Grapefruit Essential Oil

Photo of Grapefruit Tree from

Essential Oil:  Grapefruit 

Botanical Name:  Citrus paradisi 

Botanical Family:  Rutaceae 

*Geeky Fact* Since the term essential oil technically only applies to steam or hydro-distillations, saying ‘grapefruit essential oil’ is a bit inaccurate.  Citrus oils are cold pressed from the peel of the fruit making them pressed oils rather than essential oils.  But calling them essential oils is perfectly fine.

The grapefruit is believed to be a natural hybrid of the sweet orange and the pomelo, and is indigenous to the West Indies.  Most grapefruit essential oil is produced in the United States, Brazil, Israel, and South Africa.  Grapefruit is a very simple, straightforward oil, it’s function is well matched to it’s fragrance.  Happy, fresh, cleansing, and stimulating.  Grapefruit is on the low end of the essential oil price scale with most brands priced under $10 for a 10mL bottle (approx. 250 drops).

Grapefruit is a sparkling and joyful oil.  It’s fragrance leaps out of a bottle just like the scent of ripe grapefruit in a room.  In Aromatherapy, grapefruit is used for it’s detoxifying and anti-depressant properties.  Grapefruit is stimulating to the liver and the lymphatic system, cleansing to the blood, astringent to tissues and diuretic.  Grapefruit can help break up fatty tissue in the body and in conjunction with juniper or cypress is a popular remedy for reducing the appearance of cellulite.  Finally the antiseptic and astringent properties of grapefruit help to tone oily skin and clear congested skin.

Emotionally, grapefruit is an important oil for those suffering from tension, depression, and lethargy.  The oil is valued for it’s ability to stimulate, uplift and revive.  According to Mojay ” The oil is particularly suited to those individuals, who, tense and under pressure, resort to ‘comfort eating’ as a means of dealing with difficult emotions.”  It seems that Grapefruit oil is appropriate to help prevent emotional eating but it would also be used to deal with the effects of overeating i.e., sluggish liver and excess weight.  These systemic actions make Grapefruit one of the best general care oils for adding to a wide variety of Aromatherapy formulas.

Grapefruit has the dubious honor of being one of the most volatile essential oils.  This means it evaporates quickly and the wonderfully fresh scent of essential oil doesn’t last long.  A bitter, pithy scent can be revealed after several minutes and the dry out is often described as having a BO note.  Citrus oils in general have short shelf lives but grapefruit is shortest of them all.  For the best therapeutic results, try to use your citrus oils within 6 months of purchase.

Cautions- Citrus oils are known for intensifying the effects of the sun.  Those with sun sensitivity (which by now is everyone) should use Grapefruit with care.  Unfortunately the amount of time one should wait before sun exposure after applying citrus oils seems to vary.  I’ve read books and articles that tell one to wait 20 minutes and some that say 12 hours.  I’m sure the correct answer is somewhere in the middle and is specific to the individual anyway. Make sure you’re not applying anything with citrus oils immediately before or during sun exposure.  Pay attention to how your skin reacts to the sun when you’ve used citrus oils and don’t repeat behaviors that result in burns.  Easy enough.

How to Dance in the Shower
Add 24-32 drops of Grapefruit essential oil to 4oz. of unscented shower gel
Lather, inhale, rinse and repeat if desired.
Keep your feet in the same spot, don’t slip!
Music totally optional.


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