GRAPEFRUIT oil – fruit

Grapefruit EO & Fruit ~ A complete description, country of origin, characteristics, skin care, formulas, and recipes on how to use this oil, the fruit, as well as facts and fantasies not yet known.


By Jeanne Rose ~ 2023

Grapefruits and a bottle of the oil superimposed.

Essential oils courtesy of PrimaFleur Botanicals

COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~ Citrus x aurantium (2015), Citrus x paradisi, sometimes called Citrus medica.

______OTHER COMMON NAME/NAMING INFORMATION ~ The Grapefruit group of citrus originates from a back cross of C. x paradisi with a female of C. maxima (Pomelo) and a more up-to-date Latin binomial is Citrus x aurantium.

______FAMILY ~ Rutaceae, the Citrus family which includes Bergamot, Buddha Hand, Citron, Clementine, Combava, Kaffir Lime, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Neroli of Bitter Orange flowers, Orange, Petitgrain, Pomelo, Tangerine, Yuzu, and more.

ORIGINS ~ South Africa, USA, Iran, Brazil, and Israel.  Grapefruit originated in China or maybe the West Indies. Disputed history shows “careful search has not found it a native of the Olde Worlde”5.

Most think of Grapefruit as a hybrid that originated in Barbados accidentally from Oranges and Pomelos, both of which were imported Asian fruits during the seventeenth century.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ Not currently.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF Grapefruit PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ This is a small tree with dark, evergreen leaves and large, creamy white flowers and large, yellow, or pinkish fruits that ripen from December to March.    Grapefruit has a thick rind and large sections. Its skin is called the flavedo and is thick, firm, and pleasantly fragrant; the pulp is white to red in color and acidic.

Grapefruit trees produce the best quality fruit on sandy, relatively fertile soils in a warm humid climate. Supplementary fertilization is necessary in practically all producing areas. The trees come into bearing early and should produce commercially profitable crops by the fourth to sixth year after they are planted in the orchard. Mature trees may produce remarkably large crops—585 to 675 kg (1,290 to 1,490 pounds) of fruit per tree. Grapefruit consists of flavedo (outer layer with essential oil glands), albedo (white inner rind) and oval-shaped meat.2

photo of various types of grapefruit and their colors.

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS AND YIELDS ~ The fragrant oil is located deep within the flavedo of the thick peel. The Grapefruit does not produce large quantities of oil because of this thickness from the flavedo. Guenther maintains that 22 boxes of
Grapefruit yield about 1 lb. of oil, and one box holds 85 lb. of fruit5. The fresh peel is cold-pressed and contains up to 90% limonene and a wax.

            Yield – 0.5-1.0%



Color of EOAlmost colorless for white Grapefruit; yellow to red color for pink Grapefruit; and dark yellow  red for ruby red Grapefruit
ViscosityNon-Viscous and like water
TasteBitter, sour, umami (tastes like the tart, bitter rind of a Grapefruit with the white, rough, ridged, and pebbly skin.)
Intensity of Odor 1-10 with 1= lowest4
Tenacity of Odor4 – An important part of many perfumes as the volatile top note.  Gives a fresh burst to the perfume and then fades into the heart, and finally disperses within the base note.
Grapefruit sensory characteristics of the cold-pressed scent

______Language is important in recognizing smells.  An important part of perfumery training is to develop, in common, an odor language based on olfactory standards.  The possession of such an odor language increases the powers of discrimination. If you can name it, you own it.

The peel of (Citrus paradisi Macfaden) or Grapefruit oil is cold pressed.  The fresh, fruity top-note is due to p-menth-1-en-8-thiol.  This component is present only in very low amounts.  Grapefruit oil is sesquiterpene rich, which is unusual in citrus oils.  Nootkatone is mainly responsible for the odor of the Grapefruit and contributes to the bitter flavor of the juice.  Linaloöl oxides, is in many essential oils, and constitute the second most important class of compounds.  Also found in the essential oil is epoxycaryophyllene, first found in Verbena oil, possesses a pleasant woody, balsamic odor. “(Scent & Fragrance by Gunther Ohloff)3

bottles of cold-pressed and distilled oil of Grapefruit in various colors.


 ~ This work is supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals. ~


PHYSIOCHEMICAL PROPERTIES ~ Solubility ~ The oil is incompletely soluble in 90% alcohol up to 10 vol. owing to the separation of its natural wax.5

Chemical Components ~ D-Limonene, Gamma-Terpinene, Nootketone, Cadinene, Neral, methyl anthranilate and Citronellal. Grapefruit mercaptan, a sulfur-containing terpene, is one of the substances which has a strong influence on the taste and odor of Grapefruit. Nootkatone, aka, nootketone, is a natural organic compound and is the most important and expensive aromatic of grapefruit. It is a sesquiterpene and a ketone. Nootketone was previously thought to be one of the main chemical components of the smell and flavor of grapefruits.

