Luteolin is a familiar flavonoid, which can be derived from various plant sources counting vegetables, fruits and therapeutic herbs. In Chinese traditional medicine (CTM), plants containing high levels of luteolin have been used for treating various health conditions, including inflammatory problems, high blood pressure (hypertension) and even cancer. In fact, luteolin may also be useful in reducing flushes induced by niacin.

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Some experts are of the view that luteolin is a super nutrient, since this flavonoid aids in lessening inflammation, while promoting the functioning of the nervous system and the muscles. This flavonoid is present in olive oil, parsley, rosemary, artichoke leaves, lemons, sage, celery, thyme, peppermint and several other foods. Findings of preliminary studies have suggested that luteolin possesses anti-inflammatory properties and has the potential of treating septic shock.

In addition, it has been established that luteolin is a naturally occurring antioxidant and does not have much potential to induce oxidative stress (pro-oxidant) compared to the flavonoid called quercetin, which has been researched extensively. However, the safety profile of quercetin is said to be satisfactory.

Luteolin has shown exceptional ability to forage free radicals as well as cyto-protective attributes, particularly when this flavonoid was experimented within multifaceted biological systems, wherein it possesses the ability to interact with various different antioxidants such as vitamins. Based on their work in laboratories, scientists have recommended the use of luteolin for treating multiple sclerosis.

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Luteolin can be defined as a biological substance that is usually present in plant tissues that have a yellowish-green hue. Luteolin is a particular element of a much larger group of plant chemicals called flavonoids. Similar to several other flavonoids, luteolin also possesses a number of therapeutic properties, which have made science and medicine interested in this substance. Luteolin is a natural substance occurring in various foods and a wider assortment of plants and herbs, which despite being edible are consumed rarely. A number of scientific studies have suggested that consumption of luteolin offers several health benefits. In fact, usually all flavonoids offer numerous health benefits. Currently, scientists are studying the various potential health benefits of different flavonoids and these studies are yet to be concluded. A number of dietary supplements containing luteolin are currently available commercially.

Plants mainly produce flavonoids for the pigmentation properties of these biological substances. In fact, the plants have various different colors with a view to draw insects and animals for the purpose of pollination. These colors are attributed to the flavonoids. It is commonly believed that flavonoids possess several remedial properties. Often, it has been found that flavonoids are excellent free radical scavengers. In addition, these plant chemicals are also said to be excellent anti-inflammatory agents.

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Foods like carrots, celery, artichokes, green peppers and olive oil are excellent sources of luteolin. In addition, generally this flavonoid is also present in several herbs like oregano, parsley and thyme. In fact, there are several edible plants rich in luteolin content, but they are not consumed widely. For instance, dandelions are an excellent source of this flavonoid. Aside from this biological substance, dandelions contain various other nutrients.

For quite some time, scientists have explored the various potential health benefits of consuming foods containing luteolin. Primary studies involving the effects of luteolin were very encouraging and they hinted that they may offer us several health benefits and, therefore, may have numerous therapeutic uses. Similar to all other flavonoids, luteolin also works to attack and flush out the harmful free radicals from our body. Moreover, it has been found that this biological substance is also an excellent anti-inflammatory agent. Luteolin can possibly be used for preventing as well as treating specific forms of cancers. In addition, this flavonoid may also help to cure diarrhea. At the same time, luteolin may be a potential remedy for various unwanted immune responses. Its use may help to lessen the harshness of such immune responses, thereby prove to be helpful in curing auto-immune diseases or aid in lessening the harshness of various symptoms related to allergic eruptions.

Scientists and physicians are yet to ascertain the precise ideal luteolin dosage. Nevertheless, luteolin as well as other flavonoids are present in several different dietary supplements. Like in the case of all nutritional supplements, one needs to exercise some caution before including them in their diet or health plans. Prior to taking a nutritional supplement it is essential to check with a physician or health care professional. In addition, one should also verify the purity as well as quality of the specific brands of supplements they intent to use. They should also check the reputation of the manufacturers to be doubly sure.

