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Bioflavonoids, also referred to as vitamin P or just flavonoids, are present in all botanical foods and herbs. In fact many of the medicinal features in herbs come from the bioflavonoid content in them. They provide a huge dose of antioxidants which protect against oxidative and free radical damage.   Free radicals are responsible for a lot of the damage done to the body by poisons such as cigarette smoke or drugs; and they’re one of the major factors that contribute to ageing.  As potent antioxidants, they are known for being anti-mutagenic, anti-aging and anti-carcinogenic. They are probably best known for their role in promoting a healthy circulatory system but are helpful in many more ways.

Therapeutically speaking, bioflavonoids have many helpful functions that include improving conditions like, heart and respiratory diseases, allergies, some types of cancer, certain types of inflammatory conditions, peptic ulcers and viral infections.  They are particularly helpful for improving vascular disease such as varicose veins and weak capillaries. They do this by rebuilding the tissue of the small valves that work within the veins as they degenerate. As a result of building a stronger circulatory system, they also help to inhibit bruising.

Bioflavonoids also support better eyesight, capillary strength, strong connective tissue and healthy skin. They also contribute to lowering the risk of gastrointestinal disorders, atherosclerosis, arthritis and cancer. They are therapeutic in treatments of some types of diseases such as, respiratory disease, coronary heart disease, inflammation, some types of cancer, hemorrhoids, and viral infections just to name a few.

Note: Sulfur is essential for the proper uptake of important bioflavonoids like quercetin and hesperidin.

Major Bioflavonoids and Their Actions

Rutin can be used to treat chronic venous insufficiency (condition in which blood drains inadequately from a body part), glaucoma, hay fever, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, poor circulation, oral herpes, cirrhosis, stress, low serum calcium, and for cataracts. It is helpful in reducing weakness in the blood vessels and the resultant hemorrhages. Rutin can relieve the pain from bumps and bruises. Rutin may be taken to help reduce serum cholesterol. It is also useful in treating rheumatic diseases such as gout, arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (a chronic disease marked by a rash on the face with a variety of symptoms), and ankylosing spondylitis (condition affecting ligaments in the spine, involving the hips and shoulders).

Rutin is most abundant in apricots, buckwheat, cherries, prunes, rose hips, the whitish rind of citrus fruits, and the core of green peppers.

Anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins can be used to treat a number of eye conditions such as cataracts, night blindness, diabetic retinopathy (progressive retina disease that is a complication of diabetes), and macular degeneration (a hereditary condition causing loss of vision). They are also useful for strengthening the walls of the blood vessels, and therefore may help prevent bruising, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and spider veins. These bioflavonoids can help to prevent osteoporosis by stabilizing collagen, the major protein in bone. They can reduce cholesterol deposits in arteries, and prevent damage to the artery walls. These actions reduce the possibilities of heart disease and strokes. Anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins can dilate the blood vessels and prevent blood clots. Proanthocyanidins are able to cross the blood-brain barrier to protect the brain from damage by free radicals and infection.

Good sources of anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins include blackberries, cranberries, black and green tea, raspberries, grapes, eggplant, red cabbage, elderberries, and red wine.

Hesperidin is useful in treating the complaints of menopause and in dealing with the viruses that cause herpes, the flu, and certain respiratory ailments. Hesperidin fights allergic reactions by blocking the release of histamine. It may also help reduce edema (accumulation of fluid) in the legs. Hesperidin deficiency has been linked to weaknesses in the walls of the blood vessels, pain and weakness in the hands and feet, and leg cramps at night.

Hesperidin is mostly found in the pulps and rinds of citrus fruits.

Hesperidin is a Bioflavonoids glycoside commonly found in citrus fruits (most notoriously oranges) and is a sugar-bound form of the flavonoid hesperitin. Hesperitin is known to mediate the actions of hesperidin in the body, and since hesperidin needs to progress to the colon to be ‘released’ by intestinal bacteria it acts as a time-release for hesperitin; one serving of hesperidin seems to increased blood levels for over the course of a day or so when consumed in this manner.

Along with the compound rutin, hesperidin is the most active bioflavonoid in citrus based fruits. The hesperidin bioflavonoid helps protect your body from conditions like cancer, circulatory problems and heart disease. As a citrus bioflavonoid, hesperidin facilitates the formation of vitamin C complex, which supports healthy immune system functions.

Ellagic acid helps to inhibit cancer by neutralizing the effect of certain carcinogens. It is particularly helpful in reducing the effects of nitrosamines, which are found in tobacco and processed meat products such as bacon and hot dogs. Ellagic acid reduces the effects of the toxic and carcinogenic factors (aflatoxins) produced by Aspergillus flavus molds on food. Aflatoxins may cause liver damage and cancer. Ellagic acid diminishes the effects of polycyclic hydrocarbons produced by tobacco smoke and air pollution, as well.

Sources of ellagic acid include strawberries, grapes, apples, cranberries, blackberries, and walnuts.

The bioflavonoid, Quercetin is a known antihistamine. It can help reduce the inflammation that results from hay fever, allergies, bursitis, gout, arthritis, and asthma. It may lessen other asthma symptoms. Quercetin stimulates detoxification in the liver. It strengthens the blood vessels, and is useful in treating atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries) and high cholesterol levels. It may help inhibit tumor formation. Quercetin can be used to treat many of the complications of diabetes. For example, it blocks the accumulation of sorbitol, which has been linked with nerve, eye and kidney damage in diabetics; and it regulates blood sugar levels. Quercetin inhibits the growth of Helicobacter pylori, which has been implicated in the development of peptic ulcers. It can also help diminish the effects of the herpes virus, the Epstein-Barr virus (a common virus; a common cause of mononucleosis), and the polio virus.

Quercetin is found in green tea, onion skins, kale, red cabbage, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, strawberries, cherries, and grapes.

Catechins and tannins can be used to stimulate detoxification by the liver and to strengthen the blood vessels. They also help reduce the inflammatory response. Catechins and tannins may help inhibit the formation of tumors. In addition, catechins can be used to inhibit the breakdown of collagen and to treat hepatitis and arthritis.

Catechins and tannins are both found in green and black teas.

Kaempferols stimulate liver detoxification and strengthen the blood vessels. They may also inhibit tumor formation.

Strawberries, leeks, kale, broccoli, radishes, endives, and red beets all are good sources of kaempferols, but kaempferols are very common and found in many plants and foods.

Naringen may slow the progression of heart disease and visual degeneration in diabetes. It is a potent anticoagulant that keeps the arteries clear and strong to prevent strokes, heart attacks, and the blindness of diabetes.

Naringen is an active ingredient of in grapefruits.

Genestein is known to be a regulator of estrogen. It is good for treating disorders of men-struation and menopause.

Genestein is found in soybeans and soy products.

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not meant in any way to diagnose, treat or interfere with prescribed medical care.
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