A little wine for your heart

A little wine for your heart

Sunday, December 15, 2019

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THE Apostle Paul, in writing to Timothy, recommended, under divine inspiration, that the lad stop drinking water and use a little wine for his stomach issues and frequent cases of illness (1Tim 5:23).

Clearly, the apostle did not mean a wholesale abandonment of water, forever the miracle liquid, but was rather emphasising purposes for which wine is a better-suited option than water.


Consuming red wine in moderation is known to reduce the risk of heart attack. In this regard, scientists have struggled to understand what has come to be known as the “French Paradox”, a term that refers to how the diet of the average French man, not low in saturated fats — more often than not blamed for cardiovascular problems — results in one of the lowest mortality rates for coronary heart disease in the industrialised West.

Le Figaro, a Parisian newspaper, cites reports in the British medical journal, The Lancet, in which scientists hold that such: paradox is largely attributable to red wine — a staple beverage in the diet of the French generally accompanying their meals.

Scientists have demonstrated that phenols — acidic compounds present in red wine — successfully inhibit what we have come to now know as bad cholesterol (LDL), with its deathly clogging effect on arteries owing to a build-up of fatty deposits, a precursor to heart attacks.


The Apostle Paul was quite judicious in his prescription to the young man; he said “a little wine” and as with many things is the tried and true refrain, “too much of one thing is good for nothing”.

Le Figaro notes that these phenols, non-alcoholic components of wine, consumed beyond a half pint [0.25 L] a day, puts one at greater peril than good.

God's word frowns upon overdrinking and drunkenness, and in these excessive amounts describes wine, in the words of Proverbs 20:1, as “a mocker” and “a brawler” that now puts one's health at risk, blurring vision and compromising mental faculty.

Notwithstanding these side effects occasioned by overindulgence and indiscretion, once moderately used, it is and will always be the drink “that makes the heart of mortal man rejoice” (Psalm 104:15).

Contrary to our local culture that has coconut water as the liquid that washes the heart, the Bible links wine to a good condition of the heart (Ecc 9:7), a fact scientists are only just rubber-stamping in our time.

Further confirming wine's strong medicinal properties is a present-day finding by Dr Salvatore P Lucia, professor of medicine, University of California School of Medicine: “Wine is widely used in the treatment of diseases of the digestive system... The tannin content and the mildly antiseptic properties of wine make it valuable in the treatment of intestinal colic, mucous colitis, spastic constipation, diarrhoea and many infectious diseases of the gastrointestinal tract” (Wine as Food and Medicine, 1954, p. 58).

In this spirit of good health, the book, The Origins and Ancient History of Wine, reports: “It has been shown experimentally that living typhoid and other dangerous microbes rapidly die when mixed with wine.”

Modern research avers that some of the more than 500 compounds wine has have those, plus numerous other medicinal benefits.


The case in God's word of the medicinal properties of wine is not an isolated one for, in an exemplum, Jesus related how a man battered by robbers was assisted by a neighbourly Samaritan who bounded up the man's wounds and “poured oil and wine upon them” (Luke 10:30-34).

Jesus, like Paul, stood on medically sound grounds with this practice he relates. In the book Ancient Wine, wine figures as “an analgesic, disinfectant, and general remedy all rolled into one”.

The ancients, namely, the Egyptians, Mesopotamians, and Syrians, long employed winehealth treatment. Little wonder, The Oxford Companion to Wine calls it “man's oldest documented medicine”.

So, all said and done, would anyone care for a sip of wine?

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