Squash Hunger & Lose Weight by Smelling Grapefruit Essential Oil, Not Lavender

Grapefruit essential oil was shown to decrease food intake in mice in a recent scientific study, so it may be a very useful weight-loss "tool" to try when dieting and trying to curb hunger cravings.

Grapefruit essential oil was shown to decrease food intake in mice in a recent scientific study, so it may be a very useful weight-loss “tool” to try when dieting and trying to curb hunger cravings.

Remember the “grapefruit diet” from a few years ago? Well, grapefruits are once again connected with weight loss, but in a different way. Did you know that a recent scientific study suggests that just smelling grapefruit essential oil may make you eat less? Great news if you’re trying to lose a few extra pounds! And definitely an easy thing to incorporate into an overall weight-loss program. Read on to discover more.

Study Findings

The study, which was published in the international journal Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical, showed how mice who received olfactory stimulation with grapefruit and lavender essential oils — essentially aromatherapy (i.e., the therapeutic use of essential oils) — ate less or more food, respectively.  In addition to affecting how much the mice ate, the two essential oils also had opposite effects on nerve activity and certain physiological variables. For example, grapefruit essential oil stimulated the autonomic nervous system and increased blood pressure, lipolysis (fat breakdown), and thermogenesis (heat production), whereas lavender essential oil had the opposite effect.

The scientists determined that these changes may be due to different chemical constituents in the two oils, namely the amount of limonene in grapefruit essential oil and linalool in lavender essential oil. When they tested the mice just using these two components, the effects were similar to those with grapefruit and lavender essential oils. The mice who smelled the limonene had a decrease in food intake, and those who were exposed to the linalool increased food intake.

Thoughts About the Study

For me, the fact that these two oils had opposing nervous system and physiological effects made perfect sense as I knew from my aromatherapy training that lavender is calming and relaxing  (i.e., it’s a nervine, hypotensive, and sedative) and that grapefruit essential oil is stimulating. But the fact that they affected appetite in such different ways I initially found a little surprising. However, once I thought about it, it made sense from an aromatherapy perspective — sort of. Let me explain.

For those who reach for food when under stress or to comfort themselves, grapefruit essential oil would help break this habit because of its bright, happy energetic nature and antidepressant and stimulating therapeutic actions. But lavender also works as an antidepressant and in some cases has an energizing, restorative action depending on the initial energetic or physiological state of the person. So, from an aromatherapy perspective, it seems lavender might help one not reach for food as well in some cases, especially if it’s out of melancholy. However, clearly, the study shows the opposite effect.

Granted. The study was done with mice, but because the other findings correlate with some notable aromatherapeutic actions, it seems logical to me that the food intake effects may very well translate to humans as well.

Using Grapefruit Essential Oil to Assist Weight Loss

In light of this study, distilling some grapefruit essential oil in an aromatherapy diffuser while at home, work, or on the go may well be worth the try. Different kinds of aromatherapy diffusers exist and may be purchased at your local natural grocery store or online from sources, such as Amazon. There are those that help the essential oils evaporate into the air by means of heat, a fan, a humidifier, or a nebulizer. I often use a fan diffuser for convenience, but sometimes I use a nebulizer when I’m focussed on therapeutic effects because they break down the essential oils into molecular form so that they are more easily absorbed. When I’m in my car, I love the convenience of the plug-in car diffuser. But, if you don’t have a diffuser on hand, you could also place a few drops of essential oil on a cotton ball and enjoy the scent that way.

You could even enjoy the aromatherapeutic benefits of grapefruit essential oil in other ways, such as in room sprays, eco-friendly cleaning products, and at-home spa treatments (e.g., body scrubs).

Type of Grapefruit Essential Oil to Use

So what kind of grapefruit essential oil should you buy? Well, because the oil is manufactured by compressing grapefruit rinds, organic is always my first choice. Otherwise, you may have pesticides in your oil. Also, just as there are different varieties of grapefruits, so too are there different grapefruit essential oils. I’m not sure which kind the study used, but to be safe, I’d probably pick one of the most common grapefruit essential oil varieties — i.e., white. And because you are using it for therapeutic reasons, I’d invest in a good quality oil from a well-known brand in your area. Make sure it has the botanical name on the bottle (i.e., Citrus paradisi Macf.) and the source/origin of the oil. If these qualities are not mentioned, look for another brand.