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GRAPEFRUIT fruit and EOis for both IG=ingestion or IN=inhalation or AP=application. We eat Grapefruit as food and take it as a tonic juice for the gall bladder. The cold-pressed oil of pink Grapefruit is a tart, sweet, and warming while the white Grapefruit is tart, and cooling. We use these oils as an astringent externally for skin and hair de-greaser, and inhaled for refreshment, and as a spray or in the diffuser to disinfectant a room.

            APPLICATION –  The cold-pressed oil is astringent, antiseptic, depurative, and anti-infectious and is used to degrease oily skin or hair, as part of a tonic, cream, or mask, to use as a scent in skincare products, and as an important component in perfumery in the top note.

Do not use Grapefruit oil or any citrus oil in your bath as it will burn upon contact with your sensitive skin and lady parts. Remember essential oils float in water, and when you step into the tub, the floating oils come into contact to whatever parts of your skin they touch first.


Grapefruit & Elemi Skin Cream for Oily Skin

I like to make a simple skin cream with a few simple ingredients.
Start with 4 oz by volume of  Coconut or other solid oil
Add 1 oz (by volume) of Marula or Argan oil
Add 5 drops Grapefruit Oil and 5 drops Elemi Oil
Add a small scoop (1 T.) of Aloe Vera pulp (no peel)
And blend with a hand blender.
That’s it! Use once a day after cleansing.
Keep refrigerated.

jars of creamy skin cream

Grapefruit and Elemi Skin Cream

         Grapefruit Seed Extract – Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) or citrus seed extract is a product made from the seeds and pulp of grapefruit. This product considered to have health benefits may be a natural antibiotic, antiseptic, disinfectant, and preservative. It is used to promote the healing of almost any atypical skin condition.  Apparently, this product DOES NOT WORK AS SOME CLAIM as a preservative.  However, it can be added to mouthwash and mouth tonics.

         “Grapefruit Extract (GSE) is made by first converting grapefruit seeds and pulp into a very acidic liquid. This liquid is loaded with polyphenolic compounds including quercetin, helperidin, and more. Some of these compounds, for example, are used industrially as antimicrobials but are toxic to animal life…”  The suggestion is that for a preservative would be better if one used 10% alcohol of 95% neutral grain or grape spirits. (available from


            INGESTION – The juice of Grapefruit is a popular food source especially for breakfast and is effective in controlling sugar metabolism and as a slimming aid. It is a tonic for the gall bladder, and it is digestive, antioxidant and depurative. Studies have shown the pink and red varieties of Grapefruit contain higher amounts of antioxidants than the yellow or white kind.

            PHYSICAL USES & HOW USED (IG or AP) – Externally, Grapefruit oil in a blend alleviates muscle fatigue and stiffness. I use it a facial toner for its astringency, or on acne, as it stimulates lifeless skin. Apply Grapefruit oil neat as a treatment for herpes, in various applications on the body as it aids in cellulite reduction, and fluid retention, and use it as a disinfectant.       

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ Add to your inhalation blends for uses as a tonic, restorative, and antidepressant.

            EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE ~ Inhaled, Grapefruit oil may relieve hangovers, headaches, mental exhaustion, anxiety, and depression, and used externally or by inhalation in a blend for menstrual difficulties, such as PMS and menopause.  The scent is very uplifting and antiseptic and makes for a great air freshener.

 Formula for Tattered Nerves.

Use equal amounts of Bergamot, Grapefruit (white or pink) and Lemon, about 30 drops of each in a 1-dram vial and to the final formula add 1 drop of Nutmeg. Succuss and apply to a hanky from which you will inhale as needed.

            RITUAL USE ~ Grapefruit along with other citrus is for the 3rd Chakra, the spleen area, it vibrates in the color yellow, and the complementary stone is citrine. It is uplifting and calming as well.


            YOGA PRACTICE ~ Tricia Cruz has a yoga practice and uses essential oils for various purpose. One of her blends called “Clean and Clear” contains Pink Grapefruit/Rosemary (Citrus paradisi/Salvia rosmarinus officinalis). She sprinkles this on her towel to improve focus and clarity in her practice.

KEEPING QUALITIES OF CITRUS OILS ~ “Citrus oils kept in well-filled, well-stoppered, dark-colored bottles and stored in a cool, dark place retain their original delicate flavor for years, but access to air or light, especially in the presence of traces of water, easily spoils citrus oils.”5  They oxidize, get an acid character, and piney odor and viscosity and specific gravity increase.



