Is Wine Good for the Heart?

Data backs up doctors' belief that wine can promote health

We doctors are interested in wine and have been for a long time. In fact, physicians’ interest in wine predates even our love affair with golf. The belief that wine possesses medicinal properties has endured for centuries. In ancient Egypt, wine was used to treat ear infections. A pharmacopoeia from the year 2200 BCE lists wine as a medicine. Hippocrates (450–370 BCE), the “Father of Medicine,” used wine as a key component in many of his remedies, and prescribed it as a treatment for fevers, a diuretic, an antiseptic and a general aid for convalescence. Displaying his customary wisdom, Hippocrates wrote, “Wine is fit for man in a wonderful way provided that it is taken with good sense.” Other ancient physicians used wine as a sedative, a treatment for anemia and an appetite stimulant. Clearly, the medical profession has long been comfortable with the idea that wine may be used to promote health. Today we finally have the data to back up this belief. Next: Can arthritis pain relievers hurt your heart? 

Excerpted from Heart 411: The Only Guide to Heart Health You’ll Ever Need, by Marc Gillinov, MD and Steven Nissen, MD (Three Rivers Press, 2012).


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