White Grapefruit Essential Oil: Uses, Benefits, and Blends
Scientific Name: Citrus paradisii MacFayden
Plant Part: Exocarp (Peel)
Scent: Bright, sunshine, sweet sour
Perfumery Note: Top
Initial Aroma Strength: Moderate
Extraction Method: Cold Pressed
Suitable Blending Oils: Citruses, woods, resins, spices
Breaking Down the Grapefruit Essential Oil’s Chemical Components
All others trace.
Historical Uses of Grapefruit Essential Oil
- Weight loss
- Lymphatic support
- Coughs and colds
Energetic of Grapefruit Essential Oil
The overarching theme of grapefruit essential oil is that it is stimulating.
Its bright, refreshing scent energizes and uplifts the senses.
Grapefruit Essential Oil & Blood Pressure
Inhaling grapefruit essential oil raises blood pressure, and with that brings a whole host of other benefits.
These range from feeling more dynamic and motivated, to your body burning fat faster and detoxifying itself more effectively. (Tanida, 2005)
Grapefruit Essential Oil And Weight loss
You’ll often see Grapefruit essential oil referred to as “The Dieter’s Oil” because it has long been recognised that the grapefruit helps weight loss.
Now, exciting new research has uncovered the fact that the fragrance of grapefruit essential oil actually controls how our bodies deal with fat.
The aroma goes to the brain, then signals are sent down, through the nerves that go to the stomach, to the actual fat itself. So messages to the nervous system, instructs the fat how to perform.
This is an extremely complex action.
To understand it, we need to begin by investigating adipose tissue.
What is Adipose Tissue?
Adipose tissue, or body fat, as we mostly recognise it, is connective tissue found right through your body. It lives beneath your skin.
We call most of it subcutaneous fat.
There is also another group, visceral fat, that sits between your internal organs.
Finally, adipose tissue is also found in bone marrow.
It had previously been understood that body fat insulates our body against the heat and the cold, as well as storing and releasing energy.
Turns out, that was only part of the story.
Then in the 1980s scientists discovered a hormone connected to weight called leptin.
Leptin signals to the body to say whether you are full or not. From that, scientists revealed that adipose tissue actually makes leptin.
This turned the understanding of fat on its head. Because if fat can makes hormones, then it’s not just an inanimate entity.
Adipose tissue must be an endocrine gland.
Adipose tissue is an organ in its own right.
Adipose tissue contains nerve cells and blood vessels that communicate with other organs throughout your body by signaling with hormones.
Body Fat Serves Many Important Functions. It:
- Stores and releases energy.
- Regulates glucose and cortisol
- Maintains the body’s sensitivity to insulin
- Regulates temperature and protects our organs against the heat and cold.
- Generates thermogenic heat.
- Cushions soft organs.
- Maintains insulin sensitivity.
- Contributes to immunity.
- Metabolizes sex hormones which decide where fat should be stored
- Moderates our hunger and how satisfied we feel after food.
Notice that it’s the fat itself that tells you if you have had enough to eat or not.
(I know. I can hear you…“Don’t be daft. Surely it’s your brain”...Wait…)
Adipose tissue communicates with other organs throughout your body, as well as with your central nervous system. It controls how energy is supplied through signals which tell you whether you are full or if you need more food.
Adipose tissue responds to the signals from insulin by converting and surplus blood sugar into lipids (fats), then it squirrels them away for future use.
There Are Two Types Of Adipose Tissue
White Adipose Tissue (WAT) and Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT).
White Adipose Tissue
WAT is the most abundant type. This is what appears as subcutaneous fat, visceral fat and bone marrow fat. WAT stores and releases fatty acids to fuel the body during fasting periods.
As well as having endocrine functions, WAT is also involved in how we metabolize food, specifically through lipolysis. We’ll look at what that is in a moment.
Fat cells themselves are called adipocytes. New adipocytes are made through adipogenesis. The main components of adipocytes are triglycerides, cells that make up around 90% of dietary fat.
To make the fuel, the body must break down the fats through lipolysis. Triglycerides are broken down into their constituent molecules (glycerols - to be used for energy in intense exercise, and free fatty acids for energy source) so that the body can use them. This happens during times of starvation, when the body no longer has blood sugar circulating.
Research shows that when we smell grapefruit essential oil (for around five minutes) the brain sends stimulating messages along the nervous system (down the sympathetic gastric nerve) to white adipose tissue to tell it to start using fat.
That is the key detail behind the idea of intermittent fasting. If you starve the body for long enough (usually about 12 hours) the body starts to use fat as fuel instead. This is also the idea behind ketogenic diets, to starve the body of sugar entirely.
