Grape seed

The leaves and fruit of the grape have been used medicinally since ancient Greece. Today, grape seed extract is used as a folk or traditional remedy for conditions related to the heart and blood vessels, such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and poor circulation; complications related to diabetes, such as nerve and eye damage; vision problems, such as macular degeneration (which can cause blindness); swelling after an injury or surgery; cancer prevention; and wound healing.

The seeds of grapes (Vitis vinifera L.) are a rich source of proanthocyanidins and these grape seed proanthocyanidins (GSPs) are promising bioactive phytochemicals that have shown anti-carcinogenic effects in some tumor models with no apparent signs of toxicity.

Experimental studies have shown that oral administration of GSE lowers ROS (reactive oxygen species) generation and plasma protein carbonyl groups, while it enhanced the activity of the endogenous antioxidant system. Clinical trials have confirmed the antioxidant effects of GSE. The antiulcer activity of GSE has been also referred. (Peptic ulcer, a common gastrointestinal pathological condition, is due to the loss of the balance between aggressive and defensive factors of the gastric and duodenal mucosa.) In a 2011 study effects of GSE and vitamins C and E on aspirin- and ethanol-induced gastric ulcer were compared. GSE produced the greatest reductions of gastric MDA.

What grape seed extract is used for:

-relieving symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency (when veins have problems sending blood from the legs back to the heart)

-reducing edema (swelling) after an injury or surgery

-diabetic retinopathy (an eye problem caused by diabetes)

-for vascular fragility (weakness in small blood vessels)

-Grape seed extract contains antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals (highly reactive molecules that can damage cell function)

Possible side effects: dry, itchy scalp; dizziness; headache; high blood pressure; hives; indigestion; and nausea.

Grape seed extract is generally well tolerated when taken by mouth. It has been used safely for up to 8 weeks in clinical trials. During pregnancy, grape seed extract should be used only when clearly needed. Interactions between grape seed extract and medicines or other supplements have not been carefully studied.-Sources: 1.NCCAM, 2. PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e31093. Epub 2012 Jan 27., 3. Adv Pharmacol Sci. 2011;2011:740687. Epub 2011 Nov 20., photo:Pixabay