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Grape seed extract as a treatment for asthma

Tracy Woolrich's picture
Grape seed extract

Grapes have been celebrated for their medicinal and nutritional value for thousands of years. Egyptians ate grapes at least 6,000 years ago, and several ancient Greek philosophers praised the healing power of grapes. But it is the chemicals within them that some believe could help treat a number of conditions including asthma.

What happens during an asthma attack

Asthma is a common, chronic and inflammatory condition of the lungs. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. The symptoms are general intermittent and recurring, with attacks varying from mild to severe with gradual deterioration if untreated.

The epithelial tissue of the lungs responds to allergens that in turn cause an inflammatory reaction. As this inflammation develops is can cause swelling of the bronchial tubes with fluid and mucous as a way to fight off the allergen, The air passages of the lungs become more and more sensitive and vulnerable due to the swelling.

These allergens include mold, dust, dander, and pollutants, Foods include dairy, gluten, soy, peanuts and others. Food additives such as sodium bisulfate, potassium metabisulfite, and sulfur dioxide are common culprits.

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Grape seed extract

Grape seed extract contains OPC (oligomeric proanthocyanidins) that have a wide variety of health benefits. For asthmatics it is the anti-inflammatory properties without side effects, of traditional therapy such as steroids that is most promising. In addition the long-term use of grape seed extract assists in boosting of the immune system.

Scientific studies now show that grape seed extract significantly improves lung function, increases lung capacity and reduces asthma symptoms. This is thought to be due to its ability to lower leukotriene levels in our bodies, Leukotriene is the substance that is produced in response to inflammation. Grape seed extract therefore targets the cause of the symptoms and not suppressing them.

In one study in 2011, the grape seed extract was studied for the molecular effects on airway inflammation and hyper-responsiveness in a mouse with allergic asthma. Grape seed extract was found to remarkably suppress airway resistance and reduce the total inflammatory cell and eosinophil counts. It also significantly enhanced the interferon levels and decreased interleukin levels. Further, grape seed extract reduced allergen-induced lung eosinophilic inflammation and mucus-producing goblet cells in the airway. In conclusion, grape seed extract was found to decrease airway inflammation and increase immunity.

In another study in 2012, the purpose was to explore the possibility of using grape seed extract and determine the effect on lung tissue. The physical changes in lung tissue during asthma involves alveolar (air-sac) size reduction, alveolar wall thickening, cellular infiltration and blood capillary congestion. However, grape seed extract significantly eliminated the negative pathological changes of the lungs. Therefore, the observations supported the thought that grape seed extract behaves as an effective, safe anti-inflammatory dietary supplement to attenuate the pathogenicity of asthma.

Take away message:
Some could argue that the temporary relief of the asthmatic symptoms by synthetic drugs may actually worsen asthma in the long-term due to the side effect and possible damage to the immune system. It would therefore be ideal to explore using natural products extracted from plants, which may be free of side effects. However, due to the fact that grape seed extract may act as a blood thinner it could increase the risk of bleeding if taken with other blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin. As with any supplement it would be prudent to discuss your plans with your healthcare professional before adding grape seed extract to your regime that might help curb asthma attacks.

Zhou DY, Du Q, et al. Grape seed proanthocyanidin extract attenuates airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in a murine model of asthma by downregulating inducible nitric oxide synthase. Planta Med. 2011 Sep;77(14):1575-81, Abstract.
Mahmoud YI. Grape seed extract attenuates lung parenchyma pathology in ovalbumin-induced mouse asthma model: An ultrastructural study. Micron. 2012 May 5.



