The scientific name of common grape vine is Vitis vinifera and it belongs to the Vitaceae family. There is more to this plant than its delicious fruit. You might be aware of its use in wine making, but not many people are aware of the medicinal properties of various parts of grapes. Besides its fruit, the leaves, stem and seeds can also be used for treating several health problems. Grape seed consists of linoleic acid, polyphenols, lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins and oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs).
It is believed that grape seed is packed with powerful antioxidants that can protect the cells in our body from free radical damage. These antioxidants are believed to be more potent than those contained in vitamin C, E and beta-carotene. Due to the various health benefits of grape seeds, they are often used in herbal infusions or nutritional supplements. Encapsulated grape seed powder is readily available in health stores.
Grape Seed Powder
The oligomeric proanthocyanidins found in the grape seeds are believed to provide protection against oxidative cellular stress. OPCs are also present in wine and grape seed oil, but only in small amounts. Powdered or pulverized grape seeds are packed with antioxidants. The presence of polyphenol in the form of bioflavonoids also provides protection against environmental allergens.
Since it is anti-bacterial and anti-viral in nature, it can help in preventing infections. The consumption of grape seeds in their powdered form also equips the body to fight against carcinogens and disease-causing agents. It also prevents free radical damage and may help in preventing the growth of cancer cells.
Consuming the powdered extract can also help in improving the blood circulation. Due to its ability to improve blood flow to veins, it may also prove beneficial in the treatment of circulatory disorders such as varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency. Those suffering from leg cramps and numbness of arms and legs might also benefit by taking the powdered form of grape seeds. Consumption of powdered grape seeds is supposed to promote healthy functioning of the eyes. It can prevent eye disorders such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and sensitivity to light.
Research is going on to study its effectiveness in lowering cholesterol and treating cardiovascular diseases. Some studies have revealed that the use of powdered grape seeds might prevent the formation of plaque in arteries. Several animal studies have indicated that consumption of pulverized grape seeds can lower blood pressure.
It may prove beneficial in treating hypertension, but as of now, there isn't enough evidence to support this fact. Pulverized grape seeds can also help in preventing tooth decay and gum diseases by killing the bacteria present in the mouth. Procyanidins present in grape seed bond well with collagen, thereby promoting the elasticity of the skin. Thus, consuming this powder may prevent premature aging of the skin.
Now that you are aware of the benefits of pulverized grape seeds, let's move on to the side effects. There aren't many side effects of powdered grape seeds but one may suffer from nausea, dizziness, abdominal pain, sore throat and dry scalp due to an overdose. One must therefore consult a doctor regarding dosage of encapsulated powder.
Those who have been diagnosed with blood-clotting disorders, and are taking blood thinning medications must be really careful. An overdose can increase the risk of bleeding. In rare cases, consumption of this powder could cause bleeding in the brain. Since effects of grape seed on pregnant women or nursing mothers have not been studied, they must not consume grape seed extract or powder. Those who are allergic to grapes could develop allergic reactions on consuming this powder. Some of the side effects that may be experienced by people could be a result of adverse drug interactions, so make sure that you consult a doctor before using it.
This was some information on health benefits of pulverized grape seeds. Those of you who wish to consume this powder must consult a physician regarding its dosage. Make sure that you tell the physician regarding any other drugs that you are using. This is to prevent adverse drug interactions. Though the benefits of this health supplement are numerous, one must take it under medical supervision.