Blends Best ~ Grapefruit blends with many oils including Basil, especially the non-carvacrol types; all Citrus oils and citrus smelling oils such as Clary Sage but especially Bergamot and Lemon; spicey oils such as Black Pepper, Cardamom, Clove, Coriander, Frankincense, Ginger and others; conifer oils such as Cypress and some Junipers and especially true Cedar (Cedrus atlantica);  grass oils such as Citronella, Palmarosa and Vetivert; flower oils such as Chamomile and Roman Chamomile, Lavender, Neroli,  Jasmine, Ylang and Rose; and herbaceous oils such as Peppermint and Rosemary (verbenone type).

             “Grapefruit essential oil is quite useful in Citrus compositions and for all modifications of citrus notes in perfumery.It is used in the Top note in citrus and cologne blends with Bergamot to impart fresh non-green sharpness, body and tenacity.”3  

            White Grapefruit is a crisper scent than the pink or Ruby red Grapefruit.

Pink Grapefruit oil and a pink grapefruit.

Grapefruit oil courtesy of Prima Fleur Botanicals

BLENDING WITH CITRUS NOTES ~ In the perfumery business the citrus notes impart a fresh, sparkling note to any blend.  They are usually not overpowering.  They are in the blends up to 25% as the base for classic types of eau de cologne and other perfumes.  Citrus oils harmonize with many other essential oils, and I use them in different concentrations in almost all scent blends and modern perfumes.  

            “In combination with Lavender oil, citrus oils are the base for English Lavender which is an 1826 creation. High concentrations of citrus oils are in Chanel No. 5 (1921).  Also, of importance are the citrus oils in soda drinks like Coca-Cola and others.”

beautiful bottle of perfume


With a Grapefruit top note

Top note: 30 drops of a mixture of Grapefruit oil and Mandarin oil.
If you use the white Grapefruit or the green Mandarin, your perfume will be brighter and cooler than if you use pink Grapefruit and red Mandarin.

Heart note: 20 drops of a mixture of Rose absolute and Orris root

Base note: 10 drops of Sandalwood oil and Ylang Extra

Remember that there are 3 kinds of Grapefruit, 3 kinds of Mandarin, 20 kinds of Rose absolute, 4 kinds of Sandalwood. Depending on which you use will result in exponentially many different scents,
all pleasant but all different.

YOU will add your Citrus Day Perfume of 60 drops of scent blend to 180 drops of spirits (95%) of neutral grape, grain, or for a true scent experience of citrus, use Orange spirits.7.  []

quart of citrus vinegar

Citrus Vinegar with white and pink Grapefruit peel ~
1 peel of pink Grapefruit + 1 peel of white Grapefruit + 1 peel on Mandarin


Citrus Vinegar – An Herbal-Home Remedy for Cleaning and Mold Removal.

            I have been making this vinegar for housecleaning for over 30 years. I have written about it in my Herbal Studies Course, online and in articles. In 1990, I had to clean the smelly walls of a home where someone had lived for 30 years without repainting or cleaning. They had a septic system and rather than using toxic chemicals, I used only Citrus Grapefruit Vinegar with Rosemary Hydrosol. The walls came clean, the septic system was undamaged, and the place took on a fresh and clean odor.

            TO MAKE: Purchase a gallon of the cheapest white vinegar (best to buy in glass). As you eat lemons, oranges and especially grapefruit, use only the peel (flavedo) and roll the peels up and put into the vinegar bottle. Your vinegar will get the added benefits of the antibacterial citrus peels as well as the clean citrus fragrance. It is good to start with the peel of one Grapefruit, one Orange and one Lemon – but anything will do. Try to remove as much albedo (white underside of peel) as you can. When the vinegar is all gone, the bottle will be full of peels, and you can just discard them in your compost pile and recycle the bottle. You can also add 16 oz of water to the now empty citrus/vinegar bottle and make a spray to clean small surfaces.

I use this Citrus vinegar to clean all surfaces, stoves, porcelain, wood floors, wood chopping tables, dusty woodwork, door knobs, etc. This will clean and kill mold in your bathroom, basement, attic, and other closed places. It will deodorize and kill any bad odor.

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You can also make a good cleanser and deodorizer by wiping the porcelain surfaces with baking soda and then adding the vinegar from your Citrus Vinegar bottle.  You can keep drains clear by using baking soda and vinegar. Every two weeks pour 1-2 cups baking soda down all the drains and follow with 1 cup of plain white or citrus vinegar. Follow 2 hours later by pouring 2 quarts of boiling water down the drain.  It will fizz, bubble, and keep the drains funk free and smelling good.