As a Kinesiologist I test for causes rather than 'treating' symptoms. Extrinsic asthma is mainly due to allergens. Resulting immune reactions release inflammatory compounds that cause spasms of the bronchial tubes. Allergy is a likely cause of asthma in about 90 per cent of children with asthma and about 50 per cent of affected adults. One common cause of a chronic inflammatory setting is the presence of hidden food allergies. ‘Hidden’ means that people are not aware of the allergy because usually the body does not react to an allergenic food to which it is exposed every day. Most asthmatics have been shown to have such hidden food allergies. The most common foods to which asthmatics react are cows’ milk and cheese, gluten, eggs, nuts, and seafood. Intrinsic asthma is not due to allergies, and may come from microbial infestations, such as Candida albicans, emotional factors, and mucus congestion from other causes.
Applied Kinesiology is such an excellent yet overlooked diagnostic test. I totally agree with you in regards to food allergies. As I age my allergies are changing as well. I used to be highly allergic to Milk and Soy yet now not so much...yet...Strawberries and Tomatoes are now an issue. What the heck? Thank you for your comment.
Allergies do not change! The go underground, become hidden allergies. Smoking cigarettes is a good example. The first few cigarettes one smokes cause a noticeable reaction which disappears after a while. The allergic reaction is still there but hidden. Allergic responses weaken the gut flora which can lead to candida, and more allergies, They also weaken the immune system until disease occurs.
I love milk. Hans, you always say milk is bad. But I love milk!!!! There - I said it. :) I'm going to get a cold glass of organic no-fat milk now in fact - with DHA and omega-3 in it.
Kathleen, I hope you will not develop a love for cyanide. It is said to be like eating almonds! We need to get away from thinking with our taste buds and rely more on the grey matter!
But I believe the guidance from my government that dairy is a part of a healthy balanced diet. I have no reason to shun milk. It's good that I like the taste of milk and water too - which many people do not. I also drink soy milk and almond milk.
So many practitioners of traditional medicine do not believe that the government is correct in that. Many of those practitioners, like myself, test for allergies and find dairy allergy to be a lot more common than previously thought. Another one is allergies to night shades, like potato (quite common) or tomato, capsicum, aubergines and such. Like dairy, they are a recently introduced food and a problem food for many of us. About dairy; Continuation of the suckling period into adulthood causes a mutation called lactase persistence, where the small intestine continues to produce lactase, necessary to digest the milk sugar lactose. It is not as common as thought. But, good luck to you!
And how do you test exactly Hans?
Applied Kinesiology (AK) was developed in 1964 by Dr. George Goodheart. AK utilizes Muscle Testing - also called Muscle Response Testing (MRT) or Automatic Response Testing (ART) - to evaluate the three functional aspects of well-being: 1. Biomechanical or structure of the body including the spine and nervous system. 2. Biochemical or nutritional including deficiencies, toxicities, hormones and allergic responses. 3. Emotional or mental including the electromechanical energy of the body. AK allows the skilled health practitioner to evaluate functional health by using bioenergetic feedback through testing the strength of various muscles in the body. This highly individualized, in-depth system of analysis allows the practitioner to assess various aspects of a client's state of health by evaluating and treating postural and muscular imbalances, neurovascular and neurolymphatic points, subluxations, cranial-sacral movement, acupuncture meridians and nutritional status. This is a highly effective treatment systems that focuses on whole body care, not just symptoms. AK enables health investigation without intrusion. AK gives insight into the underlying causes and provides solutions to many functional health problems.
But it is well-being is my point. It is not specific for blood markers of allergens. I respect and love alternative therapies, but you cannot say that you know for certain there is an allergic reaction in your patients with the type of testing that you do. It is not specific - it is suggestive.
Sorry for the delay, Kathleen. It sometimes takes 24 hours before comments are posted. Not my fault, I am sure. But to answer your point! We can do that! We have specific points we touch while muscle testing that will indicate an allergic response, an intolerance, or an indifference. We also work with Riddlers points. Also, thanks to the Riddler Nutritional Reflexes it is possible to touch specific points on the body and then muscle test. If the muscle should test weak whilst touching the point there is an indication that there is a deficiency in the system. If for instance the Vitamin C reflex situated on the corner of the left collar bone tests weak when touched and a muscle is tested, there is a good chance you are deficient in Vitamin C. If Vitamin C is then introduced to the system and the muscle strengthens we have an indication that the problem has been solved. The test procedure comprises TL (Therapy locating) 26 points situated from the top of the head down to the pubic bone. Any weaknesses can be strengthened by using good quality nutritional supplements. You then buy what you need to specifically correct your deficiencies. Thus you are working to insure optimum nutritional health at all times. We also look at reactive substances and organ points in the full scan. These simple tests with recommendations by Medical Intuitive Alister Bredée mean you buy what you need and not necessarily what you think you need. This saves you spending money on needless supplements. The full scan includes body organs, allergens and the vitamin & mineral deficiencies. A full body scan plus recommendations in report form costs TB 2,500. For most accurate conversion please visit online currency conversion site.
For me, I have found that Applied Kinesiology muscle testing to be dead on. My allergist was unable to locate my exact allergies through skin testing however I went to a chiropractor that assisted me. It was at that point that I discovered my allergy to Motrin and ASA. From there I have been able to isolate food sensitivities within the ASA allergy such as strawberries, almonds and such. I am not as allergic to milk as I was as a child however I don't go out of my way to drink cow juice. LOL. I figure it was made for baby cows. I do however love my soy and rice milk.
After a prior life of allergy/sinus issues, I got on Pycnogenol in 1995 at age 57 and my issues were about GONE...long long story on treatments for years and NEVER getting better. I'm on both grape seed extract and pycnogenol (some times) and it's 20 yrs soon and NO DRUGS or MD's for these issues....OPC's are miracle antioxidants....