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Grape

Vitis vinifera

Fox Grape
Grape
Grape Vine
Vine

Parts used
Uses
Habitat and cultivation
Constituents
Applications
Slimming herbal tea
Resveratrol

Herbs gallery - grape vine


Grape - shrub with more or less twisted stems bearing small, round, green branches adorned with large, alternating and palm like leaves. The tiny flowers are grouped in a light green panicle. The fruit is a berry of variable color (from light green to deep blue depending on the variety) that contains between 5 and 10 seeds. A plant originally from good stock can live for 600 years.

The grape is one of the oldest fruits in history. Grape seeds have been found in mummy cases in Egyptian tombs that are more than 3,000 years old. At the time of Homer, the Greeks were using wines, and the Bible tells of grape cultivation in the time of Noah.

The Mission Fathers of California were the first to grow the European type of grape in the USA. This variety became known as the Mission grape and remained the choice variety until 1860 when other choice European varieties were introduced into this country. Between 6,000 and 8,000 varieties of grapes have been named and described, but only 40 to 50 varieties are important commercially. Table grapes must be attractive in appearance and sweet and firm. Large size, brilliant color, and beautifully formed bunches are the qualities desired.

There are four classes of grapes: wine grapes, table grapes, raisin grapes, and sweet (unfermented) juice grapes.

Grapes are used throughout the world for curative purposes. In France, it is not uncommon for people to use grapes as their sole diet for many days during the grape season. The low incidence of cancer in these areas has been attributed to the high percentage of grapes in the daily diet. The therapeutic value of grapes is said to be due to high magnesium content. Magnesium is an element that is needed for good bowel movements. Grapes are wonderful for replacing this chemical element.

The juice of the Concord grape is one of the best to use. Juice from other grapes, however, can be used as well. If the juice is too sweet or upsets the stomach, a little lemon juice can be added. Mix with pineapple juice or any citrus fruit, if desired. Used in combination with whey, soy milk, and an egg yolk, it makes a wonderful tonic for the blood.

Grape skins and seeds are good for bulk, but sometimes are irritating in conditions of colitis and ulcers, so they should not be eaten by persons who have these conditions. When chewed well, bitter grape skins make a good laxative. There is also a laxative element found in the seeds.

Grapes are wonderful for promoting action of the bowel, cleansing the liver, and aiding kidney function. They are alkalinizing to the blood, and high in water content, so they add to the fluids necessary to eliminate hardened deposits that may have settled in any part of the body. They are wonderful for the kidneys and the bladder and are very soothing to the nervous system. The high content of grape sugar gives quick energy. Dark grapes are high in iron, which makes them good blood builders.

As grapes do not mix well with other foods, it is best to eat them alone. Make sure they are ripe, as the green acids are not good for the blood. Crushed grapes may be used as a pack on a tumor or growth. Any infected area will improve after a grape pack is applied. It can be placed on the area of disturbance for a period of three to four days.

PARTS USED

Flowers, leaves, raw berries, seeds.

USES

Grape leaves, especially the red leaves, are astringent and anti-inflammatory. They are taken as an infusion to treat diarrhea, heavy menstrual bleeding, and uterine hemorrhage, as a wash for canker sores, and as a douche for vaginal discharge. Red leaves and grapes are helpful in the treatment of varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and capillary fragility. The sap from the branches is used as an eyewash. Grapes are nourishing and mildly laxative, and they support the body through illness, especially of the gastrointestinal tract and liver. Because the nutrient content of grapes is close to that of blood plasma, grape fasts are recommended for detoxification. The dried fruit (raisins or sultanas) is mildly expectorant and emollient, with a slight effect in easing coughs. Wine vinegar is astringent, cooling, and soothing to the skin.
Other medical uses - Chronic venous insufficiency, Diabetic retinopathy, Kidney cancer, Lymphedema.

HABITAT AND CULTIVATION

Native to southern Europe and western Asia, grapes are cultivated in warm temperate regions throughout the world for their fruit and to produce wine. The leaves are collected in summer, the fruit in autumn.

CONSTITUENTS

- Leaves, juice and small branches: flavonoids, tartaric salts, choline, inositol, beta-carotene, minerals (calcium, potassium), fiber, tannins, chlorophyll.
- Fruit: sugar, acids, pectin, pigments, vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, and C, ionized water (80%), trace elements. Seeds: anthocyanins, polyunsaturated oil.

