What is Grapefruit Essential Oil?
Grapefruit essential oil is the substance obtained from the peel of the fruit by means of expression or distillation methods.
It comes from the species Citrus x paradisi Macfadi, belonging to the Rutaceae family.
The essential oil of grapefruit has a subtle fresh-citrusy and sweet
aroma, which is classified as a top note
. Its color range between light yellow to light orange when expressed method is applied, and pale to clear, when distilled.
Grapefruit essential oil blends well with Juniper berry, cypress, peppermint, other citrus essential oils such as lemon, lime, orange, mandarin, etc.; Scots pine, jasmine, black pepper, patchouli, ylang ylang, monarda, palmarosa and geranium essential oil.
About Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi)
As we mentioned earlier, grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) is an evergreen tree belonging to the Rutaceae family, and it is believed that is a hybrid of pomelo and sweet orange.
Originally, grapefruit appeared on Barbados Island, but in the 19th century first trees were planted in Florida, where its cultivation continues up to this day.
Grapefruit are also grown commercially in Spain, Morocco, Israel, Jordan, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Jamaica, and Asia. Further varieties of Grapefruit were developed mainly in Florida and Texas, USA.
Nowadays, it is the second most important citrus worldwide and a key commercial crop in the U.S. states of Texas, Arizona, California and Florida. In Florida alone, more than 2.5 million tonnes of grapefruit are harvested annually.
Several color varieties significantly differ from each other in chemical composition and taste were bred. However, special interest is aroused by red variety of grapefruit, which, due to its high content of bioactive substances, is used also for non-food purposes.
Grapefruit has been used as a folk medicine in many countries as antibacterial, anti fungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiviral, astringent, and preservative agent.
In addition, it has also been used for cancer prevention, cellular regeneration, lowering cholesterol, cleansing, detoxification, heart health maintenance, Lupus nephritis, rheumatoid arthritis and weight loss.
Chemical Constituents of Grapefruit Essential Oil
Both versions, cold pressed and distilled grapefruit essential oil contain similar chemical composition with minimal variations in percentages.
Cold pressed essential oil: d-limonene (91.83%), β-myrcene (3.06%), and other components less then 1% include: α -pinene, β-ocimene, isopulegol, β -caryophyllene, β -cadinene, nootkatone (0.19%).
Distilled essential oil: d-limonene (75.07-96.06%), β-myrcene (2.06-7.25%), α-pinene (2.11%), β-phellandrene (1.18%), octanol (1.68%), decanal (1.11%), caryophyllene (1.88%), and other components less than 1% include: y-terpinene, 3-carene and nonane.
Properties of Grapefruit Essential Oil
- Cravings and hunger reducer (mixed with patchouli oil)
- Liver detoxification (Phase I and II)
- Stimulant (lymphatic and digestive)
Uses of Grapefruit Essential Oil
Among the most common uses of grapefruit essential oil, we can highlight the followings:
- Promotes and stimulates the proper functioning of the circulatory system.
- Relieves constipation, sluggish digestion, general digestive fatigue and digestion-related migraine.
- Strengthens the immune and lymphatic system, improving sluggish lymph, edema, supportive to detoxification and cleansing the body.
- Soothes muscular aches and pains, rheumatism, muscle fatigue and/or stiffness.
- Supports the nervous system in the treatment of depression, anxiety, stress and nervous exhaustion, among others.
- Relieves PMS.
- As a natural astringent, it helps the skin to fight acne, oily / congested skin, as well as cellulite and water retention.
- Prevents hair loss and helps in its treatment.
- Reduces agitation, irritability and stress-related conditions.
- Helps with weight loss.
- Works as an air purifier and disinfect surfaces.
Benefits of Grapefruit Essential Oil
Several studies make reference to the anti-inflammatory properties of grapefruit. A 2016 research reported in the Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, showed that the anti-inflammatory properties of grapefruit oil was helpful for the management of inflammatory bowel disease when given to animals.
On the other hand, a 2010 Chinese study found that limonene, the major phytochemical within grapefruit oil, had a number of inhibitory effects on several pro-inflammatory substances in the body.
The essential oil of grapefruit enhances bioavailability of HIV protease inhibitor (saquinavar), by inhibiting cytochrome iso-enzyme in liver and gut.
A 2015 investigation, reported in Cancer Prevention Research, found that limonene administration caused a significant decrease in adrenal steroid hormones.
When a person is under stress, the adrenal glands produce large quantities of the steroid hormone cortisol. When cortisol is elevated for long periods of time, this has the potential to cause a variety of health complaints ranging from impaired immunity to chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, and depression.
Grapefruit oil has been found to be useful for easing stress and lifting moods in other ways as well. Japanese researchers reported in 2001 that grapefruit essential oil inhibits an enzyme known as acetylcholinesterase (AChE).
The role of AChE is to break down a neurotransmitter in the brain known as acetylcholine. Because grapefruit inhibits the enzyme AchE, this causes acetylcholine levels to rise, and its duration of action increases. This results in mood improvement, less fatigue, decreased brain fog, less stress, and heal depression.
A study published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine in 2003, found that grapefruit oil can help control body weight through the activation of sympathetic nerve activity.
The aroma of grapefruit oil causes the activation of the sympathetic nerve activity innervating the white adipose tissue (WAT), which facilitates lipolysis, then results in a suppression of body weight gain.
When blended with patchouli oil, grapefruit oil is known to lower cravings and hunger, which makes it a great tool to lose weight in a healthy way.
Antimicrobial / Antifungal activity
In vitro, it has been proven that grapefruit oil has antibacterial and antifungal activity.
