Grape seed extract and its oil are derived from the seeds of a grape. Due to their nutritional and medicinal properties grapes, their seeds and leaves have been used in many health remedies for centuries.
Lucy switched from corn oil to grape seed oil in her cooking and has reaped the benefits from nicer skin and hair to feel lighter and healthier. She also uses raw grape seed oil in salads. Clear, tasteless and odourless grape seed oil is fantastic when you want the natural taste of ingredients to stand out for example very fresh seafood, dressings and delicate sauces. “Olive oil while very good and delicious, leaves its flavour imprint on foods. Sometimes you do not want anything to mask a flavour,” says Lucy, a designer and food enthusiast.
Apart from cooking, did you know that grape seed oil is also excellent as other health products such as soap, moisturisers, shampoo, and more?
Grapeseed oil is a good source of polyphenols – flavonoids, essential fatty acid – linoleic acid, vitamin E, and oligomeric proanthocyanidin. These components make grape seed extract ideal in the treatment of many minor to severe health conditions. It is also used in to produce massage oils and balms, hair and hygienic products, face and body moisturisers, as well as in sunblocks and sunburn ointments.
Studies suggest that grapeseed oil and its extract constitute anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-histamine, anti-ageing, anti-allergic, antimicrobial, and adaptogenic activity. Therefore, it has been beneficial in the treatment of a number of health issues which include: arthritis, oedema, dermatitis, acne, wrinkles, dry and itchy skin, age spots, sunburns, chapped lips, wounds, bruising, stretch marks, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, chronic venous insufficiency, premature ageing, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), weight loss, stress, dandruff, hair loss, warts, cardiovascular diseases especially atherosclerosis, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, visual impairment, cataract, and macular degeneration. Studies also suggest that its free radical scavenging activity may strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Uses of grapeseed oil
Acne and dermatitis
Research suggests that the linoleic acid in grape seed oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-allergen, acne reductive, and moisture retentive properties. It contains 73% of linoleic acid which may be beneficial in the treatment of acne, dermatitis, allergic reactions, atopic eczema and dry and itchy skin. A simple remedy for these skin conditions is to apply grape seed oil onto the affected skin 2-3 times daily. Regular oral intake of grape seed extract supplements can also add to the benefits.
Age spots and sunburn
The rich nutrients in grape seed extract have been found to protect against UV radiation, and they have been found to lighten the effects on age spots and pigmented skin caused by ultraviolet rays. Simply taking Grapeseed supplements daily may heal and minimise the risk of sunburn and reduce the appearance of age spots. Applying a small amount of grapeseed oil onto affected skin areas can also be beneficial.
A few studies suggest that regular oral intake of grape seed extract may suppress the development of different types of cancers and may induce apoptosis – a process that triggers the self-destruction and elimination of damaged and superfluous cells in many cellular systems. Therefore, taking one grapeseed capsule two to three times daily may be helpful as a preventive measure for people who are at a high risk of the disease. It may also help with liver damage and other side effects caused by chemotherapy medication.
A number of intensive studies have shown that oral intake of linoleic acid can reduce the complications associated with diabetes. Therefore, regular consumption of grape seed extract, which is rich in linoleic acid and other anti glycemic components, may help with diabetes and visual impairment in diabetics. A recommendation is to take one grape seed capsule twice daily.
Varicose veins, spider veins and haemorrhoids are caused by damaged blood vessels and compromise the ability of the capillaries to manage blood flow in the veins, which results in pooling of the blood inside the veins. Grapeseed oil contains oligomeric proanthocyanidin and flavonoids, which are known to help with capillary integrity. Therefore, taking one grape seed extract capsule twice daily may be beneficial for damaged vessels, impaired capillary valves and poor blood circulation that cause haemorrhoids and varicose veins.
High blood pressure
Recent research has shown that grape seed may improve damaged blood vessels and help regulate high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Therefore, taking one capsule of grape seed extract daily may help improve cardiovascular health.
Studies have shown that grape seed oil may improve the production of collagen which is important for maintaining healthy connective tissues in our joints. Its anti-inflammatory activity may also reduce the pain caused by arthritis. A simple remedy is to start taking 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil daily on an empty stomach for 7 days and then reduce the amount to 1/2 teaspoon daily on an empty stomach.
Wrinkles and stretch marks
Studies have shown that the antioxidant activity of grape seed extract may reduce the damage to skin cells and enhance the production of collagen and elastin which is important for strong and healthy-looking skin. Therefore taking grape seed supplements daily may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, stretch marks, and saggy skin. A suggested remedy is to also apply grapeseed oil onto the affected skin daily overnight. Alternatively, one to two drops of grapeseed oil can be added to your face moisturiser to enhance its effectiveness.
What are the Side Effects of grapeseed oil?
There are not any reported side effects or drug interactions with grape seed extract when taken in moderation. The FDA has issued the GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) certification for grape seed extract. However, an overdose of grape seed extract may cause headache, nausea, dizziness and abdominal pain. As with any dietary oil, do not take more than the recommended dose of grapeseed oil because it may lead to diarrhoea and soft stools. Do not take grape seed products if you are allergic to grapes. Additionally, if you are being treated for heart conditions, or are taking any cholesterol or blood pressure-lowering medications or blood thinners, consult your doctor and regulate your cholesterol and blood pressure levels when using grape seed oil or its extract for therapeutic purposes.
Where to buy
Grape seed extract is available at most herbal food and drug stores. It can be purchased in the form of capsules, tablets, oil and powder. Grapeseed oil can be found in most supermarkets.