Apigenin is a natural compound found in many fruits and vegetables. While its full effects on humans have not been figured out yet, there is still evidence that apigenin can help calm nerves, provide antioxidant effects, and help fight cancer.

What is Apigenin?

Apigenin is a color compound that naturally occurs in plants. It can be found in fruits and vegetables, such as parsley, onions, oranges, tea, chamomile, wheat sprouts, and some seasonings. Outside of its biological effects, it is a yellow crystalline that is typically used to dye garments.

Its effects on animals have been thoroughly studied, while its effects on humans are unknown. However, apigenin has anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and antioxidant properties that help combat the development of cancer.

I take low doses of apigenin as part of a cocktail. I have not noticed any significant effects when I took this in higher dosages (150mg).

Health Benefits of Apigenin

1) Decreases Inflammation

Rats exposed to toxins (sepsis) had reduced inflammatory responses when treated with apigenin [1].

In mice, apigenin decreased cell death and controlled the inflammatory immune response in affected areas [2].

Apigenin can block cellular processes that cause infectious endocarditis [3].

Apigenin prevents inflammation in the colon by blocking signaling pathways in mice [4].

Apigenin acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic in rats with lung fibrosis [5].

Mechanisms by which apigenin reduces inflammation:

  • Decreased NF-κB activity in the lungs [2].
  • Suppressed the release of nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) [6].
  • Suppressed Th1 cytokines interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), and interleukin-2 (IL-2) [7].
  • Increased Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-10 [7].
  • Decreased the expression of JAK2 and STAT3 [8].
  • Causes cell death by preventing STAT3 signaling [8, 9].
  • Inhibits interleukin-1β production and NLRP3 inflammasome activation in rats [10].

2) May Help Prevent Cancer

COX-2 is an enzyme that helps tumor formation. In mice, apigenin has been shown to decrease tumor formation by blocking COX-2 from functioning normally [11].

Apigenin blocks GLUT-1, which is elevated in head and neck cancers [12].

The presence of apigenin prevented FAK and ERK expression, enzymes that have cancer-causing properties [13].

In rats and humans, apigenin inhibited enzymes that produce androgens. This can possibly be used to treat prostate cancer [14].

Apigenin suppressed tumor growth in PLC cells [15]. Apigenin, in combination with chrysin, causes cell death and prevents metastasis in human breast and liver cancer cells [16].

Apigenin prevents colorectal cancer cell growth, invasion, and migration [17].

Apigenin caused cell death and lowered viability in choriocarcinoma cells [18].

Apigenin suppressed melanoma metastasis in mice and prevent cancerous movement in humans [19].

Apigenin delayed breast cancer tumor growth by preventing cell cycle progression [20].

3) Has Anti-Obesity Properties

In obese mice that were fed a high-fat diet along with an apigenin supplement, fatty acid, total cholesterol, and other obesity indicators levels were lowered [21].

NAD+ levels are correlated with obesity and metabolic syndrome. Mice with high NAD+ levels are better protected against obesity, while mice with low NAD+ levels are more likely to be obese. Apigenin in obese mice increased NAD+ levels and benefitted glucose and fat regulation [22].

In rats with enlarged heart caused by high blood pressure, apigenin decreased blood pressure, heart weight, heart weight index, and free fatty acid levels [23].

4) Is Neuroprotective

In mice and rats that experienced strokes, apigenin glucopyranoside (a subtype of apigenin) improved neurological outcomes, increased surviving neurons and decreased the amount of dead tissue in rats [24].

5) May Help Mood and Brain Function

In apigenin-treated mice, improvements in memory and learning deficits are observed as well as better function in the BDNF pathway, which is related to learning and memory [25].

Apigenin improves depression caused by cortisol treatments in mice [26].

Apigenin also reduces anxiety [27].

6) May Lower Cortisol

Cortisol levels in human adrenal cells were decreased when exposed to apigenin [28].

High levels of apigenin prevent CYP11B1, a cortisol-producing enzyme, from functioning. As a result, high concentrations of apigenin lower cortisol levels [29].

7) Reduces Blood Sugar Levels

In diabetic rats, high blood sugar levels were counteracted by apigenin exposure. It is suggested that apigenin changes a glucose transporter, which then changes the rate of sugar is metabolized in the blood.

Long-term apigenin helps with lowering total cholesterol, fatty acid, hepatic dysfunction, and blood glucose levels while decreasing insulin resistance [21].

Apigenin can improve sugar and fat metabolism in rats [30].

8) Improves Bone Healing

Apigenin can accelerate bone tissue healing in dogs [31].

9) Helps Your Skin

Apigenin can be used as an ointment for skincare.

It improves skin permeability barrier homeostasis and can help heal skin in conditions like dermatitis [32].

10) Protects the Heart

In rats, apigenin was shown to help lower blood pressure [23].

11) May Promote Sleep

Apigenin enhanced sleep behaviors in animals by increasing total sleep time and sleep rate [33].

Important Mechanisms

  • Decreased expression of myocardial HIF-1α and PPARγ [23]
  • Increased expression of PPARα [23]
  • Inhibited HDAC activity [20] – particularly HDAC1 and HDAC3 [34]
  • Suppressed Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway [35]
  • Lowered RORγt protein level (& Th17 levels) [36]

Negative Effects of Apigenin

1) May be Toxic at High Levels

While there has not been a toxic level identified in humans, researchers have found that at 100mg/kg, apigenin can become toxic in rats. Too much exposure to apigenin can lead to liver damage [37].

2) Interacts Negatively with Hormone Replacement Medicine

Apigenin can change the levels of estrogen in the body. MPA is for post-menopausal women’s hormone replacement. MPA and apigenin can interact to increase tumors and cause breast cancer.


Since apigenin is not absorbed well, I recommend consuming it in a more ‘whole’ plant. Parsley also has 45mg/gram is apigenin [38].

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