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. Studies have also found iridoids to have memory enhancing effects.
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. Aucubin, a newly discovered iridoid, displays significant anti-tumour effects on cell cultures of leukemia, breast colon, lung, skin, nose and throat cancers.
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.
Several iridoids have been found to have strong anti-inflammatory properties both when applied topically and when taken orally.
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. 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.
Iridoids have been used to help patients recover from drug and alcohol liver damage, with an efficacy comparable to milk thistle.
A large number of studies have reported the antiviral activity of iridoids, including pronounced antiviral activity against encephalitis causing viruses as well as against herpes simplex type 1 viruses
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. Iridoids in olive oil have been shown to protect the heart and the arteries from the detrimental effects of toxicity generated by stress.
Blood Sugar Control
Iridoids also seem to protect the pancreas, which is useful for diabetic patients. Iridoid isolates from different plants have been found to have blood sugar control properties comparable to diabetic drugs.
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).
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, making them an ideal natural remedy for those suffering from all kinds of allergies.