What are the Benefits of Grapefruit Seed Extract?

Who knew?... One of the most powerful disease fighters, and boosters to your immune system is the bitter extract of a little seed in grapefruit.

Jacob Harish, a young scientist, happened to bite into a grapefruit seed one morning while eating breakfast, and wondered, “what makes a grapefruit seed so bitter?”

Most people would not follow through to find an answer to that question. However, Jacob’s inquisitive mind got him started in a direction that would take him through a lifetime of new discoveries about grapefruit.

Many years later, Jacob approached Dr Steven Otwell and Dr. Wayne Marshal, both of whom were leading researchers on how microbes affect food. They were skeptical, but eventually Jacob convinced them of how Grapefruit Seed Extract could protect produce, fish, poultry and other foods from various bacteria, fungi and parasites.

Grapefruit Seed ExtractGrapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is a substance derived from the seeds, membranes, and the pulp of grapefruit. Used as a broad-spectrum, non-toxic, antimicrobial product, it is known to be highly effective for fighting infection and promoting health. GSE is used as a purifier, antiseptic, and preservative. Even in studies comparing its effectiveness to chlorine bleach, isopropyl alcohol, and colloidal silver, GSE has been found to be superior as an antimicrobial.

By 1990, holistic health practitioners in the United States began to understand how GSE could benefit the health of their patients. This accelerated Dr. Harich’s scientific credibility. In 1995, Dr Harich was the guest of honor at Europe’s leading AIDS research center, the Pasteur Institute of France, due to research showing the effectiveness of GSE against AIDS. Farmers in Europe, due to GSE’s effectiveness against Salmonella and E.Coli in animals, also honored Dr. Harich.

All over the world, GSE has been used for killing a wide variety of bacteria (such as: Salmonella, E.Coli, Staph and Strep germs), viruses, herpes, parasites, and fungi, including Candida. It is effective against more than 800 bacterial and viral strains, 100 strains of fungus, as well as a large number of single-cell and multi-celled parasites. It has also proven to be effective against food poisoning and diarrhea. Many professionals, such as doctors, veterinarians, farmers and consumers praise its value and effectiveness.

GSE has no harmful side effects, along with being economical. Whereas most germ inhibiting components found in seeds can be toxic to humans and animals, the grapefruit seed has compounds that convert into a form that not only retains its antimicrobial properties, but also is non-toxic.

Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is a substance derived from the seeds, membranes, and the pulp of grapefruit. Used as a broad-spectrum, non-toxic, antimicrobial product, it is known to be highly effective for fighting infection and promoting health.

The seed and pulp of the grapefruit are used for making GSE. Forming a very acidic liquid, it is also bitter to the taste. Chinese and Ayurvedic health practitioners consider that both acidic and bitter properties are important to the healing process. Vegetable glycerin is added to help make the taste slightly more tolerable, and helps reduce some of the irritation to the skin or mucous membranes. Not only is GSE found in liquid form, there are capsules or tablets available for those who find the liquid taste too bitter.

Sometimes, prescription drugs are known to interact with each other, possibly causing anaphylactic shock (an extreme reaction to antibiotics leading to circulatory failure). GSE will rarely produce any kind of allergic reaction, even when taken regularly. However, if the stomach or intestinal lining is irritated already, GSE liquid may cause a little stomach upset due to its acidic quality.

GSE can be combined with many herbs without creating adverse interactions. In fact, the antimicrobial properties of GSE helps the herbs remain more stable and potent for a longer period of time.

Inexpensive compared to prescription antibiotics, GSE is so effective that typically only a small amount is necessary. With the increase of antibiotic use has also come the increase of more antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, there is no evidence that microorganisms build up a tolerance to GSE.

Antibiotics are non-discriminating when it comes to killing bacteria. Unfortunately, the “good” bacteria necessary for proper digestion and health are also destroyed. This can lead to an overgrowth of Candida, which encourages a wide variety of health problems and disease GSE is able to discriminate between the harmful bacteria and the healthy bacteria. In fact, GSE can actually encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria by inhibiting the growth of destructive microbes.

