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Grape Seed Extract

grapes

Grape Seed Extract

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Introduction

This fact sheet provides basic information about grape seed extract—uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. The grape seeds used to produce grape seed extract are generally obtained from wine manufacturers. The leaves and fruit of the grape have been used medicinally since ancient Greece.

Common Name—grape seed extract

Latin NameVitis vinifera

What It Is Used For

  • Grape seed extract is used for conditions related to the heart and blood vessels, such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and poor circulation.
  • Other reasons for the use of grape seed extract include complications related to diabetes, such as nerve and eye damage; vision problems, such as macular degeneration (which can cause blindness); and swelling after an injury or surgery.
  • Grape seed extract is also used for cancer prevention and wound healing.

How It Is Used

Grape seed extract is prepared from the seed of grapes. It is available in capsule and tablet forms.

What the Science Says

  • Laboratory studies have shown that grape seed contains antioxidants-substances that prevent cell damage caused by free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that can damage cell function. However, it is still unclear how grape seed might affect human health.
  • Grape seed extract has shown some beneficial antioxidant effects in preliminary clinical trials. However, few trials have looked at specific diseases or conditions, and little scientific evidence is available.
  • A study funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that grape seed extract did not reduce the hardening of breast tissue that can occur after radiation therapy for breast cancer.
  • NCI is also funding studies evaluating whether grape seed extract is effective in preventing breast and prostate cancers.
  • NCCAM is studying whether the action of grape seed extract and its components may benefit the heart or have protective effects in the brain.

Side Effects and Cautions

  • Grape seed extract is generally well tolerated when taken by mouth. It has been used safely for up to 8 weeks in clinical trials.
  • Side effects that have been reported most often include headache; a dry, itchy scalp; dizziness; and nausea.
  • The interactions between grape seed extract and medicines or other supplements have not been carefully studied.
  • Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

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Lavender

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Lavender

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Introduction

This fact sheet provides basic information about the herb lavender—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Lavender is native to the Mediterranean region. It was used in ancient Egypt as part of the process for mummifying bodies. Lavender’s use as a bath additive originated in Persia, Greece, and Rome. The herb’s name comes from the Latin lavare, which means “to wash.”

Common Names–lavender, English lavender, garden lavender

Latin NamesLavandula angustifolia

What It Is Used For

  • Historically, lavender was used as an antiseptic and for mental health purposes.
  • Today, the herb is used for conditions such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and depression.
  • Lavender is also used for headache, upset stomach, and hair loss.

How It Is Used

  • Lavender is most commonly used in aromatherapy, in which the scent of the essential oil from the flowers is inhaled.
  • The essential oil can also be diluted with another oil and applied to the skin.
  • Dried lavender flowers can be used to make teas or liquid extracts that can be taken by mouth.

What the Science Says

  • There is little scientific evidence of lavender’s effectiveness for most health uses.
  • Small studies on lavender for anxiety show mixed results.
  • Some preliminary results indicate that lavender oil, combined with oils from other herbs, may help with hair loss from a condition called alopecia areata.

Side Effects and Cautions

  • Topical use of diluted lavender oil or use of lavender as aromatherapy is generally considered safe for most adults. However, applying lavender oil to the skin can cause irritation.
  • Lavender oil may be poisonous if taken by mouth.
  • When lavender teas and extracts are taken by mouth, they may cause headache, changes in appetite, and constipation.
  • Using lavender with sedative medications may increase drowsiness.
  • Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

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