Grapefruit – the oil of paradise

Little Miss Sunshine, grapefruit is the bringer of joy. She is enthusiasm and energy, she is a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.

Grapefruit essential oil evokes memories of warm summer days studying aromatherapy in the rooms at Neal’s Yard Remedies, Covent Garden. Grapefruit was the favourite essential oil of our tutor, Joyce, who called it ‘the oil of paradise’, inspired by its Latin name Citrus paradisi. Joyce said the aroma when burned reminded her of gin and recommended burning a few drops of grapefruit at the end of a long day in place of a gin and tonic!

Sunshine on a rainy day

Grapefruit is a ‘sunny’ oil. Its sweet citrus fragrance is light and uplifting. It is thought to be helpful to those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) because of its reviving and warming effects. The scent of grapefruit dispels moodiness, lethargy or nervous exhaustion, and relieves stress. It can be used for those who suffer from depression alongside conventional treatments. Vaporise 4–5 drops in an oil burner during winter months to uplift your emotions and promote a positive mood.

Clarifying skin oil

Like most citrus oils, grapefruit oil is toning for skin and hair. It can be added to facial washes to help clear a congested complexion, combat acne and clarify pores. The blend below provides a facial wash to use daily for one month. Use it in the morning to deeply cleanse and refresh your skin, it also has a reviving ‘wake me-up’ effect.

  • 30ml unscented foaming facial wash
  • 6 drops grapefruit
  • 6 drops geranium
  • 3 drops lemon
  • 3 drops lavender

Cellulite massage oil

Grapefruit is also helpful for cellulite. Blend it with geranium oil and massage onto areas of cellulite daily.

  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 9 drops grapefruit
  • 9 drops geranium

Combine with a cellulite-busting regime of daily body brushing (with a loofah before showering), drinking more water and eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, salt and processed food for at least a month and you will soon notice an improvement in your overall skin tone.

Grapefruit and lavender shampoo

Add grapefruit and lavender to unscented shampoo. These essential oils are thought to promote healthy growth of hair and can help if your hair is thinning or lack-lustre.

  • 30ml unscented shampoo and/or conditioner
  • 9 drops grapefruit
  • 9 drops lavender

Reviving bath oil

Grapefruit essential oil can help you to unwind after a stressful day. Its uplifting effects are both reviving and relaxing. Run a warm bath then add a tablespoon of olive oil with 12 drops grapefruit oil and swoosh around the bath. Relax, breathe and unwind.

This post is dedicated to Ali who is my little ray of sunshine.

Profile of grapefruit:
Latin name: Citrus paradisi
Plant family: Rutaceae
Plant type: citrus
Perfume note: top
Botany and origins: a tree reaching 10m with large glossy green leaves and large yellow or yellow/blush-pink fruits. Native to Asia and the West Indies, but also cultivated in the US (California, the main producer of the oil worldwide, and Florida), Brazil and Israel
Extraction: cold expression of the peel
Chemical properties/active components: high in monoterpenes (96% average), its key constituent is limonene which is stimulating, bactericidal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory
Blends with: bergamot, cardomom, cypress, geranium, lavender, lemon, neroli, palmarosa, rosemary, and most spice oils
Key actions: antiseptic, antitoxic, antiviral, astringent, bactericidal, diuretic; stimulating, reviving, uplifting, but also calming and warming
Common conditions: cellulite, acne, oily skin and congested complexions, promotes hair growth, toning to skin and hair; colds and flu; stress, nervous exhaustion, lethargy, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), low self esteem and depression
Contraindications: Non-irritant and non-sensitising when used in dilution. It may be slightly phototoxic, do not use in dilutions of more than 3% if going out in the sun within 12  hours of application
Further reading: This profile is based on my own experience and knowledge of using this essential oil. Other aromatherapy texts will list a wider range of properties and uses. The most comprehensive essential oil profiles that I have read are given by Salvatore Battaglia’s The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Second Edition, published by Perfect Potion, 2003, Australia. ISBN:  0-6464-2896-9


2 thoughts on “Grapefruit – the oil of paradise

  1. Hi Emma,

    I was walking past the Neals Yard shop in Marylebone on Monday as it’s near where I work and popped in to smell some of their oils. Decided grapefruit was my favourite (hated myrrh!) and bought some. Haven’t got round to using it yet but planning on getting a burner, it’s such an energising feel good scent.


  2. Hey Emily,

    You will love using grapefruit oil. It is also one of my favourites and I always remember its Latin name. Be careful of using citrus oils on your skin, although grapefruit is gentler than most, do a patch test first.

    A lot of essential oils have a strong ‘pongy’ scent when smelled straight from the bottle because they are so concentrated. But often these oils can really complement a blend. Myrrh complements frankincense and benzoin when used in low ratios 1:2:2, and it also has amazing skin-healing properties.

    I used to hate blue chamomile oil because it is really pongy! But I experimented and found it smells nice blended with sweet orange oil (ratio 1:3), which is good to know as blue chamomile is another very valuable medicinal oil.

    Happy vaporising with grapefruit. You will feel like summer is already here!


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