URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/472.html

Grape

What is it?

Grapes are the fruit of grapevines. Vitis vinifera and Vitis labrusca are two common grapevine species. Vitis labrusca is commonly known as Concord grape. The whole fruit, skin, leaves, and seed of the grape plant are used as medicine.

Grape is used for poor circulation that can cause the legs to swell (chronic venous insufficiency or CVI) or for eye stress. Various grape products are also commonly used for diseases of the heart and blood vessels, other eye problems, gastrointestinal health, and many other conditions. But there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for GRAPE are as follows:

Possibly effective for...

  • Poor circulation that can cause the legs to swell (chronic venous insufficiency or CVI). Taking grape seed extract or proanthocyanidin, a chemical in grape seeds, by mouth seems to reduce symptoms of CVI 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.

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 cancer drug treatment. 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.
  • Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). The term LUTS is typically used to describe symptoms associated with overactive bladder. Drinking Concord grade juice doesn't seem to improve these symptoms in older men.
  • Breast pain (mastalgia). 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.
  • Obesity. Drinking Concord grape juice or taking grape seed extract or grape pomace does not seem to reduce weight in overweight people. However, it might help to lower cholesterol and control blood sugar.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

  • 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 maintaining power. Other early research shows that drinking juice prepared from whole grape powder does not improve how well the body uses oxygen or running ability.
  • 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.
  • Memory and thinking skills (cognitive function). Early research shows that drinking Concord grape juice helps middle-aged women focus while driving. Also taking a grape fruit extract for 12 weeks seems to improve attention, language, and memory in older people without age-related memory problems. It's unclear if grape improves mental function or memory in older people with age-related memory problems.
  • Decline in memory and thinking skills in older people that is more than what is normal for their age. Most early research suggests that grape does not improve mental function or memory in older people with memory problems.
  • Vision problems in people with diabetes (diabetic retinopathy). Early research shows that taking specific grape seed extract products might slow the progression of eye damage caused by diabetes.
  • High cholesterol. Taking grape seed extract or grape extract might reduce some measures of cholesterol and blood fats called triglycerides by a small amount in people with high cholesterol. It doesn't seem to improve high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol. But some studies disagree, and it is not clear which product or dose might work best.
  • High blood pressure. Most research has evaluated grape seed extract or isolated chemicals from grape called polyphenols in people with high blood pressure. Single studies show conflicting results. But analyses of multiple studies suggest that grape seed extract or grape polyphenols can slightly lower blood pressure in healthy people or those with high blood pressure. They seem to work best in people who are obese or those with metabolic syndrome. It might take 8 weeks for benefits to be seen.
  • 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.
  • Symptoms of menopause. Taking grape seed extract daily for 8 weeks seems to reduce hot flashes, anxiety, and some physical symptoms of menopause. It may also 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.
  • A grouping of symptoms that increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (metabolic syndrome). Some research shows that taking grape products can help to lower blood pressure and levels of blood fats like cholesterol in adults with metabolic syndrome. But it is not known if these changes decrease the risk for diabetes or other aspects of metabolic syndrome.
  • Muscle soreness. Early research shows that drinking juice prepared from grape powder for 6 weeks before an arm exercise test does not reduce pain or swelling one or two days after the exercise.
  • Build up of fat in the liver in people who drink little or no alcohol (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD). Research shows that taking grape seed extract for 3 months improves some blood tests of liver damage 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. Early research also shows that applying an ointment containing 5% grape seed extract seems to help with wound healing in women recovering from C-section deliveries.
  • Ability to see in low-light conditions.
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
  • Aging skin.
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Canker sores.
  • Colon cancer, rectal cancer.
  • Constipation.
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis).
  • Eye stress.
  • Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Minor bleeding.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of grape for 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.

Are there safety concerns?

When taken by mouth: Grape is LIKELY SAFE when consumed in amounts commonly found in foods.

It is POSSIBLY SAFE to take the fruit of the grape plant, or the extract of the fruit, leaf, or seed, in medicinal amounts. Grape seed extracts and grape fruit extracts have been used safely in studies for up to 12 months. A grape leaf extract has been used safely in studies for up to 12 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, and headache.

When applied to the skin: Grape seed oil is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin for up to 3 weeks. There isn't enough reliable information to know if other parts of grape are safe when applied to the skin.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if grape is safe to use in medicinal amounts when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid using more than amounts normally found in foods.

Children: Grape is LIKELY SAFE when consumed in amounts commonly found in foods. But keep in mind that, due to its size and shape, whole grapes are a potential choking hazard for children aged 5 years and younger. To reduce the risk, whole grapes should be cut in half or quartered before being served to children. There isn't enough reliable information to know if grape is safe to use in amounts greater than those 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.

Are there interactions with medications?

