Story of the Muscadine

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In 1524, Giovanni da Verrazzano, a Florentine navigator who explored the Cape Fear River valley for France, first spotted muscadines in North Carolina. He wrote in his logbook that he saw “many vines growing naturally there.”

European explorers to the New World first gazed upon the muscadine’s plump, juicy fullness in 1584. Sir Walter Raleigh’s voyagers Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe exclaimed that North Carolina was “so full of grapes, as the very beating and surge of the Sea overflowed them…in all the world the like abundance is not to be found.”

Sir Walter Raleigh was so impressed with the muscadine and its white grape variety,  scuppernongs, that he legendarily sent a keg of scuppernong wine to Queen Elizabeth I.  The 400-year old Mother Vine on Roanoke Island is a popular tourist attraction today, and continues to produce robust, delicious fruit.

The muscadine variety of scuppernong grapes is North Carolina’s state fruit, a testimony to the growing acknowledgement of the muscadine’s importance in both commerce and nutrition.  North Carolina Department of Agriculture officials report over 400 individually owned vineyards and 89 wineries in the state. 127 commercial muscadine or scuppernong growers operate in 55 counties, spanning more than 1,174 acres.

However, long before the first Europeans stepped off the ship, Native Americans were making dumplings, raisins, drinks and poultices with the large, sweet bunches of grapes called “Cherokee muscadines.” Science has confirmed what the Native Americans demonstrated all along.  The muscadine is loaded with some of the most powerful antioxidant properties that can enhance our health.

Health Benefits of Muscadines  

Our bodies make special enzymes reducing the amount of damage our bodies suffer as we age.  These enzymes are:

Superoxide dismutase (SOD), Catalase, Glutathione peroxidase, and there are two forms of this enzyme, one which is selenium-independent and the other is selenium-dependent (so take your selenium!)  Unfortunately the older we get, our bodies produce fewer of these enzymes and the negative impact of free radicalsFree radicals can cause damage to parts of cells such as proteins, DNA, and cell membranes by stealing their electrons through a process called oxidation. (This is why free radical damage is also called “oxidative damage”  needs a helping hand.

One way to battle free radicals is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants like OPC’s, Ellagic Acid, Resveratrol and their derivatives that are now known to have many biological activities associated with our health. And while it’s impossible to eat enough fruits and vegetables to overtake the damaging free radicals that attack our bodies’ cells, taking antioxidant supplement, like Nature’s Pearl Muscadine and others , has become the most effective way to battle these cellular attacks.

Now that I’m in my mid fifties: Wrinkles ~ There are many reasons why we develop wrinkles and sagging skin, one being the resulting factors of free radicals and the damaging effects they have on collagen in our skin and our capillaries reducing the nutrient intake of the skin. Both lead to the loss of our youthful appearance. Loss of collagen elasticity not only causes wrinkles in the skin, but also affects the collagen that makes up every organ and tissue in our bodies. Antioxidants are my friend!

We live in the most polluted environment in history and so many things can negatively affect our health and well being.  Environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, pesticides, herbicides, chlorine, smoke and many other man-made chemicals can spawn free radicals.

SOME common sources of Free Radical Damage:

  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Rancid Oils
  • Too  much Sunlight
  • Pesticides
  • Pollution
  • Medications
  • Electronics
  • X rays
  • Microwaves
  • Illness
  • Airborne Emissions
  • Food Preservatives and Additives

The Power of Antioxidants

As we grow older, we begin to show the side effects of our decreasing supply of antioxidants.  We experience more aches, pains and lost energy.  Some of this may  be because of an unstable oxygen molecule, the free radical.  Free radicals can break down healthy human tissues in a process called oxidation, the same process that rusts iron and causes peeled apples to turn brown.

Antioxidants are molecules, which can safely interact with free radicals and can reduce their power by terminating the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged.

To compare the antioxidant values of various foods and nutrients, scientists developed a unit of measure called ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). This scale is used to compare antioxidant values. The higher the ORAC rating of a substance the more free radicals it can neutralize.

Beware as you compare ORAC values.  Always check to see that you are comparing gram to gram as show in this chart. Another key tip for taking antioxidants is to take a variety of them. We have numerous antioxidants for you to choose from. I take at least 3 different ones each day. Mix it up and attack the free radicals from all sides!


Brunswick Laboratories: ORAC ratings may vary from batch to batch.  All ORAC ratings are measured by Brunswick Laboratories and expressed as mircomole TE per gram.