|Benefits of Iridoids
Iridoids are associated with a wide range of health benefits. They provide support against a broad range of physical, chemical, or biological stressors. They have a normalising effect on the human body that targets imbalances without affecting properly functioning systems. And they do all this without producing toxic side effects. Now let’s have a look at specific benefits:
Several iridoids have been found to protect the nervous system against a number of environmental and chemical stressors such as pesticides, or heavy metals found – for example – in amalgam tooth fillings (1-6). Studies have also found iridoids to have memory enhancing effects (7, 8).
Anticancer and anti-tumour
Asperulosidic acid, extracted from dried morinda or noni fruit, has been reported to inhibit the formation of melanoma (skin cancer) cells (9-11) . Aucubin, a newly discovered iridoid, displays significant anti-tumour effects on cell cultures of leukemia, breast colon, lung, skin, nose and throat cancers (12, 13).
Until very recently, noni seeds were deemed worthless and were discarded during the production process of noni fruit juice and noni oil. A recent Japanese study suggests that the iridoid americanin in noni seed may have a role as a useful ingredient in cosmetics for skin-whitening and/or wrinkle-prevention because its ability to enhance the production of elastin, one of the most important skin proteins, responsible for dewy, youthful skin (14).
Several iridoids have been found to have strong anti-inflammatory properties both when applied topically and when taken orally (15).
One of the most powerful properties of iridoids is their antioxidant power, which is believed to be much greater than those of more “traditional” plant antioxidants such as flavonoids or polyphenols from plant sources such as citrus fruits and green tea. The gentian plant family has been shown to have some of the highest concentration of iridoids (16). Noni fruit has been identified as one of the best sources of simple and complex iridoids.
Other iridoids from the same plant family, possess such strong natural antibacterial activity that makes them comparable to antibiotic drugs. (17).
Iridoids have been used to help patients recover from drug and alcohol liver damage, with an efficacy comparable to milk thistle. (18 -19).
A large number of studies have reported the antiviral activity of iridoids, including pronounced antiviral activity against encephalitis causing viruses (20-21) as well as against herpes simplex type 1 viruses (22-24)
Oleacein and oleuropein, two iridoids present in olive oil, have been found to have powerful cardioprotective properties. Those consuming olive oil tend to have less abdominal and hepatic fat deposition, as well as less fat deposition in heart and liver tissue, less and less cardiac stiffness. They also show better resilience against stress, and tend to suffer less from cholesterol problems and hypertension (25). Iridoids in olive oil have been shown to protect the heart and the arteries from the detrimental effects of toxicity generated by stress (26).
Blood Sugar Control
Iridoids also seem to protect the pancreas, which is useful for diabetic patients(27). Iridoid isolates from different plants have been found to have blood sugar control properties comparable to diabetic drugs (28).
Protection of the Arteries
A study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology showed iridoids to prevent the furrying up of the arteries and to have effective cholesterol lowering properties comparable to those of statins (atorvastatin) (29).
Science is only starting to realise of the huge bioactive potential of iridoid compounds. The anti-allergic properties of iridoids seem to stem from their to inhibit histamine release, making them “natural anti-histamine” treatments. They are also able to dampen down the inflammation that tends to accompany allergic reactions (30-31), making them an ideal natural remedy for those suffering from all kinds of allergies.
2. Wang Z, Liu Q, Zhang R, Liu S, Xia Z, Hu Y. (2009) Catalpol ameliorates beta amyloid-induced degeneration of cholinergic neurons by elevating brain-derived neurotrophic factors. Neuroscience. 163(4):1363-72.
3. A New Iridoid Glycoside from the Roots of Dipsacus asper.
5. Iridoids from the roots of Valeriana jatamansi and their biological activities.
6. Neuroprotective iridoid glycosides from Cornus officinalis fruits against glutamate-induced toxicity in HT22 hippocampal cells.
7. Effects of optimized-SopungSunkiwon on memory impairment and enhancement.
8. Cornel iridoid glycoside improves memory ability and promotes neuronal survival in fimbria-fornix transected rats.
9. Loganin improves learning and memory impairments induced by scopolamine in mice.
Anticancer and Chemoprotective
10. Melanogenesis inhibitory activities of iridoid-, hemiterpene-, and fatty acid-glycosides from the fruits of Morinda citrifolia (Noni).
11. Matrix Metalloproteinase-1 Inhibitory Activities of Morinda citrifolia Seed Extract and Its Constituents in UVA-Irradiated Human Dermal Fibroblasts.
12 In vitro cytotoxic activity and structure activity relationships of iridoid glucosides derived from Veronica species.
13. Iridoid content and biological activities of Veronica cuneifolia subsp. cuneifolia and V. cymbalaria.
17. Bioactivity of secoiridoid glycosides from Centaurium erythraea.
18. Loganin, an iridoid present in
Hepato-protective effects of loganin, iridoid glycoside from Corni Fructus, against hyperglycemia-activated signaling pathway in liver of type 2 diabetic db/db mice.
Park CH, Tanaka T, Kim JH, Cho EJ, Park JC, Shibahara N, Yokozawa T.
Toxicology. 2011 Nov 28;290(1):14-21. Epub 2011 Aug 12.
19. Antioxidant and hepatoprotective effect of swertiamarin from Enicostemma axillare against D-galactosamine induced acute liver damage in rats.
21. Iridoid glucosides from the flowers of Barleria lupulina.
22. Antiviral activity of seven iridoids, three saikosaponins and one phenylpropanoid glycoside extracted from Bupleurum rigidum and Scrophularia scorodonia.
24. In vitro evaluation of secoiridoid glucosides from the fruits of Ligustrum lucidum as antiviral agents.
26. Metabonomic identification of novel biomarkers in doxorubicin cardiotoxicity and protective effect of the natural antioxidant oleuropein.
Hypoglycaemic and Hypolipidemic Properties
28. Antihyperglycemic effect of iridoid glucoside, isolated from the leaves of Vitex negundo in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats with special reference to glycoprotein components.
29. Swertiamarin: a lead from Enicostemma littorale Blume. for anti-hyperlipidaemic effect.
31. Inhibition of the pro-inflammatory mediators' production and anti-inflammatory effect of the iridoid scrovalentinoside.
32. Suppressive effect of verproside isolated from Pseudolysimachion longifolium on airway inflammation in a mouse model of allergic asthma.
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Benefits of iridoids
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