Grapefruit - Research
Most studies currently done on grapefruit involve drug interactions with existing and upcoming medications. One investigation showed that inhaling grapefruit essential oil will produce an increased response in the sympathetic nervous system (which helps prepare the body for situations of stress and emergency) in adults.12 A laboratory study demonstrated that grapefruit essential oil, alone or in combination with other essential oils, has antibacterial properties that may be useful in wound care.13
Grapefruit seed extract has been used externally for warts, athlete’s foot, dandruff, and poison oak,7 and topically as a facial cleanser, for mild skin irritations and first aid, as an ear and nasal rinse, throat gargle, dental rinse, vaginal douche, antiseptic for wounds, and drug and poison eliminator.7,8 Traditionally it has been used internally to treat diarrhea, allergies, flu, strep throat, to prevent or treat infection, and to remove or dissolve inorganic calcium that may have deposited in joints (arthritis).7,8
Traditional uses of grapefruit in aromatherapy are for skin care, reducing cellulite, exercise preparation, muscle fatigue, obesity, water retention, depression, headache, nervous exhaustion, performance stress and for boosting the immune system.5
Health Warning: Grapefruit juice and certain medications can be dangerous according to an editorial in Nature Medicine (2001). Grapefruit juice inhibits a chemical in the intestine needed to break down many drugs in the body, the absence of this chemical can lead to higher blood pressure.
5 Lawless J. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy and Herbalism. Dorset, UK: Element Books, Ltd; 1995.
7 Onstad D. Whole Foods Companion: A Guide for Adventurous Cooks, Curious Shoppers & Lovers of Natural Foods. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing Company; 1996.
8 Jellin JM, ed. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2002.
12 Haze S, Sakai K, Gozu Y. Effects of fragrance inhalation on sympathetic activity in normal adults. Jpn J Pharmacol. 2002 Nov;90(3):247-253.
13 Edwards-Jones V, Buck R, Shawcross SG, Dawson MM, Dunn K. The effect of essential oils on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus using a dressing model. Burns. 2004 Dec;30(8):772-777.