Health benefits

Several studies have hinted that luteolin aids in boosting the immune system, protecting the eyes from ultra violet (UV) radiation and also encourage healthy levels of glucose in the blood stream. Moreover, studies have also demonstrated that this flavonoid scavenges free radicals very actively. Basically, free radicals are unstable atoms and molecules that invade the human tissues, resulting in autoimmune diseases, inflammation and even development of cancer. Luteolin works by combating the free radicals, thereby restricting their detrimental effects on the body. In addition, it is thought that luteolin aids in protecting our body from damages caused by chemotherapy and radiation.

Although scientists have been extensively exploring ways and means to prevent and treat multiple sclerosis, they are yet to come up with an effective treatment for this disease. While it has been found that interferon-beta (IFN- β) is effective in lessening the period as well as harshness of symptoms in several cases of relapsing-remitting MS, scientists are yet to completely comprehend the mechanism of this cytokine (a type of protein).

It is worth mentioning here that IFN- β as well as other treatments should always be administered in an injection form. In fact, they may also cause several unwanted side effects. Some flavonoids like luteolin also possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They also work to inhibit the activated peripheral leukocytes in the blood of MS patients.

In addition, luteolin also works to slow down the activity of mast cells, inhibit the activation of T-cell dependent on mast cells, and the pathogenesis implicated in multiple sclerosis recently. Luteolin as well as other flavonoids having the same structural make-up possess the aptitude to restrain experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, also known as EAE.

Some flavonoids, such as luteolin and quercetin, also possess very strong antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory activity. In fact, luteolin and quercetin slow down the release of leukotrienes, histamine, tryptase, prostaglandin D2 and TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-8 from the human cultured mast cells.

Nevertheless, the flavonoids luteolin and quercetin are safe for human use. However, it is worth noting that not even 10 percent of all available flavonoids can be absorbed orally. Therefore, it is essential to find and use innovative means to administer flavonoids or their combinations to ensure that the levels of plasma are adequate, particularly when luteolin possesses the ability to slow down inflammation in the brain. Scientists have undertaken an experimental nutraceutical formulation on several relapsing-remitting MS patients, who have been treated using IFN- β with very promising positive results.

It has been established that luteolin has manifold biological effects, for instance, anti-allergy, anti-inflammation and even anti-carcinogenic. In addition, bio-chemically luteolin also works in the form of an antioxidant or pro-oxidant. It is possible that all the biological effects of this flavonoid are related to one another functionally. For example, the anti-inflammatory effect of luteolin may be related to the flavonoid's anti-carcinogenic attribute. It has been found that the anti-cancer property of luteolin is linked to the introduction of apoptosis as well as inhibition of metastasis, cell proliferation and angiogenesis.

Several experiments undertaken by scientists have suggested that luteolin has the potential to serve as an anti-cancer agent for treating various forms of cancers. Moreover, findings of epidemiological studies have established that luteolin possesses anti-cancer property. In other words, use of this flavonoid can help in preventing the development of specific types of cancer.

In addition, it has been found that luteolin also possesses anti-tumour attributes. Therefore, scientists are interested in studying this flavonoid further with a view to develop therapeutic and/ or preventive agents for cancers. Findings of several studies have demonstrated the anti-proliferative effects of luteolin on carcinogenic cells. Nevertheless, the action of luteolin on invading the cancer cells is yet to be understood fully.

Side effects and cautions

Although luteolin offers several health benefits, it also has a number of side effects and some people should stay away from this flavonoid, especially during certain periods.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers should only use luteolin after checking with their physician or health care practitioner. Even children should not use this flavonoid prior to consulting a doctor or health care professional. Some people may experience allergic reactions after using luteolin. Moreover, this flavonoid may also interact with certain medications and supplements. Hence, it is important that you consult your physician before including luteolin in your medical regimen.

In fact, it is strongly recommended that you should always consult your physician or health care professional before using any new herbal remedy, supplement and/ or alternative therapy.


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