Adaptogenic and nootropic activities of aqueous extract of Vitis vinifera (grape seed): an experimental study in rat model

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2005 Jan 19;5:1. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-5-1.


Background: The aerial parts of Vitis vinifera (common grape or European grape) have been widely used in Ayurveda to treat a variety of common and stress related disorders. In the present investigation, the seed extract of V. vinifera was evaluated for antistress activity in normal and stress induced rats. Furthermore, the extract was studied for nootropic activity in rats and in-vitro antioxidant potential to correlate its antistress activity.

Methods: For the evaluation of antistress activity, groups of rats (n = 6) were subjected to forced swim stress one hour after daily treatment of V. vinifera extract. Urinary vanillylmandelic acid (VMA) and ascorbic acid were selected as non-invasive biomarkers to assess the antistress activity. The 24 h urinary excretion of vanillylmandelic acid (VMA) and ascorbic acid were determined by spectrophotometric methods in all groups under normal and stressed conditions. The nootropic activity of the extract as determined from acquisition, retention and retrieval in rats was studied by conditioned avoidance response using Cook's pole climbing apparatus. The in vitro antioxidant activity was determined based on the ability of V. vinifera to scavenge hydroxyl radicals.

Results: Daily administration of V. vinifera at doses of 100, 200 and 300 mg/kg body weight one hour prior to induction of stress inhibited the stress induced urinary biochemical changes in a dose dependent manner. However, no change in the urinary excretion of VMA and ascorbic acid was observed in normal animals at all the doses studied. The cognition, as determined by the acquisition, retention and recovery in rats was observed to be dose dependent. The extract also produced significant inhibition of hydroxyl radicals in comparison to ascorbic acid in a dose dependent manner.

Conclusion: The present study provides scientific support for the antistress (adaptogenic), antioxidant and nootropic activities of V. vinifera seed extract and substantiate the traditional claims for the usage of grape fruits and seeds in stress induced disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / urine
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Male
  • Nootropic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Seeds
  • Stress, Physiological / drug therapy*
  • Stress, Physiological / urine
  • Vanilmandelic Acid / urine
  • Vitis*


  • Antioxidants
  • Nootropic Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Vanilmandelic Acid
  • Ascorbic Acid