Here inhaling grapefruit essential oil triggers the process almost immediately.
What’s more, rodent experiments show that grapefruit essential oil activates the nerves stimulating white adipose tissue, to facilitate lipolysis. (Lipolysis is the process of breaking down fats)
The trial reports that Grapefruit essential oil
“efficiently inhibits adipogenesis via inhibiting the accumulation of triglycerides “.
Grapefruit Essential Oil and Brown Adipose Tissue
Recently, scientists have also become increasingly interested in BAT or Brown Adipose Tissue.
Brown adipose tissue in humans is mostly present when we are babies but we lose most of it as we grow.
What’s left is mainly located in your upper back.
Brown adipocytes (fat cells) are structurally more complex than white ones and their color comes from iron in the cells. They also contain several organelles, and their color comes from iron in these. These organelles are capable of generating large amounts of heat.
Their main job is to protect infants from hypothermia, of course, but if you were to climb Mount Everest, they would also kick in to warm the internal structures in extreme cold.
It is now understood that the body creates this warmth by burning fat.
Research showed that inhaling grapefruit essential oil also stimulates brown adipose tissue to start working to burn fat too.
Grapefruit Essential Oil Reduces Cravings and Hunger
According to aromatherapist, K G Stiles, grapefruit essential oil reduces cravings and hunger if you blend it with patchouli [Stiles, 2016].
Grapefruit Essential Oil Reduces Belly Fat
Ideally then, we will be inhaling grapefruit essential oil each day, but a great trial done in Korea showed that adding massage into the mix can be really helpful too.
The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the effects of aromatherapy massage on abdominal fat and body image that post-menopausal women had about themselves.
There were 35 subjects in the trial, split into two groups. All ladies were given an hour long body massage, each week for six weeks.
Then they were given home treatments to use twice a day, five days a week, over the period of the study which was six weeks long.
The two groups used different kinds of oil.
The experimental group used 3% grapefruit oil, along with cypress, ylang ylang and jasmine oil with jojoba oil.
The control group used grapeseed oil.
At the end of the study, the women in the grapefruit group had lost a mean average of 5com off their abdomens and had seen a significant improvement in their body image. (Kim, 2007)
Grapefruit Essential Oil and Detoxification
So the next aspect of grapefruit's brilliant effects on weight loss is how it shifts toxicity out of the system. The nice thing about this is that no extra work is required.
Inhaling grapefruit essential oil stimulates the nervous system.
We know that, because it increases blood pressure.
In the same way that it activates the sympathetic nerve to the adipose tissue, grapefruit essential oil also stimulates the sympathetic renal nerve that goes to the kidneys.
Breakdown of fat cells occurs in two primary forms. One is as water, since fat leaves the body in the forms of sweat and urine.
This supports traditional use of grapefruit essential oil as a lymphatic support.
Remembering too that the lymphatic system certainly has a role in detoxification and the movement of toxins around the system, it also has a vital role to play in immunity.
Just as an aside, additionally, about 84% of fat is discharged as carbon dioxide during exhalation.
This may inform how we should be focussing on our breathing when we inhale the grapefruit essential oil too.
Grapefruit Essential Oil for Skin
Using Grapefruit essential oil on the skin needs to be done with care. It is very astringent and drying, and so if you already have quite dehydrated skin, it is best avoided.
There are two reasons to use it though.
First, the astringency makes it wonderful for cleaning dirty and greasy complexions and it is great if you are prone to black heads. If you want to clean your skin without drying it, consider adding grapefruit essential oil to a facial steam bath.
Next, grapefruit has an interesting interaction with a protein in the skin called estastase.
Elastase is one of the key contributors to skin losing its elasticity and as such is associated with wrinkles.
Grapefruit essential oil inhibits elastase.
Grapefruit Essential Oil for Hair
Superb as a final rinse for greasy hair.
Grapefruit Essential Oil Thins The Blood
Potentially down to the stimulating nature of the oil, grapefruit essential oil thins the blood.
Useful then for supporting healthy circulation after thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.
(Use only a moisturizer base and stroke into the skin, since massage would be contraindicated here.)
Avoid if there is an existing platelet deficiency disorder, or if you are already taking anticoagulant medications. Also cease using 48 hours before planned surgeries which includes tooth extractions.
Antibacterial and Antifungal Actions of Grapefruit Essential Oil
Grapefruit essential oil has powerful antifungal actions.
It fares well in studies when tested against:
Bacillus subtilis: Gram positive bacteria found in the soil and in human digestive tracts.
