Rosmarinic Acid

Rosmarinic acid is basically a polyphenolic compound that occurs naturally. Two Italian scientists named G. Oriente and M. L. Scarpatti are credited with discovering rosmarinic acid for the first time in 1958. Precisely speaking, polyphenols are a cluster of compounds that are said to have influence on inflammation, apoptosis, tumour cell proliferation, carcinogenesis and metastasis. This polyphenolic compound possesses antioxidant properties.

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As far as the structural issue of rosmarinic acid is concerned, it a combination of 3,4-dihydrophenyllatic acid and caffeic acid that are attached together with an ester linkage, which is referred to as a phenylpropanoid. One can extract rosmarinic acid from rosemary (scientific name Rosmarinus officinalis). Rosemary is a perennially growing, woody herb, which has its origin in the Mediterranean region. This herb is widely used for garnishing food items before cooking.

Several other related herbs also contain rosmarinic acid. This polyphenolic compound is also present in other herbs species like lemon balm (scientific name Melissa officinalis), basil (Ocimum basilicum), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), sage (Salvia officinalis) and marjoram (Origanum majorana). In addition, rosmarinic acid is present in various other plants - particularly in many plants belonging to the mint or dead nettle family (Lamiaceae). Some of the plants in the Lamiaceae family that enclose this polyphenolic chemical include field hornwort (scientific name Anthoceros agrestis), self-heal (scientific name Prunella vulgaris) and plants belonging to the genus Stachys.

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Since rosmarinic acid occurs naturally in many plants, it is called a natural acid. This acid is employed in the form of a flavoring agent as well as a food preservative. Rosmarinic acid is present in a variety of different food products available commercially. As this polyphenolic compound possesses antioxidant properties, it is considered to be beneficial for out health. Findings of some scientific studies have indicated that rosmarinic acid may be beneficial for people enduring Alzheimer's disease, in addition to reinforcing memory on the whole.

Health benefits

Rosmarinic acid possesses several therapeutic properties - for instance, it is anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Compared to vitamin E, the antioxidant action of rosmarinic acid is more potent. Rosmarinic acid is also effective for preventing cell damage attributed to the harmful free radicals. In this way, rosmarinic acid works to lessen the risks of developing atherosclerosis and cancer.

The anti-inflammatory properties of rosmarinic acid are quite potent. Often the extracts of perilla, which contains elevated levels of rosmarinic acid, are used to treat allergic reactions. Findings of a study have revealed that taking rosmarinic acid orally helps to intervene in allergic asthma effectively. Another study undertaken on animals has shown that using this polyphenolic compound has helped to restrain synovitis in rodents. The study also suggested that the use of this organic acid may be helpful in treating rheumatoid arthritis. Very different from antihistamines, rosmarinic acid helps to put off the immune responder cells from becoming active. In fact, these cells are responsible for swelling as well as formation of fluid in any affected body part.

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Incidentally, rosmarinic acid is also used for preserving food items. People in Japan use the extract of perilla, which is loaded with rosmarinic acid, to garnish as well as augment the shelf life of a variety of fresh seafood.

Our gastrointestinal (GI) tract possesses the aptitude to absorb rosmarinic acid. It has been found that following its absorption in the GI tract rosmarinic acid often accumulates in various major organs of our body, especially in the lungs. This explains why rosmarinic acid has been used traditionally to treat various health conditions, especially respiratory allergies, mucus congestion or cough. It also explains why herbal practitioners have been using plants in the Lamiaceae family to treat coughs, respiratory allergies as well as common cases of mucus congestion in the air passages. In addition, our skin may also absorb rosmarinic acid following topical applications. Hence, scientists as well as the medical community are still examining the efficacy of this polyphenolic compound for treating dermal allergies and eczema.

Some other benefits of rosmarinic acid include its use for treating conditions like bronchial asthma, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts, peptic ulcers and even cancer.

Rosmarinic acid has also been employed in the form of a food preservative, conserving cosmetic products and flavoring food as well as beverages.

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In its natural form, rosmarinic acid is herbal constituent and has, since long, been employed for reinforcing the memory as well as to improve mood. It is said to be helpful in driving away melancholy.

As rosmarinic acid helps to strengthen memory, it can be employed to naturally complement turmeric extract and, hence, is often used in combination. While rosmarinic acid works within the brain cells, turmeric extract performs the same work outside the brain cells. Inside the brain cells, rosmarinic acid works to disintegrate amyloid-beta conglomerates.

Rosmarinic acid serves in the form of a polyphenolic antioxidant and, hence, it may aid in diminishing damage caused by the detrimental free radicals inside the healthy cells. Antioxidants also aid in reinforcing the immune system of the body. As a result, use of this polyphenolic compound can enhance the ability of the body to combat various infections and some other specific diseases. Several scientific studies have revealed that the use of rosmarinic acid may especially be effectual in combating peroxynitrites oxidants, which are said to be directly related to Alzheimer's disease.

Some studies have also hinted that using rosmarinic acid may aid in preventing carcinogenic cells from proliferate inside the body. In addition, this polyphenolic chemical also helps to put off carcinogenic cells from attaching to the DNA of the healthy cells. As a result of this, rosmarinic acid may be useful in inhibiting spread of cancer to different parts of the body.

As it has been found that rosmarinic acid helps to augment blood flow inside the body, it is believed that this polyphenolic acid may as well be useful in promoting hair growth. Moreover, it may also be useful in reducing leukotriene B4 production in the body. Our body produces leukotriene B4, which may be responsible for hair loss. In addition, rosmarinic acid may also be useful in preserving moisture on the scalp.

It is worth mentioning here that several practitioners of aromatherapy also employ rosmarinic acid for treating a variety of health conditions, such as anxiety and stress. Moreover, rosmarinic acid can also be employed to lift mood as well as to alter perception of pain. Findings of some studies have demonstrated that this naturally occurring acid may as well be helpful in enhancing alertness among patients.

Upon entering our body, rosmarinic acid disintegrates into a variety of different forms, which also include coumaric acid and ferulic acid. The latter is an organic compound, which often forms an active ingredient in various aromatic compounds. On the other hand, coumaric acid may be useful in diminishing instances of stomach cancer.

According to some, rosmarinic acid may be effective in reducing the symptoms of allergies in the upper respiratory system. Such allergic effects include hay fever and sinusitis. Use of rosmarinic acid has also been found to be useful in reducing polymorphonuclear leukocyte infiltration into the nostrils with no adverse side effects. It also aids in diminishing the occurrence of seasonal allergies as it slows down various symptoms related to the eyes in people.

In laboratory tests undertaken on animals, it has been found that rosmarinic acid has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects and, hence, it was effective in reducing the mortality rate in Japanese encephalitis virus infected mice.

Sometimes a liver injury activates hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), which are said to be the crucial target while treating hepatic fibrosis. It was also found that rosmarinic acid worked to partially slow down proliferation as well as set off apoptosis in hepatic stellate cell-T6 owing to the phosphorylation inhibition in STAT3. This reaction was found to help in reversing hepatic fibrosis completely.

Side effects and cautions

Several scientific studies have found that using rosmarinic acid does not cause any serious side effects. Generally, it is considered to be neutral and, hence, safe for use. This is primarily because rosmarinic acid is a herbal extract. However, it is essential to know as well as apply exact doses of this herbal extract for treating any particular condition or symptom. It is, therefore, advisable to check with a competent herbal practitioner before using this polyphenolic compound for any health condition.


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