What is Apigenin?
Aspigenin is a natural bioflavonoid compound found in a variety of plant foods. This natural flavone can be found in certain fruits, vegetables herbs and spices and chamomile tea is an especially rich source. It is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. In high levels it can also help reduce anxiety might work as a natural sedative.
Studies indicate that apigenin is especially useful against cancer. This exciting research shows that it can protect the body against a number of different types of cancer. While supplements are available, studies suggest that you can get an active dose sufficient to protect against cancer from eating a diet rich in apigenin.
Sources of Apigenin
Eating a diet rich in fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs provides you with an array of important nutrients. These can benefit your health in a variety of ways. Eating plenty of the following foods can do wonders for your health and well-being but they also provide you with a great source of apigenin. The best sources of apigenin include the following:
- herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, coriander and oregano
- licorice root
- red wine and beer
- lemon balm
Health Benefits of Apigenin
Like many flavonoids found in plants, apigenin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can guard against a wide variety of illnesses and serious disease. While there have not been any trials conducted on humans yet, the compound has been extensively studied for its effects on animals. The bulk of these studies have focused on its anti-cancer potential and its antioxidant potential.
1) Heart Health
According to research apigenin can benefit your heart in a number of different ways. First of all apigenin may help to reduce blood pressure which is a major risk factor in heart disease. It can do this because of the relaxing effect it exerts on the body’s central nervous system.
Many people are familiar with the relaxing effects of chamomile tea and chamomile is often recommended as a natural remedy for anxiety, stress and sleep disorders. Much of the effectiveness of chamomile can be attributed to the potent effects of apigenin because of its ability to modulate the GABA receptors in the brain.
Because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, apigenin may help ward off heart disease. By consuming an anti-inflammatory diet rich in flavonoids like apigenin, you can protect against the damage done to the cells by oxidative stress. This damage is at the root of many of the illnesses we associate with aging including atheroslerosis, heart attack and stroke.
The vast majority of the research into apigenin has focused on cancer. Researchers around the world have been looking to nature in their search for an effective treatment for the disease and many of the results have been extremely promising.
When it comes to apigenin and its anti-cancer potential, the signs are good. Studies have demonstrated that it is effective against many types of cancer including leukemia, breast cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer and cancer of the stomach.
A quick search of pubmed turns up over 500 peer-reviewed studies examining the anti-cancer effects of apigenin.
A recent study published in 2015 demonstrated that apigenin could prevent or slow down the progress of an enzyme known as IKKA. This harmful enzyme is linked to the progression of cancer. The researchers also found that apigenin may prevent tumor growth and slow down the development of cancer cells. (1)
Many other studies have concluded that apigenin has a role to play in preventing various types of cancer. The following are just a few of the many examples.
- A study published in 2008 found that apigenin used alongside green tea was effective in preventing a recurrence of colon cancer among survivors of colon cancers and a reduced incidence in those who had undergone a colonoscopy. (2)
- A study published in 2012 by scientists from the University of Missouri found that apigenin was effective against breast cancer. Many women going through menopause are given a synthetic hormone called progestein to help ease the symptoms of menopause. Unfortunately, progestein is also linked to a particular breast cancer tumor. The researchers found that apigenin helped shrink the breast cancer tumor and recommended further studies in the future. (3)
- A recent study published in 2013 also found that apigenin had an effect on lung cancer by killing over 80% of cancer cells in vitro. (4)
3) For Depression and Anxiety
Chamomile tea is very well-known for its calming, soothing abilities and is one of the most effective natural remedies to calm the mind. And for all those people who have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, a cup of chamomile tea before bed can do wonders.
Chamomile has been used as a natural stress reliever for centuries and its use goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. The reason that chamomile works so well is likely due to its high levels of apigenin.
In 2009, researchers from the School of Medicine at Pennsylvania University set out to examine the effects of chamomile on anxiety. The results of their two month trial confirmed what the Romans knew already – that chamomile had a significant effect on general anxiety. By the end of this double-blind study, 57% of the subjects experienced a significant reduction in their levels of anxiety. (4)
In another study, researchers found that chamomile with its rich apigenin content could also help fight depression. In this study published in 2012, all 57 participants felt the benefits and experienced a significant decrease in their feelings of depression. The volunteers were treated with standardized chamomile extract with 1.2% apigenin. (5)
4) Brain Health
Research is at a very early stage but it looks as though apigenenin could play an important role in the prevention of various degenerative brain diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
In 2015 researchers in Brazil conducted a series of laboratory tests on the effects of apigenin on stem cells. Incredibly, stem cells were able to produce brain cells at least under laboratory conditions. They found that apigenin took just only 25 days to produce the cells necessary for the brain to function more effectively. (6)
Adding more apigenin helped strengthen the essential connections between neurons. This is a significant finding and may have opened a future potential treatment to ensure your brain is firing on all its cylinders. It may eventually lead to improved cognitive health, learning and memory and even help treat patients with age related brain disease like Alzheimer’s.
5) Other Benefits
Apigenin has a number of other potential uses according to preliminary research. It may help relieve stress by reducing cortisol levels. (7). Studies on animals indicate that it could help protect against obesity. (8) One study conducted on dogs found that apigenin could strengthen bones. (9)
How to Use Apigenin
As we have already mentioned, apigenin is naturally occurring in various foods with parsley and chamomile being the highest in the compound. Drinking chamomile tea on a regular basis and adding more parsley to your diet are great ways to ensure you are getting plenty of apigenin into your system.
Apigenin is also available in supplementary capsule and powder form from many health stores or online shops. Make sure that you read any dosage information carefully and check with your doctor of you are concerned