The grapefruit (botanical name Citrus paradisi) is speculated to have originated in Barbados as a hybridization between the Jamaican sweet orange and Indonesian pomelo, which were introduced from Asia in the 17th century. Grapefruit trees have a vigorous appearance, growing from around 5 to 14 meters tall with dark, dense foliage. The name "grapefruit" may be attributed to the fruit's clustered growth pattern, bearing resemblance to a bunch of grapes. While there are several conjectures as to the precise origin of both the fruit and its name, the mystery of this history subsided once mass cultivation of grapefruit began. The first grapefruit nursery in the US was established in the late 19th century and by the mid-twentieth century, commercial production of grapefruit was flourishing in several parts of the world including the US, Jamaica and Trinidad, Mexico, parts of South America, Israel, Morocco, and Cyrpus. Grapefruit has a long history of use in folk medicines around the world and has been traditionally used as an antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, astringent, and preservative. Today, reputed Grapefruit Essential Oil benefits can be traced back to this extensive traditional use. Since its introduction to commercial markets, grapefruit oil has become widely used as a flavoring agent in food and beverages and as a fragrant ingredient in soaps, detergents, and personal care products. Grapefruit comes in white, pink, and red varieties, all of which produce essential oils with similar properties.
Grapefruit oil is known for its pleasant and spirited aroma, which many people find to be uplifting. The main chemical constituent of grapefruit oil is limonene, a monoterpene which is common to citrus oils and which has demonstrated a host of purifying properties and antioxidant activity in controlled laboratory studies. Limonene is believed to play a prominent role in the mood enhancement effects often attributed to these oils in aromatherapy practices.
Other prominent terpenes that have been isolated from grapefruit oil include myrcene, pinene, and sabinene, which have similarly demonstrated purifying properties and antioxidant activity in controlled laboratory studies involving cell and animal models. Taken together, these chemical constituents give Grapefruit oil its reputation as a detoxifier when used in aromatherapy baths and massages.
In addition to its beneficial impact on mood, Grapefruit oil has demonstrated aromatherapeutic activity as an appetite suppressant and sympathetic nervous system stimulant in animal models, which may have implications for weight loss efforts. It has also shown promise as a complementary element in treatments to help ameliorate feelings of anxiety.
Used cosmetically, Grapefruit Essential Oil is known to be cleansing, to help balance oily complexions and to help reduce the appearance of blemishes and acne when added to natural skincare formulations. Used in haircare, Grapefruit oil helps to cleanse and clarify the scalp and hair so that tresses maintain a healthy bounce and a radiant shine. As Grapefruit oil is reputed to help maintain healthy circulation in addition to its reputation as a detoxifier, it is often included in products that are meant to reduce the appearance of cellulite. Added to body scrubs and exfoliating formulations, Grapefruit oil is known to help smooth the skin and maintain a firm, toned look.
Grapefruit trees thrive in warm, subtropical climates with moderate humidity. They grow best with full sun exposure and prefer sandy or loamy soils, typically requiring the addition of fertilizer. Trees can be planted in spring or fall, based on local climate conditions. Newly planted trees require daily watering until they have matured. At this point, watering regimes can be pared down to once a week. Grapefruit trees require an incubation period of 3 to 7 years after planting before they start to bear commercially viable fruit, but when the time comes, they are prolific producers, yielding up to 585-675 kg (1290-1490 pounds) of fruit per tree. As the time it takes for the fruit to mature ranges from 6 months to a year – or even longer in cooler regions – grapefruits are generally harvested year-round. The warmer the region where the fruits are grown, the richer their flavor will be when harvested. Harvesting can be a slow process, as it is typically done by hand with the aid of ladders to reach higher branches. In the past, picking hooks were used to reach higher growing fruits but this method tended to cause damage and fell out of fashion. To increase efficiency, mechanized methods of shaking the trees can be employed, however, these methods also pose a risk of doing damage to the trees.
Grapefruit Essential Oil is extracted from oil glands in the peel of the fruit by the process of cold expression. This is the preferred method of extraction for most citrus oils because they do not take well to heat. In cold expression, oil glands are ruptured as the peels are exposed to high mechanical pressure. Since oil glands are located more deeply in grapefruit peel than in some other citrus fruits, grapefruit oil can be more difficult to extract, which contributes to its higher price point compared to oils such as lemon and orange. Cold pressing may involve only the peels or the whole fruit; when the whole fruit is pressed, the resulting oil and juice must be filtered to remove residual fruit solids. The essential oil will separate naturally from the juice and can then be collected separately. Freshly extracted Grapefruit Essential Oil has a thin, watery consistency and a sweet, tart aroma. The oil has a clear to greenish color (white variety) or a pale yellow to reddish-orange color (pink variety).
With its bright, energizing aroma, Grapefruit Essential Oil is a popular choice as a home and personal fragrance. The use of this oil as an air freshener adds a zesty energy to the home and is reputed to improve mood and boost mental energy. Grapefruit oil can be added to a bath or applied directly to the skin for an aromatherapeutic compress or massage provided it is diluted first in a carrier oil. As a guide to dilution, the International Fragrance Association recommends a maximum concentration of 4% of this essential oil in products intended for topical use. Massaging with Grapefruit Essential Oil is reputed to help maintain healthy circulation and to help manage feelings of discomfort from stiffness and muscle fatigue, menstrual cramps, and headaches. Used cosmetically, the addition of Grapefruit oil to creams and lotions is said to help tone the skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite, as well as to help balance oily skin and hair.
