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Grape Seed

Medically reviewed on June 7, 2018

What is Grape Seed?

V. vinifera is a deciduous climber with several stems, tendrils, clusters of pale-green flowers, and palm-shaped leaves. Grapes are native to southern Europe and western Asia but are cultivated in temperate regions throughout the world. French hybrid varieties of grapes were developed mainly for wine making. The berries grow in bunches of 6 to 300 grapes on woody, climbing vines and range in color from light green to purple black.

Scientific Name(s)

Vitis vinifera

Common Name(s)

Grape seed extract, muskat, oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes, proanthocyanidin, procyanidolic oligomers

What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical Uses

Grape leaves have been found in fossils dating back to prehistoric times. Grapes were domesticated in western Asia before 5,000 BC and have been mentioned in biblical writings and depicted in tomb paintings dating to 2,400 BC. Jesuit priests brought Spanish grapes to Mexico in the 17th century, establishing vineyards in what is now Socorro, New Mexico, the area of the earliest grape plantings in the United States. Ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks noted the health benefits of wine drinking, and the heart-protective effect of regular wine consumption has been observed among Mediterranean populations. Grape seed extract and proanthocyanidins have been marketed in France for decades as treatment for blood vessel disorders, and the extract is used extensively in Japan as a food additive and antioxidant. Cold-pressed grape seed oil, obtained as a by-product of wine making, is used in cooking and salad dressings.

General Uses

Grape seed is known for its antioxidant properties. Limited studies suggest possible roles in heart and blood vessel disease, nerve tissue disorders, and cancer.

What is the recommended dosage?

Composition of commercial preparations is highly variable. Extracts of grape seed have been studied in clinical trials at doses of 150 to 2,000 mg/day.

Contraindications

Grape seed should not be used in patients allergic to grape products.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

Supplements containing grape seed extracts should be used cautiously in patients with high blood pressure if administered with vitamin C.

Side Effects

Generally well tolerated.

Toxicology

No toxicity in humans has been reported.

References

1. Grape Seed. Review of Natural Products. Facts & Comparisons [database online]. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Health Inc; December 2012.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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