Apigenin, The Most Powerful Herb You've Never Heard Of?
By Tyler Woodward
Apigenin is a type of flavonoid or phytochemical that is found in many types of plants. It is primarily in herbs like onions or rosemary. Formerly known for its yellow color and use as a textile dye, apigenin has recently risen in popularity. This is due to its potent biological effects.
Benefits Of Apigenin:
- May Fight Cancer Cells - A number of studies have been performed on apigenin for its potential as an anti-cancer agent. Due to its lack of toxicity and ability to target cancer cells, it may be a potent therapeutic agent for fighting cancer. In reference to cancer cells apigenin seems to exert a number of biological effects including, “regulation of oxidative stress and DNA damage, suppression of inflammation and angiogenesis, retardation of cell proliferation, and induction of autophagy and apoptosis” (Sung et. al.).These effects have been shown to be beneficial in virtually type of every cancer.
- May Help Treat Diabetes - In animal models apigenin seems to be able to help treat diabetes. Apgienin is able to increase insulin sensitivity allowng for more glucose to enter the cell. As a result decreases blood glucose levels is seen. A few studies also found that it was able to improve overall renal function in addition to increasing levels of the superoxidedismutase antioxidant enzyme.
- May Be Used To Treat Alzheimer’s Disease And Amnesia - In a number of study’s apigenin has been found to improve memory and overall cognitive function in patients with alzheimer’s disease and amnesia. In alzheimer’s patients specifically, it has been found to decrease the formation of the beta-amyloid plaque and reduce the amount of fibrillar amyloid deposits. In amnesia patients it’s been found to have protective effects on the brain in addition to improving spatial learning and memory.
- May Combat Depression - Aigenin has been shown to have a number of beneficial biological effects on combatting depression, again in aniamls. Apigenin was found to inhibit the MAO (monoamineoxidase) enzyme which is responsible for breaking down neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. By inhibiting this enzyme apigenin likely increases the concentration of these enzymes within the brain, helping to support cognitive health. Apigenin has been found to increase the uptake of l-tyrosine. A precursor to dopamine and also have anti-stress effects.
- May Be Anti-Inflammatory - Overall it appears as though apigenin exerts a anti-inflammatory effects through a number of mechanisms. One of the interesting mechanisms seems to be through counteracting the inflammatory effects of endotoxin or lipopolysaccharides. Endotoxins are a type of “bad” bacteria that leach through the gut lining into the bloodstream and as a result cause the release of inflammatory cytokines. Apigenin seems to be able to combat these inflammatory cytokines released from endotoxins.
- May Be Anti-Estrogenic - Part of its anti-cancer or at least anti-proliferative effects may be as a result of apigenin’s anti-estrogenic effects. Apigenin appears to act as a partial estrogen antagonist, binding to estrogen receptors in the body. This thereby preventing estrogen from exerting its effects. This may as a result mean that apigenin has some testosterone boosting effects by reducing estrogen’s activity in the body
Read More: The Science Of Stress & How To Manage It
How To Supplement With Apigenin:
Most of the current research on apigenin has found that apigenin is extremely unstable in solution. This means that isolated or supplemental forms of it are not very effective. In contrast, it is found in a number of herbs in relatively high quantities. In the plants it is very stable and bioavailable or absorbable in the body. As a result, I’d recommend getting apigenin from foods or spices your diet and not through supplemental forms.
Foods Containing Apigenin:
Apigenin is primarily found in herbs including:
- Dried parsley contains proportionally much high amounts of this potent chemical
Chamomile tea -
- This may also have some beneficial effects on improving sleep
To get some added apigenin in your diet a nightly chamomile tea in addition to adding some herbs like parsley, oregano, and onions to your food is likely the best way to consume apigenin.
Interestingly, apigenin may be even more potent when combined with its chemical cousin naringenin. Naringenin is a very similar compound found primarily in citrus fruits that also exerts a number of anti-inflammatory and cognitive boosting effects. Together the two compounds may be one of the only known phytoprogestoens that resemble progesterone in the body which is an extremely beneficial and protective hormone. Click here to read more about Naringenin!
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