- The term flavonoid
refers to a class of plant secondary metabolites. The Flavonoids are
polyphenolic compounds possessing 15 carbon atoms; two benzene rings
joined by a linear three carbon chain. Flavonoids constitute one of
the most characteristic classes of compounds in higher plants. Many
flavonoids are easily recognised as flower pigments in most angiosperm
families (flowering plants).
- The chemistry of
flavonoids is complicated, and within the non-technical term
"flavonoids" can be found many different chemical groups of
substances. These groups include flavonols, dihydroflavonols,
flavones, isoflavones, flavanones, anthocyanins, and anthocyanidins.
Within each of these groups fall hundreds, and sometimes thousands of
- Most flavonoids
function in the human body as antioxidants. In this capacity, they
help neutralize overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules and
prevent these overly reactive molecules from damaging parts of cells.
Particularly in oriental medicine, plant flavonoids have been used for
centuries in conjunction with their antioxidant, protective
- Scultellaria root,
cornus fruit, licorice, and green tea are examples of
flavonoid-containing foods widely used in oriental medicine. While
flavonoids may exert their cell structure protection through a variety
of mechanisms, one of their potent effects may be through their
ability to increase levels of glutathione.
- In some cases,
flavonoids can act directly as antibiotics by disrupting the function
of microorganisms like viruses or bacteria. The antiviral function of
flavonoids has been demonstrated with the HIV virus, and also with
HSV-1, a herpes simplex virus.
- Flavonoids improve
memory and concentration and are powerful free radical scavengers that
can boost the effectiveness of vitamin C in the antioxidant network,
regulate nitric oxide, a potent free radical that is a regulator of
blood flow and keeps your heart healthy in several important ways:
Prevent blood clots, Protect against oxidation of LDL (bad)
cholesterol, Lowers high blood pressure, Improve sexual function in
men, Reduces inflammation and bolster immune function.
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