written by: Heidi Wiesenfelder•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 6/29/2011
Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is a natural substance made from grapefruit that can be used to accomplish a variety of tasks in your home and for personal and pet care. Discover the benefits it offers and the many ways it can be used as an alternative to harsher substances.
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Uses for GSE
Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is an excellent option for those who want to avoid harsh chemicals for home, people, and pets. It is available in many natural food stores and vitamin stores.
To learn about using GSE as a natural bleach substitute, check out this article. GSE is also effective for both topical and internal use in a variety of situations for people and animals. It is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial, lending itself to an array of uses such as for fungal infections and internal parasites.
It is most popularly used in liquid extract form, but you may also choose to use the powder-filled capsules for internal use for people or pets.
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Grapefruit seed extract kills a variety of pathogens on contact, including viruses, bacteria and fungi. While it should not be used full-strength for animals, it can be diluted and used both internally and topically to assist with relief and healing and to prevent parasites and boost the immune system. GSE is effective against Giardia lamblia, a parasite that causes intestinal problems for both people and animals and exists in many of North America's lakes.
Dilute GSE 1:1 with either water or an herbal tea or decoction and apply it topically to treat ringworm and other skin conditions. Dilute 5:1 for use on hot spots, rashes, and burns or in infected ears.
GSE is a natural alternative to prescription and other artificial treatments for infections including sinus infections, vaginal infections, and herpes. It has effects similar to neem concentrate, but is considered easier for people to tolerate. It is believed to be safe for use on an ongoing basis, up to 6 months at a time. Practitioners also recommend it for patients with intestinal infections. As with pets, GSE should not be used full-strength and should be kept away from eyes and mucuous membranes.
Use GSE as a preservative when making your own natural lotions and creams. Add about 6 drops to each ounce, or for a whole cup add 1/3 of a teaspoon.
Use it externally by adding 4-5 drops to 4-8 ounces of water, or internally by adding the same amount to 1/4 or 1/2 cup of water. Or add one part GSE to two parts glycerin, almond oil, or sesame oil for external use.
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Sources & Resources
Parasite Menace, Weintraub & Russell Manuel
The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care, C. J. Puotinen
The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook: Everything You Need to Know About Chinese, Western, and Ayurvedic Herbal Treatments, Tillotson & Abel
Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living, Annie Berthold-Bond