7 Grapefruit Seed Extract Uses, Plus Dangers to Beware

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

grapefruit seed extract

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. 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.

A grapefruit extract dosage may come in a number of different delivery forms and concentrations. 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.

Get Your Nutrition Guide

Do you want to eat foods that help you feel better, stay slim, and avoid diet-related diseases? Do you want to be healthier by eating delicious “super” foods?

If so, claim your FREE copy, right now, of the definitive nutrition guide on living a longer, healthier, happier life.

grapefruit seed extract uses

Limonoids and naringenin are the main compounds in grapefruit seeds believed to be responsible for itheir ability to kill infectious agents.

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 extract products is likely due to these synthetic additives, and not the grapefruit 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 health products internally. If you’re considering the use of grapefruit seed extract in treatment of a chronic condition, make sure to consult your physician.


Among the multiple grapefruit seed extract uses are the following:

  • Throat gargle (for colds and sore throats)
  • Mouthwash (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 grapefruit seed oil, liquid extracts, and capsules, some companies (e.g., 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. Follow the label instructions for use.

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 two 250 mg capsules one to two times daily with or without meals.

Grapefruit 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.

GSE 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. Subjects received either 2 drops of a 0.5% liquid concentrate 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. Results found that there were no major grape seed extract side effects. The fact that these patients’ digestive symptoms improved with grapefruit 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.

[1] Acta Pharm. 2004 Sep;54(3):243-50.
[2] J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Jun;8(3):333-40.

Originally published in 2013, this post is regularly updated by the editors of University Health News.

  • 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

  • Do NOT put directly on eye for conjunctivitis~research dilution as I do not know, but definitely don’t use full stregnth~

  • It is from my understanding that taking ANY thing along with grapefruit extract will & can lead to elevated concentrations of these drugs in your blood. I suggest if you are taking hbp meds that you should speak with your Dr. before you start taking grapefruit seed extract. Also do some research on natural cures for hbp.

  • Don’t pay attention to this totally BIASED, PRO Pharmaceutical junk article! This is a set up to make you THINK nature is not as good as a chemically invented synthetic drug that makes HUGE profits and typical of how they deceive the public. First they say, many GS extracts contain “synthetic chemicals” that are NOT listed on their labels and I’d like to ask “HOW do “they” get away with ignoring THAT regulation?” They also say that any antimicrobial activities in these extract products is likely due to these SYNTHETIC additives, and NOT the extract itself! The FDA would show up at their doors in combat gear if a company was caught putting anti-microbial “chemicals” in a product without approval/labeling! Then they mention some unknown “trial” that gave some patients 2 drops of a 0.5% (ONE HALF of ONE percent) grapefruit seed extract only TWICE a day vs. others who took a prescription of 150 mg of ParaMicrocidin®) THREE times a day. They specifically don’t tell you that these are NOT equivalent doses. If you ask me, the extract dose sounds way too weak to achieve any results. A typical dose is 100-200 mg. which is why only 20% had any relief. That’s like saying you should take 1/8 of an aspirin to get rid of a migraine! Use your head…get educated, everything is at your fingertips now.

  • albert l.

    i am looking for grapefruit seed extract in pill tablets, as lomg as there is VERY little resveratrol in it because resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant which thins out the blood too much.

  • Ros n.

    Can citricidal be used safely by a pregnant woman.

  • LM- grapefruit seed extract is considered a supplement and therefore NOT regulated by the FDA. It is entirely possible other ingredients than what is on the label are in products that are considered a supplement. There are no rules for supplements, these are entirely unregulated. Your best bet is to buy a product that has the USP symbol. Supposedly this organization certifies that the product is exactly what is labeled, no more and no less. Also note that any product that is considered a supplement will have a disclaimer on the label, even if it also has the USP symbol.

  • Lonemama57

    As far as the comment about the FDA not allowing products to be sold without full discosure, then you are believing a lie. The FDA is so complacent they allow too many things. That is a one good thing about GSE, that’s pure, it can help restore our bodies from the things the FDA allows in our foods.

  • Irma R.

    I bought the NutriBiotic maximum GSE liquid conentrate (29.5ml) is this the same thing as the grapeseed extract that you’re talking about in your website? Do I follow the same insructions in how to take it?

  • Kathy

    Yes. That’s what they’re talking about. It’s an excellent product.


  • do you know that chewing one or two seeds of grapefruit seed in the morning aggitates the pancreatic production of insulin and lowers blood sugar

  • michael d.

    d Is there a pure GSE brands you reccomend?does GSE interact with acid blockers like Tecta or Losec?

  • michael d.

    Does GSE interact badly with acid blockers or synthroid hormones? What brands are pure ?

  • Bikramjit S.

    Please let us know whether Grape seed Extract can increase blood sugar levels and can be a threat for Diabetes in Future.
    Also Please let us know if it increases your blood Pressure

  • GSE Burn Grapefruit Seed Extract burn : Call Poison Control if pain too intense. I leave the debate up to others, but I feel it is my duty to report my GSE NIGHTMARE. Shame on GSE for not posting a big caution on bottle! After applying to skin, was up all night in torment, no exaggeration. SEVERE burning pain. It was torture. Water, soap, no relief. Called Poison Control, got good advice, did not stop agony but made it bearable until effect of GSE wore off: Find any food or body oil, vegetable or mineral, cooking (NOT motor oil, ok?), apply and massage into GSE burn area. This oil will mix/bond with the GSE, which is oily based. Make sure new oil is rubbed in well, let sit a few minutes. Now – wash area thoroughly with lots of soap, and rinse well with water. The new oil will carry away some of the GSE, just enough so you aren’t in agony. Then wait, it takes about 12 hours for the GSE to calm down. This is so urgent, it is the first time I have ever posted a rescue message like this. If I had found this it would have spared me agony!

  • TheDailyFae

    It may be best to just eat an organic grapefruit… There’s no denying the results of a healthy diet. The white flesh of a grapefruit also contains pectin, which has a wide range of health benefits. If you suffer from a candida situation and want to try a safe alternative, you can purchase Grapefruit Vitality Essential Oil (FDA approved) and rub it on your tummy. It only costs $10, and research has also shown grapefruit may support weight loss as well. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised, if there was a connection between obesity and candida, but that’s just a guess.

  • nealba —-I have been using this product for well over a decade. I am not affiliated with the manufacturer. And I have, once or twice used the product topically without diluting it. I will concur, in it’s undiluted state, it does burn. HOWEVER, the labelling of GSE CLEARLY states that it is a liquid concentrate and to dilute it. Shame on you for blaming the company for your error. In my opinion, GSE is an excellent product.

Leave a Reply

Enter Your Log In Credentials
This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.


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!

This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.


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!

This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.

Send this to a friend

I thought you might be interested in this article on https://universityhealthnews.com: 7 Grapefruit Seed Extract Uses, Plus Dangers to Beware

-- Read the story at https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/nutrition/grapefruit-seed-extract-uses-and-benefits/