Fresh grapefruit and amber grapefruit essential oil bottles by The Healthy RD

Grapefruit Essential Oil Health Benefits and History

Not so long ago, little boys and girls at Christmas would look forward to citrus fruits in their holiday stockings as a sweet, exotic gift.  The simple gift of grapefruit is still wonderful because it is a gift to our health.  Grapefruit health benefits are numerous, including supporting a healthy weight, heart health, immunity, and more.  Grapefruit essential oil can be a great way to get the benefits of grapefruit if you use high-quality essential oil.  However, I caution you from consuming oils that are not Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade.

Here is an in-depth review of the research supporting grapefruit essential oil benefits.  You can also download a free ebook about 100 ways to use essential oils below.  You will also receive a free grapefruit essential oil cellulite recipe.  Learn what to look for when you buy essential oils as well.

This blog contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you.

What is Grapefruit Essential Oil Good For?

The benefits of grapefruit essential oil are emerging in research today.  Grapefruit is rich in antioxidants and may help with many health concerns.  These include:

  • Weight management
  • Reducing body fat
  • May reduce certain kinds of cancer
  • Antibacterial properties
  • Antifungal properties
  • Reduces candida

Grapefruit is brightening and purifying.  It may help reduce toxins in the body as well by helping with proper digestion.  The refreshing scent of grapefruit essential oil energizes and boosts mood.  Grapefruit essential oil may help reduce excess fluids in the body []. While similar to lemon essential oil and other citrus oils, grapefruit contains slightly different antioxidants.

Grapefruit History

Grapefruit first appeared and graced the earth in Barbados as a serendipitous combining of pomelo and sweet orange or hybrid of the two.

No one is sure if this was intentional hybridization or a happy accident, but either way, lucky me.  My keyboard may or may not be splashed with grapefruit juice right now.

The juicy grapefruit is referred to as “the forbidden fruit” in Barbados where it originated. That’s a bit titillating (1). In 1750, those searching for the forbidden fruit of good and evil coined it this way.

Ruby Red grapefruit strain resulted from a “natural” mutation, another so-called accident (2).  This is different than the genetic modification of crops.

As a result, ripe and red segments of grapefruit are a splash of freshness in the frigid depths of winter months.

Grapefruit Essential Oil History

Citrus essential oils have been used for a very long time for health.  Evidence for essential oil distilleries goes back over 2000 years.

Grapefruit essential oil is a newcomer to oils because it is a new hybrid as discussed above. High-quality grapefruit oil will be cold-pressed for its distillation process instead of derived from hexane extraction like cheap oils.

Grapefruit Nutrition

  • Each half grapefruit contains approximately:
    • Fiber 2g
    • Carbohydrates  11g
    • Vitamin A | 23% DV
    • Vitamin C | 52% DV
    • Potassium: 166 mg

Grapefruit contains smaller amounts of other vitamins like thiamine, folate, riboflavin, and vitamin E.  They are a great low-calorie snack at any time of the day.

Flavonoids In Grapefruit Essential Oil

Grapefruit, even grapefruit peel, has 13 identified flavonoids with antioxidant and medicinal properties (3). Keep in mind, most reported benefits of these individual flavonoids have been in animal studies.

What are flavonoids? Flavonoids are simply healthy pigments that are found in most plants.

Keep in mind, most reported benefits of these individual flavonoids have been in animal studies. Here are some of them.

  • Isonaringin: Antioxidant activity (4)
  • Naringin: Weight loss, reduced heart disease, blood pressure, inflammation, improved liver function (5)
  • Hesperidin: Reduced hemorrhoid symptoms and improves venous insufficiency: see below.
  • Neohesperidin: Similar to hesperidin in structure
  • Naringenin: May reduce cancer growth (6)
  • Hesperetin: Similar to hesperidin in structure, may inhibit tumor growth (7)
  • Isosinensetin: May protect the lung from oxidative damage (8)
  • Sinensetin: Helps break down fat (9)  (10)
  • Nobiletin: Protects neurons from amyloid beta of Alzheimer’s disease (11)
  • Tangeretin: Protects the neurons from amyloid beta of Alzheimer’s disease (12)

Here is a fun place to check which flavonoids or phenols are in your foods:

Grapefruit Essential Oil for Weight Loss

People sometimes lose weight with grapefruit essential oil use. Why? Grapefruit essential oil fragrance increases sympathetic nerve activity of white adipose tissue.  This, in turn,  stimulates fat loss and causes body weight gain in animal studies [, ].

