Grapefruit essential oil is orange-tinted, citrus-scented oil frequently used in aromatherapy.
Through a method known as cold-pressing, the oil is extracted from glands located in the peel of the grapefruit.
Grapefruit essential oil has distinct properties that may offer a variety of health benefits — including reduced blood pressure and stress levels.
Here are 5 benefits and uses of grapefruit essential oil:
MAY SUPPRESS APPETITE
For those looking to suppress an overactive appetite, research indicates that grapefruit oil aromatherapy might be useful.
One study found that rats exposed to the scent of grapefruit essential oil for 15 minutes 3 times a week experienced reductions in appetite, food intake, and body weight.
Another recent study showed that the scent of grapefruit essential oil increased activity in the gastric vagal nerve in rodents, resulting in lower appetite. This nerve plays an important role in stimulating the production of stomach juices needed for digestion.
MAY PROMOTE WEIGHT LOSS
Grapefruit essential oil may help you shed some extra weight, though research in this area is limited.
One rat study found that the scent of grapefruit essential oil stimulated the breakdown of fat tissue and led to a reduction in food intake.
Similarly, a test-tube study in fat cells of rats showed that grapefruit essential oil applied directly to the cells inhibited the formation of fatty tissue.
Additionally, topically applied grapefruit essential oil has been observed to promote weight loss in people.
HELP BALANCE MOOD
Due to the side effects of some medications used to treat anxiety and depression, many people seek out alternative remedies.
Studies show that aromatherapy may be a beneficial complementary therapy for balancing mood and relieving anxiety.
Currently, there’s little research on the effects of grapefruit essential oil specifically in this regard. However, studies link citrus essential oils that contain the same compounds as grapefruit oil to calming and anti-anxiety effects.
The calming effects are, in part, attributed to limonene.
HAS POTENT ANTIBACTERIAL AND ANTIMICROBIAL EFFECTS
Grapefruit essential oil has potent antibacterial and antimicrobial effects.
Test-tube studies show that it displayed antimicrobial properties against potentially harmful bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, and Escherichia coli.
One study comparing five essential oils found that grapefruit essential oil was one of the most powerful in regards to its antimicrobial effects against MRSA — a group of bacteria that’s usually harder to treat, as it’s often resistant to common antibiotics.
Lastly, it may also help to prevent stomach ulcers caused by the bacteria, H. pylori.
HELP REDUCE STRESS AND LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition that affects about one in three adults in the United States.
Many people use natural therapies to help lower their blood pressure — either in conjunction with prescription medications or to avoid medications altogether.
Some researchers suggest that aromatherapy may help control both blood pressure and stress levels.
For example, a recent clinical study found that inhaling citrus and lavender essential oils had immediate and long-term effects on lowering blood pressure and stress.
Participants wore a necklace containing the essential oils for 24 hours and experienced a decrease specifically in daytime systolic blood pressure (the top number of a reading.
What’s more, they showed a decline in cortisol — a hormone released in response to stress.
In another study, grapefruit essential oil enhanced nerve activity that helped lower blood pressure in rats. Researchers concluded that the primary active ingredient, limonene, likely contributed to these results.
Still, research to confirm whether grapefruit essential oil alone can resolve high blood pressure in humans is currently unavailable.