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. 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 derived from the bioflavonoids found in the seed and pulp. Its antigermicide action has shown a growth-inhibiting effect on bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses in several in vitro studies. The effectiveness of grapefruit seeds was discovered accidentally by a doctor whom noticed that the seeds did not decompose in his compost pile. Further examination revealed that the grapefruit seeds killed any microorganism that tried to decompose it. Laboratory studies have shown it to be effective in inhibiting bacteria such as S. aureus, E. coli, P. aeruginosa, and M. tuberculosis. Grapefruit seed extract has been formulated by a number of manufacturers for various uses, including an internal bactericide, water disinfectant, skin cleanser, and first-aid spray. Grapefruit seed extract is also a treatment for house pets and livestock that may be susceptible to bacterial infections from a variety of sources.
GSE 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, Salmonella, Klebsiella, Proteus, Cholera, Chlamydia trachomatis, Trichomonas 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.
GSE 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.
In much the same way that synthetic antibiotics can kill off the naturally occurring flora which exists in one’s body, so might GSE. 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 species.
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.
Heggers JP, Cottingham J, Gusman J, et al: The effectiveness of processed grapefruit-seed extract as an antibacterial agent: II. Mechanism of action and in vitro toxicity. J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Jun;8(3):333-40.
OBJECTIVES: Recent testimonials report grapefruit-seed extract, or GSE (Citricidal) to be effective against more than 800 bacterial and viral strains, 100 strains of fungus, and a large number of single and multicelled parasites. This study investigated GSE for antibacterial activity at varying time intervals and concentration levels and tissue toxicity at varying concentrations in an effort to determine if a concentration existed that was both microbicidal and nontoxic and in what period of time.
DESIGN: Gram-negative and gram-positive isolates were introduced into graduated dilutions of GSE (twofold concentrations ranging from 1:1, through 1:512) for determination of bacterial activity. In vitro assays with human skin fibroblast cells were also performed at the same dilutions to determine
RESULTS: These tests indicated that from the 1:1 through the 1:128 concentrations, GSE remained toxic as well as bactericidal. However, test results indicated that at the 1:512 dilution, GSE remained bactericidal, but completely nontoxic.
CONCLUSIONS: The initial data shows GSE to have antimicrobial properties against a wide range of gram-negative and gram-positive organisms at dilutions found to be safe. With the aid of scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), the mechanism of GSE’s antibacterial activity was revealed. It was evident that GSE disrupts the bacterial membrane and liberates the cytoplasmic
contents within 15 minutes after contact even at more dilute concentrations.
How Diuretics Work
If we limit ourselves to the strict sense of the word, there appears to be two broad groups, those that increase kidney blood flow and those that reduce the water reabsorption in the nephrons of the kidney.
- The first group includes not only diuretics such as Broom but all the herbs that are cardio-active and circulatory stimulants. These increase the blood flow in the kidney by effects on the heart or elsewhere in the body. Because there is more blood passing through the kidney, more urine is produced. Caffeine-containing herbs such as Tea and Coffee also have this
- The second group works via many different means, but they cause the diuresis because some of their constituents are secreted via the kidney. This may change the osmotic balance causing more water to be lost. This appears to be the case with Dandelion Leaf, Couchgrass and Cornsilk. Others work by irritating the reabsorption mechanism in some way, either through volatile oils, saponins or alkaloids. Herbs for the urinary system listed under Anti-lithic and Demulcents would fit here.
Diuretics for Different Parts of the Body
Each system of the body has plants that are particularly suited to it, some of which are diuretics. Here we shall see which remedies act in this way for each of the systems. How they can be used will be considered in the sections on each system.
Circulatory system: As already pointed out, the cardio-active remedies have a diuretic effect because they increase blood flow through the kidneys. Remedies for this system include Lily of the Valley, Broom, Dandelion and Yarrow. All the diuretics that help remove water from the body can be of benefit for the cardiovascular system. Care should be taken to ensure the right ones are used in the specific condition being treated. Broom should not be used in high blood pressure, for example.
Respiratory system: If chest congestion is occurring due to heart problems, then most of the diuretics will be of value. Remedies that have an affinity for this system include Boneset, Cleavers, Elder, Yarrow and Eucalyptus.
Digestive system: Some of the laxative herbs act as diuretics as well. Here we can mention Agrimony, Blue Flag, Boldo, Borage, Celery Seed, Dandelion, Parsley, Pumpkin Seed.
Urinary system: All the remedies mentioned are applicable to this system with the addition of Sea Holly and Wild Carrot.
Reproductive system: The antiseptic diuretics often work in the same way on the reproductive system. Of special relevance is Bearberry. Saw
Palmetto is a mild diuretic.
Muscles and Skeleton: Because of their cleansing action, many diuretics help in problems of muscles and bones. Boneset, Celery Seed, Yarrow and Gravel Root are but a few.
Nervous system: Borage and Bugleweed are the only real diuretics to benefit the nervous system directly. However, if there is much tension, using a nervine to relax may allow more urine to be passed.
Skin: All the diuretics potentially help the skin by an inner cleansing process. Especially important are Cleavers, Couchgrass and Dandelion.
|Blue Flag||Iris versicolor|
|Celery Seed||Apium graveolens|
|Corn Silk||Zea mays|
|Dandelion If.||Taraxacum officinalis|
|Gravel Root||Eupatorium purporeum|
|Lily of the Valley||Convallaria majalis|
|Parsley Piert||Aphanes arvensis|
|Pellitory of the Wall||Parietaria diffusa|
|Pumpkin Seed||Curcurbita pepo|
|Saw Palmetto||Serenoa serrulate|
|Sea Holly||Eryngium maritimum|
|Stone Root||Collinsonia canadensis|
|Wild Carrot||Daucus carrota|
Diuretics and Secondary Actions
Alterative: Blue Flag, Burdock, Cleavers
Anti-Catarrhal: Boneset, Elder
Anti-Inflammatory: Blue Flag, Borage, Celery Seed, Cleavers, Gravel Root
Anti-Microbial: Bearberry, Buchu, Couchgrass, Juniper, Saw Palmetto, Yarrow
Astringent: Agrimony, Bearberry, Broom, Bugleweed, Cleavers, Horsetail, kola, Yarrow
Bitter: Agrimony, Burdock
Cardio-active:Broom, Bugleweed, Lily of the Valley
Demulcent: Bearberry, Corn Silk, Couchgrass, Parsley Piert, Pellitory of the Wall, Stone Root
Diaphoretic: Boneset, Borage, Elder, Linden, Yarrow
Emmenagogue: Parsley, Yarrow
NOTE: Do Not Confuse this with ‘grape seed extract,’ which is one of natures most wonderful poisons.
Grapefruit extract (GSE) is made by first converting grapefruit seeds and pulp into a very acidic liquid. This liquid is loaded with polyphenolic compounds, including quercitin, helperidin, campherol glycoside, neohelperidin, naringin, apigenin, rutinoside, poncirin, etc.
The polyphenols themselves are unstable but are chemically converted into more stable substances that belong to a diverse class of products called quaternary ammonium compounds. Some quaternary compounds, benzethonium chloride and benzalkonium chloride, for example, are used industrially as antimicrobials, but are toxic to animal life. The B vitamin choline is also a quaternary compound, but is nontoxic and even essential for maintaining healthy neurological function and fat metabolism.
The finished product is a viscous, yellow-amber colored liquid that features a taste that is both bitter and acidic. Pure vegetable glycerin is added to reduce the bitterness and acidity to a tolerable level and to reduce the possibility that incidental contact could cause irritation to the skin or mucous membranes. Grapefruit seed extract has a slight citrus smell.