Grapes along with their leaves and sap have been traditional treatments in Europe for thousands of years. Grape seed extract is derived from the ground-up seeds of red wine grapes. Although fairly new to the U.S., grape seed extract is now used to treat a number of diseases.

What is in grape seed extract?

What you may not know is that grape seed extract contains a vast array of health-giving ingredients, such as protein, lipids, carbohydrates and polyphenols (which come mainly in the form of flavonoids, also known as bioflavonoids). The term flavonoid is used for a class of plant chemicals known for their activity as highly potent antioxidants, and therefore for their capability in protecting the body against oxidative and free radical damage.It’s not really surprising when you consider the scientific studies: they show that the antioxidant power of polyphenols is 20 times more powerful than vitamin E, and 50 times greater than vitamin C.

Because of its polyphenol content, purple grape juice provides a far greater antioxidant effect than orange juice.

Benefits of Grapeseed Extract

Fights Candida

Grapefruit seed extract is on my candida diet treatment plan for very good reason. Candidiasis, commonly referred to as “candida,” is a fungal infection that can affect men and women of all ages in various parts of the body. It most commonly occurs in the mouth, ears, nose, toenails, fingernails, gastrointestinal tract and vagina.

A Polish study published in 2001 found that a 33 percent grapefruit extract has a potent antifungal effect against Candida albicans strains taken from patients withcandida symptomsGSE’s antifungal properties help it combat candida infestations by killing the yeast cells that have taken over in the body.

Grape seed extract and cancer:

Many studies have shown the benefits of grape seed extract on slowing cancer growth and initiating cancer cell death. Researchers at the University of Kentucky found that the antioxidants in grape seed extract triggered the death of 76% of exposed leukemia cells by turning on a protein known as “JNK” that regulates cancer cell pathways.

Other studies have shown that grape seed extracts help the liver to detoxify from radiation induced poisons and chemotherapy. In addition, they help the liver to detoxify bad estrogenic molecules. By helping the body eliminate these toxic substances, grape seed helps reduce the growth of breast, stomach, colon, prostate and lung cancer cells.

Grape seed extract and Th2 immunity:

The two major parts of our immune system are the Th1 and Th2 systems. It is essential that these systems are both working in a balanced and coordinated manner. Many individuals have a dominance in one of the major pathways.

According to the research of Dr. Datis Kharrazian and other health experts, the components within grape seed extract tend to improve the Th2 immune system. For most individuals, this provides a great immune boost. However, some individuals have a strong Th2 dominance and anything that increases Th2 activity (which also inhibits Th1 immunity) would create a further immune imbalance and could drive further inflammatory conditions. It is advisable for individuals with Th2 dominant conditions to do a supplement challenge where they intentionally see how their body responds to grape seed extract or another Th2 stimulating compound before they use it indiscretionarily. If it is shown through a cytokine blood test or through a supplement challenge that they have a Th2 dominance, it is best to avoid grape seed extract.

Kills Antibiotic-Resistant UTIs

A noteworthy case study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2005 found that grapefruit seeds were highly effective in killing antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections. The study looked at several patients who were treated with grapefruit seeds (Citrus paradisi) orally for two weeks. The dosage was five to six grapefruit seeds every eight hours.

Within those two weeks, all patients responded satisfactorily to the treatment minus one. However, this patient initially had the bacterial UTI resistant to three different antibiotics, but after taking grapefruit seed there was a reversal of the antibiotic resistance pattern. Although a small human study, the data points toward the antibacterial ability of dried or fresh grapefruit seeds being comparable to proven antibacterial drugs, making it an effective home remedy for UTIs.

Remedies Fungal Infections

Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection sometimes mistaken for tuberculosis that’s caused by Histoplasma capsulatum or H. capsulatum, a fungus often found in bird and bat droppings. Histoplasmosis is most commonly transmitted when spores become airborne (often during cleanup or demolition projects) or from dirt contaminated with the droppings. The majority of people who acquire histoplasmosis are symptomless and never even know they’re infected, but some people may develop flu-like symptoms that last around 10 days.

For people with weak immune systems, chronic diseases or for infants, histoplasmosis can be serious. About 500,000 people are exposed to H. capsulatum each year in the U.S. A recommended alternative treatment for this fungal infection is grapefruit seed extract at a dosage of 100 milligrams (capsule) or five to 10 drops in water three times daily.

It’s recommended for its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Since GSE likely helps make the immune system stronger, it can help provide symptom release for fungal infections like histoplasmosis.

Relieves Athlete’s Foot and Nail Fungus

Athlete’s foot is a skin disease that usually occurs between the toes and is caused by a fungus. As a natural treatment for athlete’s foot, you can try applying full-strength grapefruit seed extract to the problem areas two to three times per day. It shouldn’t take too long to have the itching, burning and general unpleasantness of athlete’s foot under control.

You can also use GSE as an alternative to tea tree oil to treat toenail fungus. Simply paint the extract on the infected nails twice a day until you see improvement.

Treats Digestive Disturbances Associated with Eczema

Eczema is a common skin disorder that often has links to food choices and digestive issues. One preliminary human trial investigated the effectiveness of grapefruit seed extract on atopic eczema patients who also had intestinal dysbiosis, a microbial imbalance or maladaptation in the digestive tract. All patients showed severe atopic eczema, including bleeding lesions over the face, limbs and trunk, while 14 of 25 also had intermittent diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, intestinal rushes, bloating and abdominal discomfort.

Subjects received either two drops of a 0.5 percent liquid concentrate of grapefruit seed extract twice a day or 150 milligrams of encapsulated grapefruit seed extract (ParaMicrocidin®) three times a day. After a month, all of the subjects taking capsules experienced significant improvements in constipation, flatulence and abdominal discomfort, as well as night rest, while 20 percent of the subjects taking the liquid experienced significant improvements in their negative digestive symptoms. The extract was mostly effective against Candida, Geotrichum sp. and hemolytic E. coli. There were zero side effects during the entire study.

Works as a General Antimicrobial

Grapefruit seed extract benefits can be experienced when it’s taken by mouth for bacterial, viral and fungal infections, including yeast infectionsBut there are also many grapefruit seed uses that don’t involve ingesting the extract. Due to its antimicrobial activities, grapefruit seed extract is commonly included in many throat sprays, nasal sprays, ear drops, mouth washes, toothpastes, shower gels, wound disinfectant sprays and other personal care products. Instead of using unnatural and synthetic preservatives, many natural companies turn to grapefruit seed extract for its ability to preserve a product by killing unwanted bacteria.

Other antimicrobial uses of grapefruit seed extract include:

  • In laundry — to kill fungi and bacteria, add 10 to 15 drops to the final rinse
  • In carpet cleaners — to kill pathogenic organisms
  • Sterilizing and disinfecting operating rooms
  • In nebulizers — one drop GSE to one ounce saline water for control of respiratory infections
  • In humidifiers — three to four drops per gallon of water to prevent algae growth
  • As a better preservative than most chemical preservatives currently on the market
  • Disinfecting surfaces — when mixed with water in a spray bottle, it’s great for disinfecting cutting boards and other kitchen as well as bathroom surfaces
  • In hot tubs and swimming pools — GSE is added to lessen the need for high levels of chlorine
  • Farming — farmers use the extract in animal feed and water to reduce the incidence of infectious diseases