Grape – As Old as Civilization

Grape, with scientific name of Vitis vinifera L.  Blossom in April to May and fruit in August to September. Fruits are small and oval in shape, generally about 1 to 2 cm in size but grow tens to even hundreds in clusters, with various color from green, orange, yellow, black, dark blue and even pink.

Grape is one of the oldest fruit tree species in the world. The fossil plants were found in the third age of Strata, indicating that they were all over Europe, Asia and Greenland at that time.  Native to the coasts Black Sea and East Mediterranean and central Asia.  About five thousand to six thousand years ago, in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, South Caucasus and Central Asia, people have started brewing grape cultivation and making wine.  It was then brought westward into Italy, France and other countries of Western Europe, and eastward spread to East Asia. Now, grapes are cultivated all over the world, about 95% of them are concentrated in the northern hemisphere.

Grape can be taken as raw or raisins, and brew into wine.  It is not only delicious, but also of high nutritional value.  In mature form, the sugar content can be as high as 10 to 30%, mainly glucose.  There are also variety of acid in grape that can help in digestion.  With proper amount of intake, it can invigorate the health of spleen and stomach.  Grape contains various mineral including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and vitamin B2, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin C and vitamin P.  It also contains many essential amino acids.  Often intake of grapes will sooth neurasthenia and excessive fatigue.

Some studies have found that grape is even better than aspirin in preventing thrombosis, reducing the level of serum cholesterol, platelet cohesion and prevention of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.  Eating just the right amount of fresh grapes every day will not only reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but also be particularly beneficial for people with ischemic heart disease and atherosclerotic heart disease.  Flavonoids from fresh grapes can cleanse the blood and prevent the formation of cholesterol plaques. There more flavonoids for darker color grapes.  If the grape skin and grape seed are eaten together, that will provide a better protection to the heart.

Chinese believes that grape is good especially for lung, spleen, kidney and blood.  It also nourishes liver, strengthen bones and muscles, relieving cough and restlessness, soothing urination function. The content of proanthocyanidins in grape skins and resveratrol in grape seeds were higher than that in other parts of the grape, also higher than in most other fruit trees, and has a very high medicinal value, has become the world’s important nutritional and medicinal products.

Grape wine is now considered as a high society consumer goods. In China, its consumption has risen exponentially.  In western countries, grape seed oil is used on infants and the elderly senior as essential oil.  Airline pilots and flight personnel are also using grape seed oil and it is gaining popularity.  

Compared with other fruits, grape fruit products are much richer in variety. Grapes are processed into raisins, grape juice, grape seed beverages, grape seed oil and other common products.