruit essential oil is valued for its invigorating, citrusy aroma in aromatherapy. There are many ways to use it, from using it in a body lotion to putting a drop or two in a bath.

If you have a health condition, don't rely on grapefruit oil to treat it (and it's a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider before trying any new treatment). 

Several other types of essential oils have been found to offer effects similar to purported benefits of grapefruit essential oil.

For example, lavender essential oil and rose essential oil may reduce stress. Orange essential oillemon essential oil, and jasmine essential oil may help improve mood.

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Article Sources
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