It showed a strong antibacterial activity against Bacillus cereus, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudococcus sp., Salmonella thyphimurium, Shigella flexneri, and Staphylococcus aureus.
On the other hand, grapefruit oil exhibited powerful antifungal effects against Aspergillus niger, Candida albicans, Cladosporium cucumerinum, Penicillium digitatum, P. italicum, and P. chrysogenum.
Effects on the central nervous system and hypertension
Research suggests that inhaling grapefruit essential oil can help activate the relaxation responses in the brain and reduce blood pressure.
Grapefruit essential oil inhibits the activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which could increase the action of neurotransmitters and improve the mood of a person. The effect can also help fight depression, fatigue, anxiety and stress.
On the other hand, through inhalation, direct and rapid messages can be sent to the brain region linked to the control of emotional responses.
A study published in the Journal of Japanese Pharmacology in 2002, found that grapefruit oil significantly affected relaxation and brain activity in healthy adults.
The inhalation of the oil caused an increase of 1.5 to 2.5 times in the relative sympathetic activity, which reduced the stress while improving the mood.
Also, in the same study a reduction in systolic blood pressure was experienced.
A 2016 Egyptian research showed that grapefruit oil has a high polyphenol content. Polyphenols are active anti-cancer, antioxidant phytochemicals. The research also found that grapefruit oil was protective to genes and DNA, and has immune stimulating properties.
Besides, in 2006, The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry reported a laboratory study that linked naringenin, a flavonoid grapefruit, to repair damaged DNA in cancer cells found in the human prostate.
In other several animal and cell studies, grapefruit oil decreased growth and increased self-destruction of colon, mouth, skin, lung, breast and stomach cancers. Lab studies suggest these compounds act in a variety of ways: They decrease inflammation and increase enzymes that deactivate carcinogens. In lab studies, naringenin inhibits enzymes that activate carcinogens and the aromatase enzyme that stimulates estrogen production.
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Breast Cancer and Grapefruit
A 2014 study reported in Cancer Prevention Research by American and English researchers, found that limonene had a positive effect on the breast tumors of early-stage breast cancer patients.
Limonene caused a significant decrease in adrenal steroid hormones, important for those whose tumors are driven by estrogen, a hormone that is created, in part, in the adrenal gland. Limonene also decreased a protein known as cyclin D1, involved with the regulation of cells. Cyclin D1 is overexpressed in more than 50% of breast tumors.
In 2011, Canadian researchers studied the effects of apigenin, a flavone found in (amongst other foods) grapefruit, on four different breast cancer cell lines. They found that apigenin had the potential to slow or prevent breast cancer cell progression.
On the other hand, after some lab studies suggested phytochemicals in grapefruit affect estrogen metabolism, researchers investigated a grapefruit-breast cancer connection. One 2007 study linked frequent grapefruit consumption with greater risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. However, two other large population studies did not find any increase in estrogen levels or breast cancer risk linked to grapefruit.
Effects on the circulatory system
Grapefruit oil is one of the essential oils that are said to improve blood flow and decrease inflammation.
It produces the dilatation of the blood vessels, which together with improving circulation, helps to treat headaches, swelling, muscle pain, fatigue and cramps premenstrual syndrome, among others.
Digestive and diuretic effects
It promotes body cleansing and removal of toxins and excess fluids.
Grapefruit essential oil can also help with detoxification by increasing the blood in the digestive organs such as the kidneys, liver, bladder and stomach.
By promoting good digestion, it also manages to combat the problems of fluid retention and harmful bacteria in the intestine.
Warnings and Precautions when using Grapefruit Essential Oil
Grapefruit oil is normally considered safe. However, some basics cautions should be kept in mind.
Because the limonene content, it is important that the essential oil be stored properly (e.g., in a dark container in the refrigerator or in a cold room away from sunlight and heat) in order to avoid oxidation.
When limonene oxidizes, essential oils rich in this component can potentially cause dermal sensitization.
Oxidized citrus essential oils should not be used in body care products or formulations designed for dermal application. The essential oil can, however, be used for cleaning products.
Grapefruit oil may interact with some medications such as antidepressants and those for blood pressure treatments.
To apply grapefruit oil on the skin, it must be previously diluted in a carrier oil. Besides, for people with sensitive skin, it is advisable to perform a patch test to rule out unwanted reactions.
After a topical application of grapefruit oil, you should wait at least 12 hours for solar exposure.
Always keep grapefruit and other essential oils out of the reach of children and pets. Grapefruit oil is toxic to cats, dogs and horses.
Where to Buy Grapefruit Essential Oi?
Generally, good quality oils, can be found in specialized natural herb stores. If you can not reach a trusted naturist or herbalist shop near you, here are some recommendations:
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Scent Characteristics: Fresh and slightly sweet with a tangy citrus scent. Is reminiscent of the aroma of the grapefruit.
Our 100% Pure Essential Oils are extracted from the root, bark, wood, seed, fruit, leaf, or flower of a freshly harvested plant.
We source only the finest quality essential oils from highly regarded suppliers and distillers from around the world, many with whom we’ve worked with for decades.
Many of our oils are steam-distilled or cold-pressed, therefore retaining the essential odor, aroma, taste, medicinal, and therapeutic properties of the plant, resulting in a superior quality, and highly concentrated essence. Shop here.
Tips for a better performance and duration of your oils:
- Store them in a dark glass bottle, never plastic, not even when blended with a carrier oil.
- Keep them in cool, dark places, away from sources of heat and light.
- Maintain the container that holds it tightly closed, since they are very volatile and also, their properties would be lost or modified.