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Overview InformationGrapes are the fruit of grapevines. Vitis vinifera and Vitis labrusca are two common grapevine species. Vitis labrusca is commonly known as Concord grapes. The whole fruit, skin, leaves and seed of the grape plant are used as medicine. Grape seeds are by-products of the manufacturing of wine. Be careful not to confuse grape with grapefruit, and other similar sounding medicines.
Extracts from grape leaves and grape seeds may help patients with swelling in the legs due to poor blood flow (chronic venous insufficiency). Grape products are also commonly used for diseases of the heart and blood vessels, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and many other conditions. But there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses.
How does it work?Grape contains flavonoids, which can have antioxidant effects, lower the levels of low density lipoproteins (LDLs, or “bad cholesterol”), relax blood vessels, and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The antioxidants in grape might help to prevent heart disease and have other potentially beneficial effects. Red grape varieties provide more antioxidants than white or blush grape varieties.
Grape leaf might reduce inflammation and have astringent effects. In other words, grape leaf seems to be able to draw tissue together, which could help stop bleeding and diarrhea. These properties appear to be greatest in the red leaves.
Uses & Effectiveness
Possibly Effective for
- Poor blood flow in the legs (chronic venous insufficiency). Taking grape seed extract or proanthocyanidin, a chemical in grape seeds, by mouth seems to reduce symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency such as tired or heavy legs, tension, and tingling and pain. Research suggests that taking a specific grape leaf extract by mouth decreases leg swelling after 6 weeks.
- Eye stress. Taking grape seed extract by mouth might help decrease stress on the eyes from glare.
Possibly Ineffective for
- Hay fever. Taking grape seed extract for 8 weeks before ragweed pollen season does not seem to decrease seasonal allergy symptoms or the need to use allergy medications.
- Nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Taking 4 ounces of chilled Concord grape juice 30 minutes before meals for a week following each cycle of chemotherapy does not seem to reduce nausea or vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
- Tissue hardness and pain caused by radiation. Taking proanthocyanidin, a chemical found in grape seed extract, three times daily for 6 months does not reduce breast tissue hardness, pain, or tenderness in people treated with radiation therapy for breast cancer.
- Weight loss. Drinking Concord grape juice for 12 weeks does not seem to reduce weight in overweight people.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Age-related mental decline. Early research shows that drinking Concord grape juice daily for 12 weeks can improve verbal learning but not verbal recall in older people with age-related mental decline.
- Athletic performance. Early research shows that taking 400 mg of grape extract daily for one month might increase an athlete’s overall power when jumping, but not the initial power or maintenance of power. Other early research shows that drinking juice prepared from 46 grams of freeze-dried whole grape powder daily for 6 weeks does not improve oxygen uptake or the ability to perform work during a running exercise.
- Heart disease. There is some early evidence that drinking grape juice or red wine might reduce risk factors linked with heart disease, such as inflammation, clot formation, and oxidative damage to blood fats. But it’s not known if grape products specifically reduce heart disease risk.
- Eye damage caused by diabetes (diabetic retinopathy). Early evidence suggests that taking a specific grape seed extract product containing 100-200 mg of a chemical called proanthocyanidin daily can slow the progression of eye damage caused by diabetes.
- High cholesterol. Some research shows that taking 100 mg of grape seed extract twice daily for up to 2 months does not lower cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol. However, other research shows that grape seed extract might lower cholesterol when taken in combination with other ingredients, including chromium or a mixture of policosanol, tomato extract, and evening primrose oil.
- High blood pressure. Most research shows that grape seed extract does not reduce blood pressure in healthy people or people with high blood pressure. However, in men with metabolic syndrome, taking freeze-dried, dehydrated whole grapes for 20 days seems to lower blood pressure. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions, including high blood pressure, that increase the risk for heart disease. Some studies have evaluated the effects of grape juice on blood pressure but results are mixed.
- Dark skin patches on the face (melasma). Early research suggests that taking grape seed extract by mouth for 6-11 months reduces dark skin discolorations in Japanese women.
