Grapefruit Citrus x paradisi

grapefruitGrapefruit is my favorite of the citrus oils.  It’s light and refreshing scent screams summertime.  One whiff of grapefruit and your instantly transported to a tropical island with white sand, azure water, and the shade of a palm tree.  Living in Florida- where summer lasts nearly all year- I go through a lot of grapefruit oil!  It has a lot of uses and should be a part of all essential oil treasure troves.

Grapefruit History:

New to the New World

Grapefruit is actually a “new” citrus fruit.  Grapefruit is a hybrid plant.  It is most likely a cross between an orange and a pomelo.  Whether this hybridization was intentional or accidental is not known to science.  It was first mentioned in text by Griffith Hughes, in 1750.  He called it the “forbidden fruit” of Barbados.  A few years later in 1789 another Englishman, Patrick Browne, recorded that it grew in Jamaica.  He noted it grew wild and had the appearance of a small shaddock.

What’s a shaddock?

A shaddock, also known as a pomelo is a variety of citrus fruit.  It’s Latin name is Citrus maxima.  It is a non hybrid plant that is native to Asia.  It is described as a large grapefruit; but when I look at pictures of it I think more of a pear crossed with a lime.  It has a pear shape to it and is a greenish, yellowish color.

 Pummelo or Pamplemousse (Citrus maxima (Burm.) Merr.): flowe Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images Pummelo or Pamplemousse (Citrus maxima (Burm.) Merr.): flowering and fruiting branch with numbered fruit segment and flower section. Chromolithograph by P. Depannemaeker, c. 1885, after B. Hoola van Nooten. 1885 By: Berthe van Nooten Hoolaafter: Pierre Joseph DepannemaekerPublished: [1885] Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

Pomelo or Pamplemousse (Citrus maxima)
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
 Chromolithograph by P. Depannemaeker, c. 1885

Grapefruit in Florida

From the 19th century onward grapefruit trees were imported into mainland North America; and eventually spread across the world.  The first grapefruit tree seeds were brought to Florida arrived in 1823.  Brought to Safety Harbor (near Tampa) by Count Odette Philippe and then distributed around the area, the grapefruit found a comfortable home in the Sunshine State.

Grapefruit Oil Uses:

Grapefruit oil smells like orange slice candies.  Do you remember those from childhood?  They have orange gelatin- oooey gooey centers with crispy, sugary outsides.  They are confections of delight!  Grapefruit oil is a a delight to use; just as orange slices are delight to eat!

The oil is hard pressed from the skin or rind of the grapefruit.  This process differs from how most essential oils are harvested- which is through a steam distillation process.  The oil as I mentioned is extremely fragrant and pleasing to the senses.

First, lets get the serious business out of the way—I don’t normally recommend consuming essential oils; but grapefruit is one that I make an exception for.  In very small quantities it can be ingested.  However, it is imperative that you are using a PURE oil and one that has not been watered down with alcohol or other fillers.  I will ONLY ingest oils from DoTerra; this is because their oils are guaranteed pure.  There are no FDA regulations on essential oils which means, you have no real guarantee what you are getting in that tiny little glass bottle.  Be careful!  Another caveat to ingesting oils is that you should only do so in SMALL quantities.  One drop in one glass of water per day is all you need!  Less is always more with oils!  They are highly concentrated and you don’t need much to achieve a desired effect.

Now the fun stuff!!!


Grapefruit is detoxifying and a diuretic.  It will cleanse the body of retained fluid; while detoxifying.  I even read in one of my aromatherapy books that it eliminates toxins that cause CELLULITE.  Add one drop to an ounce glass of water and drink daily.  You can also ingest it periodically; perhaps after a fun weekend with a lot of wine and junk food ;).  Finally, when you are sick with a bacterial infection you can ingest it (one drop/one glass of water/once per day) to boost your immune system.


It can also be applied to the skin.  It is not irritating and can be applied neat (applied without a carrier oil).  Apply it neat to a cold sore to dry that mess up!  Also- you can add it to facial cleanser or lotions.  It is great for oily, acne prone skin- clearing it up and leaving it radiant!


Lastly, you can use it aromatically in your diffuser.  When grapefruit oil is diffused it creates feelings of well being and alleviates feelings of depression, anxiety, and gloom.  Plus- it smells like candy and summer!! 🙂



Mortan, J. Fruits of Warm Climates p. 152-158.

Schnaubelt, Kurt PHD Advanced Aromatherapy. Healing Arts Press, Rochester, Vermont, 1998.

Shealy, Norman MD PHD The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies. Harper Collins Publishers. Hammersmith, London, UK. 2002.


**As always a disclaimer**  These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.