Grapefruit Seed Extract to Treat Thrush


Even writing that 6-letter word gives me shivers.

Thrush—which is a yeast infection in a baby’s mouth that can spread to a mother’s nipples—can be as painful as it is difficult to diagnose.

If you feel shooting pain when your baby latches on to nurse (and sometimes throughout the entire feeding), you may have thrush.

Your nipple, depending on your skin tone, may look a little red. Or it may not look any different.

You can sometimes tell if the baby has thrush by looking at his tongue: if it is coated in a white substance that looks like milk but doesn’t come off when he swallows, it may be thrush.

Since thrush can cause cracks in your nipples, it is often accompanied by a secondary bacterial infection.

I’m very sensitive to sugar and if I’m not careful about eating sweets, I tend to get yeast infections. So it’s not surprising that I’ve had thrush at some point with every one of my four children. I just had it with Leone. It was so painful to nurse on the left side that I was up most of the night, curling my toes to keep from crying out and waking the baby.

Anyone who has tried to fight a thrush infection already knows that traditional Western topical anti-fungal medications just don’t work.

At least, they’ve never worked for me.

In addition to prescription medication like nystatin, people will tell you to try gentian violet. You paint the purple stuff on your nipples and it gets all over the baby’s mouth when he nurses.

Gentian violet has never worked for me either.

But I do have a treatment that works.

The first thing to do if you suspect you have thrush and you’re breastfeeding is to cut all sugar and sweets out of your diet and to stop drinking alcohol. You should also start eating plain organic yogurt with every meal, and you can take acidophilus as well. The healthy bacteria cultures in the yogurt will help beat out the yeast outbreak. Then run to a natural food store and buy grapefruit seed extract. (Note that this is NOT grape seed extract, that is a different supplement.)

Grapefruit seed extract comes in capsule form and in liquid. You need the liquid form but it’s so bitter and hard to swallow that you may want to buy capsules too.

Put 1 drop of grapefruit seed extract in 5 drops of water and apply this to both nipples three times a day. At the same time, drink 15 drops of extract in an 8-oz glass of water (hold your nose and drink as fast as you can, try not to gag) three times a day. Or take 1 capsule.

Leone’s tongue went from being coated with white to looking completely normal in one day and the pain in my nipple subsided immediately. I wish more doctors knew about this cure. They could stop prescribing costly anti-fungals that don’t work anyway and start suggesting a cure that actually clears up the infection.

Have you had any difficulties breastfeeding? Do you have simple and easy cures to seemingly unsolvable health problems? Please share your experiences, thoughts, and suggestions in the comment section below.

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20 thoughts on “Grapefruit Seed Extract to Treat Thrush”

  1. I am not currently convinced by how safe it is but it has worked for me in many situations such as thrush, gastrointestinal upset and we used it in our pets and chicken waters. I wish someone would conclusively say how safe it is and what if any additives are in the commercial extracts. Oh and telling us which brands have the nasty chemicals would be nice too.

    but some good news:

  2. I had it once with each baby and it was awful. The nystatin worked for me but I think it took a few days. I wish I had known about this. I often ask this kind of question – why don’t doctors know about natural remedies that really work? I just educated my urologist about aloe for interstitial cystitis. He had never heard of it. And it works like a charm.

  3. I just read an article in the New York Times about doctors being ignorant on nutrition. Someone should write a good-sense book to complement the medical education of our general practitioners, with helpful tips like this one, tips that work and do not involve drugs.
    .-= Alexandra´s last blog ..Pearls =-.

  4. I found out about this treatment when my son was a baby and I got a really bad thrush infection. I consulted two doctors, the LLL leader, and a lactation consultant. Nothing worked (not nystatin, not alternating vinegar and baking soda washes, not sun). Finally a hospital lactation consultant suggested this treatment over the phone. She also suggested I treat the cracks in my nipples with vitamin E. There is some controversy surrounding topical vitamin E but since my son wasn’t a newborn it seemed safe. I did both and the infection that had been plaguing me for weeks went away in one day. It was such a relief.
    .-= Jennifer Margulis´s last blog ..Big Island on a Budget =-.

  5. Grapefruit seed extract is amazing stuff. We ALWAYS have some on hand. I use it for everything from washing produce to making a sore throat gargle to calming an upset stomach! It’s really incredible.

