Wine is, without a doubt, a drink that has crossed history and has always been present in the lives and tables of great personalities. There are traces of wine consumption for at least 9,000 years, but you don’t imagine that wine was also widely used as a medicine and prescribed for treating some diseases in some ancient peoples.
The first records of wine as a medicine.
The first record that relates wine as a medicine is in 3000 BC. One of the oldest records of human civilization, known as the Myth of Gilgamesh, was found in archaeological excavations in 1850 in the region now Iraq.
King Gilgamesh lived in the Sumeria region of ancient Mesopotamia and was the 5th king of the first dynasty of Uruk and is considered the most illustrious predecessor of the Sumerian kings, becoming a legend.
In the middle of the 19th century, around 30,000 clay plaques with cuneiform writing were found that formed 1200 different texts, and in one of them, wine is mentioned and listed as a medicine, extended life potion, and even magic.
Medicinal wine in Greek culture.
There are records that wine was considered medicinal in Ancient Greece.
Hippocrates, considered the father of medicine, was one of the greatest advocates of using wine as a medicinal treatment. In one of his best-known phrases, he quotes.
“Wine is an excellent drink for man, both healthy and sick, provided it is used properly, in moderation, and according to his temperament….”
The Greek physician lived between 460 BC to 377 BC and used wine in several experiments to cure the Greek population of various diseases using various types of wine.
Hippocrates’ justification is that the consumption of wine was appropriate for humanity, both to maintain a healthy body and for a sick individual, and recommended wine as a nutritional supplement, diuretic, laxative, antiseptic, fever, and for wound healing.
The wine was part of life and everyday life in ancient Greece, as the great philosopher Plato said.
“Wine is a medicine that rejuvenates the old, heals the sick, and enriches the poor.”
Many Greek writings cite the benefits and harms of excessive wine consumption.
Roman Empire and wine in healing
The Roman Empire also medicinally used wine, and records were found that the Romans used wine and oil to clean and heal wounds.
Another defender of the medicinal use of wine in Roman culture was the politician and writer Cato, who advocated using wine mixed with flowers to combat snake bites, intestinal problems, and indigestion.
Celso and Galeano were defenders of the use of wine to clean and help heal wounds, recommendations that were followed for hundreds of years and even by the Arab peoples of the Middle Ages.
Medical treatments in France.
Nowadays, we learn that we should consume alcoholic beverages in moderation, but in France, a country that since the 5th century BC has the tradition and consumption of wine in its roots, wine was used in medicinal treatments.
In eastern France, the Alsace region is located in Strasbourg.
A city with 2,000 years of history, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988 and described as “an old quarter that exemplifies the context of medieval cities.”
Strasbourg is home to the Strasbourg Civil Hospital, a teaching hospital built in 1119.
In 1395, the Civil Hospital of Strasbourg began to have a relationship with wine, especially with the Historic Cellar of the Sanatoriums of Strasbourg located directly below the hospital.
We can say that the Civil Hospital would only exist with the Historic Cellar since, in ancient France, it was a common practice where wineries generated income for the hospitals and for the cellars. For about 600 years, many hospital patients paid their bills to doctors with wine.
Although medical treatments with wine were common in ancient times, there is evidence that the use of wine as a medicine existed as late as 1990, according to Thibaut Baldinger, winery manager.
Some examples, according to Thibaut Baldinger, a bottle of Châteauneuf du Pape was prescribed for bloating, while Côtes de Provence rosé wine was used to treat obesity.
Although the wine treatments have ended, the winery plays an essential role in wine production and financially supports the Civil Hospital of Strasbourg.
Wine and Health today.
Nowadays, several studies present the benefits of wine to the body’s functions and our Health. To better understand this relationship, it is necessary to understand the composition of wines.
Wine comprises about 70% to 90% water, sugar, polyphenols, and vitamins in grapes.
Polyphenols are the substances present in grapes, mainly in the skins and seeds, that in nature are responsible for protecting plants against the sun’s rays and fungal attacks, while in our organism, they act in a way that will protect our Health.
Some polyphenols present in grapes are Resveratrol, Quercetin, Anthocyanins, Procyanidins, Ellagic Acid, and Catechins.
It is the most well-known polyphenol in wine, and its attributes include the fact that it is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Because it is an antioxidant, it will fight cell aging. At the same time, its anti-inflammatory power will help reduce the body’s inflammation process by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, helping to control insulin and cholesterol levels.
Quercetin also has essential anti-inflammatory characteristics. According to studies, it can alleviate lung diseases, help heal arteries and antiviral specialties, and be responsible for preventing the flu.
They are pigments that generate plants’ red, blue, or purple colors. Red grapes contain anthocyanins, which are responsible for killing bone marrow cancer cells, maintaining body weight, and helping treat erectile dysfunction.
These polyphenols are a subgroup of tannins, the same ones that give the characteristic of astringency and body to the wine, especially in reds, where they are found in higher concentrations. Their property is to moderate the protection of endothelin, which is associated with heart disease when they are in large amounts.
Ellagic acid has many functions in plants, such as regulating growth and protecting against infections. In the human body, it can reduce the entry of glucose into cells after a meal. Thus, it helps to control blood glucose levels.
Catechins slow the development of tumors and are also important in cell metabolism and fighting aging.