Moderate
Be cautious with this combination.
Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune)
Drinking purple grape juice along with cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune, Restasis, Gengraf) might decrease how much cyclosporine the body absorbs. This could decrease the effectiveness of cyclosporine. Separate doses of grape juice and cyclosporine by at least 2 hours to avoid this interaction.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. 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 these medications. Before taking grape, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), caffeine, chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clomipramine (Anafranil), clopidogrel (Plavix), clozapine (Clozaril), cyclobenzaprine (Flexaril), desipramine (Norpramin), diazepam (Valium), estradiol (Estrace, others), flutamide (Eulexin), fluvoxamine (Luvox), grepafloxacin (Raxar), haloperidol (Haldol), imipramine (Tofranil), mexiletine (Mexitil), mirtazapine (Remeron), naproxen (Naprosyn), nortriptyline (Pamelor), olanzapine (Zyprexa), ondansetron (Zofran), propafenone (Rythmol), propranolol (Inderal), riluzole (Rilutek), ropinirole (Requip), ropivacaine (Naropin), tacrine (Cognex), theophylline (Theo-Dur, others), verapamil (Calan, Covera-HS, others), warfarin (Coumadin), and zileuton (Zyflo).
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Grape seed extract might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking grape seed extract along with some medications that are changed by the liver might increase the effects and side effects of these medications. Before taking grape seed extract, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), clozapine (Clozaril), codeine, desipramine (Norpramin), donepezil (Aricept), fentanyl (Duragesic), flecainide (Tambocor), fluoxetine (Prozac), meperidine (Demerol), methadone (Dolophine), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), olanzapine (Zyprexa), ondansetron (Zofran), tramadol (Ultram), trazodone (Desyrel), and others.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Grape seed extract might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking grape seed extract along with some medications that are changed by the liver might increase the effects and side effects of these medications. Before taking grape seed extract, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include enflurane (Ethrane), halothane (Fluothane), isoflurane (Forane), methoxyflurane (Penthrane).
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Grape seed extract might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking grape seed extract along with some medications that are changed by the liver might increase the effects and side effects of these medications. Before taking grape seed extract, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and numerous others.
Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
Grape extracts might slow blood clotting. Taking grape extracts along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, indomethacin (Indocin), ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
Midazolam (Versed)
Taking grape seed extract for at least one week might increase how fast the body gets rid of midazolam (Versed) that has been injected into the veins. This might decrease how well midazolam (Versed) works. Taking only a single dose of grape seed extract doesn't seem to affect how fast the body gets rid of midazolam (Versed).
Phenacetin
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.
Minor
Be watchful with this combination.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Grape juice or grape seed extract might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking grape along with some medications that are changed by the liver might increase the effects and side effects of these medications. Before taking grape, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), diazepam (Valium), zileuton (Zyflo), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), fluvastatin (Lescol), glipizide (Glucotrol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), irbesartan (Avapro), losartan (Cozaar), phenytoin (Dilantin), piroxicam (Feldene), tamoxifen (Nolvadex), tolbutamide (Tolinase), torsemide (Demadex), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting
Grape extracts might slow blood clotting. Taking grape extracts along with herbs that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. These herbs include angelica, clove, danshen, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, Panax ginseng, red clover, willow, and others.
Vitamin C
Early research suggests that taking vitamin C and grape seed polyphenols daily may increase blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. This doesn't seem to happen when either vitamin C or grape seed polyphenols are taken alone. Researchers don't know yet why this happens.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

ADULTS
BY MOUTH:
  • For poor circulation that can cause the legs to swell (chronic venous insufficiency or CVI): 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.

Other names

Activin, Black Grape Raisins, Calzin, Draksha, Enocianina, European Wine Grape, Extrait de Feuille de Raisin, Extrait de Feuille de Vigne Rouge, Extrait de Peau de Raisin, Extrait de Pepins de Raisin, Feuille de Raisin, Feuille de Vigne Rouge, Feuille de Vigne Rouge AS 195, Flame Grape, Flame Raisins, Flame Seedless, Folia Vitis Viniferae, Fox Grape, Grape Fruit, Grape Fruit Skin, Grape Juice, Grape Leaf, Grape Leaf Extract, Grape Polyphenols, Grape Pomace, Grape Seed, Grape Seed Extract, Grape Seed Oil, Grape Skin, Grape Skin Extract, Grapes, Grapeseed, Huile de Pépins de Raisin, Kali Draksha, Leucoanthocyanin, Muscat, Muskat, Oligomères Procyanidoliques, Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins, Oligomeric Procyanidins, OPC, OPCs, PCO, PCOs, Peau de Raisin, Pépin de Raisin, Petite Sirah, Proanthocyanidines Oligomériques, Proanthodyn, Proanthodyne, Procyanidines Oligomériques, Procyanidolic Oligomers, Purple Grape, Raisin, Raisin Blanc, Raisin de Table, Raisin de Vigne, Raisins, Raisins Noirs, Red Globe, Red Grape, Red Malaga, Red Vine, Red Vine Leaf AS 195, Red Vine Leaf Extract, Skunk Grape, Sultanas, Table Grapes, Thompson Seedless, Uva, Vitis labrusca, Vitis vinifera, White Grape, Wine Grape, Wine Grapes.

Methodology

To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.

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Last reviewed - 05/14/2021