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The Wine Guy: Raise a glass and breathe easier

Best of The Wine Guy

The Wine Guy
with Anthony Scarano

The therapeutic use of wine in the treatment of respiratory infections was greatly popular among ancient Greek and Roman physicians, as well as the physicians of Latin countries in recent years.

While grape wine is the most well-known and most popular wine, the beverage can be produced from nearly any fruit; and many of these fruits can produce wine that can be extremely helpful to the body during illness.

A winemaker by the name of Graham in 1750 referred to raspberry wine as a "great cordial" capable of cleansing the blood, comforting the heart, easing pains in the stomach and dispelling vapors from the brain. Graham said raspberry wine can remove obstructions from the lungs, and prevent pestilential air from causing free breeding of bacteria in the lungs. The wine of blackberries is also particularly helpful in the prevention of pestilential infection from the air we breathe, and the wine of the English fig is helpful in treating lung defects, dyspepsia and inflammation.

In recent times small doses of various wines and cognac have been prescribed for the treatment of many pulmonary ailments including bronchitis, bronchopneumonia, asthma and pulmonary congestion. Warm, sweet wine can prevent or abort both acute respiratory infections and influenza, especially during a chill; and a glass of wine before bedtime will often forestall a cold by acting as a sudorific.

It is usually not advisable to drink alcoholic beverages during the acute phases of respiratory diseases, however, in convalescence from pneumonia and other severely debilitating diseases the use of wine is highly recommended. Drinking wine improves the appetite and promotes a feeling of well-being.

We may conclude that alcohol in moderation exerts a minor but appreciable effect on pulmonary ventilation. It produces slight increases in the total volume of air that can pass through the lungs and the amount of oxygen passing through the alveoli. Wine and brandies that contain large amounts of esters exert a more noticeable effect on the respiratory system than ethyl alcohol and simple wines.

Anthony Scarano is not a doctor. He is an 88-year-old Evergreen Park resident, winemaker and certified naturopath. Suggestions in this space are solely the opinions of Mr. Scarano based on years of independent study and personal experience, and may not be beneficial to health. Wine should be consumed in moderation, as overindulgence may be harmful to health.