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formerly Central European Journal of Medicine

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The cultural history of wine - theoretical background to wine therapy

János Fehér
  • II. Department of Medicine, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
  • :
/ Gabriella Lengyel
  • II. Department of Medicine, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
  • :
/ Andrea Lugasi
  • National Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition Science, Budapest, Hungary
  • :
Published Online: 2007-12-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11536-007-0048-9


The knowledge of grape and wine is as old as the cultural history of mankind. Moderate consumption of wine can be beneficial in healthy individuals. It is also known from ancient times that it can cause acute and chronic damage when consumed in great quantities. The disinfectant effect of its use in ointments has been observed already in the antiquity. Polyphenols, among them resveratrol, have generated a great amount of scientific research due to their in vivo and in vitro antioxidant capabilities. For decades, red wine was thought to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. This relation was clearly established in the French Paradox phenomenon as well as in the Mediterranean diet. The French Paradox is defined as a low incidence of coronary heart disease, while consuming a diet rich in saturated fat. The cause of this phenomenon is the usually wine drinking in small quantity, supposingly in the consequence of polypenols in red wine. The use of ointments containing polyphenols of wine and the cosmetic treatments with them can be advantageous in the treatment and prevention of some diseases of the skin and the joints, due to its free radical scavenging effect. In healthy individuals the consumption of a moderate amount of 1 to 2 dl wine a day may reduce the mortality of cardiovascular diseases. However, also this quantity can be associated with detrimental effects in pregnant women, in children and in patients with various organic, particularly hepatic, diseases as well as in case of regular administration of certain medicines.

Keywords: wine; polyphenol; French paradox; oxidative stress; wellness

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Published Online: 2007-12-01

Published in Print: 2007-12-01

Citation Information: Open Medicine. Volume 2, Issue 4, Pages 379–391, ISSN (Online) 2391-5463, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11536-007-0048-9, December 2007

© 2007 Versita Warsaw. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

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