Grape (Vitis vinifera L.)
Men of the Neolithic Age knew and cultivated wild grapes on the territory of present day Iran, Armenia, and Turkey, as early as 6000 B.C. By 500 B.C., vine cultivation and wine culture spread to Mesopotamia, Palestine, Egypt, and the islands of the Aegean Sea. At the dawn of feudalism, during the early Middle Ages, Europe assumed the leading role in grape and wine production, which was previously held by Asia.
The fruits of vines abound in active biological substances which are also found in wines made from grape must, therefore wine was considered one of the most important remedies even in ancient times. Because of its antiseptic effects, wine was used to heal wounds and ulcers and to wash infants, while taken internally it was used to treat cardiac weakness, circulatory disorders, respiratory diseases, and digestive disorders. The most recent research supports the usefulness of wine therapy, as the polyphenolic compounds in grape skin, also found in red wines, have been shown to have beneficent effects in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Folk medicine highly esteemed wine, not just in its pure form, but also mixed with medicinal plants as herbal wine or medicinal wine. Recipes for over a hundred types of herbal wine may be found in literature of the period, recommended for patients suffering from a wide range of ailments. The cold pressed oil of grape seed also contains many valuable substances, of which the quantities of poly-unsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E are outstanding. Poly-unsaturated fatty acids help the functioning of the immune system and are building blocks of the nervous system and the retina. They reduce cholesterol levels, thereby the risk of arteriosclerosis and circulatory disorders, while they strengthen the walls of capillaries and lower the risk of thrombosis.
The cosmetics industry utilises the berries, seeds, leaves, and roots of grapes. A distillate derived from the fruits of grapes is a strengthening and covering substance, while their extract is a skin conditioning agent. The juices of berries are skin conditioners, the seeds are skin protective substances, and the seed oil is a softening agent. Cold pressed grape seed oil has bactericidal, anti-inflammatory, and skin and hair regenerating effects. It may be an active ingredient in many types of cosmetics and may be used as an additive in massage oils and massage creams during cellulite treatments. Grape seed oil may be used in cosmetic products to care for sensitive, normal, and lipid deficient and dehydrated skin. The fruit acids in pressed grape juice have exfoliating effects when applied directly or in peels. The juice of the fruits and the active ingredients in fruit pulp hydrate, vitaminise, and regenerate skin. Thanks to an antioxidant OPC complex, products containing grape seed slow the ageing processes of skin by strengthening collagen fibres, and they have nourishing, smoothing effects.
- Sugars (glucose, fructose, galactose, maltose, arabinose, melibiose, raffinose, xylose, mannose, saccharose)
- Organic acids (malic acid, tartaric acid, citric acid)
- Pigments (flavones, anthocyanins)
- Substances containing nitrogen (proteins, amino acids, nitrates)
- Aromatic substances (terpene alcohols, esters, aldehydes, ketones, lactones, terpenes, acetates, amines)
- Pectins (pectin, rubber, pentosans, arabans, polysaccharides)
- Minerals (K, Mg, Na, P, Fe, B, Cu, Mg, Zn)
- Vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12, H, panthotenic acid, mesoinosit, para-aminobenzoic acid, folic acid, choline)
- Resveratrol (in the skin of the berries)
- Oil: 8-12 %
Oleic acids (linoleic acid, linolenic acid, palmitoleic acid, stearic acid, palmic acid, alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3)
- Oligomeric Proanthocyanidin (OPC) complex: vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, selenium, biflavonoids, bioflavanols (in the seed shell)