Habitat & Cultivation : Indigenous to southern Europe and western Asia, the grapevine is grown in warm temperate areas worldwide for both its fruit and the production of wine. Leaves are harvested during the summer, while the fruit is collected in autumn.
Parts Used : Leaves, fruit, seeds, sap.
Constituents : The grapevine comprises flavonoids, tannins, tartrates, inositol, carotenes, choline, and sugars. Its fruit is rich in tartaric and malic acids, sugars, pectin, tannin, flavone glycosides, anthocyanins (present in red leaves and red grapes), vitamins A, B1, B2, and C, as well as minerals. The anthocyanins contribute to the reduction of capillary permeability.
History & Folklore : In 1652, Nicholas Culpepper praised the grapevine, hailing it as a “most gallant tree of the sun, very sympathetic to the body of man, and that’s the reason spirit of wine is the greatest cordial amongst all vegetables.”
Medicinal Actions & Uses : Grapevine leaves, particularly the red ones, possess astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. Infusions made from these leaves are used to address conditions such as diarrhea, heavy menstrual bleeding, uterine hemorrhage, and mouth ulcers. They are also employed as a douche for vaginal discharge. Red leaves and grapes are considered beneficial for treating varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and capillary fragility. The sap extracted from the branches serves as an eyewash. Grapes are nourishing, mildly laxative, and supportive during illnesses affecting the gastrointestinal tract and liver. Due to their nutrient composition resembling that of blood plasma, grape fasts are recommended for detoxification. Dried fruits like raisins or sultanas have mild expectorant and emollient properties, offering slight relief for coughs. Additionally, wine vinegar is recognized for its astringent, cooling, and soothing effects on the skin.
Research : Grape seed extract displays powerful antioxidant properties and provides circulatory protection. Its effectiveness extends to normalizing blood pressure and heart rate, serving as a preventative and anti-aging solution that promotes robust circulation. Research has shown that grape seed extract is beneficial in reducing leg swelling among healthy women who spend prolonged periods sitting at work. Additionally, recent studies suggest its potential utility in addressing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and late-onset diabetes.