In perfumery and aromatherapy, Grapefruit Essential Oil is used as a top or middle note in many citrus fragrances and combines well with a variety of essential oils, including citrus and spice, Basil, Peppermint, Cedarwood, Lavender, Ylang-Ylang, Rosemary, Cypress, Frankincense, and Geranium oils. For an aromatic blend to help improve concentration and mental energy, combine a couple of drops of Grapefruit oil with Rosemary and Ylang-Ylang oils. A few drops of this blend – or simply a few drops of Grapefruit oil – on a cloth or tissue can be sniffed throughout the day for a quick pick-me-up, or you can use an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporizer to infuse a larger space with the scent. For another refreshing diffusion blend to help perk up mental energy, mix 8 drops of Grapefruit Essential Oil with 4 drops each of Bergamot, Ginger, and Clove oils. This blend can be diffused for 30 minutes at a time. In addition to diffusions and inhalations, you can also make a mist spray to help clear the energy in a space. Try a blend with 30 drops each of Grapefruit, Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Lime, and Ginger oils with 25 drops of Rosemary oil in 120 ml of pure water to clarify the mind and enhance feelings of alertness.
Added to a bath, Grapefruit Essential Oil is a wonderful element in blends to help you relax and revel in sensory comfort. You can make a cleansing and refreshing bath oil by blending 3 drops each of Grapefruit and Lemongrass oils with 5 drops of Lavender and 4 drops of Peppermint. Dilute this blend in 5 ml of a carrier oil of your choice before adding it to a warm bath. A few drops of Grapefruit oil can be added to your regular shampoo to further the luxury bathing experience and promote shiny tresses with a bright bounce.
Used in massage, Grapefruit Essential Oil is reputed to support the body's natural detoxification processes. Adding several drops to a carrier oil is enough to make a pleasantly scented massage blend to refresh the body and encourage healthy digestion and circulation. For a more complex detoxification blend, combine 23 drops each of Grapefruit, Clove Bud, and Bitter Almond oils, with 20 drops each of White Camphor, Eucalyptus Lemon, Patchouli, and Vetiver oils, as well as 25 drops each of Juniper Berry and Eucalyptus oils. Blend well with a carrier oil of your choice and massage all over the body. For best results, do 5 massages each spaced 7 days apart. Wait three months before repeating the cycle.
To make a simple massage oil for improving the look of cellulite, blend 3 drops each of Grapefruit, Juniper, and Lemon essential oils with 4 drops of Cypress oil and 30 ml of Sweet Almond carrier oil. Gently massage into affected areas. A few drops of Grapefruit oil can also be added to your usual body care creams and lotions and massaged into the skin to help promote a smooth, toned appearance.
New Directions Aromatics offers several varieties of Grapefruit Essential Oil to meet your specific needs and preferences. The following chart outlines the distinguishing characteristics of each.
|VARIETY AND BOTANICAL NAME||PLANT PART AND EXTRACTION METHOD||COUNTRY OF ORIGIN||MAIN CONSTITUENTS||AROMATIC CHARACTER|
|Cold expression from the peel||Argentina||Limonene: 93.75%||Fresh, sweet citrus characteristic of the fruit|
|Cold expression from the peel||Argentina||Limonene: 94.92%
|Fresh, slightly bitter, characteristic of the fruit|
|Cold expression from the peel||USA||Limonene: 92-96%||Sweet citrus characteristic of the fruit|
|Pink Natural Blend
|Cold expression from the peel||Italy||Limonene: 90%||Fresh, sweet, citrus, characteristic of the fruit|
Grapefruit is just one of NDA's many sprightly citrus oils. If the story of Grapefruit oil has left you feeling a zest for these fresh and fruity fragrances, check out our articles on Lemon and Orange essential oils. For more fun do-it-yourself ideas and applications with citrus scents, see our article on Sweet Orange recipes and savor some sweet inspiration!
As with all other New Directions Aromatics products, Grapefruit Essential Oil is for external use only. Due to the highly concentrated nature of Grapefruit Essential Oil, it must be diluted with a carrier oil prior to topical use. We recommend consulting a medical practitioner prior to using this product for therapeutic purposes, particularly for those who are pregnant, nursing, or who have a pre-existing medical condition.
Possible side effects from the use of Grapefruit Essential Oil include irritation or allergic reaction from topical use. To reduce the risk of adverse reaction, a skin patch test should be performed before prior to using the oil and the recommended concentration for topical products should not be exceeded. The test can be performed by diluting 1 drop of Grapefruit Essential Oil in 4 drops of carrier oil and applying a dime-sized amount of the blend to a small area of skin that is not known to be sensitive. In the event of an adverse reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a medical healthcare professional for appropriate remedial action. This essential oil may contain phototoxic properties and it is suggested to avoid exposure to the sun after application to the skin. To prevent side effects, it is best to consult with a physician prior to use.
Grapefruit Essential Oil must not be used near the eyes, inner nose, ears, or on any areas of the skin that are known to be sensitive. This product should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, particularly those under the age of 7.