OK, I admit it! I am a skeptic when it comes to “natural” medicine and remedies. I grew up going to doctors when I was sick, taking all kinds of antibiotics and over-the-counter drugs, and generally avoiding herbal remedies and other natural cures. Then my mother began to have health problems and was prescribed many different drugs with side effects. Later, I lived overseas, and my health was compromised. When I became pregnant with my first child, my perspective changed. I began to look into eating more healthfully and searching for ways to treat illness apart from prescription drugs.
I’m still a skeptic-in-therapy, though, so when I heard about the merits of grapefruit seed extract (GSE), I listened with reserve. One of the first articles I found on the Internet disputed all the positive claims of GSE manufacturers and promoters. “Aha!” I thought. However, as I read further (including three different books about GSE), it was hard to dismiss the claims from around the world of GSE’s helpful uses. I also talked to friends who praised it and used it with their families.
Fruit with a Fight
In 1980, Dr. Jacob Harich first noticed a unique property of grapefruit seeds: they refused to rot in his compost pile. In fact, experienced composters know it takes citrus fruits up to two years to decompose enough to make suitable compost. Why? God created the grapefruit with powerful germ-inhibiting chemicals.
Dr. Harich’s interest in the grapefruit and its seeds was soon picked up by other researchers. Today many promote GSE as one of nature’s most powerful broad-spectrum, non-toxic antibiotics, antimicrobials, and antifungals. Many tests have been done worldwide with GSE to see how it reacts against different types of bacteria and viruses. In these tests GSE has performed remarkably well. It even out-performed well-known disinfectants commonly used in hospitals. However, few tests have been performed in vivo, that is, on humans; most of the tests were performed in vitro, in laboratories or with animals.
What is GSE?
Grapefruit seed extract is derived from the pulp, seeds, and membranes and converted into a highly concentrated, acidic substance. (Manufacturers keep the exact process a secret.) It is then usually mixed with glycerin in differing levels of concentration. Beeyoutiful sells a high-quality, more potent version of GSE (60% GSE/40% glycerin).
What are the benefits of using GSE?
Unlike synthetic antibiotics (often produced from petroleum and coal tar), GSE is derived from natural sources. It is non-toxic, broad-spectrum (meaning active against a variety of germs), and has a minimal negative effect on beneficial bacteria (synthetic antibiotics kill good and bad bacteria indiscriminately). When I learned that many synthetic antibiotics were produced from petroleum and coal tar, I was anxious to learn more about grapefruit seed extract. Which would you rather give to your family?!
A Doctor Who Promotes GSE
In his book on GSE (see note below), Dr. Alan Sachs talks about ways he has successfully used grapefruit seed extract. One of the most common is to help treat patients dealing with chronic Candida Albicans yeast infections. He tells about a woman who had tried all kinds of traditional antibiotics and whose immune system was weak and no longer responding to the drugs. After a few weeks of initial tiredness (as her body cleansed itself), while continuing to use the grapefruit seed extract, she made a full recovery. He also talks of similar cases with success against parasites, cold sores, intestinal illnesses, and warts. There are other books and articles that document like successes. If you are interested in these resources, contact Beeyoutiful for more information.
My Experiments with GSE. . .
As I read the various books and articles, I found a number of ways I could put GSE immediately to work. As mentioned earlier, GSE, according to Allan Sach’s book, (see note below) outperformed many commercial and common disinfectants in laboratory tests. Of course I didn’t have the means of testing it scientifically in my own home; however, I did mix up a batch of water/GSE to use to spray down and clean my kitchen and bathroom. I liked the idea that I was using a non-toxic cleanser, rather than chemicals.
I also used it to wash some fruit. I didn’t notice any difference in the shelf life of the fruit that had been rinsed with GSE vs. plain water, but, again, I liked the idea that I was using something natural rather than the unnatural and unhealthy ingredients in detergent to wash them off.
I gargled with GSE for a sore throat I felt coming on (which went away). My husband was also pleasantly surprised to find his sore throat, which he says “always” means he’s about to get sick, went away after gargling with GSE. I put a drop on my toothpaste as I brushed my teeth and then gargled with it afterwards. (I had read that GSE was extremely bitter, but it didn’t seem to bother me.) I also added a few drops of GSE every time I refilled our water filter pitcher. (It has a nasty habit of growing green, slimy stuff inside.) Check out the sidebars for more specific directions and other ideas I liked. I plan to test it the next time I find mold in my house. (It’s the only time I’ve been disappointed that I couldn’t find any!) I’m also mixing a few drops into juice and giving it to my husband to see if it helps him with the stomach problems he’s had since being overseas.
How Else Can GSEBe Used?
There are a multitude of ideas for using GSE in your family and home. Here are a few:
- As a gargle for sore throats
- When traveling (especially overseas), as a precaution against parasites
- As a spray for athletes foot
- As a mouthwash
• Mixed with shampoo to treat eczema or dandruff
In the Home:
- Put a few drops in your humidifier to inhibit mold growth
- Add to dishwater to sanitize
- Spray on houseplants to prevent mold (one book recommended GSE spray against aphids)
• Add drops to baby wipes to make antibacterial hand wipes
These are just a few ideas. There are many more available on the Internet and in books. When using “recipes” for GSE, make sure you check the concentration of the GSE in the recipe. Keep in mind that Beeyoutiful sells a higher concentration GSE than many other brands.
It is wise to take probiotics, such as Tummy Tuneup, or eat yogurt with active cultures if you take GSE internally for an extended period of time. Never use GSE undiluted or in the eyes; it could cause severe irritation. Remember it is acidic! It hasn’t been tested for its effects on pregnancy, so use it cautiously if you are pregnant.
The Skeptic’s Conclusions . . .
As with any drug, herb, or treatment, I believe the responsibility lies with each of us individually to educate ourselves and to make our own informed healthcare decisions. Too often I tend to follow traditional medical advice without being fully aware of all the possible effects.
As a skeptic-in-therapy, I’ll be performing more of my own experiments with GSE and seeing how it can best meet the needs of my family, but I have been impressed enough with the potential GSE shows to make it a part of my medicine cabinet. Check out the forums for others who are doing the same!
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~ Summer Moeller jots from the end of a dirt road with her husband and daughter (soon to be, two daughters!) in Whitesburg, GA.