A cup of chamomile tea.

The Overview of Apigenin Benefits, Sources, and Side Effects

Apigenin is a bioactive compound abundantly present in chamomile and parsley. It is widely known for strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Apigenin benefits extend beyond physical health – it is recognized for potent sedative, antidepressant, and sleep promoting effects. In this guide, we will discuss all the benefits of apigenin in detail. Let us begin with exploring its structure and role in the human body.

What Is Apigenin?

Apigenin belongs to the group of flavones – a subgroup of compounds naturally present in plants, called flavonoids. Its chemical structure consists of a benzopyrone ring system with the molecular formula C15H10O5. Apigenin’s biological effects arise from its ability to modulate cellular pathways and interact with proteins. It is known to exert influence on enzymatic activity within cells, affecting inflammation, cell growth, and other processes.

It is absorbed through passive diffusion in the small intestine. Apigenin bioavailability  can be affected by the food matrix, formulation, and the presence of other dietary components. Besides, variations in individual metabolism and genetic factors influence the degree of bioavailability of apigenin.

Apigenin Health Benefits

Numerous studies have confirmed the health benefits of apigenin, revealing its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. Here is the overview of apigenin benefits:


Apigenin exerts anti-aging effects by increasing NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) levels. NAD+ is a crucial coenzyme involved in cellular energy metabolism, DNA repair, and chromatin remodeling. In the human body, its levels naturally decrease during the aging process. Studies suggest that apigenin may stimulate NAD+ biosynthesis, promote cellular resilience, and contribute to cell longevity. However, further clinical studies are necessary to elucidate the accurate mechanisms underlying apigenin’s impact on NAD+ and its implications for promoting longevity.

Anticancer Effects

This potent flavonoid demonstrates potential anti-cancer effects through multifaceted mechanisms.  Apigenin’s impact on suppressing cell proliferation is attributed to its ability to modulate various signaling pathways essential for cancer growth.

Scientific studies indicate that apigenin promotes apoptosis, a programmed cell death. That is how it can contribute to limited survival of cancer cells. On the other hand, apigenin induces autophagy (a cellular recycling process), which may further hinder their proliferation.

Cardiovascular Health

Anti-inflammatory properties of apigenin could help counteract inflammation linked to cardiovascular diseases. Its antioxidant abilities may protect vascular endothelial cells from oxidative stress, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis. Apigenin also influences lipid metabolism, which contributes to lower lipid levels and improved cardiovascular profiles. Apart from that, its ability to dilate blood vessels could enhance blood flow and help regulate high blood pressure

Testosterone Production 

Testosterone regulates various physiological processes in both males and females. It is responsible for developing male reproductive tissues and preserving bone density and muscle mass. Apigenin has garnered notable attention for its potential effects on testosterone production. While research in this area is ongoing, certain findings imply that apigenin may influence testosterone levels by modulating enzymes involved in steroidogenesis (the process of generating steroid hormones).

Cognitive Function

This bioactive compound has an influence on reducing neuroinflammation, a factor linked to cognitive decline. Neuroprotective effects of apigenin stem from its antioxidant capabilities. It shields neurons from oxidative stress and damage and may provide protection from chronic neurodegenerative disorders. While further research is needed, the evidence implies that apigenin may be a useful agent for preserving cognitive function by improving multiple aspects of brain health.

Depression and Anxiety

Enzymes called monoamine oxidases (MAOs) break down neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, responsible for mood, circadian rhythm, and memory. Apigenin inhibits these enzymes and increases the availability of neurotransmitters. This process leads to enhanced mood which might be beneficial for alleviating anxiety and depression.

Apart from that, apigenin interacts with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that regulates anxiety and stress responses. The interaction between apigenin and GABA receptors provides calming effects. Besides, its anti-inflammatory properties may reduce neuroinflammation associated with mood disorders.


Apigenin impacts sleep quality by interacting with the melatonin receptor system. This interaction increases the production and release of melatonin, a hormone crucial for regulating circadian rhythm. The potential of apigenin to influence melatonin pathways represents a promising solution for addressing sleep-related issues and improving overall sleep quality.

Insulin Secretion

A case study indicates that apigenin may enhance pancreatic beta-cell function, which results in improved insulin secretion. This impact on insulin levels is particularly relevant for individuals aiming to enhance their metabolic fitness. Besides, apigenin may be a relevant agent in the context of preventing and controlling metabolic disorders like insulin resistance, prediabetes, and chronic diabetes.

Bone Function

Osteoblast activity is essential for mineralizing new bones and maintaining their structural integrity. Anti-inflammatory properties of apigenin may mitigate osteoclast-mediated bone resorption and thereby improve mineral density. This mechanism contributes to maintaining skeletal integrity and reducing the risk of fractures. While further investigation is necessary, these findings highlight apigenin’s potential for preventing conditions like osteoporosis and osteopetrosis.

Apigenin Foods

The most common association to apigenin is chamomile tea. However, it is present in many other vegetables, fruits, spices, and beverages as well. The other apigenin foods and spices include:

  • Parsley
  • Celery
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Onions
  • Bell peppers
  • Olives
  • Artichokes
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Horseradish
  • Beets
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Coriander
  • Kumquats
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Even certain beers

Apigenin Side Effects

While apigenin is generally considered safe, excessive intake may lead to side effects. Some individuals may experience stomach discomfort, especially if taken on an empty stomach. There is a possibility of allergic reactions as well, so it is essential to monitor for signs of sensitivity. When choosing the right dose, it is critical to consider specific health conditions and potential drug interactions. 


Exploring  apigenin’s complex mechanism of action reveals a range of promising health benefits. Although further research is required, current evidence indicates that apigenin may be a valuable component of the healthy aging process.


Frequently Asked Questions


What does apigenin do?

Apigenin is a flavonoid found in plants that has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may modulate cellular pathways, promote apoptosis, and induce autophagy. Research suggests apigenin’s potential for supporting healthy aging, preventing diseases, and influencing various physiological processes, including neuroprotection, insulin secretion, and cardiovascular health.

Does apigenin affect serotonin?

Apigenin affects serotonin levels by interacting with the serotonin receptor system. While studies have explored apigenin’s impact on neurotransmitter pathways, more research is needed to completely understand the extent of its effects on serotonin, as individual responses may differ.

What time of day to take apigenin?

The optimal time to take apigenin depends on your specific health goals. However, because of its calming effect, it is best taken before bedtime.

Is it safe to take apigenin everyday?

Taking apigenin every day is considered safe when consumed from food sources. However, for apigenin supplements, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to determine safe daily dosages and frequency of use.

Can women take apigenin?

While women can generally consume apigenin from food, recent findings suggest caution for those on hormone replacement therapy. Apigenin may interact with progestin, and women using hormone replacement therapy should avoid pure apigenin supplements.