  6. I too have had years (I’m talking over 5) of chronic thrush, ever since I gave birth to my twin boys and continuing through the last 5 years of nursing. This summer after throwing my hands in the air, I too tried GFSE, and frankly it didn’t work for me. Why is it? I don’t know. My weakness for sugar and a glass of occasional wine didn’t help, but I cut those out in the first 3 years and it still prevailed. I think for some it has more to do with sensitive skin and hormones. That’s my hunch with this case. Anyone else not have this work? Other ideas–I always think I’ve heard them all, but not always the case!

  7. @boysbybeth, I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with chronic thrush. It is so painful. It’s amazing that you’ve managed to keep nursing, despite the infection. I am sure you’ve already done all of this but it helps to eat a cup and a half of plain yogurt with every meal, take acidophilus three times a day, stop eating bread products, and also convert 70 percent of your diet to raw vegetables and some fruits. That is easy advice to give but hard to follow… Some women have had luck with rinsing their nipples with vinegar after every nursing. When I tried that it stung a lot and didn’t help. I’m also wondering if you tried GFSE in liquid form? I think that’s more powerful than the capsules. Finally, a lactation consultant also recommended putting compresses of black tea bags (don’t ask me why, I have no idea. And I didn’t try this!) on your nipples before and after nursing. Another thing that HAS helped me with fungal infections is Pau d’Arco tea. Not my favorite but it seems to help get the yeast out of one’s system.
    .-= Jennifer Margulis´s last blog ..Big Island on a Budget =-.

  8. I’m a nurse nutritional consultant and I was just reading through this article and the comments that followed. I love learning about home/natural/drug-free remedies! Thanks for sharing this! Though the GFSE or the other home remedies or even Nystatin will hopefully cure the current outbreak one is facing, I would like to offer this food for thought… It is probable that there is an underlying source/cause as to why you got the thrush infection in the first place. Many, in fact most people, have yeast growing in their body; typically in the GI tract, especially the colon. Our modern diet, full of chemicals, sugar, white flour, artifical, and highly processed foods, wreck havoc on your body in so many ways. Parasites and yeast are all too prevalent. So for you women experiencing recurrent yeast/thrush infections, it is likely that you have yeast growing elsewhere in your body. So diet is key! When nursing it is not safe to do a colon cleanse, which would be the best place to start when cleaning the body of yeast and/or parasites, so it can be extremely difficult to rid your body of the yeast without a detox/cleanse program. So, do the best you can to eliminate sugar from your diet (yeast feeds on sugar) and eat mostly raw/organic vegetables, minimal fruit (natural sugar, but still sugar). Also, supplement with a high quality probiotic daily, take high amounts of Vit. C and D3 (for their immune boosting properties). And do your best with natural remedies like the GFSE to help get over the current infection. As soon as you are through nursing your child, and as long as you are not pregnant, I highly recommend a good colon cleanse like the one from or

    Hope this is found to be helpful!

    God bless,


  9. It works better than anything else I’ve tried for vaginal thrush too. Just remember to dilute it well; a few drops in water; or you’ll hit the ceiling screaming!

  10. My son was born five weeks early, and since I hadn’t had a Strep B test yet, I was put on an antibiotic drip. The NICU doctor recommended putting my son on antibiotics as well, since it would take two days to get the blood work results back. Even though I grew up using homeopathic remedies over antibiotics, I naively thought, “thank goodness there were no side effects!” Then I discovered we had thrush.

    Again, going against my strong faith in natural medicine (and wanting something that would “really work”) I tried nystatin for two months. While it stopped the thrush from getting any worse, it did nothing to get rid of it. I cut out sugar, etc, etc. I tried gentian violet for the maximum time… my son’s cheeks cleared up for 24 hours and the thrush was back.

    When I visited my homeopath (6 hours away), he put both of us on probiotics (Ultra Bifidus), and Natrum Phos and Candida Albicans drops for yeast allergies. Though it took another three months, this time I didn’t have any qualms about giving my baby a thrush treatment multiple times a day. Instead of giving him an antifungal, and, if I understood the nystatin pamphlet right, an antibiotic, I was giving his body support. Oh–and nystatin has sugar in it to make it more palatable, but since yeast feeds off sugars, this makes no sense to me. Once I switched to natural medicines, I met other moms and nurses at the clinic who said they had been hearing that yeast was now resistant to nystatin.

    I also did apple cider vinegar soaks on my nipples and opened acidophilus capsules and made paste with them in water for myself and to rub inside my son’s cheeks.

    I think it’s also really important to note that my energy worker told me that yeast causes anger–yeast does not want to die off in your body. I certainly felt a lot of rage upon discovering the thrush, and it was good to know that was just a side effect.

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