A crucial piece of the puzzle: flavonoids
Flavonoids are compounds that form a crucial piece in the CBD puzzle, but it is not just the hemp plant that has made these colorful phytonutrients known. There are over 6,000 flavonoids in all types of fruit, vegetables and herbs. Red peppers, blueberries, oranges: all these foods owe their vibrant flavonoid coloring.
Each color represents a different flavonoid: it is nature’s answer to repel parasites, protect plants and signal cellular activity. Research indicates that although they are not as significant as cannabinoids or terpenes, flavonoids also seem to play a crucial role in human health.
To be clear, the term “flavonoids” is a general classification for four main groups: flavonoids, isoflavonoids, neoflavonoids and anthocyanins. For simplicity, “flavonoid” is the most commonly used term. The only significant distinction you should know is that there is also a class of exclusive flavonoids of Cannabis sativa species : the cannaflavine. We’ll talk about it later.
Flavonoids are more common than you think
Don’t be discouraged by the thought of remembering 6,000 flavonoids in four different categories. Researchers have just started looking at each of the groups individually and for now it is more than sufficient to highlight some particular flavonoids, many of which are found in foods, beverages and plants.
Examples of flavonoids
Over 68% of the total flavonoids contained in chamomile plants are apigenin. Other known sources are parsley, celery and, of course, the chamomile infusion.
- Cannaflavine A, B and C
As mentioned above, caneflavins are a particular class of flavonoids that exist exclusively within the Cannabis sativa species . The caneflavins A and B were discovered only in the 1980s, while the caneflavin C was isolated only in 2008.
You may not know the name of this flavonoid, but it is guaranteed to use it regularly. Kaempferol is widespread in apples, grapes, green tea, Brussels sprouts and the aloe vera plant.
Although commonly found in vegetables, cereals and red onions, the bitter taste of quercetin has made it a widely used ingredient in food supplements and beverages.
What is so important about flavonoids?
Let’s face it: a world without color would be a bland place. But flavonoid-free plants and foods could be even more disastrous. Since the focus of research has slowly shifted away from the most abundant molecules within plants, scientists have discovered that we may owe many flavonoid benefits to our health.
In 2016, the Journal of Nutritional Science undertook a complete review on flavonoids. The report stated that “flavonoids are now considered to be indispensable components in a variety of pharmaceutical, medicinal and cosmetic applications”. It seems that after isolating the flavonoids, the scientists discovered “antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic properties”.
The difficulty of the challenge to understand precisely how flavonoids interact with the human body is that there are so many. With over 6,000 flavonoids, it is impossible to say with certainty which are more effective in providing the benefits listed above. And we must also consider the entourage effect, a powerful non-exclusive phenomenon of hemp and cannabis plants.
Further information on flavonoids
We have already mentioned this before: working alongside cannabinoids and terpenes, flavonoids form a crucial piece in the CBD puzzle. However, it is still necessary to identify how different combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes could increase the effectiveness of flavonoids, or vice versa.
Fortunately, studies are underway to understand the characteristics of some specific flavonoids. We already know how many of the flavonoids listed here can affect the human body, but given the vastness of the existing flavonoids, there is still much to be discovered. We hope, however, that this snapshot on flavonoids has been useful and has highlighted the importance of a diet and a CBD oil rich in these biological compounds.
Keep an eye on the next articles, where we will explore the mechanisms of some specific flavonoids, including the unique ones of Cannabis sativa species : cannaflavine A, B and C.