Grape seed

Grapes (Vitis vinifera) have been heralded for their medicinal and nutritional value for thousands of years. Egyptians ate grapes at least 6,000 years ago, and several ancient Greek philosophers praised the healing power of grapes, usually in the form of wine. European folk healers made an ointment from the sap of grapevines to treat skin and eye diseases. Grape leaves were used to stop bleeding, inflammation, and pain, such as the kind brought on by hemorrhoids. Unripe grapes were used to treat sore throats, and dried grapes (raisins) were used for constipation and thirst. Round, ripe, sweet grapes were used to treat a range of health problems including cancer, cholera, smallpox, nausea, eye infections, and skin, kidney, and liver diseases.

But grapes, or the chemicals within them, especially oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs), have been touted as powerful antioxidants. Some people believe they could help treat a number of conditions, from heart disease to cancer to aging skin, although scientific evidence is mostly lacking for those conditions. However, there is good evidence that grape seed extract can help treat chronic venous insufficiency and edema.

A study of healthy volunteers found that taking grape seed extract substantially increased blood levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that destroy free radicals, which are harmful compounds in the body that damage DNA (genetic material) and even cause cell death. Scientists believe free radicals contribute to aging, as well as the development of a number of health problems, including heart disease and cancer.

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Uses of this Herb

Atherosclerosis Breast cancer Constipation Hair disorders Hemorrhoids Hypercholesterolemia High blood pressure Lung cancer Macular degeneration Pancreatitis Varicose veins

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Herbal medicine

Review Date: 1/2/2015  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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