Origin: One of the seven staple foods declared in Deuteronomy 8.8 ‘A land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey’, Grape has profound history. It was one of the seven fruits that Moses messengers discovered in the land of Israel.
Around 6,000–8,000 years ago, the cultivation of domesticated Grape began in the Near East. The earliest archeological evidence of wine-making dates from 8,000 years ago in Georgia. The oldest known winery was found in Armenia, during 4000 BC.
By the 9th century AD, the city of Shiraz, Persia was known to produce some of the finest wines in the Middle East. Thus, the wine was named after it, Shirazi Wine.
Ancient history confirms that ancient Greeks, Phoenicians, and Romans grew purple Grapes for both eating and wine production. Later, the cultivation of Grapes spread to other regions of Europe, North Africa and as well as in North America.
In North America, it was a part of the diet of many Native Americans. However, early European colonists considered it unsuitable for making wine. During the 19th century, Ephraim Bull of Concord, Massachusetts, cultivated seeds from wild Vine to create the Concord Grape which became an important agricultural crop in the United States.
Grapes are especially significant for Christians, who since the Early Church have used wine in their celebration of the Eucharist. Christians have also used wine as an offering in Church. They believe Grape represents the blood of Christ which was shed for revocation of sins.
Scientifically: The healing power of Grapes has been praised historically. The Greek philosophers applauded the remedial properties of grapes both as a fruit and in the form of wine. European folk healers used it to cure eye and skin illnesses. The leaves of this fruit have been used to stop bleeding, pain and inflammation of hemorrhoids.
The minerals present in grape juices and wines are phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, zinc, iron, manganese, sodium, aluminum, cadmium, chromium, nickel, lead, molybdenum, cobalt, arsenic.
Grapes have many important vitamins Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Vitamin B6, Folate, Choline, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. Grapes are highly rich in antioxidants, beneficial plant compounds that fight against chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Resveratrol prevents various types of cancer, including colon cancer and breast cancer. Resveratrol in Grapes also regulates the cholesterol level.
Grapes contain lutein, and zeaxanthin, that guard the body against eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.
Potassium balances the blood pressure level in humans. Though Grapes are high in sugar, they have a low glycemic index and protect against high blood sugar.
It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. It works as a shield against suntan and sun damage. The natural cosmetic industry suggests that Grape can be used to enhance the skin's texture and guard it against signs of aging.
Antioxidants in grape seeds reverse or reduce wrinkling effects. A small trial at the St. Helena Institute for Plastic Surgery indicated an 88 percent improvement in skin texture after subjects used a product containing grape seed extract for six weeks.
Usage: Grapes are eaten raw worldwide. Also, the most popular culinary uses of Grape is winemaking. It is also used in the making of brandy and vinegar. Grapes are also used as flavoring agents in cakes, pies, pancakes, ice-creams and other desserts. It is also the most famous dried vine fruit as it is used for making raisins, currant, and sultana. The cosmetic industry uses Grapes for skin products.
Below are some DIY masks with grapes:
- To make glowing Grape Face Mask, add 3-4 black grapes (mashed) into one tablespoon of yogurt. Squeeze in a few drops of lime juice into it. Apply this face pack on your face. Leave it on for 15 minutes and rinse it off.
- To make anti-aging Grape Mask, add 2 tbsp Grapes pulp, 1 tbsp sour cream, 1 tbsp Carrot juice and 1 tbsp Rice flour in a bowl. Apply this face and relax for 15 minutes.
- Take a few grapes and blend them into a puree with few kiwi slices. Add a teaspoon of gram flour and mix well. Apply this on the face and rinse after 10 minutes. This helps in giving radiant skin.
- Take one strawberry and few grapes and mash them together into a pulp and add half a teaspoon of honey to it. Apply this on the face and rinse after 15 minutes. This helps in making skin look fresh and radiant.
- Squeeze out the juice from a handful of grapes and apply this juice as a toner to the face. Let it dry for 5 minutes and then rinse. This helps in combating the uneven skin tone.
- Take one cup of grapes and mash them into a paste and apply this on the hair for 40 minutes. Shampoo as usual. This helps in combating the hair loss.