Flavonoids Friday: Everything You Need to Know About Luteolin Flavor, Fragrance, and Health Benefits
Imagine having the title: “King of Medicines.”
In Tibet, Terminalia chebula is a tree with fruit that looks like pears, and it’s an ancient medicine traditionally used to treat diarrhea, ulcers, sore throat, and irritability.
What does the King of Medicines have to do with cannabis? Well, one of T. chebula’s most active compounds is luteolin, a flavonoid that helps create the unique smell, flavor, and color of different cannabis strains.
Luteolin is an incredible compound, with a ton of research behind its many health benefits. This article will discuss these benefits and how you can get your hands on such a royal substance.
What Do Flavonoids Like Luteolin Do for Plants and Humans?
Unless you’re on an all-meat diet, you’ve consumed a flavonoid in the past 24 hours. How? Flavonoids are found in almost all vegetables and fruits.
Like terpenes such as alpha humulene and linalool, flavonoids give plants their odor and taste, protecting against predators or attracting pollinators like bees. They also participate in safeguarding against UV damage and oxidative stress.
In cannabis, flavonoids participate in something called the entourage effect. Researchers used to think the diversity of cannabis’ psychoactive effect was due solely to different amounts of THC, but further investigation revealed that it’s not a one-man show at all.
Terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids like CBD work together to create more healing, varied, and flavorful effects than any compound alone. This is the entourage effect.
As flavonoid research is still new, we don’t know much about luteolin’s effect on the body through cannabis. However, there is a growing ocean of evidence for its health benefits in an extracted form or within herbs like T. chebula, which we’ll explore next.
Benefits of Luteolin
In general, flavonoids are a promising solution for a wide variety of health disorders. Compared to pharmaceuticals, they have significantly fewer side effects while targeting the core roots of diseases. Plant power, right?
Luteolin specifically is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant and an effective guard against diseases like diabetes, psoriasis, and Alzheimer’s.
Luteolin and the Brain
Like Vitamin C, luteolin combats free radicals–unstable atoms that float around and damage cells. Free radicals are thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease by slowly deteriorating neurons in a process called oxidative stress.
Quite a few studies have shown that luteolin is an excellent neuroprotective agent against this process in mice, which is promising news for an elderly population that is now the fastest-growing demographic of people.
Diabetes can cause chain reactions that lead to neurodegeneration as well, and luteolin has been shown to decrease cognitive decline in diabetic mice.
Luteolin has also been shown to mitigate secondary damage caused by traumatic brain injuries (TBI). After a TBI, the entire brain is affected. As a result, many neurons are slowly destroyed, and others stop working correctly. Luteolin can slow this degeneration down and give the brain more opportunity to recuperate.
Luteolin and Diabetes
Luteolin has been shown to guard against a whole host of disorders related to blood and metabolism.
Glycolipid metabolism disorder (GLMD) is a category of disorder that is characterized by abnormalities in how lipids and carbohydrates metabolize in the blood. Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and insulin resistance can all be grouped into GLMD.
In numerous studies, luteolin has been shown to regulate the metabolism of lipids, glucose, and other carbohydrates.
Luteolin and the Skin
Stretch your imagination out twenty years into the future, when flavonoid research is more established. You’re at a party with friends, and someone comments on the beauty of your skin. They ask what your regimen is, and you respond with one word: luteolin.
While still too early to make definitive claims, one study has observed all kinds of benefits luteolin has on common skin diseases. For example, the flavonoid has therapeutic effects on skin aging, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, and even skin cancer.
Most of these positive effects have to do with luteolin’s capacity to reduce inflammation in the skin.
Luteolin and Autism
While most of the studies mentioned have been in mice and cell cultures, one study assessed the effect of luteolin on children with autism.
In the study, children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder were given an oral supplement made of luteolin and another flavonoid called quercetin. This supplement significantly improved their attention and behavior, and the proposed reasoning is luteolin’s neuroprotective effects.
Luteolin and Cannabis
As we mentioned, there’s not much research out right now about luteolin’s effects on cannabis. However, ACS Laboratory does test for luteolin in cannabis, so if you submit your product for a full scope analysis, we’ll be able to quantify this multimodal flavonoid for research and marketing purposes.
How to Consume Luteolin
Consuming luteolin is incredibly easy. You just head on over to the vegetable section of your local grocery store and pick (almost) anything on the shelf.
Luteolin is highest in radicchio vegetables, which look like purple lettuce or cabbage. Other vegetables high in luteolin are Chinese celery, broccoli, peppers, and carrots. In the fruit category, lemons and mangoes contain the most.
If you really want to consume a chockfull of luteolin in your diet, eat oregano. Other herbs with luteolin include juniper berries and thyme.
The Bottom Line
Whether you interact with luteolin through a celery smoothie or an Eastern medicine herb like T. chebula, this incredible flavonoid has a lot of exciting research ahead of it.
Although we don’t know much about how luteolin impacts the effects of cannabis, ACS Laboratory successfully tests for this flavonoid in addition to fifteen others.
As a CLIA-licensed laboratory, we can perform human studies on bioavailability, or how much of a flavonoid enters the body and has an effect. This allows us to conduct research with significant implications, like how luteolin should be extracted to ensure the most powerful effects.