Pure cold pressed grapefruit seed extract has no antimicrobial properties.

Update 3rd February 2009
Grapefruit Seed Extract used to be known as GSE until Grape Seed Extract became popular.

Please note the differences:
Grapefruit Seed Extract is now known as GFSE
Grape Seed Extract is known as GSE.

GFSE is from Grapefruits
GSE is from Grapes
Two totally different fruits with different nutritional properties.

Processed GFSE is known for its antimicrobial properties which the article below shows comes from the chemical used in conjunction with grapefruit seeds. In layman’s language is it used to kill germs.

GSE is used as an antioxidant. In layman’s language to combat the effects of oxidants which can be cancer causing.

When I first wrote this article in 2007 I used the letters GSE to describe Grapefruit Seed Extract. For the sake of clarity I have changed the abbreviation in this article to GFSE.

Also please click on this link for information about Benzethonium Chloride and for more information click on NIOSH

Sometime ago I bought some Organic Grapefruit Seed Extract – cold pressed and no chemicals used in the process. It purported to have the same anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties as the product called Citricidal or the non-organic grapefruit seed extract but without the nasty chemicals.

I used it on myself and found no benefits whatsoever.

I had in the past used Citricidal for stomach upsets and for athlete’s foot when I ran out of tea-tree to great effect.

I asked a friend of mine to test the cold-pressed organic grapefruit seed extract for anti-microbial activity in the lab where she worked. She could only test it for anti-bacterial effects.

It proved not to have any, infact the Organic Cold-Pressed grapefruit seed extract grew bacteria, it didn’t kill it.

What follows is an email string to another company who produce grapefruit seed extract using a chemical or something to extract the extract.

To Company A

Dear Sir or Madam

Can you explain why an organic cold-pressed grapefruit seed extract when tested in a laboratory had NO anti-bacterial effects and actually grew bacteria?

Doesn’t this prove that the chemically extracted grapefruit seed extract has anti-microbial effects because of the chemical benzethonium chloride which is also known to have anti-microbial effects itself?

I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely
Mrs Marianne Gutierrez

Hi Marianne,
Please see this Certificate of Analysis http://www.pureliquidgold.com/Rebuttal.htm for our product! I stand by what the manufacturer says in our product i cannot speak for other accusations!

Best Regards


Thank you for the link, I read that report.

What I don’t understand is that the cold-pressed organic grapefruit seed extract had no anti-bacterial effect. How do you explain that?

Surely if grapefruit seeds had an anti-microbial effect then chewing a grapefruit seed would be helpful? So why doesn’t everyone do that?

I look forward to your response.

With good wishes

Hi Marianne,
Grapefruit seed extract is manufactured using a proprietary process that enhances it’s potency as shown below!

How is Grapefruit Extract Made?

Grapefruit extract (GFSE) is made by first converting grapefruit seeds and pulp into a very acidic liquid. This liquid is loaded with polyphenolic compounds, including quercitin, helperidin, campherol glycoside, neohelperidin, naringin, apigenin, rutinoside, poncirin, etc.

The polyphenols themselves are unstable but are chemically converted into more stable substances that belong to a diverse class of products called quaternary ammonium compounds. Some quaternary compounds, benzethonium chloride and benzalkonium chloride, for example, are used industrially as antimicrobials, but are toxic to animal life. The B vitamin choline is also a quaternary compound, but is nontoxic and even essential for maintaining healthy neurological function and fat metabolism.

Grapefruit extract features the best of both worlds. While evidencing none of the toxic side-effects of chemically-derived quaternaries.

The finished product is a viscous, yellow-amber colored liquid that features a taste that is both bitter and acidic. Pure vegetable glycerin is added to reduce the bitterness and acidity to a tolerable level and to reduce the possibility that incidental contact could cause irritation to the skin or mucous membranes. Grapefruit seed extract has a slight citrus smell.

Best Regards

I really don’t mean to be a pain but I don’t understand.

Surely the proprietary process that enhances the potency of GFSE is benzalkonium chloride?
If it is present in chemically derived GFSE but not present in organic GFSE it proves the presence of benzalkonium chloride?

How is the conversion made? Surely the answer is: with benzalkonium chloride.

How is grapefruit seeds and pulp converted into a very acidic liquid? Surely the answer is: with benzalkonium chloride?
How are the polyphenals chemically converted? Surely the answer is: with benzalkonium chloride?

Why doesn’t the grapefruit seed extract have none of the toxic side-effects of chemically derived quaternaries?

I really don’t mean to be a nuisence. I would love to trust GFSE because it could be such a useful product but the side-effects of benzalkonium chloride I do not want.

Thank you for your help.
Good wishes

Hi Marianne,
Maybe you should ask the people who keep claiming that GFSE contains these chemicals to prove their point! I can only offer manufacturer information! I am not in a position to offer any further information. If you want you can read the manufacturers page for more information http://www.biochemresearch.com/citricidal.htm Personally i view all this as nothing less than a smear campaign by big pharma that cannot tolerate the low cost alternative? I get rather tired of defending our product against unfounded claims made by anyone and everyone!