- Menopausal symptoms. Taking grape seed extract containing 200 mg of the chemical proanthocyanidin daily for 8 weeks seems to reduce hot flashes, anxiety, and some physical symptoms of menopause. This dose and a lower dose (100 mg/day) also seem to improve lean body mass and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in a blood pressure reading). But grape seed extract doesn’t seem to improve insomnia or depression.
- Metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that increase the risk for heart disease. Early research suggests that whole grapes might improve some of the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome in men. Taking freeze-dried, dehydrated whole grapes for 30 days seems to lower blood pressure and increases blood flow. Also, drinking grape juice for one month seems to improve blood flow in teenagers with metabolic syndrome. However, it is not known if these changes decrease the risk for diabetes or other aspects of metabolic syndrome. Also, other research shows that taking a specific product containing grape seed extract for 4 weeks does not reduce blood pressure in people with metabolic syndrome.
- Muscle soreness. Early research shows that drinking juice prepared from 46 grams of freeze-dried whole grapes per day for 6 weeks before an arm exercise test does not reduce pain or swelling one or two days after the exercise.
- Poor night vision. Early research suggests that grape seed extract containing chemicals called proanthocyanidins might improve night vision.
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Research shows that taking grape seed extract 1000 mg twice daily for 3 months improves some but not all markers of liver damage compared to vitamin C supplementation in people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Early research suggests that taking a specific grape seed extract product might reduce PMS symptoms, including pain and swelling.
- Wound healing. Early research shows that applying cream containing 2% grape seed extract reduces the time for wound healing after removal of skin lesions.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Canker sores.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
- Heavy menstrual periods.
- Liver damage.
- Treating varicose veins.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyGrape is LIKELY SAFE when consumed in amounts commonly found in foods.
Grape is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts. Grape seed extracts have been used safely in studies for up to 14 weeks. Eating large quantities of grapes, dried grapes, raisins, or sultanas might cause diarrhea. Some people have allergic reactions to grapes and grape products. Some other potential side effects include stomach upset, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, cough, dry mouth, sore throat, infections, headache, and muscular problems.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of grape in medicinal amounts (supplements or amounts that are higher than normal food amounts) during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid using more than amounts normally found in foods.
Bleeding conditions: Grape might slow blood clotting. Taking grape might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding conditions. However, there are no reports of this occurring in humans.
Surgery: Grape might slow blood clotting. It might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using medicinal amounts of grape at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Be cautious with this combination
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates) interacts with GRAPE
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.<br/><br/> Grape juice might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking grape along with some medications that are changed by the liver can decrease the effectiveness of some medications. Before taking grape talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.<br/><br/> Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include clozapine (Clozaril), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), fluvoxamine (Luvox), haloperidol (Haldol), imipramine (Tofranil), mexiletine (Mexitil), olanzapine (Zyprexa), pentazocine (Talwin), propranolol (Inderal), tacrine (Cognex), theophylline, zileuton (Zyflo), zolmitriptan (Zomig), and others.
Phenacetin interacts with GRAPE
The body breaks down phenacetin to get rid of it. Drinking grape juice might increase how quickly the body breaks down phenacetin. Taking phenacetin along with grape juice might decrease the effectiveness of phenacetin.
Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with GRAPE
Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Grape seed might also slow blood clotting. Taking grape seed along with warfarin (Coumadin) might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For poor blood flow in the legs (chronic venous insufficiency):
- A standardized red vine grape extract knows as AS 195 360 mg or 720 mg once daily for 6 to 12 weeks has been used. A specific grape seed extract containing proanthocyanidin 150-300 mg daily for one month has also been used. Proanthocyanidin is one of the active ingredients in grape.
- For reducing eye stress due to glare:
- A specific grape seed extract containing proanthocyanidin 200 mg daily for 5 weeks has been used.
- Grape seed extract proanthocyanidin at a dose of 300 mg per day has also been used.
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