The compound resveratrol is produced by many plant species.
It is found in the skins of certain red grapes, in peanuts, blueberries, some pines such as Scots pine and eastern white pine as well as the roots and stalks of Japanese knotweed (hu zhang in China).
The compound is touted by manufacturers as an antioxidant, an anti-cancer agent, and a phytoestrogen.
Its demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties help it to block reactions associated with the cancer process.
It has also been confirmed to reduce the occurrence of skin tumours.
It is unique because it interferes with carcinogenesis (formation of cancer) at all three stages of the cancer process: initiation, promotion, and progression.
It is believed that this compound is partially responsible for the cholesterol-lowering effects of red wine.
Epidemiologic and clinical studies indicate that high consumption of resveratrol-rich foods may result in reduced cardiovascular disease risk, lowered total cholesterol, and lowered LDL cholesterol.
Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid the use of resveratrol-containing supplements. They should also avoid the use of wine as a resveratrol source.
Purple grape juice is a good and safe source of resveratrol, as well as other polyphenolic antioxidants.