Grapefruit scent has romantic effect, study finds

Published June 27, 2005

The lovable grapefruit has gotten some bad publicity in recent months. A January news release by a New York university blamed grapefruit juice for a man's death and accused it of causing unwanted pregnancies.

Now, the grapefruit is bouncing back.

Dr. Alan Hirsch, director of the Smell and Taste Treatment Research Foundation in Chicago, reported last week that a study showed that women wearing the scent of pink grapefruit were perceived by men to be six years younger than their age.

Other scents put on middle-aged models had no effect, Hirsch said, including broccoli, pumpkin pie, banana, cucumbers and spearmint leaves.

Hirsch, a board-certified neurologist and psychiatrist, said grapefruit's aroma has no effect on a woman's perception of a man's age.

The study comes months after a news release by the University of Rochester Medical Center touting an article by a center nurse that said a man was the victim of a deadly interaction between grapefruit juice and a cholesterol-lowering medicine.

That release also said juice could lead to pregnancy because it nullified the effects of some components of birth-control pills. Both facts were vehemently denied by the folks at the Florida Department of Citrus.

While the Rochester report received little publicity, Hirsch's study is getting attention all over the country.

The researcher doesn't know why grapefruit's scent has such an effect on men and noted perfumes don't have the same effect as grapefruit. "Maybe it induced men to become sexually aroused," Hirsch speculated.

What many newspaper articles or broadcast reports failed to note is that Hirsch is hoping to make a profit through his findings. His foundation is selling a product called Timeless View Youth Perception Spray.

"Use it before work, a big date or a night on the town," the foundation's Web site suggests.

The price for this elixir: $29.95, excluding shipping and handling.