In vino veritas
Montignac, a well-known French dietitian, devoted his famous book
“Wonderful Wine Properties” to his grandmother who lived 102 years
old and never sat down to table without drinking a glass of good wine.
The author affirms, “Wine is an excellent remedy for prophylactic
of cardiovascular and many other diseases”. However wine has healing
power only when particular rules of wine consumption are observed.
We would like to present you some of statements and
positions from the book of the famous Frenchman.
Michel Montignac affirms that wine originates from Transcaucasia (a
region in the north of Big Caucasian Mountains), and then is cultivated
in India. From Indian plains wine (from the word “vena”- what means
“favorite” in Sanskrit) gradually extends to the Mediterranean basin
where it becomes the subject of the divine trilogy about Osiris-Dionis-Bacchus.
Wine as a symbol of living-giving blood appears in
The Old Testament. The Book of Proverbs says: ”Wine means life for
a person (a man), if he is moderate in drinking. What a life without
wine! Wine is created for people’s pleasure, for heart’s merriment,
for soul happiness”.
Michel Montignac took this panegyric to wine from
“The Gourmet Almanac” (1803): “Wine is the best friend of a man if
drinking moderately and the worst enemy if abusing. It is your partner
in life, consoler in sorrow, decoration in welfare, main source of
true feelings. Wine is milk for elder people and balm for adults.
The best feast without wine is all the same what a ball without a
band”. The great Louis Pasteur wrote in his famous “Wine Research
…” –“wine is the healthiest and most hygienic one from all the drinks”.
Wine is an ancient healing remedy, affirms Michel
Montignac. Since the man discovered wine, it came into arsenal of
the most therapeutic medicines. Beginning from Ancient Times (Greco-Roman
Civilization), Middle Ages (Renaissance), the Age of Enlightenment
(Industrial Revolution) wine had been one of the prevailing remedies
in the traditional medicine.
In the temples of Ancient Greece dedicated to Asclepius,
the God of Medicine, to the place of magical medicine came real remedies
among which wine held a very high position. Homer reports for example
that the wounds of Philoctetes who was seriously injured in the Troy
battle were healed by Podaleirius’s wine (the son of Asclepius).
Doctors when taking the Hippocratic oath must remember
his words: “Wine is a wonderful thing apt in health as well as in
illness. It is prescribed by necessity and in certain amounts in compliance
with the individual build”. Hippocrat who possessed the sense of humor
affirmed that harsh temper and bad mood are main sources of diseases.
That’s why he strongly recommended drinking wine saying that “it makes
laugh and be in good spirits”.
In Ancient Rome they also knew about therapeutic
properties of wine. We can read about it in numerous books by ancient
authors. In year 1000 BC Dioscorides wrote: “Good, natural, a bit
warm wine is easy assimilated, it is good for stomach, it is nutritious,
stimulates the appetite, makes the sleep better, strengthens the body
and gives the healthy look. The naturalist Pliny the Elder joining
to the advices of Hippocrates confirms that “wine is a medicine itself,
it is nourishing the blood, pleases the stomach, calms in sorrow.
One more quotation from Petronius: “Wine lives longer than a man.
Let’s drink it in like a sponge because wine is life!”
In the Middle Ages there was a belief that only mighty
God can heal a sick person and the transactions of Hippocrates and
Pliny the Elder were temporarily forgotten. Only when the Salerno
Medicine School was established in the Italian province of Campania
there was a persuasion that the fermented juice of wine does have
a therapeutic action. In the books of that time we can read: “Good
wine gives the chance for elder people to feel young again. Pure wine
possesses numerous merits: it raises the tonus, pleases the stomach,
drives out bad mood and clears overfull viscera. Wine makes mind lively,
look shining, hearing sharp and favors with good health. The Arabic
doctor Avicenna called wine the best friend of wise people.
In Renaissance one of the main panegyrics and wine
propagandists was nobody else but Francois Rabelais. Few remember
now that the famous author of “Gargantua and Pantagruel” was
an honorable doctor at that time and for all to hear announced: “Wine
juice makes the mind and understanding clear, drives out sorrow, gives
pleasure and fun”.
Helvetius, a famous doctor of the Enlightenment,
asserted that there is no sense to object to the moderate wine consumption,
because it is healthy and even necessary for indigestion and sustains
the processes of stomach work at recovering patients. A well-known
French chemist Fourcroy wrote: “Wine is an exceptional medicine for
those who didn’t get into the habit to drink it all the time. Wine
is a restorative, corroborant (as an energetic factor) and a very
powerful cordial. The great Voltaire said: “In moderate amount wine
is the best medicine for soul and body”.
Michel Montignac, having taken into consideration
modern statistics, comes to interesting conclusions: the more is the
consumption of wine per head, the less is the risk of causa mortis
by coronary deficiency. In the countries consuming wine such as France,
Greece, Italy, Spain the death rate is the lowest. The level of wine
consumption where the death rate is the lowest is from 24 to 34 gr.
alcohol (1 wine-glass 100 ml, strength-12° contains 10 gr. alcohol).
On the other hand, people not consuming wine as well as people abusing
it (60 gr. alcohol per day and more run the risk of causa mortis.
From all said above it follows that it is very healthy
to drink 2-3 glasses of wine daily when having a meal. To drink wine
by the meal, especially if it contains a great number of saturated
fats, is not only a pleasure. Wine should be recommended, even imposed
as a “duty” to drink in order to prevent fat accumulation on the artery
walls in the hours following the meal. It happens to insist on the
necessity of drinking wine daily but in no case from time to time.
Occasional consumption - to celebrate an occasion or at weekends as
it happens in Scandinavian countries where they drink wine in order
to get drunk - is a very dangerous occupation. This is the opinion
of the wine connoisseur, scientist and dietitian Michel Montignac.
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