Allan Sachs D.C., C.C.N., Certified Clinical Nutritionist and Chiropractor, in his book “The Authoritative Guide to Grapefruit Seed Extract” states:

“Many holistic physicians, myself included, consider Candida Albicans one of the greatest health challenges to people of the industrialized nations. The broad spectrum, antifungal properties of GSE have made it an important part of successful anti-Candida programs – a fact that has linked the names Candida and Grapefruit Seed Extract. With the help of GSE, thousands of individuals have overcome the multiple effects of Candida”. (also known as “candidiasis”)

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Dr. Leo Galland, M.D., has used GSE extensively in his practice for intestinal parasitism and chronic candidiasis. He has commented that:

“I have several patients in whom this product alone helped control chronic candidiasis when no other medication was tolerated or effective. In the treatment of intestinal protozoan infections . . . drugs are generally so toxic that they cannot be administered for prolonged periods of time, whereas GSE can be administered for weeks or months; prolonged treatment being essential for the cure of chronic protozoan infections . . . I have had some immunosuppressed patients taking the preparation for over a year with no apparent development of side effects or drug resistance.”

For those with candidiasis, it is best to begin GSE therapy with a one week cleansing diet. This means to avoid sugar- rich or fermented foods, coffee, cigarettes, and alcohol. For a more detailed explanation of candidiasis and the appropriate foods to eat, refer to AHSJ articles on Candida October 2000 and November 2000.

Appropriate dietary restrictions help lessen the “Herxheimer reaction”, which is the reaction caused by the release of toxins when pathogenic microbes “die-off”. These symptoms may result in increased fatigue, nausea, headache, etc. These common reactions usually occur only in the first few days of treatment, depending on the toxicity level of the person’s body.

To aid in the anti-Candida treatment, Dr. Sachs recommends:

  • “. . . six to eight capsules of a high potency, high quality probiotic containing Lactobaccillus and Bifidobacterium, etc. Garlic and Aloe Vera assist the detoxification process . . . diet and the GSE treatment can begin simultaneously, and continue for at least three to four weeks.
  • “GSE should be taken between meals. If irritating to the digestive tract, it may be taken with meals or in powder (capsule, tablet) form. Dosages given are for a person of approximately 150 lbs; adjust dosage according to weight.
  • Days 1 – 3: 10 drops (50/50 dilution) twice daily in vegetable or diluted fruit juice, or one 125-mg. capsule twice daily
  • Days 4 – 10: 15 drops, twice daily or one capsule three times daily
  • Days 11 – 28: 15 drops, three times daily or two capsules, two to three times daily
  • “. . . a four week treatment may not be sufficient – longstanding chronic cases may require four to six months of constant vigilance.”

Whether in liquid or capsule/tablet form, GSE can be effective for both internal and external use. Check the milligram count on the side of the bottle, based on the number of capsules per dose.

A typical capsule of GSE may have a concentration of 100mg or 125mg. This would mean that one capsule is equal approximately to ten drops of the 50/50 liquid concentrate. This is a good “rule of thumb” to follow when converting the dosage between liquid and capsule/tablet. As always, if you have any questions, it is best to consult with your alternative health care practitioner.

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According to Dr. Sachs’ book “The Authoritative Guide to Grapefruit Seed Extract“, a variety of other ailments can be helped by GSE, such as:

