AUSTIN, Texas (September 20, 2018) — The American Botanical Council (ABC) welcomes Natac’s adoption of grape (Vitis vinifera) through ABC’s Adopt-an-Herb botanical education program.
Natac’s adoption supports ABC’s extensive HerbMedPro database, ensuring that this essential educational resource remains up to date for researchers, health professionals, industry members, students, consumers, and other members of the herbal and dietary supplements and natural medicine communities.
HerbMedPro is a comprehensive, interactive online database that provides access to important scientific and clinical research data on the uses and health effects of more than 250 herbs, spices, and medicinal plants.
“Grape is one of our core products as a specialist in Mediterranean extracts,” wrote Antonio Delgado, CEO of Natac. “Furthermore, we have a deep commitment to the scientific world and have invested significant resources to study this ingredient and its bioactive principles. The next natural step is to make the knowledge of this excellent source of health benefits available to the scientific community and general public. Nobody can do that better than ABC through its outstanding Adopt-an-Herb program.
“Even though grape has been present in the market for a long time, consumers know only a fraction of its potential benefits,” Delgado added. “Thanks to Natac’s adoption, and given the veracity and proven reputation of ABC, we are confident that knowledge of grape’s beneficial activities will spread.”
Mark Blumenthal, ABC founder and executive director, said: “ABC is deeply grateful to Natac for its adoption of grape on ABC’s powerful HerbMedPro database. As with its previous adoption of olive, Natac continues to support ABC’s unique nonprofit educational mission by providing much-appreciated funding to update and maintain the scientific and clinical research on grape and its numerous preparations and their health-promoting properties.”
Grape is the fruit (berry) of woody vines in the genus Vitis, which includes about 70 species that are interfertile (capable of interbreeding). Of these, Vitis vinifera, commonly called the European wine grape or common grape, is the most significant. With branched tendrils (threadlike appendages that coil around support), the species can climb to treetops or grow horizontally across low-growing plants. If unpruned, it can grow up to 60 feet long, but plants grown for grape production usually are pruned about three to nine feet long. The small, greenish flowers give way to the big, sweet, brightly colored fruits that attract birds and other animals, which then disperse the seeds.
Vitis vinifera is native to southwestern Asia and adjacent Europe and reportedly was one of the first domesticated fruit crops, along with date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), fig (Ficus spp.), olive (Olea europaea), and pomegranate (Punica granatum). Today, there are an estimated 10,000 cultivated varieties of this species, which is the source of more than 90% of world production of grapes. Grapes of V. vinifera are used mostly for making wine but also as fresh fruit or dried as raisins, currants (not to be confused with the fruits of the currant plant [Ribes spp.]), and sultanas.
Vitis vinifera has been used medicinally for millennia. The ancient Egyptians reportedly made use of the antiseptic properties of wine. In the first century, Greek physician Dioscorides noted that the leaves and tendrils could be used as a poultice for headaches and had cooling and astringent properties. Much later, 18th-century Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus noted that the leaves were used to treat stranguria (slow, painful urination) and tussis (cough). In addition, both the fruit and seed contain polyphenolic compounds with beneficial antioxidant activities.
Archaeological evidence from Gadachrili Gora, a Stone Age village near Tbilisi, Georgia, indicates that people who lived there were the world’s earliest known winemakers and produced wine on a large scale as early as 6000 BCE. In addition, impressions of actual vine leaves on the bases of ceramic pots (often created when prehistoric Greek potters stood the pots on mats of leaves to dry before firing) provide evidence of grape’s use in places like the Cyclades islands and southern Crete in the Early Bronze Age (ca. 3000 BCE to 2400 BCE).
The Epic of Gilgamesh (ca. 2100 BCE), an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia, reportedly includes the earliest known written accounts of winemaking. Furthermore, excavations of the Uluburun shipwreck, a Late Bronze Age shipwreck that was discovered off the Mediterranean coast of present-day Turkey, yielded V. vinifera remains among the cargo. Vitis vinifera remains (from the fifth to seventh centuries CE) have also been excavated from Roman latrines at Sagalassos, an archeological site in Turkey, which indicates that the plant was part of the inhabitants’ diet.
Based in Madrid, Spain, Natac was established in 2010 and researches, develops, manufactures, and markets natural ingredients for use in food supplements and functional foods, as well as natural pharmaceutical ingredients, primarily plant extracts and functional lipids. Natac’s sustainable business model involves building and maintaining relationships with farmers, large food companies, and others, and this allows the company to offer ingredients from different regions, especially grape- and olive-derived extracts. According to the company, “the integration of different processes, technologies, and equipment into an unparalleled synergy” enables it to control the cycle from the farmer to the finished product.
About Adopt-an-Herb and HerbMedPro
Natac is one of 57 United States and international companies that have supported ABC’s educational efforts to collect, organize, and disseminate reliable, traditional, and science-based information, including clinical studies, on herbs, medicinal plants, and other botanical- and fungal-based ingredients through the Adopt-an-Herb program. This program encourages companies, organizations, and individuals to “adopt” one or more specific herbs for inclusion and ongoing maintenance in the HerbMedPro database. To date, 63 herbs have been adopted.
Each adopted herb is continuously researched for new scientific articles and pharmacological, toxicological, and clinical studies, ensuring that its HerbMedPro record stays current and robust. Access to the studies is conveniently organized by publication type, with each study condensed to a one-sentence summary with a link to the study’s official abstract on PubMed (the US National Library of Medicine’s free-access database) or other publicly accessible database.
HerbMedPro is available to ABC members at the Academic level and higher. Its “sister” site, HerbMed, is available to the general public at no cost, with access to 25-30 herb records from the larger HerbMedPro database. In keeping with ABC’s position as an independent research and education organization, herb adopters do not influence the scientific information that is compiled for their respective adopted herbs.