Everything You Wanted to Know About the Antioxidant Apigenin, But Didn’t Even Know to Ask!

Everything You Wanted to Know About the Antioxidant Apigenin, But Didn’t Even Know to Ask!

By: Holly L. Thacker, MD • Posted on June 10, 2024

What do celery seeds, parsley, spinach, marjoram and rosemary have in common? Apigenin!

What is Apigenin?

Apigenin is a natural antioxidant substance found in veggies and fruits. We have long understood that food is medicine. Today’s American diet is full of processed foods, preservatives, processed seed oils, other chemicals hard to pronounce and non-nutritive dense calories laden with sugar, salt and flavors that can be ‘addictive’.  

Apigenin is found in celery seeds, parsley, spinach as well as in herbs marjoram and rosemary. There is some scientific evidence that apigenin can help reduce anxiety, provide anti-oxidant effects and even reduce cancer risk. 

Apigenin is a compound found in plants including fruits, vegetables, parsley, onions, chamomile tea, and wheat sprouts. It is also a yellow crystalline that can be used to dye clothes. The effects of apigenin has been studied in animals and less so in humans. 

What do anti-oxidants have to do with our skin?

Our skin, the largest organ of our body is our main barrier between the internal body and the environment. It's important to protect our skin from external oxidative stress induced by ultraviolet rays, allergens, viruses and bacteria. An overreaction to any of these agents causes severe skin diseases, including:

  • atopic dermatitis
  • pruritus
  • psoriasis
  • vitiligo (loss of pigment) 
  • skin cancer

Members of the flavonoid family include apigenin, quercetin, luteolin and kaempferol. Quercetin helps drive zinc into the cells and has been used in viral infections.

Apigenin has been used as a dietary supplement due to its various biological activities and has been shown to reduce skin inflammation by down-regulating various inflammatory markers and molecular targets. We have known that polyphenols are a class of natural substance that offers potential numerous health benefits. These substances are present in very different quantities and many types of polyphenols are a type of food in the Mediterranean diet.

What are the Health Benefits of Apigenin?

  • Apigenin appears to have calming activities similar to the herb cilantro
  • This flavonoid can reduce cytokines acting as a natural anti-inflammatory. 
  • It may help reduce blood pressure which supports cardiovascular health. 
  • Chamomile tea is known for its relaxing, sedative and anti-anxiety effects and has been shown to reduce cortisol levels. Those that are allergic to hay fever should avoid chamomile tea.  
  • Apigenin may reduce insulin resistance which can reduce diabetes and help reduce cancers that are driven by insulin (driven by sugar) and may help fight liver, colon, breast, skin and lung cancers. 
  • It may improve NAD levels which help with cellular energy. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)) is a central metabolic coenzyme/co-substrate involved in cellular energy metabolism and energy production. There is research that shows NAD(+) can improve eczema, vitiligo, psoriasis and even melanoma.  

When cooking how do you decide if you are going to use celery stalks or celery seed? Some say that celery seeds are “better” than celery stalk as they contain more protein, fiber, choline, potassium, calcium and vitamin C. You only need 1 teaspoon of celery seeds to obtain all these vitamins and minerals compared to two stalks of celery.  

Please check out our recipes that contain these healthy foods and our lists of foods rich in calcium, magnesium, K2, zinc, cooper and our newest list of high histamine foods.

Be Strong. Be Healthy. And Be in Charge!
Holly L. Thacker MD

Holly L. Thacker, MD, FACP is nationally known for her leadership in women’s health. She is the founder of the Cleveland Clinic Women’s Health Fellowship and is currently the Professor and Director of the Center for Specialized Women’s Health at Cleveland Clinic and Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. Her special interests are menopause and related medical problems including osteoporosis, hormone therapy, breast cancer risk assessment, menstrual disorders, female sexual dysfunction and interdisciplinary women’s health. Dr. Thacker is the Executive Director of Speaking of Women’s Health and the author of The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Menopause.

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