Thursday, December 25, 2008

Flu and Cold Season: Benefits of Grapefruit Seed Extract

I use very little in the way of homeopathic remedies because they rarely work for me, but one thing which has worked over the years is grapefruit seed extract or GSE. I used to get these horrible sinus infections every time I got a cold, and my colds would drag out for weeks. I suffered from these debilitating viruses ever since college. I think it was the stress, lack of rest, and germy environments.

I was missing a lot of work, and dragging through the winters pumped up on antibiotics after my viruses turned septic. Something was wrong, and I wasn't willing to change the employment situation, so I read about the immunoboosting properties of GSE in a magazine. I bought some and used about 15 drops twice a day in my orange juice. It really helped stave off infections. I still had the bad colds, but I was less likely to go to antibiotics for secondary infections. I turned my MIL onto it as well.

Since I got married and quit my job, I have been much more healthy! Apparently the single childless life and working outside the home was making me sick. I seem to be more in my element physically and mentally as a stay at home mom. I still get colds, but now I can almost avoid them with the GSE. This last time when the family got sick with colds, all I got was a little sore throat for a day while taking the GSE.

Here are some of the supposed benefits of taking GSE internally. GSE can be found at Walmart, Kmart, etc. in the vitamin aisle:

- antibacterial(bacteriostatic)
- antifungal
- antiprotozoan
- antiviral

Other uses:

- Additive to beauty products much like Tea-tree oil(Antiseptic, Disinfectant)

Because of it's antibacterial properties, I add it to my homemade moisturizer(virgin olive oil) which is especially helpful with blemish control. I think it also has antioxidant(anti-aging) benefits.

- Insect and fungi control for plants

- Additive to natural cleaners to control mold and disinfect.


Weighing on the safety controversy of GSE: Grapefruit Seed Extract Preservative — Safe for Homemade and Natural Products?

Personally, I have not had a problem with the NutriBiotics brand, and only recently learned about tests which revealed potentially harmful chemical residue(when taken internally).

Nutriteam responses to criticisms and more pro-GSE discussion here.

I'm not sure who to believe, but I did find GSE at Mountain Rose Herbs which claims to be free of harmful additives/residues. They are a certified organic processor through Oregon Tilth which is fully accredited with the USDA National Organic Program. I'll be buying from them in the future, just to be on the safe side.

A few blogs(see comments at links as well) mentioning the efficacy of GSE for home and health:

Angry Chicken - deodorant

Clark Chatter - immunoboost

Urban Mommas- Thrush

Kickboxing Mama - home and health(nice list)

Wisebread - home cleaning

Autumn's Attic - Cold virus

Handprints on the Wall - Produce Spray

I wouldn't use GSE in place of prescription medication. I would use it as a supplement like you would vitamins or chicken soup(Occillococinum). It's not an antibiotic, but reportedly has these properties. I can only say it has worked well for myself as a supplement.


Dorothy said...

I have to get some! I was ill for most of the autumn with various viruses.

Alexandra said...

Isn't that awful when you just can't shake them. Prayers for better health in new year. :)

hopealso (of hippie dippie bébé) said...

Hi and thanks for the link re the GSE controversy! The link you included on the GSE from Mountain Rose Herbs does look pretty clean -- no benzethonium chloride or triclosan according to the tests. It seems that the manufacturers are aware of the controversy and working to provide more information to consumers.

I agree that it's hard to know who to believe. As to whether it works -- hey if you try it and it seems to help, why not, right? As long as you can find a brand without the known toxins found inside. If it was certified by an independent agency, at least you know you're not ingesting something that will hurt you.

I did a search for Diphenol Hydroxybenzene, the ingredient that appears to be different but related to benzethonium chloride. Some informative things came up and I look forward to reading more about other testing that has been done about GSE. Thanks for the links and keeping me updated!

Personally, I would still shy away from using GSE as a preservative until efficacy has been established, as there are things to be feared in spoilage in personal products. But for health uses I'm interested in reading more!

Thanks again!

(Mama) Hope

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