7 Grapefruit Seed Extract Uses, Plus Dangers to Watch Out For

While human studies are generally lacking, many natural health practitioners and patients report its ability to help fight infections when used topically or taken internally.

Grapefruit seed extract benefits include killing all kinds of infectious microbes.

Grapefruit seed extract benefits include killing all kinds of infectious microbes.

© Ildipapp | Dreamstime.com

Grapefruit seed extract uses are numerous due to its action as a highly concentrated, natural general antimicrobial and antioxidant. Grapefruit seed extract benefits include killing all kinds of infectious microbes—bacterial, viral, and fungal—at least in test tube and animal studies.[1,2]

What’s in Grapefruit Seed Extract?

The main compounds in grapefruit seeds thought to be responsible for its ability to kill infectious agents are chemical compounds (polyphenols) known as limonoids and naringenin.

These intensely powerful compounds act as antimicrobials and antioxidants, not only killing dangerous microbes but protecting the body’s tissues against the excessive production of reactive oxygen species which occurs when these pathogens infect the tissues.

Grapefruit seed extract comes in a number of different delivery forms, concentrations, and dosages. Liquids and/or capsules can be used whether the infection is on the skin; in the ears, nose, or mouth; or in the gastrointestinal tract. Grapefruit seed extract is also used as a preservative and antimicrobial in natural personal care products as well as by the food industry for food preservation.


Eat Right, Starting Now!

Download this expert FREE guide, Complete Nutrition: Low-carb diet, high-protein foods, healthy meal plans, how to use a calorie counter, and more.

Create healthy meal plans and discover the Superfoods that can transform your plate into a passport to better health.

Warnings About Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit juice and possibly other grapefruit products, including grapefruit seed extract, are known to interact with certain drugs and may lead to serious adverse reactions. Grapefruit inhibits certain enzyme systems within the body most often involved in drug metabolism. This increases blood concentrations of the drugs concerned, creating a risk of overdose and dose-dependent adverse effects. Grapefruit seed extract can sometimes cause skin irritation when used topically. The liquid grapefruit seed concentrates should always be diluted; never use full strength and avoid contact with eyes or other sensitive areas.

Also, in a report published in 2012, investigators from the Austin, Texas-based American Botanical Council found that many grapefruit seed extract products on the market today contain synthetic chemicals that aren’t listed on their labels. They report that any antimicrobial activities in grapefruit seed extract products is likely due to these synthetic additives, and not the grapefruit seed extract itself. Since the actual amount of these unlisted chemicals could vary widely and are unapproved compounds for internal use, some natural health practitioners recommend not taking GSE products internally. If you’re considering the use of grapefruit seed extract in treatment of a chronic condition, make sure to consult your physician.

How to Take Grapefruit Seed Extract Internally to Fight Infections

Grapefruit seed extract concentrated liquid and capsules should not be taken by children except under a doctor’s supervision. Adults can mix 10 drops of the liquid concentrate into a glass of water or juice (5 oz. or more) and drink, 1-3 times daily, with or without meals. Note that grapefruit seed extract is extremely bitter. To avoid the bitter taste, adults may also take one to two250 mg capsules one to two times daily with or without meals.

Grapefruit seed extract can deplete normal flora (healthy “good” bacteria) in the gut when taken long-term. If you plan to take GSE for 3 days or more, it’s important to consume a probiotic supplement two hours before taking your GSE dose.

Grapefruit Seed Extract Benefits Include Killing Candida and Treating Digestive Symptoms

Grapefruit seed extract is perhaps best known for its ability to treat digestive disturbances and kill pathogens, especially fungal pathogens like Candida albicans, in the gastrointestinal tract. One preliminary human trial investigated the effectiveness of grapefruit seed extract in people with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and eczema.[3] Subjects received either 2 drops of a 0.5% liquid concentrate of grapefruit seed extract twice a day or 150 mg of encapsulated grapefruit seed extract (ParaMicrocidin®) three times a day.

