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Thanks to Dr. Andrew Huberman’s famous “sleep cocktail,” this plant-based antioxidant is back in the news and so are its benefits.

What’s common in fresh celery, parsley, oregano, basil, thyme, green chilli peppers, oranges and chamomileLet’s go beyond the fact that they’re all edible products of plants. Well, they’re foods that are naturally high in apigenin.

Apigenin (app-ee-jeh-nin or ape-ee-jeh-nin) is a fascinating plant flavonoid. Flavonoids are a type of active molecule in plants, like caffeine and quercetin in tea and coffee. And apigenin is one of the most widely studied plant flavonoids and has been linked to several health benefits. It is known to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties too. 

Since it is on its way to becoming the next “smart nutraceutical or supplement”, here are a few proven health benefits of apigenin you’d want to know –

1. Prevents Diabetes-related Complications

This plant flavonoid is a powerful antioxidant and can neutralize the harmful effects of chemicals and free radicals in the blood. Apigenin helps in reducing blood pressure, blood sugar levels, insulin resistance and thyroid imbalance in diabetic individuals. 

It also diminishes the impact of hyperglycemia and diabetes on the heart, kidneys and other vital organs, as per animal studies.

2. Aids in Sleep, Memory and Focus

Apigenin could be the reason you feel sleepy after having warm chamomile tea. It helps those with insomnia fall into sleep quickly and for longer

It also protects your brain and nervous system from chemical stress and inflammation induced by free radicals in the body. Apigenin supplements may improve learning and memory, and potentially delay the onset of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

3. May Have Antidepressant and Anti-anxiety Effects

Chamomile extracts and apigenin supplements have shown positive effects on depression and anxiety in animal studies.

Damiana (Turnera aphrodisiaca) plant extract has been traditionally used as an aphrodisiac. Recent studies have found this extract to have anti-anxiety/calming effects and attribute them to high levels of apigenin in the plant.

4. May Boost Hair Growth

Mouse studies suggest that apigenin treatment may promote hair growth.

Like curcumin, quercetin and other plant flavonoids, this molecule blocks the action of growth suppressors, controls inflammation and boosts hair follicle proliferation. For these reasons, it may also be used as a herbal adjuvant in treating alopecia and related hair loss conditions.

5. Improves Skin Health

Traditionally, apigenin-rich Chrysanthemum extract has been used for skincare in China. Recent research proves that topically applying apigenin or its supplements conditions your skin and improves its barrier functions and permeability

It also prevents and protects your skin from microbial infections and chemical stress. Those dealing with conditions like atopic dermatitis can largely benefit from apigenin’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.

6. May Possess Anticancer Effects

Apigenin has shown anti-tumour effects in human and animal studies. It inhibits the growth and metastasis of cancerous cells in the body. It also interacts with the immune system to put up an enhanced yet targeted response.

It has successfully shown anticancer effects in treating lung, breast, colorectal, skin, prostate, ovarian, pancreatic and cervical cancers, among others.

Apigenin and its Supplements

The latest scientific evidence establishes the safety of apigenin and its supplements in humans. According to Harvard Medical School, it’s best to start by taking one capsule of 220 mg supplement daily. A safe choice would be a brand that provides 1.2% of active apigenin in its formula.

Chamomile tea or extract, fresh herbs like oregano, parsley, peppermint and thyme; oranges and raw celery are excellent dietary supplements of apigenin. Add them to your meals, smoothies and snack recipes.

Give this plant antioxidant a try. Talk to your healthcare provider or nutritionist to know the best-suited way for you to consume it.

If this suits you well, you’ll never go back looking for a synthetic supplement!

References

  1. DR. ANDREW HUBERMAN’S SLEEP COCKTAIL BrainFlow
  2. Flavonoids Micronutrient Information Center, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University 
  3. The Therapeutic Potential of Apigenin Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Mar; 20(6): 1305.
  4. Apigenin ScienceDirect
  5. Apigenin in cancer therapy: anti-cancer effects and mechanisms of action Cell Biosci. 2017; 7: 50.
  6. Apigenin and naringenin regulate glucose and lipid metabolism, and ameliorate vascular dysfunction in type 2 diabetic rats Eur J Pharmacol. 2016 Feb 15;773:13-23. 
  7. Enhancement of pentobarbital-induced sleep by apigenin through chloride ion channel activation Arch Pharm Res. 2012 Feb;35(2):367-73.
  8. Apigenin: The Anxiolytic Constituent of Turnera aphrodisiaca Pharmaceutical Biology 2006; 44(2):84–90
  9. Hair Growth Promoting and Anticancer Effects of p21-activated kinase 1 (PAK1) Inhibitors Isolated from Different Parts of Alpinia zerumbet Molecules. 2017 Jan; 22(1): 132.
  10. A cell-based system for screening hair growth-promoting agents Arch Dermatol Res. 2009 Jun;301(5):381-5.
  11. Topical Apigenin Improves Epidermal Permeability Barrier Homeostasis in Normal Murine Skin by Divergent Mechanisms Exp Dermatol. 2013 Mar; 22(3): 210–215.
  12. Production and characterization of antioxidant apigenin nanocrystals as a novel UV skin protective formulation Int J Pharm. 2011 Nov 25;420(1):133-40.
  13. Supplements for three common conditions Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School

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