Grapefruit Seed Extract is one of the most potent anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial natural products. It is highly regarded not just for its antimicrobial effects, but for its safe usage. In 1972, Dr. Jakob Harich discovered grapefruit seed extract from processing the seeds and pulp into a bitter-tasting, highly acidic liquid. He found that the extract deactivated fungi (including yeast), parasites, and viruses. It was traditionally used in agriculture to prevent mold from growing on foodstuff. Hospitals began using the compound as an antiseptic, and it has been used in pools as a natural alternative to chlorine.
Today, many individuals use the extract to treat many conditions, including:
- Toenail fungus
- Tinea versicolor
- Wart removal
- UTI Infections
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
Other benefits of the extract include fighting the common cold, flu, and yeast infections. South-West Nigeria has traditionally used grapefruit seed extract for managing weight and diabetes.
Grapefruit seed extract is found in natural disinfectants and as a natural preservative in products to prevent mold and bacteria contaminants. Spraying chicken skin with GSE found a reduction in the numbers of Salmonella in a study published in 1998 by the Journal of Food Protection. Natural products such as GSE were found to be an effective antibacterial for controlling foulbrood, a dangerous disease in bees (particularly honeybees), and could be used in place of chemotherapeutic products as suggested in a study published in 2004 by Veterinaria Italiana.
Side Effects and Controversy
While no side effects were reported in a 1990 study that demonstrated grapefruit seed extract’s antimicrobial activity, the extract may have contraindicates with hypersensitive individuals. Nausea, abdominal pain, gastralgia, diarrhea, sore throat and headache have been reported, however, few side effects are well-documented. If any rash, itching, or swelling emerges, especially in the throat, tongue, or face, or if you are having trouble breathing or experience dizziness, seek medical attention as these symptoms could be from a rare, but severe, allergic reaction. Anyone taking a prescription medication where grapefruit must be avoided should take low dosages of the seed extract at irregular intervals.