APPLICATIONS

The sap can be used directly on suppurating wounds or diluted in the same volume of boiling water to treat eye infections.
In a decoction: boil the fresh or dried leaves (1 leaf in 1 cup [250 ml] water). They are diuretic, excellent against cellulite and diarrhea, but especially tonic for the capillaries in the legs or the uterus; when used in a sit bath, or to bathe the hands or feet, the leaves are effective against circulatory blockages (hemorrhoids, varicose veins); in a poultice, they soothe headaches.
The grape represents one of the healthiest and most easily digested fruit. Grape makes it easier to tolerate fasting without suffering from hunger: it is, however, essential to choose organic fruit and, for sensitive stomachs, to spit out the pulp and pits, which act as a laxative and are indigestible.
Sulphur-free dried sultana raisins or currants soaked for several hours constitute a good pectoral: take before meals, 3 times daily.
Red grape juice without preservatives and unpasteurized is excellent for good health and contains as many flavonoids and antioxidant polyphenols as the fermented juice. As for the wine, although it lightens the heart, its dependence has caused much misfortune. However, a glass of good-quality wine every day can be healthy.
The crushed pips are a formidable source of immunostimulating agents, and their cold-pressed oil is among the recommended sources of fat.

SLIMMING HERBAL TEA

  • 3 t (10 g) vine leaves
  • 3 t (10 g) common elder flowers
  • 3 t (10 g) sapwood from the linden tree
  • 6 cups (1 .5 liters) water

Boil the plants for 5 minutes, infuse for 10 minutes. Drink all the liquid during the day, between meals. To eliminate water retention and intercellular toxins, drink 3 to 4 cups (750 ml to 1 liter) daily, before meals, for 10 to 30 consecutive days.

RESVERATROL

Red wine catechins are extracted from the skin of red wine grapes. The most active red wine catechin is resveratrol, a compound the grape plant manufactures in the skin of the fruit to deter gray mold. Although red wine catechins are found in purple grape juice and red wine, resveratrol is most abundant in immature grapes (which are more susceptible to mold) and in grapes grown in damp climates, especially on Long Island in New York.

Resveratrol is a helpful anticancer supplement. It has been shown to slow the development of atherosclerotic plaques and to protect the heart. In addition, it may reduce the inflammation that causes eczema.

Benefits of red wine catechins for specific health conditions include the following:

  • Bladder cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, and prostate cancer. Scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago reported in the prestigious journal Science that resveratrol stops not one but three major stages of cancer development. It stops cancer initiation, the stage in which the antioxidant defenses of the body are overwhelmed by cancer-causing chemicals. It stops cancer promotion, the stage in which the tumor secretes inflammatory chemicals essential for it to establish its own nutrient supplies and spread via the bloodstream. And in leukemia, it promotes differentiation, a process by which the unrestrained multiplication of cancer cells is stopped and white blood cells are returned to their normal life cycle.
    Since this announcement, nearly 100 scientific studies have attributed other cancer-fighting effects to resveratrol. Scientists at the Chungang University in Seoul, Korea, found that it deactivates some forms of the liver enzyme p450. This enzyme is necessary to transform many chemicals into a carcinogenic form. Resveratrol stops the liver from processing chemicals such as deadly dioxin into a carcinogenic form. Scientists at the University of Minnesota have found that resveratrol activates a gene named p53, which acts as a kind of "molecular patrolman" to destroy cells with damaged DNA, which may lead to the formation of various kinds of cancer. Scientists at National Taiwan University discovered that resveratrol stops the production of a chemical known as NFkB, which inflames tissues surrounding a tumor and is essential for leukemia viruses to activate leukemia. Researchers at the University of Maryland found that resveratrol acts in a manner similar to the medication tarnoxifen (Nolvadex) in laboratory tests, preventing estrogen from stimulating breast cancer cells.
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD). Resveratrol has been shown to slow the development of atherosclerotic plaques, thus reducing the risk of coronary artery disease. Recently, resveratrol has been shown to inhibit the oxidation of human low-density lipoproteins (LDLs, or "bad cholesterol"). Another study has shown that resveratrol, as well as some flavonoids, inhibits platelet aggregation, thus helping to forestall the formation of clots in the blood vessels.

Resveratrol is usually taken in tablet form. Unless dietary restrictions prohibit the consumption of sugar, drinking 12 to 14 fluid ounces (450 to 500 milliliters) of purple grape juice or one glass of red wine daily will have similar benefits.

Some studies have reported that the flavonoids in red wine can be absorbed from the intestine more efficiently than those in red grape juice. However, other research has found that there is no significant difference in the levels of catechins between alcoholic and nonalcoholic red wine. In fact, concentrations of catechins in plasma dropped more swiftly if alcohol was consumed.


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