  • Acne – Add a concentration of 1% to 3% to skin care products. Avoid contact with eyes. After cleansing the face, apply 2 to 3 drops of GSE to moistened fingertips, and massage gently in circular motions for one minute. Rinse with cool water. The bacteria-killing properties and cleansing action may cause a tingling sensation.For internal cleansing, add 10 – 15 drops of GSE to juice, three times a day.
  • AIDS – An increasing number of HIV positive people are able to improve their immune system by using GSE to fight viruses, bacteria, fungi, Candida, or parasites. For these patients, however, it may be best to start with a more diluted concentration, so the body can adjust more easily to the detoxification process. Be sure to check with your health care provider.
  • Athlete’s foot – The commercially prepared foot powders, creams, and sprays that contain GSE have been shown to be beneficial for athlete’s foot.
  • Colds, flus, viruses – Take 10 – 15 drops, or 1 – 2 capsules/tablets, 3 times a day, at the first signs of cold or flu. Or mix 50 drops in 1 quart of juice, and sip throughout the day.
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – To generally build up immune system, gradually increase GSE amount to the recommended dosage for colds, flus, and viruses.
  • Cold sores, cuts, wounds – Use 1 – 5 drops in 50 drops of water. Frequent application of solution to wound will promote faster healing.
  • Gums (Gingivitis) – Dilute 5 to 10 drops of GSE in 6 to 8 ounces of water, and rinse mouth with solution thoroughly.
  • Dandruff – Add a few drops of GSE to each application of shampoo. Wait five minutes before rinsing. DO NOT get in eyes. Remember, GSE is acidic.
  • Diarrhea – Use 15 to 20 drops in juice every four hours; no more than 60 drops per day. For parasites, higher doses may be necessary.
  • Earaches – There are commercially prepared eardrops, which can be found at the health food store, containing GSE. Do not use GSE concentrate directly in ears.
  • Parasites – Parasites affect the majority of people. They become more of a health problem as travel and contamination of food, and water, increase. Stay disciplined, with 3 to 5 doses per day. Parasite infections that have occurred for a long period of time will take more time to cure. Be patient.
  • Sinusitis – Using a spray atomizer, add a pinch of salt, and no more than two drops of GSE. Shake and spray into nose. Repeat every four hours. If the solution is too mild, add one or two more drops of GSE and shake. Do not use this treatment with young children.
  • Sore throats – Dilute a few drops in water and use as a gargle. This will fight even Strep germs. Use approximately 2 to 3 drops in 5 ounces of water for the gargle.
  • Traveler’s Diarrhea (Montezuma’s Revenge) – Use 1 – 2 drops of GSE in a glass of water each day as a preventative.
  • Ulcers – Use 1 capsule dissolved in 12 ounces of juice or water, and take with one meal per day. If no stomach irritation occurs, increase dose to two, and then three meals per day. Maximum dose can be increased to 6 tablets (dissolved in liquid) per day.
  • Water purification – Add 10 to 25 drops of GSE, per gallon of water. Shake and let stand for several minutes. The water will have a bitter taste to it, due to the GSE.
  • Cleansing produce – Add a few drops to the water used for washing produce. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. This will help destroy any Salmonella or E.Coli bacteria.
  • Pets – GSE is an excellent remedy for skin disease, external injuries, fungal infections, parasites, bacteria, and viruses. Also, helps bad breath when added to drinking water.Use 1 drop of liquid, or 10 milligrams of powder, per 10 pounds of body weight. Frequency of dosage can be increased by 2 or 3 times, without side effects.

GSE is also used as a disinfectant. Many believe it is one of the most powerful germ killers and deep cleansers available. Fortunately, though Grapefruit Seed Extract is great at killing germs, when it is mixed in soap and cleansing products, it will not harm the skin or the environment.

Dr. J.A. Botino, from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, tested GSE against alcohol and found GSE to be 100% effective (at 100ppm) for disinfecting skin before surgery. That was compared to the 72% effectiveness of alcohol, and the 98% effectiveness of surgical soap, when used as a scrub for one minute.

Other Uses of Grapefruit Seed Extract:

  • Used in the laundry, it kills fungi and bacteria. Add 10 – 15 drops in final rinse.
  • Used in carpet cleaners, it is effective in killing Staph, Strep, Salmonella and other pathogenic organisms.
  • Used for sterilizing and disinfecting operating rooms.
  • Used in nebulizers (1 drop GSE to one ounce saline water) for control of respiratory infections.
    Also, used in humidifiers (3 – 4 drops per gallon of water). This works for preventing algae growth in any stagnant water.
  • Better preservative than most chemical preservatives currently on the market
  • When mixed with water in a spray bottle, it is great for disinfecting cutting boards and other kitchen (or bathroom) surface areas.
  • Used in hot tubs and swimming pools to lessen the need for high levels of chlorine.
  • Farmers use it to add to animal feed and water, in the attempt to reduce the incidence of infectious diseases.

Other positive points to note about GSE:

  • GSE can be taken without worrying about toxicity levels. Reports tell of people who have taken GSE for years without any side effects.
  • Though, there does not seem to be any drug interactions with GSE, be aware that some medications react with grapefruit juice by increasing the absorption rate of certain pharmaceuticals. Check with a pharmacist or medical practitioner, if you are on medications.
  • GSE has a very long shelf life. Even batches of GSE that are six years old still test as potent as a fresh batch. Most GSE products do not carry an expiration date, because it is very stable and remains so unless contaminated in some way.

GSE’s extensive list of healing and disinfecting properties, makes this product an important addition to everyone’s medicine cabinet, vitamin shelf, and assortment of disinfectants, whether traveling or at home. Rather remarkable that all these known benefits were discovered as a result of one very inquisitive young scientist asking “what makes a grapefruit seed so bitter?”

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Allan Sachs D.C., C.C.N., “Grapefruit Seed Extract“, LifeRhythm Publishers, 1997, ISBN #0 940795-17-5


[reprinted from Applied Health Journal No. 68]

[Applied Health Publications are registered in the United States Library of Congress, ISSN: 1525-6359]