Many foods heralded for their nutritional value aren’t on grocery lists due to their bitter or strange flavors, like buckwheat, mung beans, and hawthorn berries. The flavonoid vitexin is prominent in these superfoods’ disease-fighting anti-inflammatory powers.
Many plants, including cannabis and hemp, get their antioxidant superpowers from flavonoids like vitexin, which protect the plant from outside factors like UV rays, bacteria, and insects. Vitexin fans praise it for everything from benefiting the brain and heart to fighting diabetes and helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Along with terpenes, cannabis flavonoids are essential compounds that enhance and characterize the plant’s flavors and aromas, giving every strain unique qualities.
Here’s everything you need to know about vitexin and its benefits to your cannabis experience.
What Do Flavonoids Like Vitexin Do for Plants and Humans?
Flavonoids like vitexin are powerful antioxidants that play an essential role in the holistic wellness benefits of many fruits, vegetables, and plants, including cannabis and hemp.
Flavonoids affect the plant’s smell, taste, and color, allowing them to attract pollinators, capture specific light wavelengths, and regulate cell cycles. Flavonoids also defend against harmful UV rays, bacteria, fungi, and insects.
Like terpenes and cannabinoids, flavonoids play a prominent role in the “entourage effect,” a term for how cannabis compounds work synergistically to give each cultivar (aka strain) its unique aroma, flavor, and therapeutic qualities. Each cultivar has a different sensory experience and interacts uniquely with the body, from intense euphoria and pain relief to sleepiness and relaxation.
Flavonoid research shows exciting medical possibilities from their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-viral, and anti-cancer effects. Incorporating more of these hard-working compounds into our diets greatly lowers oxidative stress and disease risk.
What Is Vitexin?
Vitexin is a flavonoid found in many plants used in traditional medicines and remedies for thousands of years, such as passionflower, açai palm, buckwheat, flax, and cannabis. It certainly tastes healthy on its own, with a bitter, off flavor like that in the coating of various millets, grains, and porridge.
Research into vitexin benefits shows this flavonoid can support the body in many different ways:
- Fights oxidative stress
- Supports brain function and memory
- Soothes pain and inflammation
- Maintains heart health
- Supports healthy blood sugar levels
- Possible diabetes and cancer treatment
Antioxidant and Neuroprotective Properties of Vitexin
One of the most valuable vitexin benefits is its antioxidant activity. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, the damaging molecules that cause oxidative stress, leading to accelerated aging and disease. In particular, vitexin is a compound of interest for treating neurodegenerative diseases.
- A 2020 review on vitexin studies found it can fight oxidative stress in heart tissue and respiratory injuries, help improve cell function, and protect against metabolic dysfunction, seizures, and memory impairment.
- A 2018 collaborative review on vitexin’s neuroprotective effects showed it could counteract processes that degenerate the brain, such as redox imbalance, neuroinflammation, abnormal protein aggregation, reduction of cognitive abilities, and motor impairment.
- A 2015 study found that vitexin could protect the brain’s PC12 cells from attack by Aβ peptides, the chief cause of the neurodegeneration accompanying Alzheimer’s disease.
- Passionflower extract, a significant vitexin source, supported memory in rat studies.
- In animal studies, higher vitexin doses protected 100% of animals against the seizures triggered by GABA antagonists found in epilepsy and forms of pathological anxiety.
Vitexin Against Pain and Inflammation
Vitexin displays anti-inflammatory properties for combating pain and other inflammation-related conditions.
- A 2013 study found that vitexin reduced inflammatory pain in mice, targeting pain receptors and inhibiting oxidative stress.
Vitexin and Heart Health
Vitexin is primarily responsible for the heart benefits of hawthorn berries, studied as a preventive against heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Animal and human studies show hawthorn has numerous circulatory benefits, such as increased coronary artery blood flow, enhanced pumping efficiency, a lengthening of the refractory period, and lower blood pressure.
Vitexin to Fight Diabetes and Cancer
Research indicates vitexin is a potential treatment for diabetes and maintaining healthy blood sugar and insulin levels. It also displays anti-cancer effects.
- A 2021 review showed vitexin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties could attenuate complications arising from diabetes.
- Laboratory research in mice found that vitexin supported healthy blood-sugar levels by inhibiting an enzyme known as alpha-glucosidase, which converts carbohydrates into glucose. Vitexin also supports the pancreas cells that produce insulin.
- Vitexin extracted from the vitex negundo plant, used in traditional Chinese medicine, suppressed melanoma cell growth, a cancer resistant to typical treatments.
What Foods Are High in Vitexin?
Vitexin occurs in many edible plants touted for their health benefits. Although to be fair, most aren’t the kind found in typical kitchens. These include:
- Mung bean seed coat
- Chaste tree
- Pearl millet (the most widely grown millet)
- Hawthorn berries
- Fenugreek seeds
- Wild green oats
- Açai palm
Best Sources of Vitexin: Food vs. Supplements
Most foods containing vitexin, like mung beans, hawthorn, and pearl millet, are not in the average diet. It can be more convenient to incorporate vitexin as a supplement. Liquid and encapsulated standardized extracts from plants such as mung bean and hawthorn provide a concentrated source of their active components, including vitexin.
How to Consume Cannabis to Get the Most Vitexin Absorbed into Your Body
Cannabis is one of the most substantial sources of flavonoids like vitexin. Vitexin’s vaporizing point is 247-249 degrees C, or about 476 degrees F. Smoking cannabis typically heats it to around 650 degrees F so people should reduce and adjust the vaping temperature to a low setting.
Tinctures and edibles, which reach temperatures of about 350 degrees during baking and processing, can offer a better way to maximize vitexin intake. Studies show that CBD-dominant strains have higher amounts of flavonoids such as vitexin and isovitexin.
Flavonoids exist mostly in the leaves, flowers, pollen, and stems of cannabis and hemp plants, so consuming raw or juiced cannabis is often the best way to get the most flavonoids.
How Often Should I Take Vitexin?
Vitexin and other flavonoids are non-toxic and natural. Scientists haven’t pinned down an optimal recommended dose for flavonoids, but getting potent antioxidants like vitexin into the system as often as possible will have many positive benefits.
The Bottom Line
Vitexin is a powerful flavonoid largely responsible for the wellness benefits of many plants touted for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, like mung beans, hawthorn berries, passionflower, buckwheat, and cannabis. It has a bitter flavor and is one of the many cannabis compounds contributing to the plant’s sensory experience. Vitexin assists with memory and brain health and can fight heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Consuming cannabis is one of the more accessible ways to get more vitexin in your system and reap its flavonoid benefits. We test for 16 flavonoids at ACS Laboratory, including vitexin. As a CLIA-licensed laboratory, we can perform human trials on the bioavailability of these flavonoids, which is an integral part of pharmacokinetics, the study of drug movement through the body. These studies allow us to draw conclusions based on the actual science
and not just anecdotal research.