Bilberry is a powerful bioflavanoid. It is the European cousin of the Northern American blueberry. Traditionally it is known as the vision herb for its powerful beneficial effect on all types of vision problems.
As plant pigments, the role of bioflavonoids is to attract bees and other insects for pollination. They protect plants from UV light, and act as protectors against plant diseases and enzymes in many plant functions. They potentially have wide application in vision and general health because they are generally non-allergenic, anti-inflammation and anti-diarrheal, and have antibiotic, antioxidant, and antiviral qualities. Bioflavoids are generally found in citrus fruits, tea, wine, dark chocolate and most fruits and vegetables. They were once known as vitamin P because of their protective action for tiny capillaries in the body.
However, many researchers feel that by themselves bioflavanoids may have little value because they are poorly digested, but may stimulate the digestion and other metabolism. Nonetheless, they are tied to reduction of inflammation, support of healthy cardiovascular functioning, and they have been shown to display antibacterial activity.
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Catechins are another class of flavanoid that are potent antioxidants. The most familiar source of catechins are in green tea that has been brewed. Note that the best temperature for green tea is about 175 degrees, with steeping not longer than a minute or two. While green tea has many benefits, it also contains caffeine and so may disturb sleep for some people. Cocoa is another catechin with antioxidant properties. Much research has been published on the benefits of chocolate which is made from cocoa, especially dark chocolate.
- Foods: Green tea, cocoa, blackberries, raspberries, cherries, apples, pears, bean, red table wine.
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Epicatechin is a flavonol of the catechin family that may improve blood flow. Cocoa is a good food source. In test tube research epicatechin is found to have more antioxidant value than green tea (x3) or red wine (x2). However, like other bioflavonoids it leaves the body rapidly and is not easily digested - hence its antioxidant value is controversial.
Quercitin protects the eye from damage from chronic solar radiation exposure. In addition, it may reduce inflammation and is being investigated for use in helping reduce eye symptoms from allergens. It functions in a synergistic manner with vitamin E and taurine. Quercitin helps protect fine capillaries in the retina from deterioration and leaking. Both quercitin and rutin are important for a healthy macula, optic nerve health, and lens support. Quercitin is contra-indicated for the antibiotic fluoroquinolones because of its binding to bacteria, but researchers don't understand whether this is a problem. It is also identified as having potentially harmful interactions with taxol/paclitaxel used to treat some types of cancer.
- Food Sources: Black and green tea, capers, apples, red onion (especially the outer rings), red grapes, citrus, tomato (organically grown tomatoes have 79% more quercetin than chemically grown tomatoes1), broccoli and leafy greens, many berries and honey.
- Daily Need: 500mg/daily of quercetin
- Related Conditions: Macular Degeneration , Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy , Cataracts
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Rutin is a cousin of quercitin (part of the bonding structure of guercitin and sugar molecules). Research has indicated that rutin reduces leakage from the tiny retina blood vessels and as an anti-oxidant, is also an excellent free radical fighter. It may have a role in the prevention of some cancers.
In animal studies it has been found that rutin slows platelet clotting2 and blood clotting3, protects from blood vessel leakage, reduces inflammation4, and may be useful for other blood vessel and blood circulation issues such as varicose veins and hemmorrhoids.
- Food Sources: Buckwheat, asparagus, citrus fruits, mulberry, cranberry and peaches. Also, cherries, white grapefruit, apples, pears, grapes, red onions, green cabbage, spinach, kale, onions and garlic are good food sources.
- Daily Need: 500-1000mg/daily rutin.
- Related Conditions: Macular degeneration , Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy, Cataracts
1. A. E. Mitchell, and associates. Ten-Year Comparison of the Influence of Organic and Conventional Crop Management Practices on the Content of Flavonoids in Tomatoes. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 55 (15): 6154-9, 2007.
2. L. Navarro-Nunez, et al, Apigenin Inhibits Platelet Adhesion and Thrombus Formation and Synergizes with Aspirin in the Suppression of the Arachidonic Acid Pathway. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 56 (9): 2970-6, 2008.
3. Chemical found in apples, onions and green tea can help beat blood clots, Daily Mail, May 5, 2012.
4. Chan Hun Jung, et al., Anti-asthmatic action of quercetin and rutin in conscious guinea-pigs challenged with aerosolized ovalbumin, Archives of Pharmacalogical Research 30 (12): 1599-1607, 2007.
Other source: Wikipedia.com