Luteolin is an important phytochemical found in many foods. Its health benefits range from possibly preventing cancer from protecting the brain. Read more below to find out how you can improve your health with the help of luteolin.

What is Luteolin?

Luteolin is a flavonoid found in many types of plants including fruits, vegetables, and medicinal herbs. It is known for its many health benefits. [R]

Flavonoids are common nutrients that are antioxidants and antimicrobial agents. [R]

Luteolin Snapshot


  • Luteolin is a good anti-inflammatory
  • Luteolin fights against cancer cells
  • Prevents cardiovascular diseases
  • Enhances brain activity and memory


  • May disrupts progesterone’s hormonal functions
  • May increase effects of colon inflammation
  • Although Luteolin is absorbed in humans (R), the body metabolizes luteolin and the bioavailability is not great (R).
  • The therapeutic dosage may require an amount that is hard to get in vegetables.

Health Benefits of Luteolin

Although Luteolin is absorbed in humans (R).

1) Luteolin Fights Cancer


Luteolin interferes with nearly all types of cancer cells. [R]

It inhibits the growth of new blood vessels in tumors, the metabolism of carcinogens, as well as stopping the progression of the cell cycle in cancer cells. Luteolin also induces cell death in cancer cells. [R]

In mice, luteolin suppressed the growth of tumors formed from human skin carcinoma, hepatoma, and human ovarian cancer cells. [R]

Luteolin inhibited the incidence rate of tumors and decreased the size of tumors significantly. [R]

Long-term treatment did not show any apparent toxicity in rats at a dose of 30mg/kg, implying that luteolin is relatively safe as an anticancer agent. [R]

Through in vitro and vivo experiments, luteolin was found to have therapeutic and preventative activities against cancer associated with estrogen. [R]

2) Luteolin Decreases Inflammation

Experiments with animals show that luteolin suppresses bacteria-induced inflammation. [R]

Luteolin is also found to suppress two major pathways involved in response to inflammation, which greatly reduces both acute and chronic inflammation. [R]

Luteolin suppressed pro-inflammatory marker expression and cytokine expression in LPS-activated microglia. [R]

In an experiment on rats with toxin-induced uveitis, luteolin had great success in anti-inflammatory treatment, comparable to that of prednisolone. [R]

Luteolin can also inhibit colitis (inflammation in the colon). [R]

3) Luteolin is an Antioxidant

Luteolin is an oxygen scavenger. It was found to inhibit reactive oxygen species, which induce damage of lipids, DNA, and protein. [R]

Luteolin significantly induces genes related to antioxidant defense. [R]

4) Luteolin is a Natural Sun Protectant

Luteolin potently inhibited UVB-induced MMP-1 expression and wrinkle formation in vitro and in vivo and therefore may be used for the prevention of UVB-induced skin aging. [R]

5) Luteolin Improves Heart Function

In an experiment on rats, luteolin was found to inhibit cell death in the cells of the heart. This suggests that luteolin can be used in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. [R]

Luteolin substantially increased cell life while reducing evidence of oxidative stress-induced damage in the cells. [R]

Luteolin also improved the recovery of heart cells contracting function following simulated injury caused by loss of blood flow, by reducing oxidative stress. [R]

6) Luteolin Protects the Brain From Neurological Impairments

Luteolin treatment in rats reduced brain damage caused by kainic acid by reducing glutamate levels, mitigating inflammation, and enhancing the hippocampus. [R]

Tests on flies expressing a neurological impairment that resembles amyloidosis showed that luteolin rescued the impairment. [R]

Luteolin induces neurite outgrowth through CREB activation. CREB activation is the mechanism underlying its effects on memory enhancement. [R]

Luteolin can go through the blood-brain-barrier (BBB), which shows anti-amnesic effects against the toxicity of amyloid in mice. [R]

In an experiment on rats with streptozotocin-induced Alzheimer’s disease, luteolin significantly improved spatial learning and memory impairment. [R]

Luteolin also protects against high-fat diet-induced cognitive defects in obesity of mice. [R]

7) Luteolin is an Antiviral

Luteolin was found to have potent antiviral activity against Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV). [R]

Luteolin reduced the number of Epstein-Barr virus reactivating cells and reduced the production of the virus. It does this by repressing the activities of the promoters of the immediate-early genes Zta and Rta. [R]  

In mice with hepatitis B virus (HBV), Luteolin reduced HBV DNA replication, suggesting that it may be used for anti-HBV therapy. [R]

8) Luteolin Prevents Cataracts

In rats, luteolin enhanced the antioxidant potential and lowered the oxidative damage to the lens’ of rats in selenite-induced cataracts. It also improved the membrane integrity of the lens. [R]

9) Luteolin May Be Therapeutic for Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that affects the immune system – nerve damage causes pain and fatigue. Luteolin has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects which can reduce the effects of multiple sclerosis [R].

10) Luteolin Inhibits Mast Cells

Luteolin inhibits mast cells and mast cell-dependent T cell activation, factors which contribute to multiple sclerosis [R].

In this way, it can also help with histamine intolerance.

11) Luteolin Has Anti-Depressant Effects

The endoplasmic reticulum in a cell can undergo stress, which can cause cell death. In the brain, neuronal cells undergo cell death and this can cause symptoms of depression.

Luteolin significantly suppresses cell death by relieving endoplasmic reticulum stress. [R]


Luteolin may be a preventative agent against the development of diabetic bone osteopathy related to methylglyoxal-induced oxidative stress in diabetes, by reducing mitochondrial dysfunction. [R]

Negatives/Cons of Luteolin

1) Luteolin Disrupts Endocrine Activity

Luteolin can stop the effects of progesterone while increasing the effects of estrogen at the same time. [R]

2) Luteolin Can Aggravate Colon Inflammation

While luteolin can help stop spontaneous colitis, it can also increase the effects of dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis. It blocks protective molecules in intestinal cells which prevent inflammation in the colons due to DSS. [R]

Food Sources of Luteolin

Luteolin is found commonly in a bunch of plants, specifically vegetables.

Food sources include: carrots, artichoke, peppers, celery, olive oil, peppermint, thyme, rosemary, oregano, etc. [R]

Buy Luteolin Supplements

Luteolin is not absorbed very well, so I like to take it with something that has a range of flavonoids:


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