Penicillium chrysogenum: Fungus that grows on salted food products
Fusarium moniliforme: Fungus that affects maize
Cladosporium cucumerinum: Fungus that affects cucumbers
Aspergillus niger: Most common mold found in the environment
Aspergillus flavus: mold found on cereals and grains
Saccharomyces cerevisiae: Yeast used in wine making.
Candida albicans: Insidious yeast that causes thrush and other conditions*** See note
Grapefruit essential oil has powerful antimicrobial and anti bacterial properties. In petri dish experiments, grapefruit essential oil has also been shown to be active against
- Escherichia coli - E-coli.
- Salmonella typhimurium: Most usual cause of gastroenteritis
- Salmonella abony - Another form of salmonella
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa: Hospital infections and causes pneumonia amongst other conditions
- Staphylococcus aureus - Causes skin infections like redness, boils and blisters
Another trial that was interested in using essential oils in food emulsions to preserve the ingredients and to supercharge their potential showed that grapefruit essential oil also had the greatest antioxidant potential of all of the oils tested.
(research for food emulsions (Denkova-Kostova, 2020)
Anti-inflammatory Nature of Grapefruit Essential Oil
We spoke earlier of how grapefruit essential oil is active against the staph aureus bacteria.
Most commonly, Staphylococcus aureus bacteria cause skin infections like redness, boils and blisters.
Grapefruit essential oil is demonstrated to repair the skin from boils and blisters by inhibiting the inflammatory action. (Zhang, 2022)
It does this through two pathways: Interleukin -1 and the COX-2 pathway that NSAIDS use to reduce inflammation. (Zhang, 2022)
Grapefruit essential oil reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines and is recommended for inflammatory diseases. (Nikolic, 2023)
Insect Repellent Properties of Grapefruit Essential Oil
Grapefruit essential oil was 95% lethal to eggs and larvae of Anastrepha fraterculus (South American Fruit Fly) and Ceratitis capitata (Mediteranean fruit fly (Ruiz, 2014) when tested in a petri dish experiment.
It is also a powerful insect repellent against mosquitoes.
A strong dilution completely killed all the Aedes aegypti eggs, a slightly weaker one inhibited larval development[ (Ivoke, 2013).
Grapefruit essential oil is a potent larvicide against Anopheles stephensi another vector of malaria Sanei-Dehkord, 2014
Another trial demonstrated how Ticks did not like grapefruit essential oil. (Flor-Weiler, 2012)
Seemingly, Fire ants don’t either. : (Zhang, 2021)
Grapefruit Essential Oil Uses: For Wholesale Purposes
Superb for candles and diffusers. Anything uplifting. Likewise great for skin and hair.
Grapefruit essential oil is rich in limonene. IFRA suggests adding an antioxidant to products made with grapefruit essential oil that are not designed to be used immediately.
Not advised. The amounts needed to fix the smell would be irritating to the skin.
Gorgeous, brings a fresh and different tartness to citrus blends and compliments spices beautifully.
Grapefruit Essential Oil Blends: DIY Recipes
Grapefruit And Blend Of Other Essential Oils For Weight Loss
10ml Jojoba Carrier Oil (Simmondsia chinensis)
30 drops grapefruit essential oil (Citrus paradisii)
30 drops Cypress essential oil (Cupressus sempervirens)
30 drops ylang ylang essential oil (Cananga odorata)
jasmine absolute (Jasminum grandiflorum)
Method of use: Massage the belly twice a day with oil.
Be aware the that grapefruit essential oil is phototoxic, so do not use on days where the same area of skin will be exposed to direct sunlight or to sunbeds in the next 12 hours
Safety: Not suitable for use by people who are using blood thinning medications or who had a platelet clotting disorder. Not suitable for use during pregnancy
I Look Fantastic Diffuser Blend
3 drops Grapefruit essential oil (Citrus paradisii)
2 drops Sweet Orange Essential Oil (Citrus sinensis)
1 drop Sandalwood Essential Oil (Santalum album)
Maximum Dilution for Grapefruit Essential oil - 4%
However since it is extracted from the peel of the fruit, waxes and lipids cross through to the essential oil which can cause a risk of phototoxicity.
It is suggested that you should cover all parts of the body where grapefruit has been applied and protect them from the sun for at least 12 hours after application. Likewise, grapefruit essential oil and sunbeds are not a good combination.
Thins the blood, so is not suitable for use with anticoagulant medications, or if someone has a platelet clotting disorder. Cease using 48 hours before planned surgery.
Not suitable for use in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.
Since limonene deteriorates so quickly, do not use old oils, since these can cause skin sensitization.
TOP TIP: Forget about renewing your grapefruit essential oil…enroll in the VINEVIDA subscription programme and we’ll send you a new bottle each six months for your peace of mind.
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