Grapefruit Seed Extract and Infection

By Jan Millehan

Grapefruit seed extract, or GSE, is derived from the seeds and pulp of the grapefruit. GSE can be purchased in tablet, capsule or liquid form. Global Healing Center founder and chiropractor Dr. Edward F. Group, states that GSE is a natural antiseptic, antiviral and antifungal for people and their pets. Grapefruit seed extract is thought to benefit multiple types of infections, including those that affect the bladder and mouth. However, it is important to consult your doctor before taking GSE.


The grapefruit, from which GSE originates, was discovered by Europeans during the eighteenth century in Barbados, according to the World's Healthiest Foods website. Most botanists concur that it was the result of a natural cross between an orange and a pomelo, another citrus fruit. The grapefruit was given its name because of the way it grows in trees -- in clusters similar to grapes. The benefits of grapefruit seed extract were first noted in 1972 by physicist Dr. Jacob Harich, who observed its widespread use as an antibacterial and antiviral remedy, according to Dr. Group.


Grapefruit seed extract is a very acidic liquid with powerful plant-derived antioxidants called bioflavonoids, according to Dr. Group. Antioxidants are said to destroy the cell-damaging free radicals that are produced during the body’s natural fight against infections. GSE contains the bioflavonoid chemical hesperidin, known for its potent immune system benefits, claims Group. It also contains vitamin C, citric acid, sterols and various other antioxidants thought to improve your immune system’s ability to battle infections.


University of Georgia researchers found that GSE is an effective antiviral, antifungal and antiparasitic agent for combating many viral and bacterial infections, including E. coli, according to Group. Additional findings have shown that GSE is a successful treatment for 800 bacterial and viral strains, 100 strains of fungi and a multitude of single- and multi-celled parasites. Though research points to GSE as a powerful infection remedy, speak to your doctor before using it to treat infections.

Oral Viruses

The antiviral properties of grapefruit seed extract may help kill oral viruses. Pace University researchers sought to determine the antiviral effects of adding separate extracts of zinc, aloe, and grapefruit to toothpaste; their results were presented at the May 1998 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Atlanta. The researchers found that GSE -- as well as zinc and aloe extracts -- was able to destroy viruses in the mouth. Pace University suggests that this discovery will have a great effect on oral hygiene care and its importance in preventing chronic systemic diseases, because of the fact that numerous viruses enter the body through the mouth.

Urinary Tract Infections

Grapefruit seed extract is believed to help alleviate the symptoms of urinary tract infections, or UTIs, which can result in painful, frequent urination and blood in the urine. UTIs, also known as bladder infections, are the result of bacterial infections with such organisms as E. coli and staphylococcus saprophyticus, according the University of Maryland Medical Center, which recommends taking 100 mg GSE capsules or 5 to 10 drops of liquid GSE three times per day to treat UTIs. Although considered beneficial, it is important to consult your medical practitioner before taking GSE for a urinary tract infection.

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