Best Regards

To Company B

Dear Sir or Madam

I am interested in grapefruit seed extract but because of CFS/ME do not want to take in chemicals of any kind in the same way that I try and avoid foods with pesticides and choose organic produce where possible.

I know that a chemical benzalkonium chloride is used to extract the extract from the pulp and seeds of grapefruits in ‘ordinary’ grapefruit seed extract.

However what I don’t understand is the differences between organic cold-pressed grapefruit seed extract and ‘ordinary’ grapefruit seed extract.

In a laboratory the cold-pressed grapefruit seed extract showed to have NO anti-bacterial effect. So what is causing the anti-bacterial effect in ‘ordinary’ grapefruit seed extract?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely
Mrs Marianne Gutierrez

Dear Ms Guttierrez

Our product is synthesized from grapefruit through a proprietary process that produces a quaternary compount. Our product does not use nor contain benzalkonium chloride.

Pure cold pressed grapefruit seed extract has no antimicrobial properties.



Confused? So am I. I think I am being blinded with science. However the last statement says it all really.

So as cold pressed grapefruit seed extract has no antimicrobial properties then with non-cold-pressed grapefruits it must be the unnatural process itself that is used to obtain the extract that must have the antimicrobial activities. Therefore antimicrobial properties have never been naturally present in the natural grapefruit seed itself.


You must decide for yourselves. I would love to have your thoughts.

However in the meantime, an excellent, very safe antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal product is Colloidal Silver Everyone should have this in their First Aid cupboard.

15 thoughts on “Pure cold pressed grapefruit seed extract has no antimicrobial properties.

  1. Hi Marrianne, I have just read your very interesting posts re GSE and you make some good points. I have only been interested in GSE recently because my budgie (parakeet) is unwell and we have to disinfect his cage. The vet gave me chemical stuff which I’m loathe to use… so heard about GSE and thought perhaps it would be MUCH better. Now I’m not so sure having read what you had to say about it…. if as you imply, it only works because it has benzalkonium chloride in it, then it’s no better than any chemical product. Seems to me that you are right re the properties of GSE only being antibacterial due to the benzalkonium etc in it…. what a con…. such a shame too because the makers claim so much good for the product but don’t tell you what’s in it or how it’s processed.
    I hope you didn’t mind my writing but with what you’ve said after my hopes of it being the “miracle” cure all… I’m terribly disappointed and will just stick with the Trigene that the vet has given me.
    best wishes

  2. Hi Chrissie
    Not all is lost! Do not dispair! There is a product you can use which is natural and safe – Colloidal silver. See: Colloidal Silver
    Colloidal simply means the way the silver is distributed in the distilled water.
    Silver is a natural antibiotic and antifungal and antiviral. IT IS FANTASTIC. I have used it on my dog to excellent effect. I use it on myself and it is fabulous. I wouldn’t be without it.
    Hope you are able to source the colloidal as it is very safe for animals.

    With good wishes

  3. i am trying to make my owm aloes gel and heard that i could use gfse to gel the liquid.will that work if try making my own gfse and get shelflife at the same time?

  4. Aloe Vera needs to have a preservative generally potassium sorbate or it will form bacteria and go off. Aloe Vera without any preservative must be kept in the fridge and used within a few days after opening. See this link, essentialwholesale
    There is a case being presented for using Aloe Vera as a preservative because a test case showed that grapes kept for 35 days when coated with Aloe Vera gel.
    It can only be the preservative in the Aloe Vera gel that kept the grapes fresh and not the Aloe Vera on its own. See medicalnewstoday
    I have never heard of GFSE being used as a preservative or to form a gel, but that is not to say it hasn’t been used.
    I wouldn’t touch GFSE with a barge pole because of all the reasons already provided in the article above.
    A gel can be made with the liquid aloe vera and cornflour, using citric acid as a preservative.
    Other preservatives are manuka honey (test your product first), tea-tree, neem oil, colloidal silver.
    Making your own GFSE will not provide the antimicroblal properties you are looking for because it is the powerful chemical benzalkonium chloride that is used in propriatry GFSE. It is that chemical that gives the antimicrobial properties and there are no antimicrobial properties in Grapefruit seeds on their own.

  5. Pingback: Ban Citricidal and Grapefruit Seed Extract

  6. I’m confused – I use citricidal all the time, but you are saying it is a chemically synthesised product whose benefits have nothing to do with grapefruit seeds? But surely grapefruit seeds, being a cirtus fruit, contain vitamin C which is beneficial in and of itself? Also, where is the proof that it contains Benzethonium Chloride? Thank you for your help!

