The grape cure is usually carried out at places like Meran and Montreux, but is available wherever grapes can be obtained. It is a mode of treatment which depends for its good results on change of diet and manner of life, the climate and surroundings, and the aperient effect of the grapes. When aided by a good supporting diet it is suitable for the overworked, the weak and the convalescent. In conjunction with a spare diet, limited particularly as to fat and carbo-hydrates, it is valuable in obesity. The laxative effects render it suitable for cases of abdominal plethora; for passive congestion of the abdominal viscera due to heart disease, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and hepatic affections; for piles and for chronic constipation. It may also be of value in the treatment of gastric and intestinal catarrh, vesical catarrh, calculus, gouty concretions, and malarial cachexia. As a cure for phthisis its value depends on climatic conditions and liberal feeding.
Konig gives the composition of grapes as: water, 78.19; nitrogenous matter, 0.59; free acids, 0.79; sugar, 14.36; other non-nitrogenous substances, 1.96; cellulose and pips, 3.60, mineral ash, 0.53. The salts are chiefly potash salts, and salts of lime and magnesia. The percentage of sugar varies considerably in different grapes and is often as much as to 20 to 30.
Begin with half a pound of grapes when fasting, or an hour or two after a light breakfast, and again at 5 p.m. In three days give a third half pound at noon, or after the midday meal, if there is dyspepsia. Gradually increase the dose to one pound at a time. The aperient effects are manifest in a few days. It is rarely advisable to give more than two pounds in lung cases; three pounds in gastric and intestinal catarrh, the diet being carefully regulated at the same time; and four pounds in other conditions; but the amount may be increased to five or six pounds for abdominal plethora, hepatic constipation and chronic constipation. Figs and prunes can be added to relieve the monotony of the diet. The course of treatment lasts for six weeks. Small quantities of white bread may be eaten after the grapes to remove acids from the teeth and, if the gums become irritated, the mouth should be rinsed out with bicarbonate of soda solution.