Grapes (Vitis vinifera), members of the Vitaceae (Grape) Family, are one of the planet’s earliest cultivated foods. The genus name, vitis refers to “vine” and the species name, vinifera means, “wine bearing.” Believed to originate in Asia, there are as many as 8,000 grape varieties, though about fifty are used in commerce.
Grapes are sweet, sour, neutral, and cooling. Grapes contain beta carotene, B complex, vitamin C, as well as boron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, pectin, malic, citric and oxalic acids. Grapes are easy to digest and considered therapeutic for the lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen, and also a blood and chi tonic. Grapes nourish the yin fluids of the body. Grapes are antibacterial, antiviral, and diuretic. Grapes are highly alkaline and help the body eliminate uric acid. Grapes are used to strengthen the sinews and bones. Grapes have been used therapeutically to treat cancer, constipation, cough, digestive disorders, edema, gout, hepatitis, immunity, jaundice, and rheumatism. They also help one’s ability to be mentally focused. Grape skins contain resversatrol, which prevents blood platelet aggregation and elevates the beneficial HDL (high density lipoprotein).
Fasting on grapes “The Grape Cure” is called ampelotherapy and is powerfully detoxifying and alkalinizing. Grapes contain ellagic acid, which scavenges carcinogenic factors and moves them out of the body. The darker varieties (red and purple), more so than the white or green varieties, are considered more strengthening, blood building, richer in iron, and contain the antioxidant quercitin. Grapes containing seeds are rich in the antioxidant flavonoids procyanolic oligomers and leukocyanidins, both of which are used to treat varicose veins and other vein disorders as well as atherosclerosis. The outside of grape seeds contains tartaric acid which helps cleanse catarrh out of the body.
Purchase grapes, with a powdery blush that look fresh where the stem is attached. Grapes with lots of small green berries indicate they were picked before ripe and are likely to be sour. Grapes are one of the most chemically treated fruits, so go for organic or avoid. Store them in the refrigerator, after picking off any bad grapes to prevent them from drying out, where they should keep a couple of weeks. Grapes are used in fruit salad, jelly, juice and wine. Enjoy as a snack by themselves or as an excellent dessert. Raisins, of course are made from dried grapes. Those with diabetes and hypoglycemia should use raisins with caution. Like other dried fruits, raisins can stick to the teeth and promote dental decay, so rinse the moth or brush the teeth after consuming them. Young tender grape leaves can be used as a wrapper, instead of bread for delicious fillings. Because grapes contain salicylates, those with aspirin sensitivities, may react adversely to grapes.
Grapes have been applied topically as a poultice to reduce infection and tumors. Green grapes can be used as a facial to cleanse and tighten the skin.