The combination of patchouli oil and grapefruit essential oil lowers cravings and hunger, which makes it a great tool to support healthy weight loss [].

Clinical studies in humans also support grapefruit benefits for weight. Grapefruit given as capsules or as juice resulted in larger weight loss for people over a 12 week period than the equivalent amount of apple juice or apple juice capsules (35).

Grapefruit also reduced imbalances in insulin and had greater reductions in weight in people with metabolic syndrome.

Body fat and weight reductions were substantial when patients were given a combination of red-orange, grapefruit, orange extracts, with a total of almost 16% body fat loss after 3 months and 5.2 kg weight loss.

This is because the citrus product stimulated the fat-burning pathway  (36).

While research still remains early for grapefruit oil as a weight loss aid, it is a low-risk option to try.  Keep in mind, only consume grapefruit oil that is Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade doTERRA brand.

Grapefruit Essential Oil Benefits the Heart

Grapefruit oil may also help the heart by supporting metabolism and markers of heart health.  This includes a reduction in waist width and blood pressure (37). Grapefruit has a low glycemic index, so it is less likely to spike blood sugar levels than many fruits.

The pectin from grapefruit may reduce harmful types of cholesterol like LDL (38). Extract of naringenin from citrus reduced LDL cholesterol by 17% in 60 patients with high cholesterol levels (39).

Grapefruit is rich in antioxidants that can help the heart by reducing inflammation as well.

  • To review, grapefruit oil may help cardiovascular issues by:
    • Reduce inches on the waist
    • Reduce blood pressure
    • Reduce harmful cholesterol
    • Reduce inflammation

Grapefruit Helps Other Circulatory Conditions

Blood vessels in the rest of our body may benefit from grapefruit essential oil as well.  Blood vessels can become weak when people have venous insufficiency or hemorrhoids.

When a grapefruit extract is used in combination with another plant extract (Daflon) it reduces both hemorrhoids and improves venous insufficiency.

Further, grapefruit helped more when cases of venous ulcers and venous insufficiency were severe (16) (17) (18). Essential oils can also be useful for varicose veins and you can find out more at Wow Remedies.

Grapefruit Reduces Sun Damage

Sunscreen is not the only option to help protect our skin.  Our diet and supplements, as well as essential oils,  can help.

Two clinical studies have shown that a combination of rosemary and grapefruit at as little as  100 mg per day was able to reduce sun damage to the skin, such as redness and wrinkles; it also increased skin elasticity (19) (20).

Take home message: Sunscreen isn’t enough; the incidence of skin cancer continues to climb. Diet intake needs to improve to protect the skin as well.

Grapefruit Reduces Infectious Bugs

  • Grapefruit has strong anti-microbial properties, and at high concentrations, prevents the growth of 20 kinds of bacteria and 10 kinds of yeast, including (21):
    • Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538P
    • Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 29213
    • Staphylococcus epidermidis MFBF
    • Streptococcus faecalis ATCC 20201
    • Streptococcus sp. MFBF
    • Listeria monocytogenes MFBF
    • Escherichia coli O:157 MFBF
    • Escherichia coli O:128 MFBF
    • Shigella sonnei MFBF
    • Salmonella enteritidis MFBF
    •  Klebsiella oxytoca MFBF

Of note, some grapefruit seed extracts and essential oils have synthetic additives.  Be sure to choose pure kinds without added chemicals. Early work shows that grapefruit seed extract may fight antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections (21).

Grapefruit may also reduce the growth of some harmful molds like Aflatoxin and Aspergillus (25).

Many consumers suggest that topical grapefruit seed extract helps reduce athlete’s foot, a fungal foot infection.

