Wine and health is an issue of considerable discussion and research. Wine has a long history of use as an early form of medication, being recommended variously as a safe alternative to drinking water, and antiseptic, for treating wounds, a digestive aid, and as a cure for a wide range of ailments including lethargy, diarrhea, and pain from child birth.
Ancient Egyptian Papyri and Sumerian tablets dating back to 2200 BC detail the medicinal role of wine, making it the world’s oldest documented man-made medicine. Wine continued to play a major role in medicine until the late 19th and early 20th century, when changing opinions and medical research on alcohol and alcoholism cast doubt on the role of wine as part of a healthy lifestyle and diet.
In the late 20th and early 21st century, fueled in part by public interest in reports by the United States news broadcast 60 minutes on the so-called “French Paradox”, the medical establishment began to re-evaluate the role of moderate wine consumption in health.
Early medicine was intimately tied with religion and the supernatural, with early practitioners often being priests and magicians. Wine’s close association with ritual made it a logical tool for these early medical practices. Tablets from Sumerian culture and papyri from Ancient Egypt dating to 2200 BC include recipes for wine based medicines, making wine the oldest documented man made medicine.
The 1990s and early 21st century saw a renewed interest in the health benefits of wine, ushered in by increasing research suggesting that moderate wine drinkers have lower mortality rates than heavy drinkers or teetotalers*. In November 1991, the U.S. news program 60 Minutes aired a broadcast on the so-called “French Paradox”. Featuring the research work of Bordeaux scientist Serge Renaud, the broadcast dealt with the seemingly paradoxical relationship between the high fat/high dairy diets of French people and the low occurrence of cardiovascular disease among them. The broadcast drew parallels to the American and British diets which also contained high levels of fat and dairy but which featured high incidences of heart disease. One of the theories proposed by Renaud in the broadcast was that moderate consumption of red wine was a risk-reducing factor for the French and that wine could have more positive health benefits yet to be studied. Following the 60 Minutes broadcast, sales of red wine in the United States jumped 44% over previous years.
And so, based on all the above ;), I consider drinking a daily glass of wine my beauty régime, and believe me, it’s working ;)! Santé**!!! 🙂
Thank you, Wikipedia, for all this information!
*Teetolars are people who don’t drink alcohol
**Santé – French for Health!, in other words, ‘to (your) Health’!