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The Medicinal Qualities Of Wine

May 25, 2008
From long before the birth of Christ the medicinal qualities of wine have been appreciated. The Ancient Greeks used wine as a medium for the essences of herbs or spices known, or thought, to contain ingredients that relieved pain or sickness. The bitterness or unpleasant flavour of the medicine was masked by the wine and thus became more acceptable to the patient. This practice continued throughout the centuries. Indeed in most countries one can still buy wines containing health promoting additives. Usually described as tonic wines, they are frequently taken by the chronic invalid or the convalescent, as well as by the hypochondriac.


The antiseptic quality of wine has long been known. It was common practice to wash wounds in wine before binding them, and it was accepted that this helped the healing process. It was not known of course that the acid and alcohol killed bacteria, because bacteria were not recognised as the cause of infection until the middle of the 19th century.


The anaesthetic qualities of wine and spirits were also known. Before an operation the patient would be made quite drunk so that the pain of amputating a limb, for example, could be endured. The blood pressure was lowered, too, although this advantage may not have been appreciated.


The beneficial qualities of various flower, vegetable and other wines may not yet be fully understood. It was once believed that celery wine was helpful to people suffering from rheumatism. Fig wine was thought to be good for people afflicted with chronic constipation. Elderberry wine is still considered helpful for those suffering from a cold or cough. Dandelion wine was supposed to be helpful to those suffering from a disorder of the bladder - and so on. Scientists may yet find that these old tales are not complete nonsense.
Tonic & Relaxing

Today, wine is widely regarded as a tonic, in the form of an aperitif, for the jaded appetite. It is also considered to be an aid to digestion. It is known that wine can relieve tensions and relax taut nerves. It reduces inhibitions and ensures sociability. Whilst beer and spirits are frequently forbidden to the obese or the sick, wine is only excluded during a fever. It is often prescribed during convalescence. Even the diabetic, for whom sweet food and drink can be a positive danger, is not forbidden a glass of dry wine.

Because wine stimulates sociability, it is not usually associated with alcoholism, a disease of the lonely or troubled who more often turn to spirits for relief.

How Much

Recent American research has reported that moderate consumption of alcohol - around half a bottle a day - leads to a longer, healthier life than that enjoyed both by those who drink none and by those who drink much more. Like many other matters, this is something that mankind has really been aware of for generations without being able to prove it in statistical terms!

Reveal the Mystery

There is no harm in giving a sip of wine even to babies, and there is much to be said for allowing young children a small glass of wine diluted with water. Because no prohibitions are made there are no secrets for the child to discover by surreptitious drinking. A glass or so at a meal for the young adolescent does no harm, improves the sense of belonging to the world of adults and is a step on the path of sophistication. The important advice to young people is the same as it is for ourselves - moderation. Amateur winemakers, usually with a substantial stock of wine available to them, tend to be moderate social drinkers. Whilst at parties they may drink their fill, it is extremely rare to see one 'under the weather'.


Some wines are said to have aphrodisiac qualities. Around the year AD 200 it was recorded by Atheneus 'that wine from Heraea (a town in Greece) drives men out of their senses and makes women inclined to pregnancy/ Mead too has long been thought to be something of a sexual stimulant. The probability is more likely that the moderate and regular drinking of wine or mead helps to keep one well, dynamic and full of vitality. When the wine or mead is shared with an appropriate partner, tension is relaxed and inhibitions depart. There is no evidence that wine or mead directly stimulates the sexual senses.


Elderly people benefit from a glass of wine taken regularly. It not only comforts them but has a warming effect at a time in life when they begin to feel the cold more than ever before.

There can be no doubt that in moderation wine is beneficial and health promoting to people of all ages, from the cradle to the grave. Those of us who have wine in abundance should be thankful for such a blessing when so many are under-nourished. Thanks be to God. Amen.
About the Author
John Gygax is an Expert in Wine, Wine Bars Blackpool, Bar Fitting and Impact Drivers.
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