Latin Name -Vitis vinifera
The fruit of the grape has been treasured for its health-giving properties since ancient Greece. The grape seeds used to produce grape seed extract are generally obtained from the vineyards of wine makers. Grape seed extract is prepared from the seed of grapes and made into capsules and tablets.
Grape seed extract is used as an herbal remedy in an effort to help improve problems such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and poor circulation.
Grape seed extract is also used as an herbal remedy in the hope that it can help with complications related to diabetes, such as nerve and eye damage; vision problems, such as macular degeneration (which can cause blindness); and swelling after an injury or surgery.
Laboratory research studies have shown that grape seed contains antioxidants-substances that prevent cell damage caused by free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that can damage cell function. However, it is still unclear how grape seed might affect human health.
Grape seed extract has shown some beneficial antioxidant effects in preliminary clinical trials. However, few trials have looked at specific diseases or conditions, and little scientific evidence is available.
A study funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that grape seed extract did not reduce the hardening of breast tissue that can occur after radiation therapy for breast cancer.
Side Effects and Cautions Summary
- Side effects of grape seed extract include headache, a dry, itchy scalp, dizziness, and nausea.
- The interactions between grape seed extract and medicines or other supplements have not been carefully studied.
- Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health to help ensure coordinated and safe care. Complementary or alternative therapy should not be used in place of conventional medical care or to delay seeking that care.
- Brooker S, Martin S, Pearson A, et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised phase II trial of IH636 grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (GSPE) in patients with radiation-induced breast induration. Radiotherapy and Oncology. 2006;79(1):45–51.
- Clouatre DL, Kandaswami C. Grape seed extract. In: Coates P, Blackman M, Cragg G, et al., eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. New York, NY: Marcel Dekker; 2005:309–325.
- Grape. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Accessed on March 13, 2007.
- Grape seed (Vitis vinifera, Vitis coignetiae). Natural Standard Database Web site. Accessed on March 13, 2007.
For More Information
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) Clearinghouse
The NCCAM Clearinghouse provides information on CAM and NCCAM, including publications and searches of Federal databases of scientific and medical literature. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.
NIH Office of Dietary Supplements
Web site: ods.od.nih.gov
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Grape Seed Extract fact sheet, Created March 2007, Updated May 2008