I can’t remember who first turned me onto grapefruit seed extract. I used it for about two years after Peace Corps mostly gargling it for sore throats. It seemed to work very well. A friend used it to purify his drinking water while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, and though it could have been luck he never got sick. When I first studied herbal medicine with 7song he precautioned against its usage. Research had shown that it was not as natural a product as claimed. I stopped using it and left it at that. In the past year several clients have mentioned it so I decided to gather some more information on the subject. Much to my relief it has been well-covered by the herbal community and so I’m posting a link up to an excellent blog by herbalist Todd Caldecott. I’ve quoted the take home message, but if you’d like more details and citations take a look at his blog.
“In 2005 the journal Medical Herbalism [2005:14(3)] printed a letter I wrote outlining the problems with GSE, which cited several studies demonstrating that the antimicrobial property of GSE was attributable to the addition of synthetic preservatives including benzalkonium chloride and triclosan. Also found in cosmetics, dish detergents and cleaning agents, both benzalkonium chloride and triclosan are known endocrinal intoxicants and human carcinogens that pollute wastewater and are contribute to the spectre of antibiotic resistance.”