Resveratrol is a stilbenoid, a type of natural phenol
Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, phenic acid, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5OH. It is a white crystalline solid. The molecule consists of a phenyl , bonded to a hydroxyl group. It is produced on a large scale as a precursor to many materials and useful compounds...

, and a phytoalexin
Phytoalexins are antimicrobial substances synthesized de novo by plants that accumulate rapidly at areas of incompatible pathogen infection. They are broad spectrum inhibitors and are chemically diverse with different types characteristic of particular plant species...

 produced naturally by several plants when under attack by pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

s such as bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

 or fungi.

The effects of resveratrol are currently a topic of numerous animal and human studies. Its effects on the lifespan of many model organisms remain controversial, with uncertain effects in fruit flies
Drosophila melanogaster
Drosophila melanogaster is a species of Diptera, or the order of flies, in the family Drosophilidae. The species is known generally as the common fruit fly or vinegar fly. Starting from Charles W...

, nematode worms
Caenorhabditis elegans
Caenorhabditis elegans is a free-living, transparent nematode , about 1 mm in length, which lives in temperate soil environments. Research into the molecular and developmental biology of C. elegans was begun in 1974 by Sydney Brenner and it has since been used extensively as a model...

, and short-lived fish. In mouse and rat experiments, anticancer, anti-inflammatory
Anti-inflammatory refers to the property of a substance or treatment that reduces inflammation. Anti-inflammatory drugs make up about half of analgesics, remedying pain by reducing inflammation as opposed to opioids, which affect the central nervous system....

, blood sugar-lowering and other beneficial cardiovascular effects of resveratrol have been reported.