The health benefits of grapefruit oil can be attributed to its long list of properties. It’s antimicrobial, anti-fungal, antiseptic and antiviral. In more recent years, science has begun to explore the uses of the oil in controlled studies with promising results that support many of the medicinal uses involving grapefruit oil by people for many years. The studies also help to introduce new ways that the oil can be used, both in daily life and in more serious conditions, paving the way for a bright future for grapefruit oil.
Grapefruit oil is often recognized for its positive effect on the lymphatic system, along with many other citrus based essential oils. The lymphatic system affects nearly every part of the body when it comes to eliminating toxins and promoting healthy functions. Grapefruit oil can boost the activities of lymph glands, which can prevent poor circulation, the development of cellulite, fluid retention and even allergies. Several studies have shown that the topical application of grapefruit oil to swollen lymph nodes results in the lymph nodes shrinking in size, symbolizing the elimination of an infection. While more controlled studies are needed, grapefruit oil is still often recommended by aromatherapists to keep the lymphatic system working at its highest potential.
Grapefruit has long been associated with weight loss but until recently there was no scientific evidence to back this claim up. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found that the daily consumption of grapefruit juice could indeed help people lose weight. The study was published in Plos One and focused on six groups of mice. One group only drank water while the others were given grapefruit juice at different concentrations. The mice were then fed diets that contained either 60% fat or 10% fat for 100 days. The group of mice that ate a high fat diet and drank diluted grapefruit juice gained less weight. They also showed a decrease in blood glucose levels and insulin levels.
A study conducted by Israeli researchers focused on grapefruit and its effects on high cholesterol. A controlled study group composed of 57 patients diagnosed with heart disease and who had recently undergone coronary bypass surgery had their cholesterol levels measured throughout the study. The group was split into groups and the results showed that the individuals who did not eat grapefruit during the study showed no changes in their cholesterol levels. The participants who did consume grapefruit showed significant decreases in blood lipid levels. It was speculated that the antioxidants present in the grapefruit contributed to the lowering of blood cholesterol but more research is needed.
Limonene is the most abundant compound in grapefruit oil. It is classified as a terpene and is found primarily in the rind, which is what grapefruit oil is drawn from. Studies have shown that the ingredient alleviates depression and aids in digestion but the most exciting news when it comes to limonene is that it may be able to defeat cancer. A 2013 study conducted at the University of Arizona Cancer Center focused on limonene’s effects on tumors, specifically those found in breast cancer. The study’s findings were published in Cancer Prevention Research and showed that in this study, which involved 43 women recently diagnosed with breast cancer, the limonene was effective in preventing the cancer cells from dividing and reproducing. It also reduced the size of existing tumors.
A 2014 study conducted in France showed that limonene has anti-inflammatory properties. This is important because cancer is an inflammatory condition. Researchers were surprised to see that limonene was able to prevent tumors from spreading to surrounding tissue because it decreased their ability to build new blood vessels.
An earlier study in 2011 conducted at the University of Arizona showed that limonene absolutely has anti-caner properties and works with the body’s immune system instead of against it like many common cancer treatments performed today. While years of research is still needed before limonene, and possibly grapefruit oil, could be used as a cancer treatment, the results are promising for many.
While there have been plenty of success stories regarding grapefruit oil and a variety of ailments, some conditions have either had little to no scientific research or results were inconclusive. If using grapefruit oil for the following conditions, know that while others have experienced positive results there is little to no scientific support. However, there is no scientific evidence claiming that the oil will not work either.
- Hair Growth: While many swear that grapefruit oil can help to strengthen hair and stop hair loss and possibly help the scalp to develop new strands of hair, there is no scientific evidence to date to support this claim.
- Acne: Many use grapefruit oil diluted with coconut oil to fight acne and blemishes. Grapefruit oil is antibacterial and can help eliminate acne causing bacteria. Despite the claims that the oil is a natural way to get glowing skin, there is little scientific research to back up this claim.
- Headaches: Many essential oils are said to relieve the pain of headaches because they can increase blood flow and alleviate inflammation. Many reach for grapefruit oil when they feel a headache coming on but scientists have yet to prove the effectiveness of this treatment.
Grapefruit juice is dangerous when consumed while taking certain prescribed medications. While the oil is considered to be relatively safe to consume, you should still speak to your doctor before using any sort of grapefruit product, including essential oil, if you take any type of medication on a regular basis.
Grapefruit oil is also phototoxic. If using grapefruit oil topically for any reason, be sure to avoid sun exposure for up to 24 hours.
Grapefruit oil should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women as there is very little scientific research to suggest that the oil is safe for these situations. However, grapefruit oil has been shown to help morning sickness and may be consumed in small amounts only if discussed with and approved by an obstetrician.
Stop use of grapefruit oil if there are any signs of rash or irritation.