Grape Seed Extract

With antioxidant properties many times more powerful than those of vitamin C or vitamin E, grape seed extract is a heart-smart and cancer-smart botanical. It also has the power to improve vascular health and increase your well-being in myriad ways.

What it is

This extract from the tiny seeds of red grapes of the species Vitis vinifera is a flavonoid, and is one of Europe’s leading natural treatments. Plant substances with potent antioxidant potential, flavonoids protect body cells from damage by unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals. Grape seed extract contains procyanidolic oligomers (PCOs), also called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs). PCOs are believed to play an important role in preventing heart disease and cancer. ‘Pycnogenol’ with a capital P is the trade name for a specific PCO derived from maritime pine bark or grape seed.

What it does

Grape seed extract exerts a powerful positive influence on blood vessels. Not coincidentally, the active substances in this extract, PCOs, are key ingredients in one of the drugs most frequently prescribed for blood vessel (vascular) disorders in western Europe.

Because it is soluble in both oil and water, grape seed extract can penetrate all types of cell membranes, delivering antioxidant protection throughout the body. Moreover, it is one of the few substances that can cross the blood-brain barrier, which means that it may protect brain cells from free-radical damage.

Major benefits

With its powerful ability to enhance the health of blood vessels, grape seed extract may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as strengthening fragile or weak capillaries and increasing blood flow, particularly to the extremities. For this reason, many experts find it a beneficial supplement for almost any type of vascular insufficiency, as well as for conditions that are associated with poor vascular function, including diabetes, varicose veins, some cases of impotence, numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, and even painful leg cramps. Because it can have an impact on even the tiniest blood vessels, grape seed extract also benefits circulation in the eye. It is frequently recommended as a supplement to combat causes of blindness in older people. And if you use computer regularly, grape seed extract may also be for you. At least one study showed that 300 mg daily for just 60 days reduced the eye strain associated with working at a computer monitor and improved contrast vision.

Many experts now endorse grape seed extract for its cancer-fighting properties. Working as antioxidants, PCOs correct damage to the genetic material of cells that could possibly cause tumours to form.

Additional benefits

Helping to preserve and reinforce the collagen in the skin, grape seed extract is often used in the treatment of conncective tissue disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis. In Europe, it is often included in cosmetic creams to improve skin elasticity.

For allergy sufferers, grape seed extract offers relief by inhibiting the release of symptom-causing compounds such as histamine which, in turn, helps to control a variety of allergic reactions, from hives to hay fever. Grape seed also blocks the release of inflammatory prostaglandins, chemicals involved in allergic reactions and in pain and inflammation, particularly that of the menstrual disorder called endometriosis.

Common uses

  • Treats blood vessel disorders.
  • Protects against eye damage.
  • Lessens the risk of heart damage and cancer.
  • Reduces the rate of collagen breakdown in the skin.


  • Capsule.
  • Tablet.
  • Liquid.

How to take it


For antioxidant protection: Take 100 mg daily. For therapeutic benefits: The usual dose is 200 g daily. Choose supplements standardised to contain 3% catechin polymers.

Guidelines for use

After 24 hours, only about 28% of grape seed extracts active components remain in the body. So it’s important to take supplements at the same time every day, particularly when they’re being used to combat disease.

Possible side effects

No side effects from taking grape seed extract have been reported, and no toxic reactions have been noted.


Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your health careprofessional before taking natural medicines. Preferably one associatedwith the Emed Site or who has experience in the use of naturalmedicine.