After a month, all of the subjects taking capsules experienced significant improvements in constipation, flatulence, and abdominal discomfort, as well as night rest, while 20% of the subjects taking the liquid experienced significant improvements in their IBS symptoms. There were no side effects. The fact that these patients’ digestive symptoms improved with grapefruit seed extract suggests that they actually had an infection in the gastrointestinal tract that was causing their symptoms rather than IBS. And in fact, the researchers tested the extract against different intestinal pathogens and found it was most effective against Candida species, a type of fungal infection, and some types of parasites.

Grapefruit Seed Extract Uses

Among the multiple uses for grapefruit extract:

  • Throat gargle (for colds and sore throats)
  • Mouth wash (for gums and dental health)
  • Nasal/sinus wash (for sinus infections and colds)
  • Ear drops
  • Digestive disturbances (including candida and traveler’s diarrhea)
  • Skin wounds
  • Fruit and veggie wash

In addition to liquid extracts and capsules, some companies, like Nutribiotics, make throat sprays, nasal sprays, ear drops, mouthwashes and gargles, toothpastes, shower gels, wound disinfectant sprays, and other personal care products containing grapefruit seed extract and other ingredients. Follow the label instructions for use.

[1] Acta Pharm. 2004 Sep;54(3):243-50.

[2] J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Jun;8(3):333-40.



This article was originally published in 2013 and has been updated.

  • satisfied G.

    GSE is an awesome product – especially as a household cleaning/disinfecting agent. Use it to clean doorknobs, counters, cutting boards, toothbrushes, combs. And to disinfect non-organic fruits and vegetables, mix 20 drops in enough water to cover them and let them soak for a few minutes. Every house hold should have a bottle of GSE around the house.

  • Doris S.

    Does Grapefruit seed extract interact with BREO(flute Adobe giro ate and vilanterol inhalation powder ?
    Also, with Xoponex HFA (levalbuterol tartrate inhalation Aerospl) ??

  • Valerie C.

    Would like to know where I can purchase grapefruit capsules…thank You…

  • I take bisoprolol & hydrochlorathiazide, for hbp. Is it safe to take Grapefruit seed extract, l also have Diverticulosis which is the reason l am considering GSExtract, thanks, j.j.

  • GSE is the True alternative to Drugs like Cipro, Zithromax, etc. Its cured over 10 oral infections I had. Took it after I had a partial nephrectomy cause of Pain 3 weeks after surgery. Took
    1 AmoxyClav then 500 mgs every 12 hrs.

    I feel pain was an infection.

    Reports of killing tumors as well.

  • Doris S.

    Any interaction taking Grapefruit seed extract capsules and QVAR 80 steroid inhaler and Xoponex inhaler ?

  • Doris S.

    Any interaction when taking grapefruit seed extract with QVAR80 steroid inhaler and Xoponex inhaler ?

  • Marsha A.

    Is there any danger in taking grapefruit seed extract with blood pressure medications?

  • Edith m.

    I am taking TAB Sandoz- Atorvastatin 20mg. Which tells me not to eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice at any time while taking this medication. So is it safe to use grapefruit seed extract?

  • Edith m.

    Is it safe to use grapefruit seed extract with my prescription act-Atorvastatin 20 mg ?

  • can I take grapefruit seed extract liquid with hot stuff like tea, coffee milk etc

  • can grapefruit extract be used in the eye for conjunctivitus?

  • DR. advised NOT TO TAKE GSE if Cholesterol drugs are used….
    Who knows, these days , who you should believe……..ALOHA

Leave a Reply

Enter Your Log In Credentials

Please Log In

You are trying to access subscribers-only content. If you are a subscriber, use the form below to log in.

Subscribers will have unlimited access to the magazine that helps people live more sustainable, self-reliant lives, with feature stories on tending the garden, managing the homestead, raising healthy livestock and more!


Please Log In

You are trying to access subscribers-only content. If you are a subscriber, use the form below to log in.

Subscribers will have unlimited access to the magazine that helps the small-scale poultry enthusiast raise healthy, happy, productive flocks for eggs, meat or fun - from the countryside to the urban homestead!