HYDROSOL ~ I have not yet had the opportunity to experience a Grapefruit hydrosol.

PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol is distilled specifically for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components, lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil, or by using the dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh.


paragraph about interesting fact of Grapefruit naming from an old book.

INTERESTING FACTS ~ Some histories suggest that Grapefruit “was introduced into Barbados West Indies from China by Captain Shaddock and the fruit was thereafter known as ‘Shaddock fruit’.  In 1809 the seeds traveled with Spanish settlers to the United States. Grapefruit was in the United States commercially beginning in 1880.  In many parts of the world the waste products of this and other citrus fruits are ground and used as animal fodder”1

Rising up - a logo of Jeanne Rose

Jeanne Rose’s Grapefruit Tomato Tales EO:

I made over 25 different aromatherapy kits over the last 35 years. One of these I called, “The Woman’s Kit” and it contained Grapefruit and Clary Sage. I used the Grapefruit/Clary Sage mix as follows: Inhaled is an adrenal stimulant, eased depression, to reduce hot flashes, to help the new mother relax. It was mildly intoxicating and with Geranium was a great inhalant for menopause symptoms, to ease nervousness, and to soothe PMS symptoms. This mixture was relaxing and euphoric and with Ylang-Ylang was an excellent inhaler and application for menstrual irregularities and for ‘grounding’.

            Externally, this combination regenerates skin, reduces wrinkles and when you add Rosemary oil is applied to hair roots to stimulate growth. I used a drop or two in baths for health and relaxation, diluted or with Clary Sage hydrosol to spray on face for hot skin and during heat waves. In a massage blend it assisted in the labor process and seemed to strengthen the inner organs. I consider Grapefruit and Clary Sage to be very good for all menstrual disorders.

            Internally, I occasionally used one drop in warm water as gargle for sore throat.


ABSTRACT/SCIENTIFIC DATA ~ Nootkatone, a characteristic constituent of grapefruit, stimulates energy metabolism and prevents diet-induced obesity by activating AMPK AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a serine/threonine kinase that is implicated in the control of energy metabolism. 2010 –

MEDICINAL IMPORTANCE OF GRAPEFRUIT JUICE ~ Grapefruit juice is consumed widely in today’s health conscious world as a protector against cardiovascular diseases and cancers. It has however, been found to be an inhibitor of the intestinal cytochrome P – 450 3A4 system, which is responsible for the first pass metabolism of many drugs. The P – glycoprotein pump, found in the brush border of the intestinal wall which transports many of these cytochrome P – 450 3A4 substrates, has also been implicated to be inhibited by grapefruit juice. By inhibiting these enzyme systems, grapefruit juice alters the pharmacokinetics of a variety of medications, leading to elevation of their serum concentrations.4

KEY USE ~ Antiseptic, skin care and tonic for the gall bladder.

photo of pink-fleshed Pomelo fruits

RESOURCES ~ Many thanks to for the lovely Grapefruit oils they supplied for my organoleptic studies.

1 Essential Aromatherapy, p. 137.    
3Ohloff, Günther:  SCENT AND FRAGRANCES: Springer-Verlag. 1990. Translated by Pickenhagen and Lawrence
5Guenther: THE ESSENTIAL OILS, volume III, Citrus oils: Krieger. 1949

6 Aspects of the antimicrobial efficacy of grapefruit seed extract and its relation to preservative substances
contained. (PMID:10399191)
7.Organic Orange Sprits from
 Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose. 1992
Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.
Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 2000
Rose, Jeanne: 375 ESSENTIAL OILS AND HYDROSOLS; Frog, Ltd. 1999
Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California:
Staff of L.H. Baily Hortorium, Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants. Macmillan Publishing Co., New York, 1976.

General Resources

•          Williams, David G.: THE CHEMISTRY OF ESSENTIAL OILS: Micelle Press. 1996.
•            Another Fresh Start – Lunar New Year. Leaflet, Newsletter of the Strybing Arboretum. Winter 2002, Volume 26, No. 1.


Safety Precautions ~ “A phototoxic reaction typically shows up as an exaggerated sunburn, usually occurring within 24 hours of sun exposure: as stated by the Skin Cancer Foundation. The primary essential oil culprits are typically cold-pressed citrus oils: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Orange,
Wild Orange, and Tangerine.

            If you take statins or heart medications do not eat or drink Grapefruit unless you discuss this with your medical doctor.


Grapefruit tree flower

2 thoughts on “GRAPEFRUIT oil – fruit

  1. Now I am craving Grapefruit (to eat and drink)! Wonderful article, packed with useful information and great invitations for hands-on experiments and learning. I made the citrus oil (Lemon) in the bath mistake…once, only once. I never forgot that lesson.

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