Your Thoughts

Have you had any experience using aromatherapy, especially as part of a weight-loss regimen? Do you think grapefruit essential oil would have a stimulating effect and make you eat less? Do you believe lavender would increase your appetite and make you eat more?

Other Articles About Weight Loss You May Be Interested In:

Make Your Own Belly-Busting Aromatherapy Massage Oil
Lose Weight & Keep It Off with Probiotics
Compounds in Chocolate Can Help Prevent Weight Gain & Type 2 Diabetes
Keep Slim & Trim with a Daily Dose of Bright Morning Light
Reduce Cellulite & More with Dry Skin Brushing

Copyright © Karen Peltier and Well Gal, 2014 – Present Date. All rights reserved.
Photos © Karen Peltier and Well Gal, 2014 – Present Date.

12 thoughts on “Squash Hunger & Lose Weight by Smelling Grapefruit Essential Oil, Not Lavender

  1. Sarah

    I recently put a lavender diffuser in my home and suddenly began having constant food cravings. I found this article after searching for a link. Interesting. I might have to give it away to someone skinny!

    1. Well Gal Post author

      Hello Zach.

      You’re welcome. Having studies showing the therapeutic benefits of essential oils is always definitely helpful and so interesting, especially if you’re not sure about them. If you ever want to know more, check out PubMed.com, a database run by the the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health. There you’ll find thousands of scientific studies that have been done on them.


  2. Leanne Chesser

    I like this: “For those who reach for food when under stress or to comfort themselves, grapefruit essential oil would help break this habit because of its bright, happy energetic nature and antidepressant and stimulating therapeutic actions.” I’m not sure that it would actually be effective. But as long as you’re eating healthy foods, why not? It sure can’t hurt to sniff some grapefruit :). I like the scent (and the actual fruit). Which makes me wonder . . . couldn’t I just smell actual grapefruit?
    Leanne Chesser recently posted…The Me & You ManifestoMy Profile

    1. Well Gal Post author

      Hi Leanne.

      Because the essential oil is in the rind, squeezing the rind would release some essential oil. So you definitely could enjoy the scent with an actual grapefruit. It just may not be in the “therapeutic range.” But it sure wouldn’t hurt to give it a try!


  3. David Merrill 101

    It’s important for people to understand the benefits of using healthy, natural remedies and tonics for dealing with issues like weight loss.

    We all too often opt for more aggressive pharmaceutical approaches that can actually complicate matters, and create an array of side issues and symptoms that we didn’t know we were letting ourselves into.

    Thanks for sharing this natural approach to weight loss, Karen. Aromatherapy is such a potent, but underrated healing modality. It can benefit so many people.
    David Merrill 101 recently posted…3 Ways Bloggers Make Money OnlineMy Profile

    1. Well Gal Post author

      Hi David.

      I agree with you that too often people go for the “easier” pharmaceutical approaches when it comes to fixing a health issue, but they often have unfavorable side effects and don’t necessarily fix the root of the problem. So, slow and steady with a natural remedy is the approach I usually opt for first. Of course, that approach may take a little more time, but our bodies thank us for it in the long run!

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment.


    1. Well Gal Post author

      Hi Andy.

      Well, according to the scientific study, just smelling grapefruit essential oil made the mice eat less. So if you’re eating less, you’re likely to lose weight, too.

      And I’ve got to agree with you, essential oils are really amazing! Every time I read a new study touting the physiological and/or mental benefits of aromatherapy, I’m impressed. Too often aromatherapy is overlooked as a valid complementary/adjunct therapy.

      Thanks for your comment.


    1. Well Gal Post author

      Hi Siphosith.

      Distilling essential oils really is rather effortless, so I’m glad that you agree it would be easy to try as part of a weight-loss program. By the way, I didn’t really expand on it in my post, but I just wanted to be clear that I’m not endorsing the grapefruit diet in any way. [It was simply a nice tie-in. :)]

      Thanks for writing in and for the nice complement.


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