Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is truly a broad-spectrum natural antibiotic, capable of killing a wide variety of pathogens. Highly active against protozoa, bacteria, yeast and some viruses, it has been used for quite some time in the treatment of parasitic infections. It is nontoxic, generally hypoallergenic and can be administered for up to several months, which may be required to eliminate stubborn infections.
The extract of the inner rind and seeds of grapefruits (Citrus racemosa
) is becoming known as one the best topical
and internal antiseptics one can find. Popularized by the trade name Citricidal, grapefruit seed extract is bacteriostatic
as well as bacteriocidal at various concentrations. It is active against a wide variety of bacteria
and fungi. It has also been shown to be very effective against parasitic
organisms such as giardia
GSE is sold both as "Grapefruit Seed Extract" and "Citrus Seed Extract". Unless otherwise indicated on the label, these products are usually made from grapefruit seeds only.
Grapefruit seed extract is often found diluted in sprays to disinfect surfaces used in food preparations. The dry extract powder is found in antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic formulations.
Why it is Recommended
Grapefruit seed extract preparations can be used both internally and externally.
- External Use: GSE can be used externally as a disinfectant for both intact skin and to prevent infection in wounds. A study in Brazil found it to be 100% effective (at 100ppm) for skin disinfection when used as a pre-surgical prep compared to an effectiveness rate of 72% for alcohol and 98% for commercially available surgical soap.
- Internal Use: GSE can also be used internally to treat chronic infections. It is often recommended at a rate of 3 times per day. Dosage should not exceed a total of 1500mg per day.
- Nasal spray: Spray or use an eye-dropper to get several diluted drops into each nostril, and then swing the head quickly forward and down (so head is upside-down), forcing the liquid up into the nasal passages. Use up to six times per day.
- Douche: GSE is added to one pint of water. Use twice a day as a douche for up to a week, in the treatment of yeast infections.
Grapefruit seed extract has been shown to be effective in treating hundreds of different organisms including: Shigella, Staphylococcus
, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Giardia
lamblia, Diplococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Mycobacterium species, Campylobacter, Candida
albicans, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus
, Klebsiella, Proteus, Cholera, Chlamydia
vaginalis, Legionella pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori
, Herpes simplex
1, Influenza A2, and measles virus. GSE has been shown to kill both gram-negative and gram-positive strains of bacteria
Different products may vary in strength so you should follow the label or your doctor's directions for any particular product. As concentrated solutions, they almost always require dilution, and a different dilution for different forms of application. Its bitter taste may be avoided by mixing it with carrot, vegetable, orange or grapefruit juice, or by taking it in capsule form usually just after a meal.
Counter-Indicators and Warnings
In much the same way that synthetic antibiotics can kill off the naturally occurring flora which exists in one's body, so might Grapefruit seed extract. Consequently, if this herb is to be used long-term in the treatment of a chronic infection, supplemental acidophilus
may need to be taken. However, while one study found that GSE significantly inhibited E. coli
, another normal inhabitant of the GI tract
, it left the important and beneficial Bifidobacteria
unchanged, and only slightly reduced the Lactobacilli
People using GSE should be aware that they may have, or may develop an allergy to this preparation. Persons with a known citrus allergy are at higher risk. Should you develop a rash
or experience any other symptoms while using it, discontinue use immediately.