In simple terms Iridoids are compounds within some medicinal herbs that give the herbs health benefits.
This article will explain what Iridoids are and the health benefits they impart on herbs, hence also on YOU.
You will discover the full Benefits of Iridoids and why there so important.
First, Iridoids are special types of phytonutrients. That are developed by herbal (medicinal) plants as a potent yet highly effective line of defence. Against potentially harmful pathogens and herbivorous animals. These phytonutrients are mostly characterized by their distinctly bitter, strong taste.
Types of Iridoids
Table of Contents
- 1 Types of Iridoids
- 1.1 1. Simple Iridoids
- 1.2 2. Complex Iridoids
- 1.3 3. Iridoid Glycosides
- 1.4 Health Benefits of Iridoids
- 1.5 1. Preventing Cardiovascular Problems
- 1.6 2. Managing Diabetes
- 1.7 3. May Preventing Cancer
- 1.8 4. Protecting the Nervous System
- 1.9 5. Alleviating Allergies
- 1.10 6. Treating Inflammation
- 1.11 7. Healing and Protecting the Liver
- 1.12 8. Preventing Oxidation
- 1.13 CONCLUSION
Iridoid-rich plants thrive even in the harshest of conditions. This is primarily thanks to their unique adaptogenic properties. Which help them adapt to their “stressful” environment. There is currently insufficient research on iridoids or iridoid-rich plants. This is because the phytonutrients. Which manifest as glycosides in herbal plants, are relatively new to science.
Iridoids are classified into three major categories depending on their chemical composition and they include:
1. Simple Iridoids
Simple iridoids are the most basic types of iridoids. These types of phytonutrients are found in various common herbal plants. Including Morinda citrifolia (Noni), cat thyme, Actinidia, catnip, boobialla, and broomrape.
2. Complex Iridoids
Herbal plants like Morinda citrifolia, honeysuckle, Swertia, olive trees and Catharanthus gentian contain complex iridoids.
3. Iridoid Glycosides
Iridoid glycosides usually have their “real” molecule fastened to a specific type of glucose (sugar). This not only provides the phytonutrients with a very specific chemical arrangement. But also provides them with unique chemical attributes that are very different from those of the other major types of iridoids.
Snapdragon, Catalpa vine, verbena, Plantago, Morinda citrifolia, chaste berry, and gardenia. These are the most common types of iridoid glycosides.
Most herbal plants enclose either one or two types of glycosides. There are, however, other plants like Morinda citrifolia(1) that enclose all the three major types of iridoids.
Health Benefits of Iridoids
According to reliable scientific findings, most iridoids help treat and even prevent common diseases and infections. Iridoids have done this for thousands of years. What is even better is the fact that these phytonutrients. Have done this without causing any serious side effects whatsoever.
Below are the most common scientifically proven benefits of iridoids. Kindly note more scientific research is needed to support these benefits. There is currently insufficient research on the subject.
1. Preventing Cardiovascular Problems
According to a recent scientific study published in the “European Journal of Pharmacology,”. Iridoids contain oleuropein and oleacein compounds(2). These compounds have been scientifically proven to contain potent cardio-protective properties.
Olive oil (a major type of iridoid) which helps to protect both the arteries and the heart from the negative effects associated with stress. This is because the iridoid (olive oil) can not only prevent the blocking of the arteries.
But can also significantly lower the body’s cholesterol levels. Just as effectively as the pharmaceutical drug “atorvastatin.” Other reliable scientific studies indicate that people who consume iridoids regularly experience less cardiac stiffness. Thus have less abdominal and hepatic fat deposition.
2. Managing Diabetes
Iridoids have also proven to be quite effective in managing diabetes(3). This is thanks to their unique ability to protect the pancreas. The pancreas is an essential body organ. That produces insulin, which is later used by the body to appropriately regulate its blood sugar levels.
Iridoids thus not only facilitate the production of insulin but also actively help in the regulation of blood sugar levels. It is no secret that type 1 diabetics will benefit greatly from consuming iridoids.
3. May Preventing Cancer
Reliable scientific studies indicate that the asperulosidic acid found in Morinda citrifolia (Noni). Helps to prevent the development and formation of melanoma cells. Which causes skin cancer.
A newly discovered iridoid called “Aucubin”(See Chemical structure of Aucubin above) . Has also been shown to display very potent anti-tumor properties on cell cultures. That cause lung, breast, colon, nose and skin cancer.
4. Protecting the Nervous System
Most common types of iridoids have been scientifically proven to protect the nervous system. Against quite a number of chemical and environmental stressors. Iridoids can also be considered as natural nootropics. This is because the unique phytonutrients have been discovered to significantly enhance the user’s memory.
5. Alleviating Allergies
Iridoids can help to prevent allergies. According to recent scientific findings. The phytonutrients have the ability to prevent the release of histamine. Histamine, which is naturally produced by the body and is also present in certain types of foods is a chemical released during stressful situations.
People who are allergic to various things are encouraged to consume iridoids. These phytonutrients work to directly suppress their allergic reactions.
6. Treating Inflammation
Iridoids applied topically on the affected area help alleviate inflammation. This is because such phytonutrients contain potent anti-inflammatory compounds. The eyebright herb is a common type of iridoid. That can be topically applied to reduce inflammation(4).
This herb has been used for several centuries to treat the redness and swelling of the eyes. That is often brought about by inflammation. Iridoid’s is so effective that it is often used as a natural substitute to the pharmaceutical antibiotics. That treat conjunctivitis.
7. Healing and Protecting the Liver
The liver is an essential body organ. That carries out various activities including metabolism, protein synthesis, detoxification and even digestion among others.
This organ can, however, be damaged due to excessive alcohol consumption and prolonged drug abuse.
Clinical trials indicate that iridoids can be taken regularly to heal a liver that has been damaged by these major factors.
8. Preventing Oxidation
Oxidation is a potentially harmful chemical reaction that occurs in the human body. This reaction, if not prevented on time, can result in the production of free radicals. These free radicals can then end up causing several chain reactions. That are likely to end up damaging healthy body cells.
Oxidation can, however, be prevented through the use of potent antioxidants. Iridoids are very potent antioxidants. In fact, iridoids possess an antioxidant power that is far greater than that of the most common herbal plants.
According to the common benefits of iridoids provided in this comprehensive guide. Consuming the phytonutrients or apply them topically to improve your overall health. Also iridoids produce no serious side effects. Hence, can naturally prevent and even treat most common diseases and infections.