1 December 2021 / Caitlin Devlin
Grapefruit Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits
Grapefruit is a brightening, energising oil that works to lift low moods and reduce stress.
Unlike other members of the citrus family – many of which have been used in medicine for many centuries – grapefruit is relative newcomer to the world of aromatherapy.
Discovered in 1750 on Barbados, the grapefruit, which is thought to be a hybrid of pomelo and sweet orange, was not cold-pressed for oil until quite recently. Despite this, it is already making its mark, and has a wide number of both mental and physical applications.
Similar to other citrus oils, grapefruit oil can have phototoxic qualities due to the presence of furocoumarins in the oil, and is only recommended for topical use when steam-distilled to avoid adverse effects in direct sunlight. However, cold-pressed grapefruit oil can still have a great number of benefits when diffused or used around the home.
Grapefruit oil is antibacterial.
Grapefruit oil has been found to have strong antimicrobial effects that can help to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria around the home. These antimicrobial effects aren’t slight either – a study in 2004 found that grapefruit oil can combat an astonishing sixty-seven distinct biotypes.
This makes grapefruit oil one of the most useful essential oils to use in home cleaning for comprehensive protection. Try combining a few drops of grapefruit oil with a spray bottle of water to feel these effects.
It can reduce stress.
The smell of grapefruit oil has been shown to have a positive effect on stress and anxiety. It’s even been found that grapefruit oil can lower blood pressure and contribute to better heart health.
A study in 2002 noted that grapefruit was able to increase sympathetic activity in adult brains, improving mood and reducing feelings of stress. There was also a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure. This suggests that grapefruit can not only combat the emotional symptoms of stress, but the physical manifestations as well.
It can increase energy and alertness.
One of grapefruit’s most interesting properties is its ability to reduce stress-induced immune-suppression and lift ‘brain fog’. A study in 2001 suggested an explanation for this effect when it found that grapefruit essential oil could inhibit acetylcholinesterase activity.
ACHE hydrolyses the neurotransmitter acetylcholine within the brain, which is mainly present at brain synapses and neuromuscular junctions. Because grapefruit is able to inhibit ACHE from breaking down acetylcholine, the level and duration of action of the neurotransmitter increases. This can increase alertness and relieve brain fog and fatigue. Some people have even used grapefruit oil to help treat symptoms of depression.
It can relieve hangover symptoms.
Many people have even used grapefruit to ease hangovers and make the morning after a little more bearable. People have found grapefruit oil to stimulate the gallbladder and the liver and help improve function of both, and many have claimed that it can help prevent cravings, headaches and sluggishness. It can also stimulate urination, which can contribute to the detoxification of the body. Diffusing grapefruit oil may help to increase alertness and energy and relieve unpleasant side effects after a night of drinking.
Despite its relative youth in aromatherapy, grapefruit oil has already made a name for itself as a fragrant, versatile oil. Like many of the other citrus oils, its benefits are wide-ranging, and it is a great product for promoting overall health.
Shop our grapefruit essential oil here.