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10 Grapefruit Seed Extract Uses

Made from grapefruit seeds, grapefruit seed extract is used as a natural and homeopathic remedy for various health problems. Grapefruit seed extract is a popular health product whose uses range from the treatment of skin wounds, infections, digestive disturbances, and more. Are you ready to learn more? Let’s dive in and learn all about grapefruit seed extract uses and benefits.

A bottle of grapefruit seed extract.

What Is Grapefruit Seed Extract?

As we noted above, grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is a liquid derived from the seeds of the common grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi).

Grapefruit seed extract contains powerful naringenin, which is a substance with antioxidant properties. Antioxidants serve the role of helping to protect cells from free radical damage. Moreover, grapefruit seed extract has antimicrobial properties, too.

Grapefruit seed contains polyphenol limonoids. Both naringenin and limonoids are powerful chemical compounds that serve as antioxidants and antimicrobials. They don’t just kill microbes that are dangerous. Polyphenols also protect our body tissues from producing excessive reactive oxygen that occurs when dangerous pathogens infect our body’s tissues. 

The fact is, you may already be taking grapefruit seed extract because it is commonly used as an antimicrobial, and also as a preservative in some personal natural care products. Grapefruit seed extract is also used as a natural preservative in the food industry. 

Grapefruit Nutrition

Grapefruit has tons of vitamins and minerals, including the following:

  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Thiamine
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Folate
  • Beta-carotene
  • Lycopene
  • Flavanones

How to Consume Grapefruit Seed Extract

You can take grapefruit extract in a variety of different concentrations and delivery forms. For example, you can use capsules or liquids to treat conditions on the skin, in the nose, in your ears, or in your mouth. 

There are companies that offer grapefruit seed oil in nasal sprays, throat sprays, mouthwashes and gargles, ear drops, shower gels, toothpaste, wound disinfectant sprays, and more. If you use one of these products, be sure to carefully follow the instructions on the product’s label.

Usually, grapefruit seed extract is found in the form of a liquid concentrate, but you can buy it in tablet or capsule form as well.  

To consume grapefruit seed extract in liquid form, mix 10 drops of the concentrate into a glass of juice or water and drink it one to three times per day. You can drink this solution with or without a meal. 

You can take capsules once or twice daily to treat infections that are in your gastrointestinal tract.

You can buy grapefruit seed extract online.

Woman holding up a medication capsule and a glass of water -- grapefruit seed extract uses can be medicinal in nature.

10 Grapefruit Seed Extract Uses

There are many different ways grapefruit seed extract can benefit you and your body. Below, we have listed the most common grapefruit seed extract uses. 

1. Gargling for Sore Throats and Colds

Because of its antimicrobial properties, grapefruit seed oil can be used as a gargle for a sore throat that is often associated with colds and flu. To be clear, grapefruit seed extract use won’t cure a cold or flu, but it can help to alleviate the sore throat that sometimes comes with these conditions. 

2. Dental and Gum Health Mouthwash

You can use grapefruit seed oil as a mouthwash to help prevent or even treat gum disease. To create an effective mouthwash, mix 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract concentrate into a five-ounce glass of water. Use this solution to rinse your mouth, just as you would regular store-bought mouthwash. 

3. Sinus Wash for Nasal and Sinus Infections

You can use grapefruit seed extract as a sinus wash to treat sinus infections and nasal irritations. 

4. Ear Drops

There are grapefruit seed extract products on the market in the form of eardrops that can be used to treat earache and ear infections. An ear infection is serious, so be sure to consult with your doctor to make sure you don’t need an antibiotic. 

Closeup of citrus seed in a person's palm.

5. Candida, Traveler’s Diarrhea, and Other Digestive Disturbances

Numerous animal studies have shown that grapefruit seed extract can protect against stomach damage that is caused by stress and alcohol

Also, grapefruit seed extract use can kill the bacterium H. pylori, which is one of the primary causes of ulcers and stomach inflammation.  

Grapefruit seed extract is sometimes used to treat fungal pathogens such as Candida albicans, which live in the gastrointestinal tract. 

Because of this, some studies show that grapefruit seed extract use can effectively help with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms.  

6. Skin Wounds

Studies show that grapefruit seed extract is effective in treating several different types of bacteria found in human skin cells, which helps prevent infections. Equally important, the study shows that grapefruit seed extract use kills bacterial strains within 15 minutes after initial contact, even if the solution has been diluted. 

7. May Reduce Heart Disease Risk

Some of the risk factors for heart disease are obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Animal studies have suggested that grapefruit seed extract can help improve these conditions and thereby reduce the chances of a person developing heart disease. 

In one particular study, rats who consumed grapefruit seed extract every day for 31 days showed a significantly reduced blood sugar and cholesterol level. By the end of the study these rats also weighed less than rats who didn’t receive grapefruit seed extract. In this study, the grapefruit seed extract use was just as effective at treating diabetes as the drug metformin!

Grapefruit slices with seeds.

