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Grapefruit essential oil is the residue that remains after the peel of a grapefruit is compressed. This residue, a concentrated oil, contains aroma compounds from the grapefruit peel and often is used in aromatherapy and other holistic practices. The botanical name for grapefruit essential oil is Citrus racemosa. It also is known as Citrus maxima or Citrus paradisi. This thin oil is light yellow to greenish-yellow in color and retains the aroma and flavor of the grapefruit.
The sponge compression method is the most commonly used process to extract the essential oil from citrus fruit. The fruit is cut lengthwise, the pulp is removed, and the rind is soaked in warm water so that it becomes moist and pliable. Then, the rind is squeezed so that the juices are collected on a sponge. Several times throughout the process, the sponge is squeezed out, and the extract is collected in a container. The extract is then decanted to separate the essential oil from the water and other compounds.
For every ton (about 907 kg) of fresh grapefruits, 1.5 lbs (0.06 kg) of essential oil can be extracted. The majority of grapefruit essential oil comes from grapefruit trees grown in California, Brazil and Israel. It has a short shelf life and must be used rather quickly before it oxidizes. When kept in a tightly closed dark glass bottle, in a cool place, it is estimated that grapefruit essential oil will keep for one to two years. Other types of essential oil can keep for six to eight years or longer.
There are several ways to use grapefruit essential oil. These include adding a few drops to massage oil or bath water, adding to a diffuser or vaporizer or including it in skin creams or compresses. Aromatherapists, naturopathic practitioners and other holistic professionals use grapefruit essential oil for a variety of treatments.
Grapefruit essential oil is believed to relieve depression and ease muscle fatigue and stiffness. It also is used to ease nervous exhaustion and lift up a person’s mood. This essential oil sometimes is added to creams and lotions as a cellulite treatment, to heal and prevent acne and to tone skin.
There are other health benefits associated with grapefruit essential oil. It has properties that are reported to increase appetite, promote urination to keep the body free from toxins and to protect wounds from infection. Some people use grapefruit oil in their cleaning products because it is said to be a great disinfectant with a wonderful citrus aroma.
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