Grapefruit Oil May Reduce Acne

Not only may grapefruit oil help reduce the damage of skin from the sun, but it may also help reduce embarrassing breakouts.

How? Grapefruit essential oil may work as an acne treatment because it helps reduce the growth of bacteria that is common in acne (24).

Simply add 2-3 drops of grapefruit oil for every 5 ml of your favorite moisturizer.  Then apply the mixture once in the evening to the affected area.

Grapefruit essential oil benefits inforgraphic by The Healthy RD

Grapefruit  Essential Oil Reduces Cancer Risk

Citrus juices, including grapefruit juice,  may reduce the chances of pancreatic cancer and pre-cancerous lesions in the mouth (26)  (27).

Grapefruit essential oil may inhibit the growth of cancer cells by causing cancer cell death (28).

When combined with a common breast cancer drug, Tamoxifen, a compound from grapefruit reduced the growth of breast cancer cells more than Tamoxifen alone (29).

Grapefruit essential oil helped reduce the growth of leukemia cells by causing apoptosis, or cancer cell death [R].

Might Grapefruit Increase Some Cancers?

One study found a slight increase in breast cancer incidence with increasing grapefruit intake (30).

The authors speculate that when women take prescription estrogen, grapefruit enhances the levels of estrogen in the body.  This is because grapefruit is able to reduce the liver breakdown of estrogen as well as many drugs.

Another, more recent study, found no risk of breast cancer with grapefruit (31). No risk of using grapefruit rind or essential oil has ever been found.

Skin cancer, including melanoma and basal and squamous cell skin cancer, was increased with total citrus intake, but not grapefruit juice alone  (32) (33).

My speculation:  these studies aren’t able to account for significant drug interactions with grapefruit.

I’m just hoping that my coffee intake (helps detoxify estrogen) helps balance out any potential risk (34).

Bottom line:  It’s too soon to say that eating grapefruit affects cancer risk.

How To Use Grapefruit Essential Oil

  • There are many ways to use grapefruit essential oil:
    • Take in an empty vegetable capsule.
    • Add to your water
      • can gargle and use as a mouthwash as well
    • Rub on your skin
      • Add 2-3 drops of grapefruit oil to a tablespoon of carrier oil on your skin.  You can also add grapefruit oil to your moisturizer at night to prevent sun sensitivity
    • Diffuse
      • Add 4 drops of grapefruit oil to your diffuser
      • Grapefruit blends well with peppermint, rosemary, cedarwood, and neroli essential oils
    • Use as a substitute for harmful cleaners
    • Add to laundry

Grapefruit essential oil is antimicrobial so it can help remove toxins from your body and from your home.  Try using grapefruit oil for:

  • Freshening laundry
    • add 5 drops to wash cycle
  • Reducing stress
    • diffuse 4-5 drops in our diffuser or nebulizer
  • Cleaning carpets
    • use instead of harmful chemical cleaners by diluting 10 drops per 1 cup of water for your carpet cleaner
    • Add 15 drops per 1 cup of baking soda and sprinkle all over your carpet. Wait 15 minutes then vacuum as usual.
  • Sterilizing and disinfecting surfaces
    • Add 10 drops per cup of water and apply with a sprayer bottle.
  • Nebulizers or diffusers as above
  • Purifying humidifiers
    • add 5 drops per gallon to your evaporative humidifier
  • Reducing the need for chlorine In hot tubs and swimming pools

Rub on areas of concern or add to a few drops in your water for the following:

  • To reduce cellulite
  • To support weight loss
  • To help treat acne
  • To support healthy gallbladder
  • To support healthy intestines

People also use grapefruit essential oil topically and internally to reduce jet lag and reduce hangover symptoms. It is also used to reduce addictions and sugar cravings by diffusing this oil.

Buy Grapefruit Essential Oil

When it comes to essential oil, choose high-quality only.  Why?  Some brands contain very little essential oil at all! “Natural and organic” brands can contain chemical solvents because it is part of their distillation process.

  • Brands that don’t have Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade status:
    • Young Living
    • Dr. Axe
    • Plant Therapy
    • Neal’s Yard
    • All other organic brands
    • All inexpensive retail brands

Most healthcare providers are choosing Doterra brand.  This is because Doterra has the most 3rd party, independent testing of any brand.  Each batch has over 14 individual tests for quality and purity.