8. Protection Against Pancreatitis

The Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology published a study in 2004 that indicates that grapefruit seed extract use can protect against pancreatitis. The study was done on rats, but the authors of the study observed that GSE protected pancreatic tissue because it improved pancreatic blood flow and offered antioxidant effects. 

9. Urinary Tract Infections

Because grapefruit seed extract does a great job of killing bacteria, some researchers have become interested in testing the potential for grapefruit seed extract use at treating urinary tract infections. 

A small study showed that people who ate grapefruit seeds for two weeks every eight hours experienced relief from urinary tract infections. Because of this study, researchers have concluded that the antimicrobial compounds in grapefruit seeds can help the human body fight the growth of infectious bacteria in the urinary tract. 

10. Athlete’s Foot

Because grapefruit seed extract use kills candida, GSE can be used to effectively treat athlete’s foot. To treat athlete’s foot with grapefruit seed extract, apply a topical solution of GSO to the affected areas up to three times daily. 

More Grapefruit Seed Extract Use Benefits

Powerful Antioxidant

Oxidative damage has been linked to several different chronic illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease. Grapefruit extract’s powerful antioxidant properties can help protect your body from free radical oxidative damage. 

Moreover, grapefruit and grapefruit seed extracts are rich in flavonoids, vitamin E, and polyphenols, all of which are powerful antioxidants. 

Specifically, the polyphenol naringin is what gives grapefruit a bitter taste, and it has been shown to protect the tissues in mice from radiation damage. 

Increases Blood Flow

Reduced and restricted blood flow is linked to several different conditions, and when blood flow is too restricted, it can cause a stroke or blood clot. In this case, cells in these areas that are affected can become damaged and even die. 

Closeup of grapefruit wedges.

Studies show that rats who are given grapefruit seed extract before researchers restricted blood flow to their organs had greatly reduced inflammation and damage in the area that was restricted. 

Grapefruit Seed Extract Use Side Effects and Warnings

Most studies indicate that there are minimal side effects regarding grapefruit seed extract use, but there are a few cautions and warnings that should be addressed, including: 

Depletion of Healthy Flora

One thing to keep in mind is that since grapefruit seed extract is antimicrobial, it will also deplete the beneficial flora (the good bacteria) in your body when you take it long-term.

If you’re going to take grapefruit seed extract for three days or more, be sure to consume your a probiotic supplement two hours before you take your grapefruit seed extract. 

Interactions with Medications

In addition to the listed side effects, grapefruit and grapefruit seed extract use can interact with several different medications, for example:

  • Benzodiazepines
  • Immunosuppressants
  • INdinavir
  • Most calcium channel blockers
  • Some statin drugs
  • Carbamazepine

The reason this happens is that grapefruit contains substances that can inhibit the P450 enzyme that your body uses for metabolizing some medications.

When you eat grapefruit while taking these medications, your body may fail to break the medications down, which can result in adverse side effects.

If you are currently taking any of the above-listed medications, be sure to talk with your medical practitioner before adding grapefruit seed extract to your diet.

Closeup of doctor-patient consultation.

Lack of Regulation in the Supplement Industry

One thing to keep in mind is that the supplement industry is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and their content doesn’t even have to be accurately reflected on the product’s label. If you buy grapefruit seed extract in liquid or supplement form, be sure to read the reviews of the products carefully. 

An issue that is commonly found in the supplement industry is that sometimes, additives in the supplements arent disclosed. Specifically, grapefruit seed extract products can contain preservatives and disinfectants that aren’t always listed on the product labels.  

You can practice caution by looking for supplements that have been certified by U.S. Pharmacopia, ConsumerLabs, or NSF International. While a seal of approval from any of these organizations doesn’t guarantee the safety or effectiveness of a product, it can provide some reassurance that the product contains the ingredients that are listed on the product’s label. Also, this seal of approval can assert that the product was manufactured properly and doesn’t contain harmful contaminants. 

Remember, however, that although supplements are not federally regulated, it is still illegal for companies to make false claims that a product can treat a specific disease or alleviate disease symptoms. This is where customer reviews come in and these reviews can help you determine if a supplement is right for you. 

The Difference Between Grapefruit Seed Extract and Grapefruit Seed Essential Oil

One important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to confuse grapefruit seed extract with grapefruit seed essential oil. Essential oils are used for aromatherapy and occasionally topical uses (when used with a carrier oil). These potent oils are not to be ingested internally.

Dropper of essential oil.

Final Thoughts on Grapefruit Seed Extract Uses

Studies have shown that there are minimal side effects when grapefruit seed extract is used as suggested, so this important and powerful supplement can be used safely to treat a variety of conditions. I hope I have inspired you to do further research into grapefruit seed extract uses, and to consider grapefruit seed extract as a natural remedy for your health issues, along with the guidance of a medical professional!

Want to learn more about grapefruits? Next, visit our grapefruit trees page to discover information on planting, growing, caring, cooking, and more!

Janet Clifton

Friday 9th of June 2023

A nice and well rounded resource of information on grapefruit seed, extract and oils.


Thursday 6th of October 2022

Thank you - excellent info :)


Saturday 8th of October 2022

Thanks Donna! -Matt