Herbal Therapies Used by People Living With HIV: Grapefruit Seed
Part of A Practical Guide to Herbal Therapies for People Living With HIV
Grapefruit seed extract is made by crushing and grinding the seeds of grapefruits. It's a very acidic liquid with a bitter taste. This extract is used commercially to sterilize some foods for animals and to disinfect surfaces in hospitals. When sold for home use, it's usually combined with vegetable glycerin to make it less acidic. It may be diluted with water and used to wash vegetables and other produce to prevent food poisoning and decay.
Grapefruit seed may also be used to prevent yeast and other gastrointestinal infections. To treat these infections, people usually add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract to at least four ounces of juice or another beverage, twice a day. Diluted extract also can be applied to the skin to treat warts, impetigo and cold sores. Although grapefruit seed extract has been studied as a disinfectant, there are no studies of its therapeutic use. Grapefruit seed extract is usually sold for personal use under the brand name Nutribiotic, but it may be contained in soaps, lotions and toothpastes under the brand name Citricidal. Long-term use of grapefruit seed may adversely affect the bowels.
Grapefruit juice interacts with many prescription and non-prescription medications, including antiretroviral drugs. It is not known if swallowing grapefruit seed extract will also cause interactions.
This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. Visit CATIE's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.