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Grapes, known from the ancient times, except their use in wine production, contain many compounds with pharmacological properties. One of these, resveratrol, softens the fine lines and wrinkles of the skin and smoothes its texture. Also protects effectively the skin cells from deterioration, apoptosis and limiting aging. 

Names - Species

Grapes except their use in wine production contain many substances with pharmacological properties. One of these is resveratrol, which is found in large quantities mainly in the skin of red grapes.

The grape is the fruit of the vine. The vine (Vitis Vinifera) is a climbing plant and its products are must, wine, vinegar and raisins. As a fruit it is known since the ancient times. According to Greek mythology, the name grape(staphyli in Greek) comes from Staphylos, who was the son of Dionysus and Ariadne.

The most common species of the genus Vitis in Europe is Vitis vinifera; Vitis labrusca and Vitis rotundifolia are grown in Northern America.

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Botanical Description

The vine is a perennial plant that grows fast. Its stem has multiple branches and several arms and sprouts. The bark of the woody parts emerges into strips and separates. Sprouts in the course of time become woody branches called vine-sticks.

The leaves of the vine are large, palm-like and grow from the central stem through a smaller stem. Their shape is characteristic and it is different depending on variety and species; there are also differences in color, fluff on the lower surface and size.

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The vine is one of the oldest cultivations. The origin of the vine is lost in the depths of the ages. Findings show that vines were cultivated in the polar regions. Cultivation slowly began to descend to the south in areas with a more mild climate, in the Caucasus region, and further south in Mesopotamia and Egypt. In Greece the cultivations of vine must have started in the 4th millennium BC. It is believed that the Greeks learned the cultivation of vine and the wine from the Eastern countries (Phoenicians and Egyptians) with whom they had trade relations.

What is important is that vine growing was spread very fast throughout Greece. This is evidenced by a multitude of coins depicting grapes on one side and the Dionysus on the other.

Ancient Greeks knew the healing properties of the vine, which they used in cases such as anemia, smallpox, constipation and liver diseases. Hippocrates recommended the grapes as a tonic.

Αστράγαλος 'Τραγάκανθος'

Pharmacological Properties

Resveratrol, which is isolated usually from the skin of red grapes, is a natural polyphenol of the phytoalexin group with high antioxidant activity. It is a phyto-chemical compound with antibiotic action produced by the plant when attacked by pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. Also, resveratrol, like other polyphenols, protects plants from harmful oxidation. With its antioxidant action protects basic biomolecules, such as proteins, sugars, cell membrane lipids as well as cell DNA, from potential oxidative damage.

The most scientifically established action of resveratrol is that it softens fine lines and wrinkles of the skin and smoothes its texture.

Resveratrol exerts protective effect on epidermal cells by binding on specific polyphenol binding sites ([3Η]-resveratrol binding sites). Intracellular mechanisms underlying the protective effect of resveratrol are not solely due to its antioxidant activities but also involve its inhibitory action on apoptosis, a downstream mitochondrial dysfunction as revealed by the ability of resveratrol to reduce caspace-3 activity as well as the number of apoptotic cells to prevent mitochondrial dysfunctions. Considering that NO is a key mediator implicated in a broad range of age-related skin damages, resveratrol could delay and even prevent the normal cause of skin aging by blocking apoptotic events and mitochondrial dysfunctions.


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