- Vitex vinifera L.
- Grape family
Parts Usually Used
Fruits and leaves
Description of Plant(s) and Culture
Everyone is familiar with the grape vine. The following information
pertains to the dark grape species.
Grapevines supported on old-fashioned arbors and grown with special
pruning methods produce more fruit than those grown on conventional
wire training trellises. The top-area is exposed to more sunlight
and the pruning secret is to take out some of the hard stems, and
to pick off from a third to a half of the small bunches of grapes
before they use up too much of the available plant food. Experts have
found that more foliage means bigger, better-flavored grapes.
Another variety: the fox grape (Vitis labrusca) is a high-climbing
liana vine. Leaves rounded in outline, heart-shaped at base; 3-lobed,
toothed, with dense whitish to reddish felt beneath. Fruits about
20 purple-black (or amber white) grapes in a cluster around September
Found in thickets, woods; southern Maine to Georgia; Tennessee to
Michigan. Widely cultivated.
Vitamins A, B, C, dextrose, fructose, pectin, tartaric and malic
acids, mineral salts, tannin, flavone, glycosides and pigment, magnesium,
potassium, iron, niacin, riboflavin, carbohydrates
Legends, Myths and Stories
In the reference book, 50 Years Anthology; The Herbalist Almanac,
written by Clarence Meyer, edited by David C. Meyer, in memory of
Joseph E. Meyer, "the Herb Doctor", there is a small paragraph that
seems apt here. This quote is reported to have come from the 1585
edition of Dodoens' A Nievve Herball or Historie of Plantes.
Quote: "I will touch onely the particular properties of wine it selfe,
both as it is medicinable and nourishing, for taken moderately, and
by them that are of a middle age, or well stept in yeares, or are
of a cold and dry disposition and (not very young, and so their blood
too hot for to abide wine) it encreaseth blood and nourisheth much:
it procureth an appetite, and helpeth to digest being taken at meate
(meals)--it expelleth feares, cares, and heavinesse, and breedeth
alacrity, mirth and bodily pleasure--causeth quiet rest and sleepe,
both to the sound and sicke that lacke it--on the contrary side, the
excess thereof breedeth a distraction in the sense, the Appoplexie,
and Lethargy or drowsie evill, the trembling of the joynts, the palsie,
and the dropsie."
Treats blood and energy deficiency, night sweats, thirst, palpitations,
rheumatic pains, difficult
urination, edema, dry cough.
Wild or cultivated whole grape leaves were put in the bottom of crocks
to preserve the color of beans that were stored. Grape leaves also
used to wrap fresh-made butter. Said to help preserve butter. Cultivated
grape leaves considered best.
Vitis labrusca (fox grape) was used by the Native Americans as leaf
tea for diarrhea, hepatitis,
stomachaches, thrush. Externally,
they poulticed wilted leaves for sore breasts, rheumatism, headaches,
fevers. Other Vitis species have
been used similarly. Vines, when cut in the summer, yield potable
water, possibly purer than today's acid-rain water.
Formulas or Dosages
Drink the fresh juice of the fruit.
According to one reference if grape juice is taken four times each
day; 1 oz. in plain water and 3 oz. grape juice, taken 1/2 hour before
each meal and upon retiring, then the matter of dieting will take
care of itself. The only restrictions as far as diet is concerned,
should be sweets, chocolate; great quantities of sugars, pastries.
But all other foods, vegetables, and meats, provided they are not
fats, may be taken according to the appetite; but the appetite will
change a great deal. Obesity will regulate itself when this is done
Magnesium, potassium, iron, niacin, riboflavin, carbohydrates, vitamins
A, B, C, dextrose, fructose
Do not confuse the fox grape vine with Canada Moonseed (Menispermum
canadense), which is considered toxic.