Flavonoids: Eat Your Colors

Flavonoids: Eat Your Colors

This is Project 545, a campaign for whole plant extractions in cannabis products. If you joined us for our last session, you know that there are over 545 naturally occurring chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. Among the compounds abundant in the plant are flavonoids.

Flavonoids are a group of phytonutrients (phyto means “plant based”) that are responsible for some of the colors, flavors and scents in many plants.  Flavonoids are in most fruits, vegetables, flowers and non-green plants. There are approximately 6,000 known flavonoids found in nature and at least 23 known flavonoids in the cannabis plant. There are even flavonoids known as cannflavins which are found exclusively in the cannabis plant.  

Flavonoids serve many purposes for the plants that they inhabit like protection against pests and fungi, regulation of plant metabolism, UV filtration, and to attract insects for pollination.  Nature has an interesting way of creating elements that protect the plants in which they reside while feeding the biological needs of the other living things on the planet. When these flavonoids are ingested by animals and humans, they are responsible for a wealth of physiological responses. Regular consumption of flavonoids are associated with reduced risks of some chronic conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative disorders.

I’m a firm believer in eating your colors, a diet filled with robust colors and flavors tells me that I’m getting a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients.  Why should cannabis be any different… It’s a plant, right?  Let’s dig into a few of the flavonoids you can find in cannabis.


Cannflavins are my personal favorite for a few reasons. First, they are a type of flavonoid that can ONLY be found in cannabis.  Second, they were first discovered by a woman! A researcher named Marilyn Barrett, PhD discovered cannflavins A and B and verified that these flavonoids could inhibit the production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in human rheumatoid synovial cells and provide anti-inflammatory benefits that were approximately thirty times more effective than aspirin[1].


Apigenin is a flavonoid with a yellow hue. Apigenin can be found in foods such as parsley, celery, onions, oranges, chamomile, thyme, oregano, and basil.  Apigenin is one of the most common flavonoids and as such, there have been numerous studies.  Of note, one clinical trial involving the application of an apigenin every 12 hours for 24 months led to an improvement in cognitive performance in patients with Alzheimer’s disease[2].  Another clinical trial utilizing 500 mg of chamomile extract 3 times per day resulted in patients with an anxiety disorder and depression resulted in significantly lower anxiety symptoms and reduced body weight and arterial blood pressure[3].


Quercetin, having a citron yellow color is abundant in apples, berries, capers, grapes, onions, tomatoes, and many nuts, seeds, barks, and leaves. Capers have the highest concentration of quercetin. The ginko biloba plant has been found to contain quercetin in its leaves. A study out of Research Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine and Systems Biology, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Shanghai, China found that the flavonoids included in ginko biloba leaf extract (quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin) may help prevent lipid accumulation, the primary source of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease[4].

Stay tuned for more on flavonoids! Drop us a line below and tell us your favorite flavonoid and how you incorporate it into your wellness routine.



[1] M.L. Barrett, D. Gordon, F.J. EvansIsolation from Cannabis sativa L. of cannflavin--a novel inhibitor of prostaglandin production Biochem. Pharmacol., 34 (1985), pp. 2019-2024

[2] De Font-Reaulx Rojas E., Dorazco-Barragan G. Clinical stabilisation in neurodegenerative diseases: Clinical study in phase II. Rev. De Neurol. 2010;50:520–528

[3] Mao J.J., Xie S.X., Keefe J.R., Soeller I., Li Q.S., Amsterdam J.D. Long-term chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) treatment for generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized clinical trial. Phytomedicine. 2016;23:1735–1742. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2016.10.012.

[4] Wei, T., Xiong, F. F., Wang, S. D., Wang, K., Zhang, Y. Y., & Zhang, Q. H. (2014). Flavonoid ingredients of Ginkgo biloba leaf extract regulate lipid metabolism through Sp1-mediated carnitine palmitoyltranferase 1A up-regulation. Journal of biomedical science21(1), 87. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12929-014-0087-x

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