Resveratrol was first identified in 1939 by a Japanese researcher Dr. Michio Takaoka. It was isolated in the roots of a Japanese plant known as white hellebore. Years later, in 1963, another Japanese scientist isolated resveratrol from Japanese knotweed. The roots of Japanese knotweed had been used in traditional medicine to treat cardiovascular diseases, inflammation and liver diseases. Plants containing resveratrol have been used in traditional medicine for over 2,000 years.
The presence of resveratrol in grapevines wasn’t discovered until 1976. The fact that it’s in wine wasn’t found out until as recently as 1992 by Siemann and Creasy of Cornell University. This realization led to the widespread speculation of wine consumption solving the “French Paradox”. The French Paradox describes the ability the French have to consume a diet rich in saturated fats yet still remain thin.
More recently, scientists from the Harvard Medical School have found that resveratrol can increase the lifespan of yeasts cells and species such as worms and fruit flies. The research on resveratrol and increased lifespan in mammals and humans, however, has been inconclusive so far and therefore largely debated.