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Can Grapefruit Seed Extract Help Treat a Sinus Infection?

By Diane Marks

Sinus infections, also called sinusitis, are a common malady and can be very uncomfortable. While alternative medicine is making a comeback, it needs to be thoroughly researched and tried. Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) has been receiving some attention as a treatment for sinusitis but there is no solid evidence that GSE works on sinusitis.

What The Studies Show About The Effectiveness of Grapefruit Seed Extract

Symptoms of sinusitis include facial pain, headache, nasal discharge, fever, pain on bending, pain in the teeth or loss of smell. Sinusitis is usually treated with antibiotics, steroids, mucolytic agents and symptom relief such as acetaminophen for discomfort (Porth, 2011). With the over use of antibiotics, some people are looking for alternative treatments and grapefruit seed extract (GSE) has received some attention. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reported that in a lab study, GSE was shown to have antibacterial action against topical microbes. Reagor et al. used agar plates inoculated with microorganisms and applied GSE along with some commonly used topical antimicrobials. The test showed that 100% of gram + and gram - organisms were susceptible to the GSE (Reagor et al.2002). While this study suggests that GSE can work topically, systemic studies are lacking. There is also a controversy about the commercially prepared GSE products containing benzalkonium chloride which is an antimicrobial by itself (Takeola et al. 2005). There is no evidence that natural GSE has any antimicrobial properties (Von Woedtke et al., 1999). Anecdotal reports suggest that some people have had some success using GSE in a nasal and ear rinse, and some people have not had as much success. In the absence of confirmed studies, it is important to use common sense in treating sinusitis. It is best to seek a qualified medical provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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