Grapefruit – ‘Brain Sunshine’ Essential Oil

Grapefruit Essential Oil

This light, refreshing scent is one of my favourites. The first part of this particular was published in Holistic Horse Magazine in their regular Essential Oil Blurb (April/May 2018 edition) and the second part of the article is an exert from Horse Scents.

Photo by Jessica Lewis on

Common Name:    Grapefruit              Latin Name:  Citrus paradisi

Common Uses: UK aromatherapist Lyn Palmer once described grapefruit as “brain sunshine” and this my favorite way to describe one of the most uplifting essential oils. The scent is especially good for lifting the mood of confined horses, or during winter when the days are shorter and often gloomy. At other times it can support the tired and stressed horse when competing over a long day of activity.

Grapefruit can be added to a muscle aches and pain blend to ease muscle fatigue and stiffness, it increases circulation and stimulates lymphatic system detoxification.

During the cold and flu season it is a useful environmental disinfectant diffused in a barn against airborne pathogens.

When inhaled grapefruit essential oil can help support liver herbs and also Chinese herbs used to help remove damp. For Cushings-types it can assist with weight management and support herbs such as fennel seed and cinnamon with metabolic issues.

Grapefruit can assist the horse and rider with self-doubt and give confidence, especially if the rider is physically stressed at the end of a long day. From an energetic perspective grapefruit can help with having a clear vision with goals to help you stay focused until the end of the day.

A special treat is Pink Grapefruit, more expensive than the more readily available grapefruit so often available in smaller bottles.

Biochemical Class: terpene

Bio Chemical Ingredients: monoterpene: d-limonene (up to 95%); aldehydes (>2%): nonanal, decanal, citrals, citronellal, and others: coumarins & furocumarins: aesculetin, aurapten, limettin, meranzin, begaptol nootketon (small %, but very important in aroma, used to determine harvest time)

How to use :  

Inhalation: For the ‘brain sunshine’ effect just offer the uncapped bottle to inhale from daily until mood improves. It is safe to diffuse daily to help ward off viruses in winter.

Topical: to encourage hair growth or clear congested skin conditions add up to 10 drops in a blend of 1 to 2 % dilution added to jojoba oil. For muscle aches and pains the blend can be 2 to 3 % dilution.

Ingesting: Only if horse show strong interest and then 2 to 3 drops licked from hand once a day for no more than three days to assist digestion – only use organic essential oil from a reputable supplier. Using the grapefruit this way you are ‘waking up’ the wood element at the beginning of spring if your horse is a bit stagnant after the cold of winter, you often only need to do this wake-up once to start the energy flowing then support the process with inhalation.

Blends well with:  As a light top note grapefruit blends well with most essential oils and can be used to lift and lighten a blend. For competition anxiety use with vetiver; for muscle aches and pains use with basil and lemongrass; for the cold and flu season blend with eucalyptus and pine or Siberian fir. If grapefruit doesn’t smell fresh or feels sticky, it may be too old, citrus essential oils have a limited shelf life of months once opened.

Cautions: With fresh organic essential oil grapefruit should be non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing. With older more oxidized or with high d-limonene levels grapefruit essential oil there is an increased potential for sensitization. This citrus essential oil appears non-phototoxic, unlike bergamot.

Resources: –

A Healthy Horse the Natural Way, Catherine Bird.

The Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual, Sylla Shepherd-Hangar

Excerpt from Horse Scents:


Grapefruit is a gentle and effective lymphatic stimulant. It helps cells eliminate toxins while nourishing them.

It is a tonic to the liver, and useful in helping the liver manufacture the necessary white corpuscles to fight infections.

This essential oil is balancing to the kidneys and vascular system by having a cleansing effect on your horse. I use grapefruit if there are any signs of stiffness in movement after exercise.

Grapefruit stimulates the metabolism of cells in the skin, improving the tone of dull, lifeless skin after dehydration with poor circulation.

Grapefruit will lift resentment from the air if you are feeling as if things are not going your way on a day. Tight and stiff shoulders may respond to grapefruit on a magic tissue. The gallbladder meridian flows through the top of each shoulder and will affect this area if there is unexpressed resentment.

Grapefruit clears away negativity and an active way to apologise for the impact of your frustration. Hurtful words and abuse lodge in both human and horse energy fields. A few drops of grapefruit on the hands and brushed through both of your energy fields will clear the way for fresh communication and lessen the hurt.

Grapefruit is euphoric in its action, and can leave both you and your horse feeling quite intoxicated after its use.

Grapefruit is photosensitive so be careful not to expose your horse to strong sunlight within four hours of application as the skin may become irritated.

UK aromatherapist Lyn Palmer labeled grapefruit essential oil ‘brain sunshine’ and one she would use when a horse needed cheering up.

Red was showing us his grumpy behaviour for about a week. He was becoming difficult to handle and attempting to remove the other riders. Valuing my safety, I decided it was time I gave him some attention. I took my time and went over him thoroughly. He had a few areas of soreness and his old shoulder tightness had flared up. He also had swelling around the sore areas. I used grapefruit to address the swelling.

The next day he was a pleasure to ride. However, his mood deteriorated over the next week or so. His owner decided to see what he was being fed each night, and discovered he had been placed on a high grain diet at the stables. As Red does not digest grain well it causes a toxic build up of wastes. Another massage with grapefruit and a reduction in grain saw him back to his delightful self again.


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