    • The article on this website suggests that those who make citricidal do not use benzethonium chloride anymore: http://www.naturalingredient.org/GSE_Interview.html . However they will not state what their proprietary blend is. If it was totally natural they would be advertising it from the roof tops as natural but they are not.
      Generally when we consume a herb or plant or food that helps our health, because it is a recognised substance that once grew from the ground, we accept it as natural and therefore could do our bodies some good.
      But in the past 100 years, some of our natural food has been chemically altered for example a good source for our hormones and brain – seed oils, was chemically altered to produce a substance called margarine. This chemical alteration of a natural food source then caused the very health conditions that the natural food source could have helped, and problems with hormonal systems have resulted.
      So I do avoid chemically altered foods such as the grapefruit seeds in citricidal and whatever chemical they have used to break down the seeds.
      All I can factually tell you here is that when I used an organic cold-pressed grapefruit seed extract, it had NO anti-microbial effect and I had it tested in a professional laboratory. I used to use citricidal on my athlete’s food infection and it helped. When I used the organic cold-pressed grapefruit seed product it made the athlete’s foot infection worse. If grapefruit seeds had an anti-microbial effect then why aren’t we chewing them when we have an infection?
      I cannot say whether there are any beneficial substances left in the seed pulp after chemical extraction.
      If I have an infection I gargle with a dilution of tea-tree and water, or salt and water. I ingest colloidal silver and I take activated charcoal which helps take toxins out of the body. This all seems to help very well. Taking in organic cold pressed seed oils – evening primrose and flaxseed also helps the internal health of my gut.
      I do hope this helps you, if you require any further information, then do not hesitate to get in touch.

  7. thanks for your posts. All sounds a bit confusing. Two things I’d like to add from my own experience.
    Made my own Colloidal Silver in the past and cannot say it ever cured anything. Then stopped taking it because I started reading that CS, if ingested can, in some cases, cause irreversable blue coloring of ones skin (a side effect I am not keen to chance)
    As for Ciricidal – just started taking 400mg capsules (from organic health food shop) and it gave me diarreah, weakness and cold sweats both days I took it. It feels very much like when taking strong anti-biotiocs.
    Funnily I took 100mg capsules of ‘ordinary’ CFSE (i.e. not 100% sure if non-chemical or not) before, which did not give me diarreah.
    Am assuming 400mg might just be a too high dose and causing a gut flora killing spree in my gut – at least it feels that way.

    • I do know that taking too much Colloidal Silver will change your skin color. Taking small doses is recommended. I do not know too much about Citracidal but in my research I have discovered that it is useless without the chemicals & the side effects of the chemicals can be severe for some.

  8. Very interesting article. Thank you Marianne for doing this research. Your arguments make perfect sense, whereas the responses you got from Companies A and B were not logical. So, you have convinced me. I also liked your example of margarine – a product starting off with healthy oil and converting it to unhealthy oil.
    I too use colloidal silver. Just out of curiosity, what are your thoughts on food grade hydrogen peroxide? I have read the ‘one minute cure’ and am a bit ‘cautious’?

      • I have bought the 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide and have used it for a few weeks – very diluted. you have to be careful with this and dilute it only in distilled water. After a few days of drinking it I got diarreah (spel?) and stopped taking it. Maybe this was a good sign as I maybe needed ‘clearing out’. Who knows? But I have put this treatment on ‘hold’ for a while, to try to find people who have actually taken the whole course and hear what they have to say about it. the reasoning behind it is that hydrogen peroxide is H202 (2 hydrogen and 2 oxygen atoms) – water is 2hydrogen and 1 oxygen, so you are getting extra oxygen, which evidently the body needs and doesn’t get enough of in our polluted atmosphere. Please read up on it all before you take it, as it can be very potent. 99% hydrogen peroxide is rocket fuel, so you can imagine what 35% can do.

  9. Why don’t you just test the “organic” version of GFSE and see if there are any chemicals present?
    I mean the one from Nutracueticals that is made from organic GF, and test for the chemicals they may use for processing.

    I do chew up my GF seeds each morning when I eat a grapefruit. They taste fine to me and I spit out the woody hull of course. I look forward to them and wish for more, sometimes there are only a few in each GF! Which led me to wonder how the heck they can make the volume of this stuff when the seeds are not all that plentiful!

    I started doing this bc when I called Nutraceuticals I wasn’t really convinced that their product would be good for me, so I chew my seeds!

  10. Dear Marianne Gutierrez,
    I’m so glad I took the time to read a number of articles before buying GFSE/GSE for its antibacterial (etc.) properties. Thank you for you articles and passion!
    The nail in the GFSE coffin for me:

    Now as far as using self-made organic GFSE for other claims (for skin care) I might still try that out. I was looking at this product: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KFNU160/ any thoughts about it?

    Keep up the great work! 🙂

  11. My Mother (86) just got diagnosed with NTM (non tuberculous mycro bacteria that comes for water and soil) The treatment is 1 to 2 years on a high dose on antibiotics which has many side effects that she probably can not withstand. A friend told me about a company that make best quality GSE called NUTRIBIOICS. After two days of taking twice the recommended dose, my mother stopped coughing up mucus and having coughing jags. I called the company and they DO NOT use Quaternary compounds to in their process and she went on to explain in detail their process. She also said they get calls like this all the time. She will be continuing to take it now that I am satisfied that they use NO harnfull synthetic perservatives and have been around for over 40 years!

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