Vitamins are present in wine
Vitamins are substances responsible for regulating our body and assisting in the functioning of our body. Grapes are sources of some vitamins that are passed on to wine.
Vitamin B complex.
B complex vitamins are essential, meaning our body does not produce them. Therefore, they must be obtained through food and drink, including wine containing vitamins B1, B2, B6, and B12.
Their functions are complementary. That is, they need each other to act. Among the actions of this group are:
Transforming food into energy
Helping the body’s defense
Helping the nervous system
Fighting free radicals
It is famous among vitamins because it improves night vision and protects the cornea. Besides, it helps with skin quality and is an antioxidant. Its deficiency causes several problems for the eyes and the skin. So, one more great reason to appreciate wine.
Much is said that vitamin C helps in the fight against the flu, but in fact, it can increase the body’s defense cells, improving immunity. Another function is to increase iron absorption from food, especially vegetables like dark green ones.
The vine pulls mineral salts contained in the soil. Therefore, the amount of these compounds in wine can vary even because of the terroir. These elements are part of the regulators and vitamins necessary for the body to function correctly. Check out which ones are present in wine and how they act in the body.
potassium: essential for the cardiovascular system, as it regulates blood pressure and metabolism in general;
calcium: vital in building bones and teeth and muscle contraction;
phosphorus: is related to bone formation, carbohydrate metabolism, contraction of muscles and cell membranes;
zinc: necessary for the production of immune cells, that is, for the body’s defense;
copper: helps in the formation of blood cells, hormones, and enzymes that have an antioxidant role;
iodine: it is essential for metabolism and growth, in addition to the production of thyroid hormones;
magnesium: helps activate enzymes that, in turn, are necessary for the metabolism of various nutrients, such as carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins;
boron: assists in absorbing minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.
Wine and its benefits.
Now that we know the relationship between wine as a medicinal treatment since ancient times and its components let’s find out some benefits wine will bring to your Health.
Increased resistance of collagen fibers
Resveratrol, the polyphenol we are talking about, helps to increase the resistance of collagen fibers. These fibers support body tissues, such as skin and arteries. In this way, wine exerts a protective effect on the walls of blood vessels, making them more resistant to ruptures and other problems.
Less clot formation
Blood clots are the solid form of blood. For some reason, instead of fluid blood, chunks of solid parts are attached to the veins. This condition can cause thrombosis, which is the clogging of large veins, preventing blood flow, causing pain and swelling, and thromboembolism, when the clot breaks free and clogs an artery in the heart or lung.
Wine will help prevent this problem, as it inhibits clot formation. In addition to dilating the arteries, it acts as a natural anticoagulant, reducing the formation of arterial plaques.
Less formation of free radicals
Free radicals are compounds that result from our metabolism. In adequate quantity, this is beneficial to Health. However, when it is above the acceptable level, it leads cells to oxidative stress, which results in cell death.
However, the antioxidants in wines are substances responsible for combating these free radicals. Thus, the polyphenols and vitamins present in wine can reduce the production of these agents.
Improvement of the immune system
In addition to the presence of vitamin C, which helps in the body’s defense, studies show that moderate doses of wine per day help to improve the immune system.
Favors digestive functions
Harmonizing a wine with a meal is more than knowing how to appreciate the drink. Wine helps with digestive functions, making it an excellent option for good digestion.
Delay of cellular and organic aging
The antioxidant power of wine will fight excess free radicals that age body tissues, such as the skin, and thus delay premature aging.
In addition to improving the quality of the skin, for example, the whole body will benefit from the delay in cell aging. In this way, more than 50 diseases, such as cancer and degenerative diseases, can be prevented.
That is the benefit of wine and Health that most people know about. You’ve probably heard that a glass of wine daily is good for the heart, and that’s the purest truth.
The drink acts in different ways in the body, making the cardiovascular system more protected.
Cholesterol is a type of fat the body needs, as in producing some hormones. The problem happens when rates are above acceptable limits. From then on, it increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases like strokes and heart attacks.
The components of wine, mainly resveratrol, can reduce harmful cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol, which protects vessel walls against the adhesion of bad cholesterol.
Diabetes prevention and treatment
Moderate wine consumption can prevent diabetes. Studies prove that alcohol can improve insulin sensitivity by causing the blood glucose level to decrease.
However, it is not only in prevention that the drink acts.
Other research concluded that a daily red or white wine glass could reduce fasting blood glucose rates. Furthermore, in elderly and diabetic patients, it reduces the chances of death from ischemic heart disease by up to 80%.
Wine brings pleasure and a feeling of relaxation. However, this is not the only reason drinking reduces the risk of depression, and small daily doses of alcohol, especially red wine, reduce the incidence of the disease.
Some causes of this condition are the same as other illnesses that respond positively to the consumption of red wine, such as minor inflammations, heart problems, and others of a chronic nature.
Due to the incredible properties of its most diverse components, the regular consumption of wines can prevent many diseases. Therefore, one more great reason to continue honoring this drink that benefits Health. See what these diseases are.
osteoporosis: resveratrol helps to improve bone density, making them more resistant;
infertility: red wine favors the reserve of eggs in the ovaries. With more eggs, better chances of getting pregnant;
tumors: the drink can delay the growth of prostate and breast cancer cells, in addition to inhibiting the development of oral tumors;
Alzheimer’s: wine glass consumption can reduce memory deterioration and changes in the brain.