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What Is Luteolin?

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  • Written By: Gregory Hanson
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 26 August 2014
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Luteolin is a biological substance, generally found in plant tissues that are yellow-green in color. It is one specific member of the much broader category of plant compounds known as flavanoids, whose properties are of interest to science and medicine. It occurs naturally in a variety of foods, and a much broader array of herbs and plants which are edible but rarely consumed. Some scientific studies have attributed a number of health benefits to the consumption of luteolin, specifically, and the entire category of flavanoids more generally. Research on the possible health benefits of these substances is still ongoing, and not yet conclusive, but luteolin supplements are available on the market.

Flavanoids are produced by plants primarily for their pigmentation properties. Many of the colors used by plants to attract pollinating insects are produced by flavanoid compounds. Flavanoids generally are thought to possess medically useful properties, and have been shown to frequently function as free radical scavengers and anti-inflammatory agents.

The best dietary sources of luteolin are celery, green peppers, carrots, olive oil and artichokes, and it is also found in many commonly used herbs such as thyme, parsley,and oregano. Many plants that are edible but not normally eaten are also very high in luteolin. Dandelions, for example, are a very good source of this biological compound as well as being nutritious in other respects.

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Scientists have investigated several potential health benefits stemming from luteolin consumption. The initial research on the compound’s effects was promising and suggested several potential health benefits and medical uses. Like all flavanoids, it serves to eliminate free radicals and can act as an anti-inflammatory agent. It is likely to be of use in treating or preventing certain types of cancers and may offer relief from diarrhea. It might also serve to reduce the severity of undesirable immune responses, which could be of help in treating auto-immune disorders or reducing the severity of allergy symptoms.

Luteolin may have some negative effects as well. Some studies have linked flavanoids to increased vulnerability to cancers, including leukemia, in unborn babies. Although the exact ideal dosage of luteolin is uncertain, both it and the other flavanoid compounds are available in a variety of nutritional supplements. As with all nutritional supplements, some caution should be exercised before adding them to a health plan, and research into specific brands and their reputation for purity and quality should be undertaken before selecting a supplement.

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