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Grapefruit essential oil is an 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 6 benefits and uses of grapefruit essential oil.
1. 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 (1).
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.
The same study also examined the effects of the scent of limonene, a significant component of grapefruit essential oil. Smelling limonene had similar results on appetite suppression and food intake (2).
Though these results are promising, they’re currently limited to animal studies. Further research on the effects of grapefruit essential oil in humans is needed.
2. 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 (2).
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 (3.
Additionally, topically applied grapefruit essential oil has been observed to promote weight loss in people.
For example, a study in postmenopausal women evaluated the use of abdominal essential oil massages on weight loss (4).
Participants massaged their abdomen two times daily for five days each week and received a full body aromatherapy massage using 3% grapefruit oil, cypress, and three other oils once a week (4).
At the end of the six-week study, results showed not only a decrease in abdominal fat but also a reduction in waist circumference in the group using the essential oils (4).
However, the use of different oils makes it impossible to say whether the results can be attributed to grapefruit oil specifically.
Keep in mind that evidence for any weight loss benefits of grapefruit essential oil is very limited and of low quality. More studies are needed to confirm these effects before any claims can be made.
What’s more, ingesting essential oils in supplemental doses is not recommended for humans.
3. May Help Balance Mood
Due to the side effects of some medications used to treat anxiety and depression, many people seek out alternative remedies (5).
Studies show that aromatherapy may be a beneficial complementary therapy for balancing mood and relieving anxiety (6).
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 (7).
The calming effects are, in part, attributed to limonene (8).