Doterra grapefruit essential oil is the only one I trust for myself and my family as well.

You can obtain the exact content of each batch when you visit Doterra’s Source to You website.  When you receive your Doterra grapefruit essential oil, simply look at the batch number on the bottle and enter it under Quality Reports.

Doterra grapefruit essential oil only costs 7 pennies per drop, which is a very economical way to boost your health.

You can buy Doterra grapefruit essential oil here.

Grapefruit Essential Oil Cellulite Recipe

Combine all ingredients in the glass spray bottle and then apply to areas of concern before bed.  Massage into the skin and allow oils to absorb before wearing your clothing.

Healthy skin and weight are also related to our foods, of course.  Find out more from Happy Body Formula.

More Ways to Use Grapefruit Essential Oil

  • Get a free ebook about 100 ways to use essential oils here for FREE. Here are the topics included:
    • Aromatic use
    • Topical use
    • Internal use
    • Cooking
    • Cleaning
    • Wellness
    • Sleep
    • Hygiene & Personal
    • Fitness
    • Mood Management
    • Natural pest control
    • Reduce stress

Another simple guide I like is from Better Mind Body Soul.  They give some practical tips about applying and safety of essential oils.

Get the most of essential oils by getting a kit today. Enrolling is like a Costco membership, and you get over 25% off every product all year long. No other commitments; you just get the best value and the best products.

Grapefruit Drug Interactions

Grapefruit interacts with MANY medications.

The good news about doTERRA grapefruit oil is that it does not contain significant amounts of the compound that interacts with drugs.  This compound is called furanocoumarins.

In other words, Doterra grapefruit oil doesn’t interact with medication as the fruit and juice do.

When someone is given medicine, they are often told to avoid grapefruit due to its interaction. Not other citrus fruits like pomelos, not lemons, not oranges.  Just grapefruit.

Why would this hybrid be so powerful (13)? Grapefruit’s furanocoumarins change how the liver metabolizes drugs.

Could doses of drugs be reduced with grapefruit? Would drug companies sponsor such trials?  Click here to find a fascinating study related to this. Something to ponder. Of course, this is not to be tried at home.

Grapefruit Precautions

Grapefruit juice and supplements majorly interact with medications, so don’t play around with this.  It often increases the amount of drug in your body, leading to potentially serious side effects (14).

Instead, work to be healthy with your healthcare provider, lessening the need for drugs. Remember: doTERRA grapefruit oil has a different composition than the fruit. Grapefruit essential oil likely poses no risks or interaction with medications.  Always discuss with your doctor before adding new products to your routine.

Grapefruit serves to slow down an enzyme in the liver called CYP3A4, which is responsible for the metabolism of a long and extensive list of drugs on the market today (15). This is most important for the juice and supplements, which have concentrated grapefruit compounds like naringenin.

Citrus oils topically should be applied at night because they can cause sensitivity or skin irritation.  If you do choose to apply grapefruit oil in the day, the bottom of the feet is a good place or where sun exposure doesn’t occur, such as under clothes.

Should We Be Asking Different Questions?

It amuses me when you go to a renowned website and it states that grapefruit may be helpful but has insufficient evidence to benefit following 20 conditions.  Glass half empty much?

But it may help 20 conditions!  Thinking of health and our organs and tissues as closely intertwined systems; that’s what we should be contemplating, not each small potential benefit for a host of issues.

Thinking about health benefits as a whole can be downright remarkable. As I read through small but significant studies of grapefruit in humans or any health topic for that matter, I like to keep that in mind.


Grapefruit is one potent plant.  If you don’t take medicine, it is a perfect addition to your diet for many reasons, including heart health and healthy weight.

To get the highest quality grapefruit essential oil click here.

If you do take medicine, make sure to check in with your pharmacist or health provider about interactions with grapefruit juice. Be as healthy as you can so that you need the least amount of medicine possible.

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body and is shared for education purposes only. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before making changes to your supplement regimen or lifestyle.

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